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Physics (PhD)

2024-25 (also available for 2025-26)

This course is eligible for Doctoral loan funding. Find out more.

Start date

1 October 2024

13 January 2025

14 April 2025


The maximum duration for a PhD is 3 years (36 months) full-time or 6 years (72 months) part-time with an optional submission pending (writing-up) period of 12 months.

Sometimes it may be possible to mix periods of both full-time and part-time study.

If studying on a part-time basis, you must establish close links with the University and spend normally not less than an average of 10 working days per year in the university, excluding participation in activities associated with enrolment, re-registration and progression monitoring. You are also expected to dedicate 17.5 hours per week to the research.

Application deadlines

For September/October 2024

07 June 2024 for International and Scholarship students

28 June 2024 for Home students

For January 2025

18 October 2024 for International and Scholarship students

15 November 2024 for Home students

For April 2025

24 January 2025 for International and Scholarship students

21 February 2025 for Home students

About the research degree

A PhD is the highest academic award for which a student can be registered. This programme allows you to explore and pursue a research project built around a substantial piece of work, which has to show evidence of original contribution to knowledge.

Completing a PhD can give you a great sense of personal achievement and help you develop a high level of transferable skills which will be useful in your subsequent career, as well as contributing to the development of knowledge in your chosen field.

Our research degrees are available as full-time, part-time and some are offered distance learning.

You are expected to work to an approved programme of work including appropriate programmes of postgraduate study (which may be drawn from parts of existing postgraduate courses, final year degree programmes, conferences, seminars, masterclasses, guided reading or a combination of study methods).

This programme of research culminates in the production of a large-scale piece of written work in the form of a research thesis that should not normally exceed 80,000 words.

You will be appointed a main supervisor who will normally be part of a supervisory team, comprising of up to three members to advise and support you on your project.

Entry requirements

The normal level of attainment required for entry is:

  • a Master's degree from a UK University or equivalent, normally with a classification of merit or distinction, in a discipline appropriate to the proposed programme to be followed, or
  • an upper second class honours degree (2:1) from a UK university in a discipline appropriate to that of the proposed programme to be followed, or
  • appropriate research or professional experience at postgraduate level, which has resulted in published work, written reports or other appropriate evidence of accomplishment.

If your first language is not English, you will need to meet the minimum requirements of an English Language qualification. The minimum for IELTS is 6.0 overall with no element lower than 5.5, or equivalent. Read more about the University’s entry requirements for students outside of the UK on our Where are you from information pages.

Why choose Huddersfield?

There are many reasons to choose the University of Huddersfield and here are just five of them:

  1. We were named University of the Year by Times Higher Education in 2013.
  2. Huddersfield is the only University where 100% of permanent teaching staff are Fellows of the Higher Education Authority.
  3. Our courses have been accredited by 41 professional bodies.
  4. 94.6% of our postgraduate students go on to work and/or further study within six months of graduating.
  5. We have world-leading applied research groups in Biomedical Sciences, Engineering and Physical Sciences, Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities.

What can I research?

There are several research topics available for this degree. See below examples of research areas including an outline of the topics, the supervisor, funding information and eligibility criteria:


Nowadays, the combination of big data and time series analysis is on the edge of world-leading research directions. The characteristic advantage is the wide and direct transferability of the methods and the algorithms that are developing from one scientific field to the other as well as to the industry. Applications in mechanical automotive, financial, public health, biological systems, among others, continuously improve the quality of our everyday life. The prediction of the behaviour or even of the sudden changes in these systems could introduce standards to risk assessment or to the over-specification. The purpose of this project is to develop generic new methods and tools in the detection and prediction of anomalies in time series based on novel concepts like correlation coefficient, natural time analysis, and machine learning with applications in a range of diverse systems.

The first priority here is the outcome of the applications to constitute independent studies. Finally, since, the impact of this project will be both direct and valuable will improve the engagement between academia and industry.


Please see our Research Scholarships page to find out about funding or studentship options available.


Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more.


How to apply


The development of co-simulation procedures has led to the development of sophisticated numerical dynamic analysis tools. These are able to couple two different simulations or more, running alongside each other. Such methods allow for the study of more complex systems by coupling different sub-systems or coupling different phenomena in the same system. The aim of this work involves the study and investigation of co-simulation methodologies and its application in numerical dynamic analysis tools. Different approaches are to be implemented and tested under a series or different case scenarios and benchmarks. The final objective of this work includes the development and implementation of a new co-simulation framework on a state-of-the-art Pantograph-catenary dynamic analysis tool. This is able to handle the numerical analyses of pantograph-catenary interaction, where the pantograph is modelled as a multibody system in interaction with finite element OLE model.


Please see our Research Scholarships page to find out about funding or studentship options available.


Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more.


How to apply


Every year, millions of pounds are invested in safety and green energy/technology applications. Thus, both energy materials and coating materials that could provide high radiation resistance for nuclear applications are very important to the industry. The study of the defect processes will improve among others the performance of batteries (e.g. for automotive applications) as well as the safety of nuclear power plants. However, the theoretical calculations are massive demanding a huge amount of time accompanied by high costs in terms of economy and energy consumption. The combination of Artificial Intelligent and automated processes with the existing methods for ab initio calculations will save valuable time while reducing the above costs. The first priority here is to investigate novel materials for a range of safety and energy applications. Furthermore, the question here is whether it is possible to combine Artificial Intelligent methods and/or develop algorithms to reduce the amount of demanding calculations. Currently, this topic has a high and direct impact both in academia and industry, as these methods will be transferable in numerous principles such as aerospace, mechanical and automotive engineering, and power electronics.


Please see our Research Scholarships page to find out about funding or studentship options available.


Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more.


How to apply


Multibody dynamics methods have established the grounds for advanced dynamic analysis applications, able to simulate mechanical systems. Multibody models are generally composed by a set of interconnected, rigid or flexible, bodies which undergo large translational and rotational displacements. Hence, large and complex mechanical systems are able to be analysed and studied in a computer-aided environment. The aim of this work involves the development and employment of multibody methodologies to produce realistic and accurate railway pantograph models. The pantograph is today a critical mechanical system in the operation of electric traction trains, both at conventional and hight speeds. The models developed are to be validated with experimental data obtained from line tests and/or test bench tests. The work here developed will allow to produce more accurate, realistic, and robust pantograph models, and better understand its mechanical behaviour when interacting the electrified overhead line.


Please see our Research Scholarships page to find out about funding or studentship options available.


Our standard University deadlines apply. Please see our Deadlines for Applications page to find out more.


How to apply

Our research is focused around two themes novel-materials and particle accelerators. We research and develop new approaches and methods to accelerator applications and materials development that will have a real impact on global grand challenges in areas such as the environment, health, security and energy.

There is a wide range of topics which can be researched, including the following areas: [] Artificial Electromagnetic Materials: designing and fabricating artificial materials, such as metamaterials and spatially dispersive media. To manipulate the interaction between charged particle beams and EM waves. [] Medium Energy Ion Scattering: probing the atomic composition of the first few layers with our accelerator system, which is part of the UK National Ion Beam Centre [*] Particle Accelerators: we work in conjunction with international labs and industry to develop the next generation of accelerators for a range of applications from ion therapy and imaging, energy production and transmutation, curing leather, purifying water, and many others.

Research is conducted in collaboration with prestigious international partners (e.g. ESS, CERN, PSI) and other UK universities, and with industry (e.g. Alceli, Applied Materials, Reliance Precision Ltd).

Browse our listed funded opportunities.

To find out more about the research we conduct, take a look at our Research, Innovation and Skills webpages, where you will find information on each research area. To find out about our staff visit ‘Our experts’ which features profiles of all our academic staff.

Student support

At the University of Huddersfield, you'll find support networks and services to help you get ahead in your studies and social life. Whether you study at undergraduate or postgraduate level, you'll soon discover that you're never far away from our dedicated staff and resources to help you to navigate through your personal student journey. [Find out more about all our support services|]

Researcher Environment

Our postgraduate researchers contribute to our thriving research [culture] community at Huddersfield, in return, we provide an experience that enhances your potential and inspires you to think big and become a globally competitive researcher.

Join our community of like-minded people who are passionate about research and gain access to world-leading facilities, advanced research skills training, and expert career advice.

Reduced inequalities

  • We recently ranked 6 out of 796 global institutions for reduced inequalities in the Times Higher Impact ratings – this recognises our research on social inequalities, policies on discrimination and commitment to recruitment staff and students from underrepresented groups.**


  • We are in the top 50 UK universities for research power, and nearly two-thirds of our research environment is classified as world-leading and internationally excellent.***

As a researcher, you’ll gain access to our Researcher Skills Development Programme through The Graduate School, to help broaden your knowledge and access tools and skills to improve your employability. The programme is mapped against Vitae’s Researcher Development Framework (RDF), you’ll benefit from Vitae’s career support as well as our own programme. We also have a team dedicated to improving the academic English needed for research by our international PGRs.

Our training is delivered in a variety of ways to take advantage of online platforms as well as face-to-face workshops and courses. You can access a range of bespoke training opportunities and in-person events that are tailored to each stage of your journey;

  • Sessions on PhD thesis writing, publications and journals, post-doctoral opportunities, poster and conference presentations, networking, and international travel opportunities

  • opportunity to work and study abroad via the Turing Scheme through The Graduate School

  • Externally accredited training programme with Advance HE (HEA) and CMI

  • Online research training support accessed through a dedicated researcher module in Brightspace, the University’s Virtual Learning Environment

  • We also hold a series of PGR focussed events such as 3 Minute Thesis PGR led research conference informal events throughout the year.

**THE Impact Rankings 2022

*** REF2021

Important information

We will always try to deliver your course as described on this web page. However, sometimes we may have to make changes as set out below.

When you are offered a place on a research degree, your offer will include confirmation of your supervisory team, and the topic you will be researching.

Whilst the University will use reasonable efforts to ensure your supervisory team remains the same, sometimes it may be necessary to make changes to your team for reasons outside the University’s control, for example if your supervisor leaves the University, or suffers from long term illness. Where this is the case, we will discuss these difficulties with you and seek to either put in place a new supervisory team, or help you to transfer to another research facility, in accordance with our Student Protection Plan.

Changes may also be necessary because of circumstances outside our reasonable control, for example the University being unable to access its buildings due to fire, flood or pandemic, or the University no longer being able to provide specialist equipment. Where this is the case, we will discuss these issues with you and agree any necessary changes.

Your research project is likely to evolve as you work on it and these minor changes are a natural and expected part of your study. However, we may need to make more significant changes to your topic of research during the course of your studies, either because your area of interest has changed, or because for reasons outside the University’s control we can no longer support your research. If this is the case, we will discuss any changes in topic with you and agree these in writing. If you are an international student, changing topics may affect your visa or ATAS clearance and if this is the case we will discuss this with you before any changes are agreed.

When you enrol as a student of the University, your study and time with us will be governed by the University’s Terms and Conditions and a framework of regulations, policies and procedures, which form the basis of your agreement with us. It is important that you familiarise yourself with these as you will be asked to agree to abide by them when you join us as a student. You will find a guide to the key terms here, along with the Student Protection Plan, where you will also find links to the full text of each of the regulations, policies and procedures referred to.

The Office for Students (OfS) is the principal regulator for the University.