Postgraduate Research/Doctorate PhD/MPhil

Materials and Physics Postgraduate Research

School of Science, Engineering and Environment


Blended Delivery




One year

Two year

Three year

Next enrolment

May 2024


In a nutshell

Are you interested in talking your passion for physics further? The University of Salford welcomes applications to study materials and physics via our MPhil and PhD research programmes.

The prestigious Physics and Materials Research Group encompasses experimental, computational and theoretical areas of physics, chemistry, engineering and mathematics. Our research is primarily focused on applied optics, complexity and nonlinear photonics, hydrogen storage, photovoltaics, functionalisation of graphene, semiconductor materials and thin films.

A research degree offers you the flexibility to conduct your own research project under direct supervision of an academic member of staff. You can study towards a Master of Research (MRes), Master of Philosophy (MPhil) or Doctor of Philosophy (PhD).

Current physics and materials research topics include: 

  • Applied optics, laser applications and theory
  • Chemical physics
  • Complexity, applied nonlinear science and metamaterials
  • Energy and hydrogen storage
  • Extreme conditions
  • Magnetism and nanomaterials
  • Materials characterisation and modelling
  • Structural analysis and functional materials

The University of Salford became the 100th signatory to the Athena SWAN Charter in 2012 making a very public commitment to improving outcomes for women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine. We are committed to the IOP's Project JUNO to develop an equitable and inclusive departmental culture for everyone. Read more about it here >>>

You will:

  • Research a broad range of fields in physics and materials, including lasers, optics, energy storage and photovoltaics
  • Undertake research around an area from your own profession and develop solutions that can be implemented in the workplace
  • Earn a doctorate-level degree to take you further in your current career, or provide a gateway into a research career

students accepted

Course accreditations

IOP (Institute of Physics) logo
IOP (Institute of Physics Juno Practitioner) logo
Course details

All about the course

Materials and Physics postgraduate research is available in a range of pathways:

Master of Research (MRes)
One year full-time
Two years part-time

Master of Philosophy (MPhil)
One year full-time
Two years part-time

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Three years full-time
Five years part-time

Our research students have access to a wide range of supervisory expertise, training, and excellent facilities.

The research training you receive will be tailored to your particular needs. Your supervisory team will discuss with you once you join the programme.

What will I be doing?

Training and Skills Development

The Salford Postgraduate Research Training (SPort) programme is designed to equip you with skills not only needed for your university studies but also for your future career, whether in academia or in public and private sectors. All of our postgraduate research students receive an extensive range of free training activities that develop both research and transferable skills.

All students will be expected to attend research methods seminars during your first year of study. Typical sessions cover topics such as conducting a literature review, methods of data collection, research governance and ethics, analysis, presentation, interpretation, and rigour qualitative research. 


As a postgraduate research student, you are required to meet a series of milestones in order to re-register for each year of study. These 'progression points' are an important guide for you and your supervisor, and must be completed at agreed dates.

Typical progression points for the PhD route include: 

  • Learning Agreement: completed during the first three months
  • Annual Progress Report: completed at the end of each year of study
  • Self-Evaluation Report: completed at the end of each year of study
  • Interim Assessment: completed with a panel interview at the end of year one
  • Internal Evaluation: completed at the end of year two and year three

Materials and Physics Research at Salford

Find out more about our research staff, our laboratories, the areas of materials and physics we research, and the current projects we're working on.

You will also find a list of suggested PhD topics.

Research Facilities

Our physics laboratories include various spectroscopy facilities (Raman, photoluminescence, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy, spectrophotometry), chemical vapour deposition, high-pressure facilities (up to 2 Kbar high-pressure gas facility and diamond anvil cells for experiments up to 1 Mbar), X-ray diffraction, scanning and transmission electron microscopy.

Doctoral School

Becoming a world-class researcher is challenging yet rewarding. It takes amazing dedication and plenty of hard-work.

If you are a current or prospective research degree candidate, find out how our Doctoral school is here to give you support to help you reach your goal.

Contact us

Are you a current or prospective research degree candidate in need of further guidance? Contact our dedicated research team who can help you find the right research programme for you:

Call us: +44 (0)161 295 3482 or +44 (0)161 295 6435 (9am-5pm)

Email us:

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

Globally, a postgraduate research qualification is usually pre-requisite for an academic career. Today, you will find that many of our PhD alumni hold postdoctoral positions in academic research in higher education.

Our physics and materials postgraduate student alumni have a strong track record in pursuing diverse and exciting opportunities in the private sector, both in the UK and throughout the world. Examples include working in the defence industry (BAE Systems, QinetiQ), the oil and petrochemicals industry (Petroleum Geoservices, ATMOS International), and the semiconductor and commercial coating industries (NXP Semiconductors, Hardide, Cacuum Equipment Ltd.). 

Others have secured roles working at instrumentation companies designing new products for scientific analysis (Kratos Analytical, waters) and medical imaging (Agilent Technologies).


What you need to know


We offer four entry points - January, April, July and October. An application to study can be submitted at any point during the year.


Ideally, you will hold an Honours degree in physics, or a physics-related subject. Please refer to the Entry Requirements section for specific details.   

All applicants must attend an interview.

International applicants will require IELTS 6.5 or equivalent English Language Qualification.


We are looking for applicants with a passion for furthering knowledge in a physics or materials-related field. Evidence of your ability to study and critically appraise literature independently, is essential.

You will be assigned a supervisory team to help guide and mentor you throughout your postgraduate research and studies. However, you will be expected to take responsibility for managing your learning, and to initiate discussions, ask for support, and be proactive in your approach to study.  


International Students are required by the Home Office and/or the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to apply for an Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) Certificate before they begin studying their course. You might need to obtain an ATAS Certificate before you come to the UK in order for you to comply with Home Office regulations. Please refer to your offer conditions.

You can find out if your programme requires an ATAS by checking the FCO website with your JACS code which will be on your offer letter should you choose to make an application. For further support, please contact our International team at If you have any queries relating to ATAS, please contact our team at

ATAS Certificate application link 

What qualifications do I need?

Standard entry requirements

Applications for the PhD must have a minimum of an upper second class undergraduate degree. A Masters degree is preferred but not essential. However, applicants without a Masters degree must provide evidence of previous research methods training.

Applicants for the MPhil degree must have a minimum of a lower second class undergraduate degree, or relevant experience.

On your application form, you should include two referees who can comment on your suitability to study at postgraduate level, and you should also indicate a preferred research area or the title of a specific project, where appropriate. You must also indicate the type of financial support you have (or require).

Alternative entry requirements

We positively welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully.

Once we receive your application, we'll assess it and recommend it for the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme, if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or by using a formal test.

To be considered for the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme you must have already achieved or be working towards GCSE Maths and English Grade C/4 (or equivalent).

Please contact Admissions for further information.

How much?

As a postgraduate research student, you will need to pay annual tuition fees. These vary according to the programme you are studying. Both we and other organisations offer a range of scholarships and discounts to postgraduate research students.

More information about fees and funding

Additional costs

You should consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on residential travel and accommodation visits.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

May 2024

September 2024

January 2025

May 2025

September 2025