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PhD Overview

PhD, Years 2–4

The students are encouraged to source their own PhD projects, but they are also given a list of optional PhD projects for their consideration. The majority of students continue on their long MRes projects into their PhD, but this isn’t a requirement of the course.

The PhD is probationary for the first year, with the students being expected to write a first year report due in the August, which will be reviewed by the supervisor and advisor as to whether they recommend the student continues on to year 2.

Interview with Course Director Professor Bill O'Neill about the PhD

Moving from the MRes to the PhD

The outcome of the MRes year will determine progression to the PhD degree and the research project (either at Cambridge, Cranfield, or another UK University) will be selected at this stage. Students will be expected to spend some time at their host University as well as their associated industrial sponsor, according to the needs of their project.

Whilst during years 2–4 the focus will be on the PhD research project within the university laboratories and sponsoring company. There will continue to be integrating activities that broaden the student experience such as CDT-UP research seminars, a programme of industrial visits and an annual student-led research conference.

Working with Industry

Most Ultra Precision PhD projects offered to the students have a project sponsor. As well as supporting the student and project financially this engagement results in a strong collaboration from research to industry resulting in a direct impact on the commercial activities.


Upon successful completion of the PhD component of the course, we expect the students to be highly employable within industry and academia. The course aims to offer world leading training and research environments that deliver to industry highly skilled Ultra Precision Engineers capable of making a significant impact to the way in which UK manufacturing enterprises generate wealth utilising a new generation of ultra precision production technologies and products.