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PhD Translational Quantum Technology AQ

Start date
4 years full-time (including 1 year MRes); 6 years part-time + 2 year part-time MRes
Course Type
Postgraduate, Doctoral research

We charge an annual tuition fee. Fees for 2024/25:
£4,778 (UK)
£27,360 (International Students)
Further fee information is available.

Quantum technology has been selected by the UK Government as a key area of innovation, moving science into real-world applications. Four Quantum Technology Hubs have been established as flagship projects in this program.

This postgraduate training programme is aligned with the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology, an £80 million collaborative effort led by the University of Birmingham in partnership with the Universities of Glasgow, Nottingham, Southampton, Strathclyde and Sussex, the National Physical Laboratory and over 70 companies.

The PhD programme offers a unique opportunity for students to undertake a research in a multi-disciplinary environment between science, engineering and industry. Students benefit from participating in both the technology translation and applied research activities carried out within the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology, and from the educational programmes offered by the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences.

The MRes part of the programme comprises classroom taught quantum physics-oriented modules for students with engineering backgrounds; technology-orientated modules for students with physics backgrounds; and an independent research project that is documented in a substantial thesis. The research project consists of a team element; all students will organise themselves to present a technical demonstration at a national or international conference. There is also an individual research element, which takes place in industry or in relation to a participating company.

The PhD programme will consist of the 1 year MRes carried out at the University of Birmingham and a 3 year PhD project in one of the partner Universities of the UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology. PhD placements in the National Physics Laboratory (NPL) and industry partners will be supported. Students decide on the PhD project at the beginning of the programme and MRes activities will be tailored to build up specific technical knowledge needed for the PhD.

Why study PhD Translational Quantum Technology at Birmingham?

This course is aimed at students who want to put the engineering or physics skills acquired in their undergraduate study, or their work experience in industry, into practice. Working in a multi-disciplinary environment with close industry interactions, the course will provide a unique ‘lab-to-market’ experience within the UK National Quantum Technologies Programme.

The UK is leading globally in this field; this is an opportunity to translate quantum science into real-world impact, relevant to economy and society whilst learning from world-leading experts. 


Year One - Master of Research (MRes)

The MRes will include 70 credits of classroom taught modules and a research project worth 110 credits, consisting of team and individual elements.

Taught modules can be selected from any m-level module offered by the College of Engineering and Physics Sciences. Selection and timetabling will be discussed with the supervisor and tutor at the beginning of the programme and tailored to the individual needs of the student.

The team element of the research project teaches technical, team working, project management, communication and presentation skills with an emphasis on responsible research and innovation. The individual element of the research project focuses on problems relevant to industry and will be carried out in close collaboration with industry partners. This will be assessed by a substantial thesis.

Years Two-Four – PhD

This will be a three-year long research project at one of the Hub’s partner universities. Secondments to industry or the National Physics Laboratory (NPL) can also be supported.


Annual Tuition Fees 2024/25 academic year

  • £4,778 UK students, full-time
  • £27,360 International students, full-time

Learn more about fees and funding.

Postgraduate Doctoral Loan

A Postgraduate Doctoral Loan can help with course fees and living costs while you study a postgraduate doctoral course, such as a PhD.


How To Apply

How to apply

To apply for a postgraduate research programme, you will need to submit your application and supporting documents online. We have put together some helpful information on the research programme application process and supporting documents on our how to apply page. Please read this information carefully before completing your application.

Apply now

Our Standard Requirements

First or 2:1 Honors degree in a physics or engineering subject or equivalent qualification.

International Requirements

International Students

English language

For students whose first language is not English, one of the following English language qualifications is required:

  • IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band
  • TOEFL: 80 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing
  • Pearson Test of English (PTE) including online: Academic 64 with no less than 59 in all four skills
  • Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 169, with no less than 162 in any component

The UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology staff covers a wide range of research and development interests. These can be found on the Hub’s website and on individual staff member’s web pages.

The National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology

The Birmingham led UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors and Metrology is a cross-disciplinary centre, involving staff from the Schools of Physics, Civil, Electrical and Materials Engineering, as well as staff from a number of other Schools across the University. It will translate fundamental science and applied research in quantum sensors and metrology based on atomic probe particles, providing high level educational opportunities in these fields.

The Hub’s research activities include research in the development of sensors for gravity, magnetic fields, rotation, electromagnetic fields and time. It also researches their applications in a diverse range of sectors including aviation, communication, construction, defense, energy, finance, healthcare, oil and mineral exploration, transport and space.

The Translational Quantum Technology programme aims at preparing students for the challenges in translating quantum sensors and metrology devices based on atoms as probe particles into real-world applications. After the programme, students should understand the underpinning science and technology; the needs of end-user applicants; and the impact of these quantum technology devices on society. They should be able to move seamlessly between academia and industry, and translate scientific outcomes into technology.

The programme will create a strongly networked cohort of students with practical experience in academia and industry. It aims:

  • to develop students' research and technological skills, and their knowledge of research methods applicable to the specific issues arising in quantum technology-related research;
  • to ensure that students are aware of state-of-the-art developments in quantum technology in specific technical and operational topic areas;
  • to allow students to develop the understanding necessary to identify new and emerging research needs in the emerging quantum technology industry;
  • to enable students to develop the knowledge and skills required to independently undertake a significant research project of relevance to the quantum technology industry including users of quantum technology.


This programme is a unique opportunity to acquire translational skills, including specific skills of relevance to the emerging quantum technology industry.

The UK National Quantum Technology Hub in Sensors is actively engaged with a growing number of industry partners, currently standing at 70 companies from various sectors of the economy. Industry secondments to our partners will foster career prospects.