Apply to study at the CDT Topological Design

Our programmes hosts students from both the UK and overseas, covering both fees and stipend for all students.  We want our CDT to reflect our diverse society and offer all students a safe and welcoming space to learn and explore their research. The University of Birmingham is committed to widening the diversity of our PhD student community, and we particularly welcome applications from under-represented groups, including, but not limited to Black students and those from ethnic minority backgrounds, disabled and neuro-diverse candidates, members of the LGBTQ+ community and female applicants.

Please note, applications are open for a small number of industrially co-funded projects for admission in the 2022/23 academic year.  Please find details on our Available Research Projects page. Full admissions for the 2023-22 academic year will open in Winter 2022.

If you would like to be added to our mailing list to receive news and updates from the CDT, please email your details to cdt-topologicaldesign@contacts.bham.ac.uk.

Our programme

The CDT in Topological Design offers two programme structures:

  • Our main 1 + 3 years PhD programme.
  • A 4-year PhD programme for industrially, co-funded projects.

On this page you can find out more detail about both of these programmes, what we are looking for in prospective candidates and how to apply for a place at the CDT.

The 1+3 year programme includes:

  • Programme starts in October of each academic year.
  • A 1-year taught programme covering all aspects of Topological Science (including Condensed Matter Physics, Electromagnetic and Microwave Engineering and Materials Science), and two mini-projects in theoretical and experimental groups.
  • A 3-year cutting-edge, interdisciplinary research project with world-leading research supervisors, with themes in quantum physics and technology, mechanical and vibration engineering, electromagnetism and photonics, manufacturing and 3D printing, soft matter and chemistry, health and life sciences and many more.
  • The opportunity to undertake a 3-month internship with an industrial or academic partner organisation.

The 4-year programme includes:

  • Programme can start at any point in the academic year.
  • A 4-year cutting-edge, interdisciplinary applied research project with world-leading research supervisors, and co-funded by an industrial partner.
  • Full access to the CDT training programme as part of a bespoke education plan, with all modules completed in years 1-3 of the programme.
  • The opportunity to undertake a 3-month internship on-site with the project's industrial co-funder.

CDT Studentships are fully-funded over all 4 years, payable from the start of your studies with us.

What are we looking for in our candidates?

  • An undergraduate degree in Physics, Material Science, Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering or other related disciplines, with at least 2(i) honours or equivalent.
  • An interest in interdisciplinary sciences and engineering, with an enthusiasm for communication.
  • Evidenced mathematical ability.
  • No prior knowledge of Topology or Topological Physics is required.

Studentships are available to UK nationals and a limited number of international students. The CDT can also accept candidates in possession of their own funding (e.g. via a non-EU government scholarship) who are also welcome to apply for a place of study.  If you have independent funding and would like to apply to the CDT, we recommend that you contact us to discuss your application beforehand by emailing us.

What kinds of research do we support?

The CDT funds research from across the STEM spectrum on a range of topics related to topology and topological design.  We run regular project calls, receiving submissions from colleagues working across the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences, including theoretical and applied approaches.  A number of our projects are co-funded by industrial partners, research councils and charities.  A selection of our currently available research areas can be found on our projects page, where you can download project summaries and find the contact details of potential supervisors.

We also recommend reviewing the projects our current PhD students are working on by visiting our Research Themes page.  You will also find links on this page to all the research groups we are associated with across the University.  If you are interested in a specific research topic or theme, please do not hesitate to contact the CDT to discuss this with us.


Instructions on filling the application

  • Click on “Apply via the application portal”.
  • Please fill in all sections of the application.
  • Under the section "Research details", please include information on the project(s) that interest you.  You can find a list of supervisors and potential projects on our projects page.
    • Choose "Advertised research area".
    • Code or title of project: "Topological Design CDT".
    • Name(s) of proposed supervisor(s): "Topological Design CDT".

You do not need to provide any further details or documentation about your proposed research project as projects are finalised once the programme commences.

  • Under the section called "Funding", please follow these instructions:
    • Choose "Other".
    • Other details: "Topological Design CDT".
    • Upload you CV and an up to date transcript.