Apply to study at the CDT Topological Design

Applications for cohort 5 are open.

The CDT reserves the right to reopen applications.

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.

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Our programme

The CDT in Topological Design offers 4-year PhD programme.

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, often co-funded by industry-leading partners and world renowned institutions.
  • Training in technical skills in topology and its applications as well as transferable skills training to support your development as a professional researcher.
  • 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 of study.

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.

How to apply to the CDT?

Please download of CDT application form (Word), complete and submit to us at  Please read the instruction notes included in the form carefully and make sure that you include a copy of your university transcript and your up to date CV in your email.

If you a have any questions about the CDT, applying to us or our work, please contact us at

Your data matters to us

For details on how to manage your personal data, read our up-to-date data protection policies. The information supplied on this form will only be used by the CDT Topological Design to process your application to study with us.