Research course

Interdisciplinary Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

University of Cambridge · Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience

Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK First class Honours Degree.

Degree must be in a relevant discipline, with sufficient elements of physics, chemistry, materials or engineering sciences.

Months of entry


Course content

The PhD in Interdisciplinary Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (NanoDTC) will train the next generation of academic and industry leaders who can transcend subject boundaries, deep-connect and transform knowledge, promote positive research culture, and bring agility and new holistic vision to addressing societal grand challenges. The programme will welcome applicants from across the physical sciences including Chemistry, Physics, Materials, Engineering and any other subject that gives applicants a good background to undertake a PhD in nanoscience and nanotechnology.

The first six months of the programme will provide advanced-level training, specifically designed for students, through an integrated lectures + practicals module on Applied Nanoscience, a module on System Integration for Experimentalists and one short and one longer experimental project, prior to final selection of an interdisciplinary PhD research project between two research groups in the Departments of Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Materials Science or another relevant department within the University. An additional module on Innovation for Scientists will help students develop a wider perspective, including training on innovation, sustainability and responsible research.

The initial training period will provide a close synergy between taught, hands-on, team and independent learning content, in order to support, challenge and stretch students beyond their varied previous backgrounds, imbuing them with ‘technical multi-lingualism’ and holistic, problem-focused thinking.

The programme’s cohort-based approach for PhD training provides opportunities for peer-to-peer learning and mutual support, and a strong network for sharing information on facilities and tools for research as well as providing fertile ground for novel research ideas. The cohort-based environment also makes for a positive social experience during a PhD, which provides benefits for students’ wellbeing.

The interdisciplinary focus of the programme will particularly benefit students who are keen to move beyond the silo of a single scientific discipline, to open new research directions at the forefront of science and its translation to technology, and to be part of a vibrant research community. The impact and potential of the entrepreneurial and innovation focused training is highlighted by the very high number of NanoDTC PhD alumni leading successful start-ups in diverse high-tech sectors in the UK.

Information for international students

Language Requirement

IELTS (Academic)

Element Score

Listening 7.0

Writing 7.0

Reading 6.5

Speaking 7.0

Total 7.0

TOEFL Internet Score

Element Score

Listening 25

Writing 25

Reading 25

Speaking 25

Total 100


Score: Grade A & B (overall score of 193, with no element lower than 185 plus a Language Centre assessment)


Score: Grade A, B, or C (with at least 200 with no element lower than 185).

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    48-84 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    36-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details