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Southampton High Energy Physics group

PhD and research opportunities

Find out how to work with us through our research and postgraduate programmes.

STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship

We are keen to host researchers interested in applying for an STFC Ernest Rutherford Fellowship (ERF).

Please contact one of our staff members as early as possible, but not later than 15 July 2024, to express your interest in applying with us.

There will be an internal process to select the ERF candidates who we will host and support.


NExT PhD school

We aim to offer students a strong grounding in both theoretical and experimental aspects of particle physics, using the expertise of lecturers at the various SEPnet institutes. 

Our work is both theoretical and phenomenological. We believe in maintaining close contact with experimental work. Once enrolled with SHEP, students will undergo training within the NExT PhD School, offered through the NExT Institute. You will also have access to the multi-disciplinary activities offered by the SEPnet Graduate Network (GRADnet).


Fully funded routes

The multi-disciplinary Southampton Theory, Astronomy and Gravitation (STAG) Institute supports joint studentships between the School of Physics and Astronomy and the School of Mathematics. These studentships provide four-year funding, joint supervision, training and research, at the overlap of SHEP, Astro and General Relativity groups. 


Partial funding routes 

We encourage applications from those with other, even partial, means of support, as it is sometimes possible to match funds on an ad-hoc basis. In some cases, the School needs to apply on behalf of the applicant. 


Other funding for international students 

We are always keen to sponsor international students, either through subject-specific School, University, or external funding. Browse information on non-subject specific scholarships and awards. Training grants 

Once enrolled, SHEP PhD students automatically receive a Research & Training Support Grant (RTSG) of £1,200 per year for the duration of the PhD. This supports students to attend summer schools, workshops, conferences. You can also use this to pursue research collaborations outside of SHEP.  


PhD Research training 

Training courses in Particle Physics and Cosmology are offered to all students who have not previously studied similar modules. These provide a solid grounding in quantum field theory and group theory techniques. They also cover the Standard Model and beyond, including Supersymmetry, Strings and Branes. 

In the Summer Term, short informal specialised lecture courses introduce active research areas, helping students to decide on a thesis topic. There are regular weekly seminars, both from invited external speakers, and, more informally, by members of our own group. 

All PhD students are encouraged to give at least one informal seminar each year. All students complete extended problems in their first year, writing them up as formal reports. At the end of the first year, students attend the British Universities Summer School in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics. We hope also that all students will win a place on an international summer school during their time with us. 

Each student has two academic Supervisors (a lead one and a secondary one) and Advisor (in a pastoral role). These are assigned from day one for project studentships, otherwise the student is free to choose a lead Supervisor at the end of year one (and the secondary one is assigned by the group consequently). However, we encourage students to move freely from one `effective' Supervisor to another as their research interests evolve. 

We pride ourselves on being a friendly and interactive group, both professionally and socially. Our policy is to ensure that students finish their research work within four years at the most, though in many instances a PhD degree can already be gained after three years. 


Discuss your application with us

Professor Pasquale Di Bari is the academic contact for SHEP applications.  

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