Postgraduate research

Photonics and optoelectronics

Researcher in a cleanroom

Join our vibrant community of PhD students and researchers. We're part of the growth of the photonics industry, including the optical telecommunication technology that underpins the internet as well as solutions in medicine, biosciences sensing, security and manufacturing.


Our inventions are making the world a better place – in air travel, the internet and in life-saving medical devices. We received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for our expertise in fibre optics and photonics.

Get into Photonics and transform society

You'll study at our dedicated Optoelectronics Research Centre (ORC) based at the Zepler Institute. We have more than 90 state-of-the-art photonics labs to work in and over 200 researchers working in photonics, physics and advanced materials.

We'll make sure you have a thorough grounding in photonics and you'll be supported by a supervisor who'll guide your research. Your supervisor will encourage you to attend international conferences and write journal papers and also recommend additional courses to develop your skills. Courses include training in report writing, project management, time management, presentation skills and safety training.

Our PhD students and postdoctoral researchers have made successful careers in universities worldwide or as scientists and business leaders in industry. The quality of our research outputs, the cluster of spin-off companies and the worldwide network of successful alumni place the ORC amongst the top institutes worldwide for doctoral research.

We'll also introduce you to the the University of Southampton Optics and Photonics Society (OPSoc), which is the hub of a wide variety of social and professional activity among our students.

Main areas of research

Our approach is multidisciplinary. You could be working with lasers, metamaterials, optoelectronics, photonics, fibre optics, hollow core fibres and more advanced materials. Our research areas include:

  • biophotonic microsystems
  • fundamental photonics
  • light generation and manipulation
  • optical fibres
  • optical materials
  • optical networks and systems

Similar research degree topics

Horizon Europe Programme

The University of Southampton is pleased to announce that PGR students from EU and Horizon associated countries joining us in 2024-25 will pay the same as UK PGRs for their PhD.