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Centre for Doctoral Training in Photonic Integration and Advance Data Storage

Programme Details

PIADS 4-Year Doctoral Programme

The PIADS four-year integrated doctoral training programme comprises two phases (1) Orientation & Skills Phase (2) Research Phase. The Orientation and Skills Phase is common for students on both the EngD and the PhD pathways.

The Orientation and Skills Phase

This phase runs from September to May in year one. Semester One is completed onsite at the University of Glasgow, whilst semester two is onsite at Queen’s University Belfast. Course delivery is through a mix of classroom-based, seminar-based, project work & online self-directed study. Assessment of all courses in this phase takes the form of assignments, presentations & examinations. Each semester includes:

  • 20 credits of scientific/technical courses providing fundamental underpinning knowledge;
  • 30 credit, semester-long research project aligned with research themes giving new students exposure to research groups, non-CDT students, facilities & staff and builds in a period for the development of doctoral projects in partnership with earlier students/cohorts & academics;
  • 10 credits of enhanced skills courses created, delivered & assessed with direct input from our industry partners.

During the 9-month Orientation & Skills Phase the CDT academics, student cohort & industry partners collaborate to co-create a set of substantive projects which maximise the capabilities, research strengths and priorities of both the institutions and our industrial partners.

Semester One (University of Glasgow)


ENG5297 Insights to Industry (10 credits)

ENG5324 Research Methods & Practice Group Project (20 credits)

ENG5298 Lasers & Integrated Optics(10  credits)

Choose 2 from:

ENG5174 Nanofabrication (10 credits)

ENG3025 Electronic Devices (10 credits)

PHYS4028 Solid State Physics (10 credits)

PHYS 5041 Nano and Atomic Scale Imaging 1 (10 credits)

Semester Two (Queen’s University Belfast)


PHY9051 Teamwork & Collaboration Skills in a Cross-Geographic Society (10 credits)

PHY 9049 Optical Materials (10 credits)

PHY9055 Individual Research Project (20 credits)

Choose 2 from:

PHY9047 Magnetic Materials

PHY9048 Electronic Materials

PHY9050 Plasmonic Materials

PHY9059 Electronic Structure Modelling

Find further details on the QUB courses on the University’s Book of Modules

The Research Phase

This phase gets underway in June of year one. Each student undertakes a doctoral research project which maximises the facilities of the PIADS academic and industrial partnership base. The CDT supports doctoral projects over a range of TRLs (from fundamental issues through to applications) in line with the Centre’s five main research themes. All doctoral research projects make use of research strengths & facilities on a cross-institutional basis. In keeping with the partnership ethos of the CDT, all doctoral research projects have cross institutional supervisory teams.

The Programme includes ongoing embedded training for its PhD research students who also complete the professionally accredited & internationally recognised Chartered Management Institute (CMI) Level 7 Certificate in Strategic Leadership & Management.

EngD research engineers complete 60 additional credits (refer below).

Two key annual cohort events run across both phases throughout the programme: a well-established 2-day CDT Conclave takes place each June and a 3-day residential Winter School.

EngD Credits (years 2-3)

EngD Research Engineers must complete 180 credits in total to be eligible for the final Engineering Doctorate Award. Therefore, they must complete 60 credits over years 2-3 as per the programme schedule (see diagram) as detailed below:

  1. Photonic Device Packaging (10 credits)
  2. Compound Semiconductor Device Fabrication (10 credits)
  3. Introduction to Global Leadership & Management  encompassing CMI Certificate in Strategic Leadership and Management (20 credits)
  4. CDT EngD Enhanced Doctoral Professional Practice (10 credits)


Funded Places for 2022 Entry

Queen's University Belfast Crest

University of Glasgow Crest