How to apply

Our PhD programme has a single intake in October, with up to 14 places available in 2022 and similar numbers in 2023.

We welcome applications from individuals holding or expecting a good degree in physics, electronic or electrical engineering or other relevant STEM subject (first or 2:1) with a genuine interest in compound semiconductors and enthusiasm for the group approach. Applicants with a lower second class degree (2:2) in these subjects may be considered if they have a good result at Masters-level study (merit or distinction) and/or other relevant qualifications or industry experience which demonstrates their scientific or engineering research capability. We will also consider applicants with related physical sciences degrees on an individual basis. International students should state the UK equivalency of their qualifications by checking this degree equivalency table or checking their specific country here , or by using the website or UK ENIC, which is the UK National Information Centre for global qualifications and skills (note there is a charge for this).

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum requirements of Cardiff University, which is currently an IELTS (Academic) of 6.5 with a 5.5 in each sub-score or equivalent.  

Applications for the 2022 intake will be considered in two tranches, with deadlines as follows:

•            9 January 2022 – to be interviewed in mid February  

•            3 April 2022 – to be interviewed in late April

If places remain after the April round, there will be a final round in late June.  Applications for the 2022 intake will open 25 October.

Applications will be made via a two stage process. Make sure you complete BOTH stages:

Stage 1

Complete your application to the CDT, by submitting our online application form.

This is the form that will be used to shortlist candidates for interview, and for the interview panel to know more about you. Questions are designed to assess your experience and motivation to do a PhD in compound semiconductor manufacturing.

It also asks some personal question to gather data required by EPSRC for its annual EDI monitoring. This data will not be made available to the shortlisting or interview panels and will be destroyed after the recruitment process is complete. There is always the option to tick ‘prefer not to say’ to any of these questions.

When you submit this form it will ask if you wish to download a copy of your answers, you have only 15 minutes to do this, so please answer yes to this question. You may then use this copy to submit as your ‘personal statement’ at the next stage of the process.

Stage 2

Complete your application for admission to the university, available here.

For this stage of the application, use the ‘apply box’ . Select ‘Doctor of Philosophy’, ‘Full time’ and your preferred start date (October 2022). The application will state that you are applying for a 4 year PhD in the School of Physics and Astronomy, because this is the ‘home’ School for the CDT Programme. Please note the guidance below before you begin the application process.

Note: Some of the questions may be the same as the Stage 1 form – please fill them in anyway. You will also be asked to you to upload a CV and a personal statement – use the document you downloaded at Stage 1 above. You may upload a different document if you prefer, but this will not be seen by the shortlisting or interview panel.

A research proposal is not required for this PhD Programme. Instead, please state that you are applying for the CDT PhD in Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing and your preferred MSc route: Physics or Electronics-depending on which fits your interests and your qualifications.

Please include with your application:

  • A copy of the online application form you downloaded at stage 1 OR a personal statement telling us your reasons for wanting to study Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing as a 4-year PhD programme and why you are suitable for the CDT (approximately 500 words) and a CV detailing your education and relevant work experience.
  • two recent references, dated within the last six months, that address your capability for PhD study, at least one of which should be an academic referee. Please note: it is the applicant’s responsibility to request and upload references to their application. If your referees would prefer to send their references directly to us, please ask them to email
  • your academic certificates and transcripts.


Interviews are required, though these may be in person or virtual depending on your location and the current COVID-19 situation.  We will pay reasonable expenses for attendance at interview. Details will be provided in your invitation.   


You must provide two recent references, dated within the last six months, that address your capability for PhD study, at least one of which should be an academic referee. These should be uploaded or emailed to us not later than the application deadline, where possible, but before the interview date in all cases. At least one positive reference is required for us to make you an offer.   


Our studentships are available to Home and International fee payers (which now includes EU/EEA) applicants, however there is a cap on the number of studentships that can be awarded to those with international fee status, which is a maximum of 30% of the total intake. 

The CDT studentship pays the UKRI Home tuition fee.  For the first year, Cardiff University will provide an award to international students equivalent to the difference between home and international tuition fees, and all four University partners will provide a similar award to cover the fee difference for the second to fourth years to 30% of their intake.

To be classed as a Home student, candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a UK National (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have settled status, or
  • Have pre-settled status (meeting residency requirements), or
  • Have indefinite leave to remain or enter, or
  • Have been granted full refugee status or is the child or spouse / civil partner of a refugee (meeting residency requirements)

If a candidate does not meet the criteria above, they would be classed as an International student.

Please see full details of the programme and online application form via the Cardiff University website.    

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us at

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