Graduate Training

Posted on: 2014-10-01

AtMol Graduate Training

Training in specific research skills and in broader transferable skills is widely recognised as an essential element of any Ph.D. course. Although, many of these skills are developed during the course of the research project, some skills either require explicit teaching or developing in parallel to the research project. Below there is a brief summary of the required training commitments specific to students pursuing a Ph.D. in atomic and molecular physics.

First year - requirements:

To progress to Ph.D. status requires the successful completion of several elements within nine months from the date of commencing:

Postgraduate Courses

All students are required to successfully complete a minimum of 45 credits from the range of Postgraduate Lectures taught within the department during Michaelmas and Epiphany terms of their first year. The exact choice of courses must be agreed with the PhD supervisor and in most cases must include a recognised core set of courses specific to a PhD in atomic and molecular physics. For more details you should consult the course details and current timetable.

The course notes for the Atom-Light Interactions module can be found here.

Note: It is expected that students in atomic and molecular physics devote no more than Monday to Wednesday on covering material relating to the course homeworks. Thursday and Friday are strictly reserved for work on individual research projects.

First year report and presentation

In May/June students are required to give a 40-45 minute presentation to the Atomic and Molecular Physics group which gives an overview of their Ph.D. project together with specific details of the research they have performed in the first year. Following the completion of the presentations, students are required to prepare and submit a research report again describing aspects of their research to date and its context within their wider Ph.D. project. The deadline for submission of the report is usually mid-June for students starting on 1 October.

First year viva

Shortly after the submission of the research report each student will sit a one-hour oral examination with two members of staff. During this examination they may be questioned on all aspects of their project and, if appropriate, material relating to the Advanced Course in Atomic and Molecular Physics.

Each of these elements, together with Ph.D. supervisor's assessment of performance, contribute with equal weighting towards the assessment as to whether the student has achieved the required standard to transfer on to the second year of the Ph.D. course.

Additional requirements:


All students in all years are required to attend the Seminars and Journal Club Talks held on Wednesdays at 1:00pm during term time. The seminar series is regarded as an important part of the graduate education, delivering a wider appreciation and understanding of research in other related areas of atomic physics.

Journal Club Talks

Each student is required to give a Journal Club Talk as part of the regular seminar series in the second year of their Ph.D. The topic to be agreed with the Ph.D. supervisor should be based around a recent high impact journal article, but should not be closely related to the students own research project.

Group meetings

All members of AtMol are required to attend the weekly group meeting held on Mondays at 10am. In this informal forum students present details of their recent research both to inform the wider atomic physics group of their progress and to obtain feedback/advise on specific topics. First year students are not required to give presentations, but will be introduced into the schedule following their first year talks.