UCL Quantum Science and Technology Institute


Quantum Doctoral Programmes

UCL is launching a new Doctoral Training Programme focussing on quantum computation and quantum communications.


From 2024, UCL will train emerging research leaders in the fields of quantum computing and quantum communications.

This new doctorial training programme will equip them with the necessary expertise and practical knowledge to fulfil the potential of this ground-breaking field. Students will undergo a comprehensive and rigorous cross-disciplinary training programme, collaboratively designed by a diverse team of UCL academics and our extensive network of partners.

Interested in applying?

Deadline for applications: Sunday 4 February 2024 at 23:59 UTC.

We particularly encourage applications from female students & students of minority ethnic backgrounds as these are currently underrepresented within the field of quantum technologies.

Why quantum computation and quantum communications?

The fields of quantum computation and quantum communications are at a pivotal juncture, as the next decade will determine whether the long-anticipated technological advancements can be realised in practical, commercially-viable applications.

With a wide-ranging spectrum of research group activities at UCL, the programme is uniquely situated to offer comprehensive training across all levels of the quantum computation and quantum communications system stacks. This encompasses advanced algorithms and quantum error-correcting codes, the full range of qubit hardware platforms, quantum communications, quantum network architectures, and quantum simulation.

Who is involved?

The programme has been co-developed through a partnership between UCL and a network of UK and international partners. This network encompasses major global technology giants such as IBM, Amazon Web Services and Toshiba, as well as leading suppliers of quantum engineering systems like Keysight, Bluefors, Oxford Instruments and Zurich Instruments. We also have end-users of quantum technologies, including BT, Thales, NPL, and NQCC, in addition to a diverse group of UK and international SMEs operating in both quantum hardware (IQM, NuQuantum, Quantum Motion, SeeQC, Pasqal, Oxford Ionics, Universal Quantum, Oxford Quantum Circuits and Quandela) and quantum software (Quantinuum, Phase Craft and River Lane).

Our partners will deliver key components of the training programme. Notably, BT will deliver training in quantum comms theory and experiments, IBM will teach quantum programming, and Quantum Motion will lead a training experiment on semiconductor qubits. Furthermore, 17 of our partners will co-sponsor and co-supervise PhD projects in collaboration with UCL academics.

What is the structure of the programme?

The four-year course consists of a 6-month cohort-based intensive training programme (ITP) followed by a 42-month research project phase (RPP) leading to the PhD degree.

The ITP gives a broad overview of all the sub-topics within quantum computation and quantum communications, while the RPP allows specialisation and in-depth focus on a specific experimental or theoretical topic. There is however no hard boundary between the phases - there is research activity within the ITP, and cohort-based technical and transferable skills training in the RPP.

Find out more about the structure of the programme.

General Track or Industrial Track?

At the application stage (i.e. in the spring prior to enrolment) students will have the opportunity to apply for industrially co-sponsored and co-supervised projects and/or the General Track.

In the industrially co-supervised track we will advertise specific industrially co-sponsored PhD projects and will recruit students to work on each specific project.

In the general track students will apply to join the programme without a specific PhD project in mind.

Once the students are enrolled, both tracks come together and work as a single unified cohort on common training activities.

To select a track, you will need to complete a supplementary information form. More information can be found on the how to apply page. 

What Industrially co-sponsored and co-supervised projects are available this year?

A full list of the co-sponsored and co-supervised projects for this year.

How many students are accepted each year?

We aim to admit around 14 students per year. There is a pool of around fifty potential supervisors at UCL, with additional supervisors in our partner institutions.

What funding is available?

The programme offers fully funded studentships covering tuition fees and a stipend at an enhanced rate (currently £21,622 per annum tax-free) to cover living costs. Students also receive generous support for training, research expenses and travel during their studies.

A limited number of funded places are available for non-UK candidates which will additionally cover the higher tuition fees charged for those students.

Can international students apply?

Yes! Our quantum doctoral training programmes have admitted students from all over the globe. We have funding for international students in each cohort and welcome their application. Please follow this link for further information on funding for international students and language and visa requirements.

Who should I contact if I have a question?

If you have a general question about quantum doctoral training, please contact Ms Lopa Murgai (lopa.murgai@ucl.ac.uk) in the first instance. If your question is regarding quantum doctoral training admissions, please contact Admissions Tutor Dr Alfonso Ruocco (quantum-cdt-admissions@ucl.ac.uk).

Who will be directing the programme?
  • Director: Prof Paul Warburton (LCN / Electrical Engineering)
  • Deputy Director: Prof Andrew Fisher (LCN/ Physics and Astronomy)
  • Co-Director for Research: Prof Sougato Bose (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Co-Director for ITP Training: Prof Dan Browne (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Co-Director for RPP Training: Prof Marzena Szymanska (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Co-Director for Partner Liaison: Dr Alejandra Beghelli (Electrical Engineering)
  • Co-Director for Admissions: Dr Alfonso Ruocco (Electrical Engineering)
  • Co-Director for ED&I, and Associate Lecturer: Dr Abbie Bray (LCN)
  • Other members of the Management Committee: Prof John Morton (LCN/ Electrical Engineering) and Dr Sarah Malik (Physics and Astronomy)
  • Programme Manager, Lopa Murgai (LCN)
  • Programme Administrator: Ruby Hugh (LCN)
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