Applications (UK and EU candidates only)

The EngD programme is only open to UK and EU applicants.

We regret that non-EU nationals are not eligible for the programme.

A small number of fully funded EngD studentships (fees + stipend) are available to exceptional EU students.


To apply, you must complete an online application form and submit your CV and supporting documents (eg official degree transcipts) to speed-up the application process.

Under application type, select  option c) Research PG. Then proceed to fill in all of the required fields.

Under Planned programme of study, select the option Applied Photonics EngD.

In your application, please rank (in order of preference) up to 3 projects of interest. You must provide two referees from whom we can request a reference.

If you have questions about the application process you can email the Centre.

What happens to my application form?

Once you have submitted your application form, the Centre Administration will check that all necessary documents are included in your application and will contact you if any more documents are required. Your referees will be contacted for their references. All documents are then sent to the Centre Director and Deputy Director (or relevant Academic Supervisor) for consideration. You would then receive notification by email to let you know if your application is being progressed to the interview stage or if it has been unsuccessful.

Interview Process

University Interview (Stage 1)

You would be invited initially to come for an interview either at Heriot-Watt University or at the Academic Supervisor's university, if the project of interest is based at one of our partner institutions, or possibly at both places. The technical interview would usually last for approximately 45 minutes unless you have noted several projects of interest and require several interviewers to be involved. The Centre can pay travel expenses and also arrange for accommodation on campus if required.

For company employees, the university interview is also necessary before an offer of a place on the programme can be made.  

Sponsor Company Interview (Stage 2)

If you are successful at the University interview stage, the next step in the process is for the application documents to be sent to relevant sponsor companies for consideration. The Sponsor Company would usually wish to invite suitable candidates for a face-to-face interview, but they may also opt to have a more informal telephone interview in the first instance. The sponsor company will usually pay for any travel and accommodation expenses for a company interview.

The Sponsor Company will make the final decision about offering the project to a candidate, but will do so in collaboration with the Centre Director and Academic Supervisor. You may wish to be considered for more than one project, in which case you may have interviews with several different Sponsor Companies. However, depending on your skills and areas of interest, we cannot guarantee to offer you a project even although you have been successful at the University interview stage.

For company employees, the Sponsor Company interview is not necessary.

Offer of Study (Stage 3)

If you are successful, you will be made an informal offer by telephone/e-mail and will receive a formal offer from the university at which the Academic Supervisor is based.   You would be required to return the paperwork confirming that you wish to take up the offer of study so that the process can be completed and after that, you will be sent details and guidelines regarding registration and study.  Applications are made initially to Heriot-Watt University, but if the project you are offered is with an Academic Supervisor at one of our partner universities, then you would be required to submit a formal application to that university before the formal offer could be generated.

What next?

Depending on when you are interviewed and your start date, there may be some time between the offer of study and your actual start on the programme, particularly if you are a standard Research Engineer rather than a company employee. Most Research Engineers will start in September but you can start at any time of the year if you are a company employee, studying by distance learning.

An Intellectual Property Agreement (IPR) is required to be signed by the company, host university, and the Research Engineer. This is best to be completed at early as possible so that a formal contract is agreed before the Research Engineer starts at the sponsor company. The Centre Administration will start this process by contacting the commercial contact within the Sponsor Company with a draft agreement. Once this is agreed by the University and the Sponsor Company, four copies of the document are signed by the Research Engineer, Academic Supervisor, Commercial Contact within the Sponsor Company and the Commercial Contact within the host University.