Masters in Research (MRes) - Year 1

MRes Course Modules and Information

MRes Students

The Master of Research (MRes) one year programme aims to provide you with the scientific skills and knowledge necessary to undertake research effectively.

The programme is taught jointly and has modules delivered at both UCL and Cambridge, with the participation of industry. This will provide understanding of the applications, systems and business drivers as well as the underpinning scientific and engineering material required for photonic systems research at the highest level. The course includes mini-projects at both institutions in contrasting areas of photonics.

The Masters programme comprises a bespoke set of graduate-level courses from UCL and Cambridge and allows a high level of flexibility in its structure, with the involvement of departments across both partner universities. We have brought together expertise from the following departments, institutes and centres at both UCL and Cambridge:

UCL Cambridge

Departments of Computer Science, Electronic and Electrical Engineering, Physics, Management Science and Innovation and Medical Physics and Bioengineering at UCL,

Faculty of Engineering, Cambridge (including its Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Manufacturing Divisions) and Materials Science Departments. Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology

London Centre for Nanotechnology

Cambridge Computer Laboratory


Judge Business School (students may attend modules here optionally as part of their PhD.  However, modules available are subject to change year to year.

A research focused degree

The focus of this graduate degree is on undertaking research. From the outset, much like postdoctoral researchers, you will use recently acquired knowledge to work directly on active research problems. You will also have the opportunity to make a head start in your research career through organising conferences and publishing papers.


TeachingSystems Research benefits from a large range of skills that are best taught not just through lecturing, but also by coursework, project work, seminars and by case-study teaching. We have therefore put together a very wide range of teaching forms, which we believe to be unique, not only in the subject remit and the novelty of the learning approach, but also in the way they are designed to assist the ongoing training of PhD students. Whilst the bulk of formal teaching will be in the first year, additional elements will be provided for students in years 2 – 4 to support their research project and equip them to be effective photonic systems researchers.

Module based training:

Students will be able to draw upon, in consultation with their assigned first year advisor, a wide range of existing specialised courses and new taught courses (including electronics and biotechnology modules) developed specifically for the Centre. This will have both foundation training in the scientific basis of photonics and systems, and an individual bespoke programme, taking into account the student’s pre-existing experience and future interests.  There will be three forms of modules: (i) Technical modules, (ii) Innovation and Business Modules and (iii) Transferable skills Modules (including experience presenting your research to your peers and academic staff).

Prospective students: Please download the MRes programme course structure and a description of each course module option.

Current students: Please log in to Moodle for further information on course materials and timetables, assessment etc.


Students will select two individual short research mini-projects to be completed and examined within the first year. Projects will be offered by both institutions and also by industrial sponsors. The role of the mini-projects is three–fold.  Students will be expected to apply the science and engineering that they have learnt in the technology module elements of the course, they will be exposed to a range of technology areas and will experience a variety of different research and development cultures, from blue skies university lab to short term industry development projects. It is to be expected that this approach will encourage students to study across discipline boundaries, with a resultant enhancement of interdisciplinarity in the PhD phase.


Formal assessment of the students will be carried out at the end of the first year to determine whether they should be allowed to continue to the remainder of the PhD degree. Formal assessment will be based on the completion of two mini-research projects starting in November and May. For more details about past and current projects our students are working on, please see previous MRes project examples.

Please note that there are different assessment regulations at the two institutions and students should make themselves familiar with those. UCL regulations will apply to students registered at UCL and Cambridge regulations to students registered at Cambridge. Students cannot change their registration half way through the MRes unless there are very exceptional circumstances that are agreed with the Programme Directors/Supervisors.

Years 2-4: The outcome of the first year will determine progression to the PhD degree and at this stage the thesis project and the host institution will be selected. Student selection for projects will be by interview with the project supervisor, Programme Director and Assistant Director.

What will I be awarded?

Successful students will be awarded a Masters of Research (MRes) in Integrated Photonic and Electronic Systems from the institution they are registered at and then permitted to progress onto the first stage of PhD programme, subject to gaining the required grades.