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A view of the interior of the Joint European Torus (JET) with (right) and without (left) a fusion plasma.

Postgraduate Opportunities

There are open opportunities for postgraduate study in many areas of plasma research at the York Plasma Institute. These include laser plasma interactions, magnetic confinement fusion, low-temperature plasmas, plasmas for space propulsion, biomedical plasmas, plasma material interactions, and laboratory astrophysics.

Funded PhD Studentships


Fusion CDT logo added Nov 2015‌ 

The combination of world-leading experts and world-class facilities creates an outstanding training environment for the next generation of fusion scientists - the generation who will exploit ITER, NIF and other international experiments to make fusion energy a reality. The Fusion CDT evolved from our previous, highly successful PhD training programme in fusion, called the Fusion Doctoral Training Network, or FDTN.

For further information and details on how to apply, please see the Fusion CDT website, follow us on Twitter (@FusionCDT) or contact

Apply now

Please visit the School of Physics, Engineering and Technology postgraduate study pages for information about PhD study. 

Unfunded PhD Projects

Unfunded PhD Projects

For this three-year degree programme a student will develop their own research project, working closely with their academic supervisor and with the support of other postgraduate students, postdoctoral researchers and staff in their research group.  At the end of the second year, students are required to prepare a dissertation on their research topic. If this, and the assessment on the graduate courses, are satisfactory, the student's PhD enrolment status is confirmed.

The expectation of the University is that the thesis should be completed and submitted within three years, but students have an additional period of up to twelve months if required (the 'continuation period') to complete and submit their thesis.

We welcome applications from students with independent funding.

Please visit the School of Physics, Engineering and Technology postgraduate study pages for information about PhD study. 

There are currently a number of unfunded PhD Studentships available in Low-temperature Plasmas.

Taught MSc

The University of York now provides a taught MSc in Fusion Energy, in response to the growing international need to train physicists to address the challenges of offering effective limitless clean energy.

Our 12-month Masters course* provides a firm foundation in fusion physics. It is an ideal course to prepare students for a PhD in fusion energy or for employment in fusion laboratories.

In addition to the lecture courses, you will be introduced to the skills in computational and experimental plasma physics essential to Fusion research (and highly valued in today’s knowledge-based economy).  The MSc culminates in a major research project where, under the supervision of world leading physicists at the York Plasma Institute, you will conduct cutting edge research in fusion. During your study you will also have the chance to explore the many exciting areas of modern plasma research, for example: cutting-edge medical therapies utilising plasma jets and beams of laser-generated ions; plasmas as compact particle accelerators and next generation plasma space propulsion systems. The Fusion Frontiers and Interfaces workshop, part of the MSc course, provides students an unrivalled opportunity to interact with world-class international fusion scientists, ensuring that the MSc in Fusion Energy is an excellent way to explore your interest in fusion and prepare for a career in this field.

For Funding information and for course information please see the MSc Fusion Energy course web page, or contact the course director Dr Kate Lancaster.

A minimum entry requirement is a lower second class Bachelors degree (or equivalent) in physics or a related discipline (e.g. engineering, maths).  

* The course may also be studied over 24 months on a part-time basis.

Apply now

MSc by Research

MSc by Research

The MSc by Research is a rather unique one-year programme which leads to a postgraduate degree. Unlike a conventional taught course MSc, students on the MSc degree work full-time on their own research project, backed-up by a small number of taught courses and participation in the S.I.E.S.T.A. graduate seminar programme and the skills development programme.

MSc by Research students have 12 months to work on their research and a further three months, if required (the 'continuation period') to write their thesis.

In many ways the experience is akin to the first year of the PhD programme and indeed students can, subject to funding and available supervision, transfer to a PhD at the end of the MSc programme.  In that case they only need complete a further two years for the PhD degree.

The MSc course may be of interest to you if:

  • You are unsure whether you want to make the three year commitment initially
  • You have not achieved the 1st or 2.1 required to attract a Research Council studentship
  • You are an overseas student requiring an interim qualification after 12 to 15 month's study

Apply now

How to apply: UK/EU | International

The University of York also offers a taught MSc in Fusion Energy. For more information please visit our fusion  pages.




Useful links

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MSc Fusion Energy - Open Afternoons July 2022

To read more about our upcoming open afternoon events (online and on-campus) and to register to attend, please follow the link below: