Earn a PhD with ONDL

Earn a PhD at ONDL

We welcome you to enquire for the opportunity to receive PhD training in state-of-the-art research projects in various topics based at the ONDL. These projects are supported also by a world-class research infrastructure housed at the Faculty of Science and elsewhere in the National University of Singapore. You will also have the opportunity to do collaborative work within the OE @ NUS Science network, and also with our partners from other universities and the industry.

You will receive PhD training over typically 4 years beginning in August or January. This comprises mainly of research work but also a small amount of coursework. During this time, you are required to pass the PhD Qualifying Exam, usually by the end of your second year of study. At the end of your studies, you are required to submit a written PhD thesis which will be examined by a panel comprising professors in NUS and overseas universities.

What We offer

We offer PhD projects in the physics, chemistry and processing of devices based on solution-processable pi-conjugated semiconductors such as oligomers, polymers and graphenes (please see research areas). Our work is primarily experimental, but also includes quantum chemical computation and device modeling to understand our results. For more infomation, please contact your prospective Research Supervisors Prof Peter HO or Prof Lay-Lay CHUA.

Who Is Eligible

Applications are open worldwide to graduates with a passion for research, and who have at least a good 2nd Upper Honours or equivalent qualifications.

How to Apply

One of the most direct admission route to NUS is through the NUS Research Scholarship. To apply for this, you should first decide on your primary PhD department, and fill in the Application Form online. You may apply to the Department of Physics or Chemistry depending on your proposed Research Supervisor. Do note that it is compulsory to pass a written PhD qualifying examination before the end of your 2nd year. The format and passing criteria of the PhD qualifying examination are determined by the Department that you are admitted into.

The links below will give the application procedures (and deadlines) to each of these Departments.

Physics Department


Chemistry Department


Do note that admission to the Department, in the first instance as Graduate Student, is separate from the admission to the Research Group of your proposed Research Supervisor. Therefore it is important to contact us as soon as you are ready to discuss the possibility of admission to ONDL. Upon successful admission to the Department, you will be awarded the NUS Research Scholarship which covers Tuition Fees and your Cost of Living. After you have accepted this offer, NUS will send you the application form for Student Visa to study in Singapore. You need to complete this. You can then begin your PhD studies in August or January depending on the semester you have been admitted.

Where to Live

You have to find arrangements for accomodation yourself. A useful resource for you is given here: accommodation list.

After Your PhD

You may find work in related multinational technology companies in Singapore or overseas, or move to adjacent areas in banking, finance, management consultancies, education, public policy, law, media and private entrepreneurship. You may also consider to carry on related research in any of the Universities or Research Institutes here and overseas.



1. What is the procedure to be admitted into ONDL as a PhD student?

You should register your interest with one of the Research Supervisors at ONDL, who will then direct you to apply for admission to the Department. At the same time, we will organise an interview to ensure that there is a proper match between your interests and expectations, and ours. As the PhD is a 4-year journey, we think that establishing such a match early is key to your success.

2. What can you expect at ONDL?

Our PhD students come from a diverse scientific and cultural background. We do not require any of you to have prior knowledge of our research, but common sense, a passion for discovery and a capacity for challenging work are essential attributes.

New PhD students in our group are typically placed under the mentorship of a senior scientist to be trained in research methodology and the operation of our essential research tools. This will likely take 1-2 years, during which you may be set on a variety of projects that may or may not be related to those of your mentor. After you have successfully completed your apprenticeship, you will take on your own research projects.

Senior PhD students will be required to take ownership of equipment, and contribute to the administration of the Research Group, for which a small renumeration is paid.

3. I do not have a Physics or a Chemistry degree, can I still apply to ONDL?

Yes. Some of our past PhD students had Electrical Engineering or Materials Science & Engineering degrees. We will provide advice on a case-by-case basis.

4. I am interested to apply to the Physics Department as a PhD candidate. What are the topics that I should prepare for the written qualifying examination before conversion?

Please visit the Physics department website.

5. I am interested to apply to the Chemistry Department as a PhD candidate. What are the topics that I should prepare for the written qualifying examination before conversion?

The written qualifying examination will consist of open-ended questions covering topics taught in undergraduate Chemistry courses. Emphasis will be on topics from the major branches of theoretical chemistry, physical chemistry, analytical chemistry, inorganic chemistry and organic chemistry.

6. What will happen if I fail the qualifying examination?  

You are allowed up to two attempts of the qualifying examination before the end of your second year of candidature. If you do not pass, you may be asked to leave the programme with a MSc.

Useful Links

General Information for Housing

Modules offered by Physics Department and past year QE (qualifying examinations) questions.

Modules offered by Chemistry Department

Want to know more about Singapore?

Other scholarship programmes


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