The Faculty of Mathematical and Physical Sciences encompasses the logical, experimental and mathematical study of our Universe. Front-line research feeds directly into our teaching programmes, and our students benefit from access to first-class facilities. The faculty offers a range of programmes in emerging as well as more traditional academic areas.
Research groups and key strengths
The faculty spans the natural sciences, from fundamental physics to mathematics to the philosophy of knowledge. Students are split between the departments of Mathematics, Statistical Science, Earth Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Space and Climate Physics, Science and Technology Studies, Chemistry, and the London Centre for Nanotechnology. Additionally, the faculty hosts a number of cross-disciplinary institutes such as CoMPLEX, the Centre for Planetary Sciences and the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction.
Cross-disciplinarity lies at the heart of the faculty’s work, with extensive joint projects with engineering and the life sciences in particular.
The faculty hosts three EPSRC doctoral training centres: Molecular Modelling and Materials Science, Delivering Quantum Technologies and the London School of Geometry and Number Theory. The faculty also participates in the Photonic Systems Development centre.
The London Advantage
UCL’s location in central London is a huge advantage for study in the mathematical and physical sciences. Collaborations with other institutions are easy, and London is at the centre of world science. Visiting researchers, students and guest lecturers pass through UCL regularly.
The London Centre for Nanotechnology is a collaboration between UCL and Imperial College London, while Earth Sciences and Planetary Sciences collaborate extensively with nearby Birkbeck, University of London. Students in Science and Technology Studies have access to the Wellcome Library, Senate House Library and the British Library, all within ten minutes’ walk. Financial Mathematics students benefit from proximity to one of the world’s great financial centres.
The faculty also participates in the Francis Crick Institute.
Graduate students in the faculty are users of international scientific facilities, such as CERN, the European Southern Observatory and international space science missions.
The Mullard Space Science Laboratory is a unique facility in the UK, which serves as one of the main nodes of the European space programme. This involves close collaboration with public bodies such as the European Space Agency and industrial partners including Astrium and e2v.
Members of other departments are closely involved with numerous national and international collaborations, including CERN, the Dark Energy Survey, ExoMars and the UK Catalysis Hub, and the faculty has joint programmes with the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), and the Singapore Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).
The Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre, a joint project of UCL Earth Sciences and insurance corporation Aon Benfield, is Europe’s leading research centre into natural hazards.
Key features and facilities
UCL is home to world-class lab facilities and excellent libraries offering a wide range of online journal subscriptions, books and historical archives.
Home to the only city-centre nanotechnology lab in the UK, the vast cleanroom at LCN gives students access to a truly unique facility. UCL Earth Sciences has a wide range of laboratories including a major geochronology facility.
In addition, students can use first-class supercomputers such as UCL’s own Legion Cluster, and access to external facilities such as Iridis and HeCTOR.
The faculty places great importance on cross-fertilisation between different fields of research. Cross-fertilisation between disciplines is fostered through institutes and centres covering quantum science, risk, planetary science, origins of life and the universe and physics in the life sciences – as well as the collegiate atmosphere of a truly multidisciplinary university. The Department of Science and Technology Studies is the only integrated centre for the study of the history, philosophy, sociology and communication of science in the UK.
Employability and skills
Students in the faculty have access to UCL Careers Service, which can provide coaching and advice, as well as organising careers fairs with potential employers. Students benefit from close links with industry, through the faculty’s participation in doctoral training centres and joint ventures.
Postgraduate qualifications in the mathematical and physical sciences give access to a wide range of careers.
Recent students have continued into positions as postdoctoral researchers, instrument scientists, engineers and teaching. Graduates also go into roles in management consultancy and finance.
The faculty's degrees are offered in the following subject areas: