Physics and Astronomy MPhil/PhD

London, Bloomsbury

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at UCL has one of the broadest bases for research in Physics of any UK university. A UCL Physics PhD provides evidence of the type of problem-solving skills which are an ideal qualification for a further career in research or the wider job market.

UK students International students
Study mode
UK tuition fees (2022/23)
£5,690
£2,845
Overseas tuition fees (2022/23)
£25,730
£12,850
Duration
3 academic years
5 academic years
Programme starts
September 2022
Applications accepted
All applicants: 18 Oct 2021 – 31 Mar 2022

Applications open

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class UK integrated Master’s (MSci or MPhys) degree in a relevant discipline, or an undergraduate degree followed by an MSc in a relevant discipline, or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard. An upper second- or first-class UK Bachelor’s or equivalent may be considered in special circumstances.

English language requirements

If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency.

The English language level for this programme is: Standard

UCL Pre-Master's and Pre-sessional English courses are for international students who are aiming to study for a postgraduate degree at UCL. The courses will develop your academic English and academic skills required to succeed at postgraduate level. International Preparation Courses

Further information can be found on our English language requirements page.

ATAS statement

If you are intending to apply for a time-limited visa to complete your UCL studies (e.g., Student visa, Skilled worker visa, PBS dependant visa etc.) you may be required to obtain ATAS clearance. This will be confirmed to you if you obtain an offer of a place.

Equivalent qualifications

Country-specific information, including details of when UCL representatives are visiting your part of the world, can be obtained from the International Students website.

International applicants can find out the equivalent qualification for their country by selecting from the list below. Please note that the equivalency will correspond to the broad UK degree classification stated on this page (e.g. upper second-class). Where a specific overall percentage is required in the UK qualification, the international equivalency will be higher than that stated below. Please contact Graduate Admissions should you require further advice.

About this degree

UCL Physics & Astronomy is one of the top departments in the UK for graduate study (REF 2014). Graduate students whose interests are more theoretical also have ample opportunities to gain experience overseas thanks to a wide variety of international collaborations, some aimed at the foundations of quantum theory and the development of future quantum technologies, others at fundamental atomic and molecular physics or computational materials science. The wide variety of training afforded leads to a high degree of employability in many different areas.

Who this course is for

What this course will give you

Our international collaborations provide opportunities to work with an international team, including recently the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, the EISCAT radar instruments in Scandinavia and at the Institut Laue-Langevin in Grenoble. In some cases, there are opportunities for students to broaden their experience by spending part of their time overseas.UCL Physics & Astronomy is among the top departments in the UK for this subject area: UCL is consistently placed in the global top 20 across a wide range of university rankings - and is currently 10th in the QS World University Rankings 2021, and 4th in the UK for Physics & Astronomy.

The foundation of your career

A PhD in Physics provides a wide variety of high-quality training in areas which are in great demand by future employers. A high degree of mathematical ability is always required and students learn how to apply this in innovative ways, modelling realistic physical systems. An advanced level of computer literacy, including programming in common languages, is frequently developed. Many doctorates also involve a significant degree of "hands-on" work, such as building, repairing and maintaining equipment. This variety of disparate skills leads to Physics PhD students being in particular demand and finding employment in many different areas of work within and outside the academic world.

Employability

Our recent MPhil/PhD graduates have often chosen to stay within academia as postdoctoral researchers at institutions at a variety of locations, both within and outside the UK, including some of the post prestigious institutions worldwide. Some have become researchers at related organisations such as national laboratories, or moved into industrial research. A significant number have also begun work in the financial sector for influential companies such as Deutsche Bank and PricewaterhouseCoopers and some into software research and development.

Networking

Physics PhD students work with large international collaborations automatically bringing them into frequent contact with other researchers from around the world and companies which work directly with collaborations. At UCL, the high-profile research also brings members of the department into contact with the media, with a number appearing on recent BBC programmes. There is also a regular Physics representation at the local "Bright Club" which holds variety nights where members of the University interact with the general public. At present there is an opportunity at an alumni dinner for current students to socialise and form useful contacts.

Teaching and learning

Our research extends over all the mainstream branches of physics and astronomy, and is organised into five major groups:

  • Astrophysics and atmospheric physics (Astro)
  • Atomic, molecular, optical and positron physics (AMMOPP)
  • Biological Physics (BioP)
  • Condensed matter and materials physics (CMMP)
  • High energy particle physics (HEP).

Many members of the Condensed Matter and Materials Physics group are also members of the interdisciplinary London Centre for Nanotechnology, housed next to the department. In addition, some researchers participate in UCL-wide groupings such as the Thomas Young Centre, the Centre for Cosmic Chemistry and Physics, the UCL Institute of Origins, the UCL-Birkbeck Centre for Planetary Science, the Institute for the Physics of Living Systems and the Francis Crick Institute. These networks provide a breadth of opportunity for students to engage in specialised research.

More information can be found on the department website: Physics and Astronomy MPhil/PhD

Research areas and structure

Our research extends over all the mainstream branches of physics and astronomy, and is organised into five major groups:

  • Astrophysics and atmospheric physics (Astro)
  • Atomic, molecular, optical and positron physics (AMMOPP)
  • Biological Physics (BioP)
  • Condensed matter and materials physics (CMMP)
  • High energy particle physics (HEP).

Many members of the Condensed Matter and Materials Physics group are also members of the interdisciplinary London Centre for Nanotechnology, housed next to the department. In addition, some researchers participate in UCL-wide groupings such as the Thomas Young Centre, the Centre for Cosmic Chemistry and Physics, the UCL Institute of Origins, the UCL-Birkbeck Centre for Planetary Science, the Institute for the Physics of Living Systems and the Francis Crick Institute. These networks provide a breadth of opportunity for students to engage in specialised research.

Accessibility

Details of the accessibility of UCL buildings can be obtained from AccessAble accessable.co.uk. Further information can also be obtained from the UCL Student Support & Wellbeing team.


Fees and funding

Fees for this course

UK students International students
Fee description Full-time Part-time
Tuition fees (2022/23) £5,690 £2,845
Tuition fees (2022/23) £25,730 £12,850

The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Where the programme is offered on a flexible/modular basis, fees are charged pro-rata to the appropriate full-time Master's fee taken in an academic session. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.

Additional costs

There are no programme-specific costs.

For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.

Funding your studies

The department offers dedicated project studentships for particular research fields, as well as studentships from the UK research councils. There are also some trust funds dedicated to support research in particular areas and a limited number of departmental studentships.

For a comprehensive list of the funding opportunities available at UCL, including funding relevant to your nationality, please visit the Scholarships and Funding website.

Next steps

Deadlines and start dates are usually dictated by funding arrangements so check with the department or academic unit to see if you need to consider these in your application preparation. In most cases you should identify and contact potential supervisors before making your application. For more information see our How to apply page.

Please note that you may submit applications for a maximum of two graduate programmes in any application cycle.

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible. The programme may remain open if places are still available after 31 March 2022 and will be closed as soon as it is full or by 30 June 2022.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

This page was last updated 28 Sep 2021