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Physics MSc

This MSc provides students with the skills, knowledge and research ability for a career in physics. The programme is designed to satisfy the need, both nationally and internationally, for well-qualified postgraduates who will be able to respond to the challenges that arise from future developments in this field.

Covid-19 programme updates

Due to COVID-19, there may have been updates to this programme for the 2020 academic year. Where there has been an update, these are indicated with a red alert and a link which will provide further information.

Key information

Programme starts

September 2020

Modes and duration

Full time: 1 year
Part time: 2 years

One year programme which is also available part-time over two years.

Application dates

All applicants
Open: 1 November 2019
Close: 11 August 2020
Notification
Due to the large number of applications received, this programme is no longer accepting applications for 2020/21 entry. We apologise for any inconvenience caused. Applications for 2021/22 entry will open later in the year.

Tuition fees (2020/21)

UK/EU:
£11,830 (FT)
£5,885 (PT)
Overseas:
£28,930 (FT)
£14,730 (PT)


Note on fees: The tuition fees shown are for the year indicated above. Fees for subsequent years may increase or otherwise vary. Further information on fee status, fee increases and the fee schedule can be viewed on the UCL Students website.

Location: London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in physics or electrical engineering from a UK university or an overseas qualification of an equivalent standard.

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

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

International students

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.

Select your country:

About this degree

Students develop insights into the techniques used in current projects, and gain in-depth experience of a particular specialised research area, through project work as a member of a research team. The programme provides the professional skills necessary to play a meaningful role in industrial or academic life.

Students undertake modules to the value of 180 credits.

The programme consists of a choice of six optional modules (90 credits), a research essay (30 credits) and a research project and dissertation (60 credits).

Upon successful completion of 180 credits, you will be awarded a MSc in Physics.

Please note that the list of modules given here is indicative. This information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change.

Optional modules 1 (15 credits each)

Students choose three from the following:

  • Advanced Quantum Theory
  • Particle Physics
  • Atom and Photon Physics
  • Order and Excitations in Condensed Matter
  • Mathematics for General Relativity
  • Climate and Energy
  • Molecular Physics
  • Physics of Advanced Materials
  • Quantum Computation and Communication
  • Advanced Physical Cosmology
  • Quantum Field Theory

Optional modules 2 (15 credits each)

Students choose three from the following:

  • Astrophysics MSc Core Modules
  • Space and Climate Science MSc Core Modules
  • Medical Physics MSc Modules
  • Intercollegiate fourth-year courses
  • Physics and Astrophysics MSci fourth-year courses
  • Selected Physics and Astrophysics MSci third-year courses
  • Plastic and Molecular (Opto)electronics
  • Biophysics MSc Core Modules

Alternatively students may also choose additional modules from the Optional modules 1 list above.

Covid-19 module updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be updates to the modules for your chosen programme of study this year. Some modules may not be available or may need to be moved to a later term or year of study.  We have included these updates below:   Research Essay (PHAS0001) will be delivered in both Terms 1 and 2. These updates are relevant for 2020-21 academic year only.  The full list of modules will be available in the module catalogue from late August.  From the first week of September, you will be invited to complete module selection from Portico, our student record system. There may need to be additional updates or changes to modules during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available.  

Dissertation/report

All students submit a critical research essay and MSc students undertake an independent research project which culminates in a substantial dissertation and oral presentation.

Teaching and learning

The programme is delivered through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical, laboratory and computer-based classes. Student performance is assessed through coursework and written examination. The research project is assessed by literature survey, oral presentation and the dissertation.

Covid-19 contact hours on campus
In Term One, while campus will be open, all the learning activity for the core content of your modules will take place online – including lectures, tutorials, seminars and assessments. By “core content” we mean everything you need to learn to complete the module successfully. In addition to these online contact hours, we will be offering some face-to-face educational activities for students on campus, and we will provide alternative online activities for those students unable to join us on campus. These activities, which will include contact with academic staff, will be relevant to your programme of study may include seminars, academic and employability skills workshops, small-group or individual tutorials, lab and practice-based teaching. UK Government safety guidelines will limit the amount of ‘in person’ activity we can offer and while it will vary from programme to programme, is likely to be no more than 1-2 hours per week. This will vary across departments, particularly if your programme includes laboratory/practical/studio/workshop sessions. You will be updated with more specific details as they are available and your timetable will indicate which sessions will be on campus and which will be available online.
Covid-19 practical component updates
Due to COVID-19, there may be changes to the availability of the practical components for your chosen programme. Any updates relate only to the 20/21 academic year and may not apply to all students across the programme depending on your year of study.  Your department will keep you updated if the practical component of your programme is able to occur and/or any alternative options available.   There may need to be additional updates or changes to the practical component during the academic year to allow for new guidance from the UK Government and/or Public Health England. Your department shall keep you updated of these changes as they become available. 
Covid-19 assessment updates
There may be changes to the format of assessments for modules in this programme due to COVID-19. These will be summarised for each module on the module catalogue from 17 August 2020.   If any changes to assessments need to be made during the academic year due to updates in government guidance, these will be communicated to you as soon as possible from your department.    
Communicating further Covid-19 mitigation plans
We are continuing to follow UK Government guidance, as well as the expertise of our researchers, including specialists in health, education, human behaviour and infection prevention, to make sure UCL is as safe as possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. If it becomes necessary to make further changes to your programme as a result of new guidance/regulations, UCL and your department will communicate these as soon as this becomes clear. We will keep you up-to-date with our plans throughout term one, so you have the information you need to be able to take decisions that are right for your circumstances. Please ensure that you keep in touch with your department by regularly checking your UCL emails, Moodle courses, the Coronavirus FAQs for Students page and any UCL online groups or social media you follow.

Additional costs

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

Accessibility

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

Funding

Candidates may be eligible for a Santander scholarship.

Scholarships relevant to this department are displayed below.

Brown Family Bursary

Note:
This scheme is now closed for 2020/21
Value:
£15,000 (1 year)
Eligibility:
UK
Criteria:
Based on both academic merit and financial need

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

Careers

Physics-based careers embrace a broad range of areas e.g. information technology, engineering, finance, research and development, medicine, nanotechnology and photonics.

Employability

A Master's degree in Physics is highly regarded by employers. Students gain a deep understanding of both basic phenomena underpinning a range of technologies with huge potential for future development, e.g. quantum information, as well as direct knowledge of cutting-edge technologies likely to play a major role in short to medium term industrial development while addressing key societal challenges such as energy supply or water sanitisation.

Why study this degree at UCL?

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 2019, and 4th in the UK for Physics & Astronomy.

The department's participation in many international collaborations means we provide exceptional opportunities to work as part of an international team. Examples include our academics who work at the Large Hadron Collider in Geneva, and at the EISCAT radar instruments in Scandinavia for studying the Earth's upper atmosphere.

For students whose interests tend towards the theoretical, the department is involved in many international projects, some aimed at the development of future quantum technologies, others at fundamental atomic and molecular physics. In some cases, opportunities exist for students to broaden their experience by spending part of their time overseas.

Department: Physics & Astronomy

What our students and staff say

Staff view

"Finding out new things no one ever knew before, and (as a head of department) helping others do the same seems like a good use of time! I do particle physics, which is the study of the fundamental constituents of nature, and how they interact. Understanding nature better is always beneficial in the end, but there are also numerous technological spin-offs too. UCL is amazingly well connected – which given that I spend a lot of time in CERN, Geneva, is very important. Also, having the media and political power centres nearby is very exciting and sometimes useful. "

Professor Jon Butterworth

Physics and Astronomy MPhil/PhD, Physics MSc
Professor of Physics

Application and next steps

Applications

Students are advised to apply as early as possible due to competition for places. Those applying for scholarship funding (particularly overseas applicants) should take note of application deadlines.

There is an application processing fee for this programme of £80 for online applications and £105 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: www.ucl.ac.uk/prospective-students/graduate/taught/application.

Who can apply?

This MSc requires students to have an undergraduate degree level of knowledge in physics, astronomy, astrophysics or related discipline, who wish to develop a career in physics and related fields. The programme provides an ideal foundation for further research and entry on to a PhD programme.

Application deadlines

All applicants
11 August 2020

For more information see our Applications page.

Apply now

What are we looking for?

When we assess your application we would like to learn:

  • why you want to study Physics at graduate level
  • why you want to study Physics at UCL
  • what particularly attracts you to the chosen programme
  • how your academic and professional background meets the demands of this challenging programme
  • where you would like to go professionally with your degree

Together with essential academic requirements, the personal statement is your opportunity to illustrate whether your reasons for applying to this programme match what the programme will deliver.

UCL is regulated by the Office for Students.

Page last modified on 13 August 2020