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.
Please note that the UCL graduate application portal will be unavailable between 9am (BST) on Wednesday, 7 April until 10am (BST) on Tuesday, 13 April 2021. Applications through other institutions should remain unaffected.
Modes and duration
One year programme which is also available part-time over two years.
Tuition fees (2021/22)
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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees.
A minimum of an upper second-class Bachelor's degree in a strongly Physics-based programme 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
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.
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
- Theoretical Condensed Matter
- Advanced Topics in Statistical Mechanics
- Galaxy Dynamics, Formation and Evolution
- Advanced Physical Cosmology
- Physics of Exoplanets
- Quantum Computation and Communication
- Quantum Field Theory
- High Energy Astrophysics
- Molecular Biophysics
Optional modules 2 (15 credits each)
Students choose three from the following:
- Astrophysics MSc Modules
- Space and Climate Science MSc Modules
- Medical Physics MSc Modules
- Intercollegiate fourth-year courses
- Physics and Astrophysics MSci fourth-year courses
- Selected Physics and Astrophysics MSci third-year courses
Alternatively students may also choose additional modules from the Optional modules 1 list above.
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.
For more information on additional costs for prospective students please go to our estimated cost of essential expenditure at Accommodation and living costs.
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: ucl.ac.uk/students/fees-and-funding.
Physics-based careers embrace a broad range of areas, e.g., information technology, Large Data science (in commerce and industry), engineering, finance, research and development, medicine, nanotechnology and photonics. Employers regard a physics degree as a flexible and highly desirable university training.
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 8th in the QS World University Rankings 2020, 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
"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 ButterworthPhysics and Astronomy MPhil/PhD, Physics MSc
Professor of Physics
Application and next steps
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.
This programme requires two references. Further information regarding references can be found in our How to apply section.
There is an application processing fee for this programme of £90 for online applications and £115 for paper applications. Further information can be found at: 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.
- All applicants
- 31 May 2021
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.
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