Physics (Euromasters) MSc

Surrey's Department of Physics has many decades of experience in delivering high-quality postgraduate taught courses, attracting students from all over the world.

Why Surrey?

The unique selling point of our Physics (Euromasters) programme is that it combines our excellent taught MSc modules with particular strengths in topics related to Radiation Detection Instrumentation, Medical Physics and Radiation Environmental Protection. You will receive the opportunity to develop, design and see through a complete Research Project. This feature will prepare you for a career in research and for doctoral studies in academia and industry and makes the MSc Bologna compatible, recognised in all EU countries.

Programme overview

Our Physics (Euromasters) MSc is a two-year (120 ECTS credits) programme, a joint initiative of the South East Physics Network (SEPnet). This is the same length and number of credits as most Masters degrees in continental Europe and offers you the opportunity to study in the UK for a qualification that will be widely recognised across Europe and beyond.

Students select eight modules from a wide range of fundamental and applied physics topics offered in the first year from the Department of Physics’ internationally-respected fundamental physics taught provision, as well as from the vocationally-oriented MSc programmes. Students tailor their study programme to suit their interests and needs in discussion with the Course Director (and subject to timetabling). The skills learnt are then used and developed in the second year, when students will have training in research skills and a five to six-month research project that will equip you for further research work in industry, international research laboratories or universities. During the second year, students will also study two compulsory modules: Research Skills, and Academic Research and Communication Skills.

During the project, the student will be part of a research group and so will receive help and support, and learn from, the other members of the group. The project may be undertaken in collaboration with an external partner organisation, which might be an industrial company or a national or international research facility such as the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. It is this project in the second year that differentiates the Euromasters programme from most UK MSc courses.

Research experience opens the door to many careers, not just further research. The maturity and experience gained during a research project provide an extra dimension to the qualification beyond that of a conventional one-year Masters programme.

Why not explore the experiences of past and present students on our course?

Scholarships for this MSc programme

Teaching Assistantships (up to £3,000pa)

Our department-led scholarships enable you to assist with the teaching of Physics undergraduate students through laboratory sessions, tutorials, problem-solving classes, computing and other teaching activities depending on suitability. Open to home or international, full-time or part-time students, the University of Surrey gives out approximately six of these awards per annum. The Teaching Assistantship award is available on all MSc Physics programmes, and if successful, you can earn up to £3,000 throughout the year. Eligible MSc applicants will be sent an application form by email in August 2016 and the application procedure includes an interview (which can be completed by telephone).

Programme structure

The Physics (Euromasters) degree is designed to be fully compatible with the European Bologna accord. Like most Masters degrees in continental Europe, it is two years long.

The programme is a joint initiative of the South East Physics Network (SEPnet). This is a network of the following universities: the University of Kent; Queen Mary University of London; Royal Holloway University of London; the University of Southampton; the University of Surrey; and the University of Sussex.

Students can elect to research their dissertation at international laboratories such as the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire or at mainland European universities, subject to availability of placements, for instance, through Erasmus exchanges.

The first year of the programme comprises a selection of taught modules from the Department’s existing module catalogue. In the second year students will have the unique opportunity to pursue a supervised extended research project, following two modules in Research Skills as well as Academic Research and Communication Skills.

Year 1

Typically eight modules are selected from the topics listed below.

Radiation Physics

This module will provide you with a detailed and systematic overview of atomic and nuclear physics including basic energetics of radioactive decay. You will gain a systematic understanding of fundamental processes involved with the interaction of X- and gamma-ray photons, charged particles and neutrons with matter.

Radiation Measurement

You will find out about the principles of radiation detection, measurement and dosimetry. After completing this module, you will be able to critically analyse and summarise original dosimetry data and understand the methods required to calculate dose and radiation effects.

Radiation Laboratory Skills

This module explores the experimental use of radioactive materials, radiation counting, spectroscopy equipment, dosimetry measurements and standard radiation experimental techniques. At the end of this course you will be more confident handling radioactive materials and will be able to understand the basic evaluation of experimental data using standard statistical methods.

Experimental and professional skills for Medical Physics

The module will provide students with practical skills and background knowledge needed to work in a clinical setting. It includes two seminars/workshop on research ethics and intellectual property and a set of radiation laboratory experiments.

Introduction to Radiation Biology

You will develop an understanding of the human body and the effect on it of ionising radiation. After completing this module, you will be able to analyse basic molecular cell and tissue structure, describe the control systems of the human body and appreciate the science underpinning radiological protection standards.

Non Linear Physics

This module focuses on nonlinear physics and chaos theory, and looks at the application of fundamental methods of nonlinear dynamics to chaotic systems. Module content includes fixed points, bifurcations, fractals, strange attractors and limit cycles.

Topics in Theoretical Physics

On successful completion of this module, you will gain a solid understanding of complex variable theory, and be able to test a function for analyticity and identify and classify poles and other singular points of functions.

Non-ionising Radiation Imaging

You will be taught on the basic principles of two major non-ionising radiation imaging modalities which are used in hospital environments, and develop an understanding on the physics behind the operation of nuclear magnetic resonance and ultrasound imaging applications.

Therapy Physics

On this module you will explore how radiations of various types are used for therapeutic purposes. Module content includes UV radiation and blue light; ultrasound therapies; and lasers in medicine.

Diagnostic Applications of Ionising Radiation Physics

You will develop an understanding of medical X- and gamma-ray imaging technology, and how to use radiopharmaceuticals in nuclear medicine. By the end of the module you should have a broad understanding of the techniques used in-vivo and in-vitro nuclear medicine studies.

Radiation Protection and Safety

This course describes the international legislative framework of radiation protection. From this starting point the course covers population and personal exposures to radiation, the principles of dose calculations, and example procedures for implementing radiation protection programmes. Nuclear reactor safety case work is also discussed. The module completes with a general assessment of the concept of risk. Please note that this topic will be taught over an intensive week.

Nuclear Metrology

This module will provide an understanding of nuclear metrology for applications in the nuclear industry, environmental monitoring and nuclear medicine. Please note that this topic will be taught over an intensive week.

Environment and Legislation

This module describes the legislative framework of environmental protection, describing the major concepts in the field. It reviews the establishment and verification of systems for environmental protection, considering both legal and economic aspects. The module concludes with a practical review of environmental protection as applied in the nuclear industry. Please note that this topic will be taught over an intensive week.

Extended group project

Through laboratory-based lectures and hands-on computing laboratory sessions, you will learn how to use and implement FLUKA Monte Carlo simulation software. You will have the opportunity to develop a complete radiation detector instrumentation system of your choice, and Medical Physics MSc students will normally undertake a library-based project.

Year 2

Research Project/Euromasters Dissertation

The second year of the programmes entail a substantial research project module of eight months' duration (90 credits) and two taught modules (15 credits each) that will help students understanding the research process, common practices of the scientific community and practice in order to integrate and apply this knowledge throughout their research project. The exact details of these modules is subject to validation and confirmed module descriptions will be available to students before the start of their research year. The choice of project topic may be guided in part by the specialisation of the first year. The first two months will be devoted to the development of research skills comprising taught elements, a guided intensive literature review, and preparation for research including instruction in the use of equipment and software and background reading. This will be followed by a full time period of six months of (supervised) research in one of the Department’s research groups or at an external research laboratory leading to the writing of a dissertation. Students will prepare and deliver a seminar in a mini-conference.

Research Skills

This module provides students with professional skills, research skills and personal development skills to support the Euromasters Research Year placement. It is carried out during the first semester of the research year, namely October-January, during the second year of the Euromasters programme.

Outreach and Public Engagement

You will develop an in-depth understanding of the requirement, benefits and challenges posed by engaging the public with state-of-the-art scientific research, as well as tools and strategies in order to communicate with the public effectively.

Teaching and assessment

The first year of the programme is taught by a mixture of lectures and laboratory classes, and is assessed by a combination of coursework and examination.

For the duration of the MSc in Physics (Euromasters), research project students are assigned a primary research supervisor who will be an academic member of staff within the Department of Physics. You will meet your supervisor formally at least once a week, probably more – especially during the early stages of induction to the group and project. The taught research skills modules will be assessed by coursework elements.

In addition, you can expect to be part of a larger research group and hence to get help and advice from other researchers, including senior graduate students and post-doctoral researchers, as well as from technical support staff and/or experimental officers working in the group. The exact arrangements will depend very much on the group and nature of the project.

At the end of the second year, you will submit a dissertation of circa 100 pages and make an assessed presentation to a conference of Physics (Euromasters) students, including the next cohort, supervisors and others who may be interested in learning about your work.

Contact hours

Teaching: 10–12 hours per week

Private study: 28–30 hours per week

Dissertation: eight months, including two months of research skills development

Learning outcomes

At the end of the programme students will be able to:

  • Understanding of Health and Safety issues and / or ethical issues related to research in the chosen field
  • Demonstrate detailed understanding of the topic and state of the art in their research topic
  • Evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in their chosen physics sub-disciplines of advanced study
  • The ability to manage their own learning and to make use of appropriate texts, research articles and other primary sources
  • Responsibility for personal and professional development. Ability to use external mentors for personal / professional purposes
  • Deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences
  • Plan and conduct a Research project of circa 5-6 months duration to be carried out in a graduate research environment under the direction of a research supervisor, including its justification by summarising and presenting existing data from the scientific literature

Subject knowledge and skills

Material is introduced through lectures, laboratories, and directed reading and research. Students are given guidance on how to manage their learning, and at each stage in their development they are expected to take responsibility for their own learning.

Understanding is developed and consolidated through interactions in group meetings, by laboratory work and by private study. Project work, leading to the dissertation, is used to integrate material and make knowledge functional.

Core academic skills

The various advanced lecture modules in the first year and the research training deliver knowledge in depth and breadth, and develop the ability to deal with concepts and applications at the frontiers of the subject. The project module develops the ability to plan and execute a substantial project, developing a careful and critical approach to experimental design and/or mathematical modelling, and maintenance of accurate records.

Personal and key skills

Teaching and learning of a range of transferable skills (in the ability to exercise independent judgement, use of information technology, oral and written communication, presentation, accessing information and group work) are embedded within the programme.

·        Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety

 This course describes the international legislative framework of radiation protection. From this starting point the course covers population and personal exposures to radiation, the principles of dose calculations, and example procedures for implementing radiation protection programmes. Nuclear reactor safety case work is also discussed. The module completes with a general assessment of the concept of risk. Please note that this topic will be taught over an intensive week.

·         Nuclear Metrology

.  This module will provide an understanding of nuclear metrology for applications in the nuclear industry, environmental monitoring and nuclear medicine. Please note that this topic will be taught over an intensive week.

 

·         Environment and Legislation

This module describes the legislative framework of environmental protection, describing the major concepts in the field. It reviews the establishment and verification of systems for environmental protection, considering both legal and economic aspects. The module concludes with a practical review of environmental protection as applied in the nuclear industry. Please note that this topic will be taught over an intensive week.

Professional recognition

If students follow the taught programme equivalent to Medical Physics, then they can be registered (and awarded) the MSc Medical Physics (EuroMasters), which is accredited by the Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM).

Related programmes

Postgraduate (Taught)

Professional development

Related departments/schools

Related research areas

Programme leader

Dr Annika Lohstroh

Find out more

General enquiries:

+44 (0)1483 681 681

Admissions enquiries:

+44-(0)1483-682-222

admissions@surrey.ac.uk

Programme facts

Type of programme:

MSc

Programme length:

  • Full-time: 24 months

Start date:

Sep 2016

Entry Requirements

A minimum 2.2 honours degree (or overseas equivalent) in the physical sciences or in a relevant engineering discipline. For direct entry to the second year, students are required to have achieved the equivalent of a Postgraduate Diploma in Physics (120 credits at Level M). Applicants with suitable industrial experience will also be considered.

View entry requirements by country

English language requirements

IELTS minimum overall: 6.5

IELTS minimum by component: 6.0

We offer intensive English language pre-sessional courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.

Fees

Study mode Start date UK/EU fees Overseas fees
Full-time Sep 2016 £5,400 £13,500

Please note these fees are for the academic year 2016/2017 only. Annual fees will rise by four per cent (rounded up to the nearest £100) for each year of study.

A complete list of all fees for our Masters Programmes

Funding

Discounts for Surrey graduates

Thinking of continuing your education at Surrey? As an alumnus of Surrey you may be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught Masters programme fees. Learn more.

For more details

GREAT Surrey Scholarships India

For for all postgraduate taught courses starting in September 2016 within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, the University is offering graduates from India the opportunity to apply for one of six scholarships worth £5,000 through the GREAT Scholarships - India programme. Download a flyer or read more for eligibility and to apply.

For more details

Admissions Information

Our Admissions Policy provides the basis for admissions practice across the University and gives a framework for how we encourage, consider applications and admit students.

Further information for applicants

Postgraduate Study Advice

Steps to Postgraduate Study is an official, independent guide for anyone considering a taught postgraduate course. The guide is produced by the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, the Scottish Funding Council and the Department for Employment and Learning, Northern Ireland.

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