Why choose this course
Physics is simply the study of nature. It aspires to give us answers to the questions that cry out for explanation. Our MSc in Physics allows you to explore and expand our understanding of the world, equipping you to address the challenges our society faces.
Our Department of Physics is home to inspirational research activity and excellent teaching. Our research spans the breadth of modern physics and is supported by advanced facilities.
We collaborate with a variety of partners across the academic, public and industry communities, including the National Physical Laboratory.
What you will study
Our MSc in Physics is a flexible course, allowing you to tailor your studies by selecting modules from a wide range of fundamental and applied physics topics. The application-focused modules are co-taught by practitioners in public service and industry to ensure students gain workplace-relevant insight.
An 11-week dissertation project will give you the opportunity to apply your new knowledge and skills to a project relevant to pioneering research. Many of these are undertaken in collaboration with leading industry partners.
Our MSc in Physics offers you the flexibility to tailor your studies according to your interests, building on the research strengths of our friendly Department and the supportive environment we provide for our students.
Equality and diversity
We’re committed to fostering the next generation of physicists in an environment that is diverse and inclusive, ensuring equal opportunities for all, independent of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, or other protected characteristics.
We’re a member of the Institute of Physics’ equality and diversity initiative, Project Juno. This scheme rewards physics departments for promoting gender equality in physics, and we have an active Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (ED&I) programme with the goal of growing the diversity of our student body and ensuring a welcoming environment for everyone.
Teaching Assistant Scheme
Every year, our Teaching Assistant Scheme enables MSc students in the Department of Physics to earn while they study, providing teaching support to undergraduate students. Teaching assistants are involved in a range of duties including laboratory supervision, in-class tutorial support and support with computing classes. Find out more about the Teaching Assistant Scheme.
Study and work abroad
There may be opportunities to acquire valuable European experience by working or conducting research abroad during your degree or shortly afterwards. It is possible to do this in the summer period with an Erasmus+ grant working on your dissertation or as a recent graduate. In order to qualify your Erasmus+ traineeship must be a minimum of two months.
Careers and graduate prospects
We offer careers information, advice and guidance to all students whilst studying with us, which is extended to our alumni for three years after leaving the University.
As a graduate of this course, you’ll have the skills and knowledge to work in a range of sectors on an international scale, including the nuclear and medical sectors, and higher education.
Previous graduates have gone on to work for employers such as the NHS, CERN, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Diamond Microwave Devices Ltd and the UK Atomic Energy Agency. Employers in the education sector include University College London, the University of Nottingham, the University of Umm Al-Qura and Sultan Quaboos University.
Academic year structure
You’ll study four 15-credit modules per semester if you join this course full-time. If you’re studying part-time, you’ll normally complete two modules per semester.
The dissertation topics you can choose from are usually allocated towards the end of the Spring Semester. You’ll carry out your work for your dissertation during the summer period. If you’re part-time, you can expect to do this project over the course of the summer in your second year.
Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.
Important: In light of the Covid-19 pandemic the University has revised its courses to incorporate the ‘Hybrid Learning Experience’ in a departure from previous academic years and previously published information. The University has changed the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes. Further information on the general principles of hybrid learning can be found at: Hybrid learning experience | University of Surrey.
We have updated key module information regarding the pattern of assessment and overall student workload to inform student module choices. We are currently working on bringing remaining published information up to date to reflect current practice in time for the start of the academic year 2021/22. This means that some information within the programme and module catalogue will be subject to change. Current students are invited to contact their Programme Leader or Academic Hive with any questions relating to the information available.
The University operates a credit framework for all taught programmes based on a 15-credit tariff. Modules can be either 15, 30, 45 or 60, 75 and 120 credits, and additionally for some masters dissertations, 90 credits.
The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specifications which include further details such as the learning outcomes:
Timetables are normally available one month before the start of the semester. Please note that while we make every effort to ensure that timetables are as student-friendly as possible, scheduled teaching can take place on any day of the week (Monday–Friday). Due the large flexibility of the course, we cannot guarantee that every module combination will be available without timetable clashes. Wednesday afternoons are normally reserved for sports and cultural activities. View our Timetabling Policy (PDF).
Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's module catalogue. See the modules section for more information.
A minimum of a 2:2 UK honours degree in either Chemistry, Electronic Engineering, Nuclear Engineering, Physics, or a recognised equivalent international qualification. We'll also consider relevant work experience if you don't meet these requirements.
International entry requirements by country
Do I meet the requirements for this course?
We require you to submit a full application so that we can formally assess whether you meet the criteria published. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide an outcome based on an enquiry (via email, webform enquiry, phone or live chat).
English language requirements
IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in Writing and 5.5 in each other element.
View the other English language qualifications that we accept.
If you do not currently meet the level required for your programme, we offer intensive pre-sessional English language courses, designed to take you to the level of English ability and skill required for your studies here.
The University of Surrey recognises that many students enter their higher education course with valuable knowledge and skills developed through a range of professional, vocational and community contexts. If this applies to you, a process called recognition of prior learning (RPL) may allow you to enter your course at a point appropriate to your previous learning and experience, or to join the start of a course without the formal entry requirements. This means that you may be exempt from certain elements of study in the course for which you have applied and be awarded credit based on your previous qualifications/experience. There are restrictions on RPL for some courses and fees may be payable for certain claims.
Please see the code of practice for recognition of prior learning and prior credit: taught programmes (PDF) for further information. Please email Admissions with any queries.
Start date: October 2021
Full-time - 1 year
Part-time - 2 years
- These fees apply to students commencing study in the academic year 2021-22 only. Fees for new starters are reviewed annually.
- If you are on a two-year or three-year part-time structured masters course, the annual fee is payable in Year 1 and Year 2 of the course.
There may be associated costs with this programme:
- Commuting (local travel expenses): Unable to specify amount - Potentially travel costs for the dissertation which may be reimbursable.
Grand total: Unable to specify amount.
You may be able to borrow money to help pay your tuition fees and support you with your living costs. Find out more about postgraduate student finance.
Funding opportunities are also available for MSc Students with the Higher Education Sponsorship Scheme by the Society for Radiological Protection.
The Department of Physics offers MSc students the opportunity to earn while they study through the MSc Teaching Assistant Scheme.
Scholarships and bursaries
We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.
Terms and conditions
When you accept an offer of a place at the University of Surrey, you are agreeing to comply with our policies and regulations, and our terms and conditions. These terms and conditions are provided in two stages: first when we make an offer and second when students who have accepted their offers register to study at the University. View an example of our offer terms and conditions and our generic registration terms and conditions (PDF) as a guide as to what to expect.
Please note: our offer terms and conditions will generally be available in the September of the calendar year prior to the year in which you begin your studies. Our registration terms and conditions will vary to take into account specifics of your course and changes for the specific academic year.
This online prospectus has been prepared and published in advance of the academic year to which it applies. The University of Surrey has used its reasonable efforts to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content or additional costs) may occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for a course with us. Read more.
Further, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the University has had to change the delivery (and in some cases the content) of its programmes, together with certain University services and facilities for the academic year 2020/21. These changes include the implementation of a hybrid teaching approach during 2020/21. Detailed information on all changes is available at our dedicated course changes webpage. This webpage sets out information relating to general University changes, and will also direct you to consider additional information relating to specific programmes.