Student profile
Samuel is a white man with brown hair wearing a striped shirt smiling at the camera.

Samuel Sullivan

"My lecturers have all been engaging and encouraging. They welcome questions and are happy to have one-to-one discussions."


Physics MSc

Entry year


Why did you choose to come to Surrey?  

Surrey appealed to me because it has a great reputation for physics. My main interest is nuclear physics and Surrey is home to world-class experts in this field, and has stand-out facilities and strong links with industry. I also liked that the campus was close to the centre of Guildford and to the train station, so you could get to London in under an hour. 

What was your first impression when you got here? 

My first impressions were of the lake and the nice open spaces, as well as Guildford Cathedral which towers above the other buildings. You also quickly get a sense of Surrey as a strong university for technology and engineering as you walk past buildings like the Advanced Technology Institute and the Alan Turing building on the Stag Hill campus. 

Why are you passionate about your subject? 

I’m passionate about physics because it’s the science that answers the most fundamental - and I think interesting - questions about the world around us. Historically it has been the catalyst for innumerable technological leaps and societal changes. Nuclear physics especially (the study of the matter and dynamics at the heart of all atoms) has profound applications in medicine, energy production and defence.  

What stood out about this course at Surrey? 

The fact that Surrey has world-leading experts on many areas of physics, including nuclear and quantum physics. The strong industry links with bodies such as the National Physical Laboratory and AWE, and other international collaborators, was also a big factor, as well as the excellent research and teaching facilities.  

What do you like about your course? 

I enjoy the topics covered in classes, ranging from chaos theory to nuclear astrophysics. With the provided resources (e.g. in-person tutorials, reading lists, pre-recorded lectures) and instruction, you definitely feel your own understanding of the subject improving and your research skills developing. By the end, you feel equipped to start a relevant career. 

What are the academic staff and facilities like?  

My lecturers have all been engaging and encouraging. They welcome questions and are happy to have one-to-one discussions. The facilities around campus are great too, such as the many computer labs. Maybe my favourite part of the course was the radiation laboratory classes, where we handled radioactive samples and a variety of instruments. 

"Studying for my MSc allowed me to learn more about the topics I’m most interested in, and helped me decide what I want to do next in my career." 

What are the best things about life in general at Surrey?  

My partner and I often take advantage of living so close to London, but Guildford is also a lovely town, with plenty to do and many green spaces. 

Do you feel supported at university? 

My assigned private tutor has been very helpful and encouraging. I feel comfortable going to them with any questions, either about a physics topic or about the course in general, and they’ve always advised me well.  

How do you think your time at Surrey has impacted your employability once you graduate?  

I’m sure my time at Surrey has boosted my employability. Aside from the training in mathematics and physics, the coding experience and the practical laboratory sessions I’ve done on the course, I’ve also met professionals in relevant industry positions and learnt what their work is like and what skills employers are looking for. 

What has been your best moment at Surrey so far?  

My best moment has probably been presenting a group project on Type I X-ray bursts at a mock conference for one of my modules. 

Do you have any advice for students thinking about postgraduate study? 

It’s tougher than undergraduate study, but as long as you work consistently and stay motivated, an MSc is a lot more rewarding. Studying for my MSc allowed me to learn more about the topics I’m most interested in, and helped me decide what I want to do next in my career. 

Do you think you’ve changed since you started at Surrey? How?  

I’m a lot more confident in what I want to do going forward, having obtained a lot more practical and theoretical knowledge in my year here. 

What do you plan to do following your course? 

I’m looking forward to starting my PhD here at Surrey, using machine learning to investigate nuclear reactions. 


Find out more about our MSc Physics.

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