Skip to content
Skip to navigation menu


Master's Excellence ScholarshipsMinimum of £3,000 in tuition fee discounts available.

Physics (MSc)

1 year (full-time) / n/a (part-time) / n/a (distance / e-Learning)

The MSc in Physics is a brand-new and innovative taught master's degree programme with advanced teaching delivered by world-leading expert physicists.

a series of images of physics research equipment

Course Aims

The MSc in Physics provides the comprehensive general, transferable and specialist skills training and hands-on experience to enable a student to pursue a career in further postgraduate academic research, physical science industrial practice, research and development, or other highly-skilled numerate careers. Candidates holding an MSc in Physics stand out in these highly competitive recruitment markets.

Special Features

Course Description

The MSc in Physics is a highly configurable course that allows the student a great deal of flexibility in configuring their individual learning experience. Throughout the course, the student will attend core modules which provide training in essential skills and advanced techniques, together with a comprehensive package of transferable skills training.

MSc students are introduced to active research laboratories during the autumn term and are thereby integrated into the School of Physics and Astronomy community from day one. The MSc cohort will meet regularly as a group to discuss research topics, present papers and tackle group exercises and undergo advanced practical skills training.

The research-led elective modules cover a wide variety of topics aligned with the expertise of our research groups. The MSc in Physics can accommodate students wishing to pursue a very specialised or more broadly-based programme depending on their individual needs and intended career path. Support and advice are always available from our expert staff.

Students who successfully complete the taught portion of the course in the autumn and spring terms will be offered the opportunity to undertake a 4 month research project, which can be located either internal to the School of Physics and Astronomy with one of our own research groups, or externally in placement with one of our industrial partners.

Course Structure

This full-time (1 year) course consists of 10 taught modules to a total of 120 credits and a 4 month 60 credit summer project placement. Foundational topics are covered in the core taught modules modules to total of 50 credits. The remaining 70 credits of the taught component of the course consists of elective modules from which the student can individually tailor their programme.

Core Modules

During the Autumn Semester, students will undertake:

  • PXT101 Advanced Experimental Techniques in Physics (20 credits, autumn term)
  • PX4232 Data Analysis (10 credits, autumn term)

During the Spring Semester, students will undertake:

  • PXT102 Study and Research Skills in Physics (20 credits, spring term)
  • PXT106 Physics Research Project (60 credits, summer)

Elective Modules (Autumn Semester)

Please select 3 modules from the following indicative list:

  • PX4119 Large Molecules and Life
  • PX4121 Quantum Field Theory
  • PX4122 Quantum Information Processing
  • PX4124 Introduction to General Relativity
  • PX4125 Astronomy Instrumentation
  • PX4127 Magnetism, Superconductivity and their Applications
  • PX3143 Computational Physics*
  • PX3146 Cosmology*
  • PX3149 Commercialising Innovation*

* Asterisked courses are Level 6 courses. Please note that of the 120 taught credits, a maximum of 30 credits can come from Level 6 courses.

Elective Modules (Spring Semester)

Please select 4 mouldes from the following indicative list:

  • PX4221 Low-Dimensional Semiconductor Devices
  • PX4222 Modern Quantum Optics
  • PX4223 Physics of the Early Universe
  • PX4224 Advanced General Relativity and Gravitational Waves
  • PX4226 Quantum Theory of Solids
  • PX4230 Physics and Reality
  • PX3250 Environmental Physics*
  • PX3248 Theoretical Physics*

* Asterisked courses are Level 6 courses. Please note that of the 120 taught credits, a maximum of 30 credits can come from Level 6 courses.

research student Charley setting up an ultra high vacuum evaporator
Research student Charley Bull sets up an ultra high vacuum evaporator to investigate the fabrication of magnetic nanostructures for future mass data storage device applications.

Career Prospects

A master's degree in physics opens the door to a wide variety of possible future careers. The flexibility in selecting elective modules allows each student to optimise their learning towards their chosen future career. Our graduates have successfully entered the fields of photonics, biophysics, instrumentation research and development, semiconductor physics both within academic science and industrial practice.

Our strong established links with industrial partners enables us to offer summer project placements within cutting-edge industrial environment. Our researchers are world leaders in their fields and so the experience gained in our internal academic project placements is of immense value for students seeking to continue in academic research.

Together with the innovative core skills modules which from the very beginning immerse students in the research environment, the MSc in Physics is the ideal course for students looking to distinguish themselves in today's highly competitive technical job market.

Picture of Jessica

'What excites me most about this course though is the project that I have chosen to do over summer, and its application to my future. It's a fun, challenging course that can both focus and motivate you.'

Jessica Mabin, Msc Biophotonics, 2014-15

Read Jessica's full testimonial

I was an undergraduate in Physics with music and throughout my undergraduate year developed a love and interest into research. The MSc in Biophotonics is a mix of biology and physics and has already pushed me to do research and create a portfolio of research into biological applications of the physics I had learnt in my undergraduate degree.
Because of the small number of us this year, the teaching style is much more personal with greater freedom to ask anything throughout the lectures. The spread of lectures is equally very well balanced with support all along the way should I need it. What excites me most about this course though is the project that I have chosen to do over summer, and its application to my future. It's a fun, challenging course that can both focus and motivate you.

Jessica, MSc Biophotonics, 2014-15

Picture of Evan

'I am certain that the practical experience that I gained in this programme has made me a more attractive candidate for future research positions and employment within this rapidly expanding field.'

Evan Jelly, MSc Biophotonics, 2011-12

Read Evan's full testimonial

As a prospective graduate, my experience with the MSc Biophotonics programme at Cardiff University has been extremely satisfying. It has given me the opportunity to discover new ways of expanding my background in physics and applying it towards new and exciting areas of research.

For the research component of the MSc Biophotonics programme, I was given the opportunity to work at GE Healthcare's Cell Technologies division based in Cardiff. My research focused on observing optics and photonics and their application for improved toxicology models and clinical drug development. Not only was my experience at GE instrumental to my education in biophotonics, it has also provided me with expert advice and guidance from established GE researchers, access to the state of the art technology, and a resource of professional contacts that have given me the tools to actively pursue my career objectives.

Cardiff's MSc programme has broadened my awareness of how different fields of scientific research can become convoluted and how essential cross disciplinary education is for being able to interpret and translate these connections. I am certain that the practical experience that I gained in this programme has made me a more attractive candidate for future research positions and employment within this rapidly expanding field.

Evan, MSc Biophotonics, 2011-12


A partial Scholarship/Bursary is available for students on this programme and on the Astrophysics (MSc) programme. For more information please click here.

Entry Requirements

This course is suitable for physicists, mathematicians, chemists and engineers. Applications from students in related subjects are also welcomed.

Applicants should possess a minimum of a second class honours degree or equivalent in a physical, mathematical or engineering science. Please contact the admissions tutor in the event of any query.

Supporting materials required: Two academic references and copies of full transcripts.

Applicants whose first language is not English are normally expected to meet the minimum University requirements (eg. 6.5 IELTS).

Note: International students pursuing part-time programmes of study are not eligible for Tier 4 (General Student) visas and must have alternative leave to remain in the UK if they intend to study at the University in person.

Admissions Process

Applications can be submitted through the University's Online Application System.

Tuition Fees 2016/17

Fees quoted are for the academic session 2016/17. For programmes lasting more than one year, tuition fees for subsequent years of study are subject to an increase of no more than 4.5% per year.

  UK & EU International
Full-time £7,750 £18,250
Part-time n/a n/a
Deposit n/a Includes a £1,000 deposit. More information about our deposit policy.

Next intake: October each year

School Contact

Name: Nicola Hunt (MSc Physics)  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 6457 

Fax: +44 (0)29 208 74056 


School Website:

School Contact

Name: Dr. Richard Lewis  

Telephone: +44 (0)29 2087 5433 



School Website:

More information

Important legal information

The programme information currently being published in Course Finder is under review and may be subject to change. The final programme information is due to be published by July 2016 and will be the definitive programme outline which the University intends to offer. Applicants are advised to check the definitive programme information after the update, to ensure that the programme meets their needs.


Contact us