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The Masters in Advanced Functional Materials is an inherently multidisciplinary subject that spans Physics, Chemistry, Materials Science and Nanotechnology. It underpins many of aspects of modern life and its themes are at the heart of global technological challenges, including energy generation and storage, microelectronics and healthcare. University of Glasgow research in the area has spanned the development of photovoltaics for enhanced solar energy systems, next-generation data storage technologies and characterisation of alloys for nuclear reactor design.

Why this programme

  • The School of Physics and Astronomy plays a leading role in the exploitation of data from the Large Hadron Collider, the world’s largest particle accelerator at CERN.
  • The School has close links with Sellafield Ltd. and the UK National Nuclear Laboratory in the area of nuclear fuel reprocessing and nuclear waste management.
  • The School of Physics & Astronomy hosts the Kelvin Nanocharacterisation Centre, which houses state-of-the-art instrumentation for studying materials at the nanoscale or below.
  • The School of Physics & Astronomy plays a world-leading role in the design and operation of the worldwide network of laser interferometers that have detected gravitational waves.
  • You will also benefit from our membership of the Scottish Universities Physics Alliance. The alliance brings together internationally leading Physics research across Scotland to form the largest physics grouping in the UK.
  • You will gain the theoretical, observational and computational skills necessary to analyse and solve advanced Materials Science problems, providing you with an excellent foundation for a career of scientific leadership in academia or industry.
  • You will develop transferable skills that will improve your career prospects, such as project management, team-working, advanced data analysis, problem-solving, critical evaluation of scientific literature, advanced laboratory and computing skills, and how to effectively communicate with different audiences.
  • The School of Physics and Astronomy has an Athena Swan Silver Award, and the School of Chemistry has an Athena Swan Bronze Award, demonstrating the support for women and under-represented groups in scientific studies and careers, with the goal to improve the working environment for all.
  • It is expected that the programme will be accredited by the Institute of Physics.

Programme structure

Modes of delivery of the MSc Advanced Functional Materials include lectures, seminars and tutorials and allow students the opportunity to take part in practical lab, and independent project work. In the final part of the programme, you will undertake a research project which will be supervised by a member of staff who works within the area of Materials Science. This extended project will give an opportunity to be embedded into a research group, working at the cutting edge of their particular field.

Each course is assessed separately; assessment methods include written examinations, verbal and written reports of practical/project work, multiple choice questions, oral and poster presentations of project work.

Core courses

  • Advanced data analysis for physics and astronomy
  • Imaging and detectors
  • Nano and atomic scale imaging 1
  • Research skills
  • Solid state physics
  • Statistical mechanics
  • MSc project.

Optional courses include

  • Advanced materials characterisation
  • Chemistry of the f-block
  • Chemical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics
  • Detection and analysis of ionising radiation
  • Electrochemistry for a sustainable future
  • Electromagnetic theory 2
  • Environmental radioactivity
  • Functional materials
  • Groups and symmetries
  • Laser interfermetry
  • Magnetism and superconductivity
  • Nano and atomic scale imaging 2
  • Nanostructured materials
  • Nuclear power reactors
  • Quantum and atom optics
  • Quantum information
  • Quantum theory
  • Semiconductor physics
  • Surface chemistry: structure and reactivity

Programme alteration or discontinuation

The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Student contract.

Career prospects

Career opportunities in academic research, based in universities, research institutes, observatories and laboratory facilities; industrial research in a wide range of fields including energy and the environmental sector, IT and semiconductors, optics and lasers, materials science, telecommunications, engineering; banking and commerce; higher education.


Visit the Advanced Functional Materials - MSc page on the University of Glasgow website for more details!

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