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    Department of Physics and Astronomy Logo
  • Study Type

    Full time available

  • Subject Areas


  • Start Date


  • Course Duration

    One year

  • Course Type


  • Course Fees

    Up-to-date fees can be found on the University of Sheffield's webpages for postgraduate students: website

  • Last Updated

    19 July 2019

Particle physics has been at the centre of some of the 21st century's biggest scientific discoveries. Researchers in Sheffield have worked on the discovery of the Higgs boson and the detection of gravitational waves, and they are involved in searches for dark matter and ground-breaking neutrino experiments.

This one-year masters course is designed to teach you the concepts that help us understand the universe, and give you the practical skills to run experiments that put complex theories to the test. It's a research-based degree, so you will spend around half your time on your own research project, working alongside experts here in Sheffield or at another lab where our scientists work, such as CERN.

Course structure

This course covers the complex theories and experimental techniques that particle physicists use to explain nature and the universe. It will develop your understanding of the Standard Model by going into even greater depth on topics you might have covered in your undergraduate degree, such as quantum mechanics, electrodynamics and dark matter.

You'll learn about the methods particle physicists use to study the universe, the experiments that led to the discoveries of neutrons, positrons and neutrinos, and the experimental evidence for quarks and gluons. You can examine the possible explanations for dark matter with scientists who are leading searches for it, and take modules led by researchers who were involved in the Higgs boson and gravitational wave discoveries.

There are also optional modules to choose from, including general relativity, particle astrophysics, semiconductor physics and statistical physics.

The biggest part of your degree is your research project, which you might be able to work on at a research facility such as CERN. You'll choose your own topic, and work closely with a member of academic staff from Department of Physics and Astronomy, who is an expert in the area you want to explore. Possible topics include:

  • Background events in the LUX-Zeplin dark matter experiment
  • Characterising ultra-fast imaging photon sensors for neutrino experiments
  • Design a masterclass for high-school students using ATLAS open data
  • Searching for supersymmetry with the ATLAS detector at the CERN Large Hadron Collider
  • The WATCHMAN Project: Using anti-neutrinos for nuclear threat reduction
  • Using tau leptons in collider experiments to search for new physics

You will take part in a research training programme that teaches you how to interpret and evaluate research papers, and how to communicate your own findings. There is also optional enterprise training, where you can use your physics expertise to develop an idea for a new business and pitch it to a panel of experts.

Compulsory modules:

  • Advanced Electrodynamics (10 credits)
  • Dark Matter and the Universe (10 credits)
  • Further Quantum Mechanics (10 credits)
  • The Development of Particle Physics (10 credits)
  • Physics Research Skills (30 credits)
  • Research Project in Physics (90 credits)

Optional modules – students take two:

  • Advanced Particle Physics (10 credits)
  • Advanced Quantum Mechanics (10 credits)
  • An Introduction to General Relativity (10 credits)
  • Particle Astrophysics (10 credits)
  • Physics in an Enterprise Culture (10 credits)
  • Semiconductor Physics and Technology (10 credits)
  • Statistical Physics (10 credits)

Learning and teaching

You will learn through lectures, seminars, tutorials and your research project, supervised by one of our academic staff.


Assessments include examinations, coursework, essays and other written work, presentations, and your research project.

After your degree

The advanced topics covered and the extensive research training make this degree programme great preparation for a PhD.

Physics graduates also develop numerical, problem solving and data analysis skills that are useful in many careers, such as computer programming, software engineering, data science or technology research and development.

How to apply

To apply for this course, complete the University of Sheffield's postgraduate online application form.

Postgraduate online application form

Early applications are encouraged. Any applications received after all places have been filled will be deferred for entry the following year.

Visit the MSc(Res) Particle Physics page on the University of Sheffield website for more details!






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