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Physics - MSc

Course Description

The MSc 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 that we provide for our students.

We collaborate with a variety of partners across the academic, public and industry communities, including the National Physical Laboratory.


You will select 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 that students gain real-world insight.

A module in research skills will prepare you to apply your new knowledge and skills in an eleven-week research project undertaken during the summer.

Your chosen research projects can open the door to many careers, not just further research. They will give you tangible experience of working independently and communicating your work effectively and efficiently in written form: key requirements in many professions.

Why not discover more about the subject in our video?


This programme is studied full-time over one academic year and part-time students must study at least two taught technical modules per academic year. It consists of eight taught modules and a dissertation. The following modules are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.
-Introduction to Biology and Radiation Biology
-Radiation Physics
-Radiation Measurement
-Detection Instrumentation
-Radiation Laboratory Skills
-Experimental and Professional Skills for Medical Physics
-Research Skills
-Non-linear Physics
-Topics in Theoretical Physics
-Imaging and Remote Sensing
-Diagnostic Applications of Ionising Radiation Physics
-Radiation Protection
-Extended Group Project
-Therapy Physics
-Non-ionising Radiation Imaging
-Nuclear Power and Non-ionising Radiation
-Environmental Physics and Environmental Protection
-Astrophysical Dynamics
-Quantum Magnetism and Superconductivity
-Advances in Nanophotonics
-Research Project and Dissertation
-Special Relativity
-Modern Analytical Techniques
-Nuclear Astrophysics
-Light and Matter
-Advanced Quantum Physics
-Cosmology and Galaxy Formation
-Semiconductor Physics and Technology


The primary aim of the programme is to provide a high quality postgraduate level qualification in physics.


Students will:
-Be able to demonstrate an advanced understanding of theories and ideas in a sub- discipline of Physics
-Have insight into current topics and problems of that sub-discipline in a professional and/or academic context
-Be able to apply their knowledge and practical understanding of scientific methodology in their chosen research topic (e.g. experimental techniques, simulation tools, developing theoretical models etc.)
-Analyse, evaluate and interpret data produced and/or summarised in the literature in their chosen area of speciality
-Be able to carry out a scientific investigation under the guidance and advice of their supervisor
-Acquire, analyse, interpret and draw conclusions from their findings with the appropriate numerical methods and due consideration to uncertainties; they will also be able to critically evaluate the significance of their conclusions, strengths and weaknesses of their study in the context of up-to- date literature relevant to their research topic and present their work in written form to the scientific audience of their speciality in a professional and concise manner
-Throughout the programme, students will develop the ability to manage their own learning in terms of time management as well as identifying and accessing the resources required for their academic study

Subject knowledge and skills
-A systematic understanding of their chosen area of specialisation in an academic and professional context together with a critical awareness of current problems and / or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by the state of the art
-A comprehensive understanding of techniques applicable to their own research project
Originality in the application of knowledge, together with a practical understanding of radiation-based, experimental research projects
-An ability to evaluate and objectively interpret experimental data in their chosen topic of specialisation
-Familiarity with generic issues in management and safety and their application in a professional context

Core academic skills
-The ability to plan and execute under supervision, an experiment or investigation and to analyse critically the results and draw valid conclusions from them
-The ability to evaluate the level of uncertainty in results, understand the significance of uncertainty analysis and be able to compare these results with expected outcomes, theoretical predictions and/or with published data, along with the ability to evaluate the significance of results in this context
-The ability to evaluate critically current research and advanced scholarship in their chosen discipline of specialisation
-The ability to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences

Personal and key skills
-The ability to communicate complex scientific ideas, the conclusions of an experiment, investigation or project concisely, accurately and informatively
-The ability to manage their own learning and to make use of appropriate texts, research articles and other primary sources
-Responsibility for personal and professional development
-The ability to use external mentors for personal / professional purposes
-Knowledge and understanding
-Knowledge of physics, technology and processes in the subject of the course and the ability to apply these in the context of the course
-Ability to research problems involving innovative practical or theoretical work
-Ability to formulate ideas and response to problems, refine or expand knowledge in response to specific ideas or problems and communicate these ideas and responses
-Ability to evaluate/argue alternative solutions and strategies independently and assess/report on own/others work with justification

Intellectual / cognitive skills
-The ability to plan and execute, under supervision, an experiment or theoretical investigation, analyse critically the results and draw valid conclusions
-Students should be able to evaluate the level of uncertainty in their results, understand the significance of error analysis and be able to compare their theoretical (experimental) results with expected experimental (theoretical) outcomes, or with published data
-They should be able to evaluate the significance of their results in this context
-The ability to deal with complex issues both systematically and creatively, make sound judgements in the absence of complete data, and communicate their conclusions clearly to specialist and non-specialist audiences

Professional practical skills
-Technical mastery of the scientific and technical information presented and the ability to interpret this in the professional context
-Ability to plan projects and research methods in the subject of the course
-Understand and be able to promote the scientific and legal basis of the field through peer and public communication
-Aware of public concern and ethical issues in radiation and environmental protection
-Able to formulate solutions in dialogue with peers, mentors and others

Key / transferable skills
-Identify, assess and resolve problems arising from material in lectures and during experimental/research activities
-Make effective use of resources and interaction with others to enhance and motivate self –study
-Make use of sources of material for development of learning and research; such as journals, books and the internet
-Take responsibility for personal and professional development
-Be self-reliant
-Responsibility for personal and professional development


We often give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities.

In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV.

Visit the Physics - MSc page on the University of Surrey website for more details!

(Student Profile)

Manasavee Lohvithee

I received a fully funded scholarship for my MSc from the Royal Thai Government through the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand.

I chose to take a Physics Euromasters because I find it an interesting subject, the Department of Physics at Surrey has a very good reputation and the structure of the course has allowed me to gain good skills for my future. Thailand needs lots of people who have an expertise in this field, so the plan is that I will lecture there after I’ve completed my PhD.

During the first year of my study, I focused on how radiation can be detected and measured in different ways and looked at the pros and cons for each instrument used to detect radiation. Now in my research year, my dissertation topic is ‘Development of algorithms for microCT analysis of bone’. I’m examining how CT images are generated, and I’m exploring how the software can be developed to analyse bone samples.

Since arriving in England, I have grown in confidence and learned to live on my own away from my home country. I was given a warm welcome at the airport through the Meet and Greet scheme and found the Welcome Week really helpful.

The University facilities are very good, especially the library, and I feel very safe both on and off the campus.


Discounts for Surrey graduates - No. of awards TBC

If you are a self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford, you could be eligible for a ten per cent discount on our taught postgraduate Masters programme fees. This scheme is for applicable to Postgraduate Taught entry students only and is reviewed annually.Students who graduated in 2013 are eligible, as well as alumni from previous years, on receipt of evidence of the award from Surrey and where we can identify that you actually studied in Guildford. Students from SII-DUFE are eligible for this scheme.Associated Institution students are not eligible. Not available to modular self-pacing students.

Value of Scholarship(s)

10% tuition fee discount


Self-funded UK, EU or international student who has studied for an undergraduate degree at the University of Surrey campus in Guildford

Application Procedure

If you have any enquiries regarding this matter please contact the Student Fees and Funding Office on [email protected]


GREAT Surrey Scholarships India - 6 Awards

Funded by the University and the UK government’s GREAT Britain campaign, up to six scholarships worth £5,000 (paid in the form of a fee discount) are being offered on postgraduate taught courses from the following subjects:- Chemical and Process Engineering
- Chemistry
- Civil and Environmental Engineering
- Computer Science
- Electrical and Electronic Engineering
- Environment and Sustainability
- Mathematics
- Mechanical Engineering Sciences
- PhysicsWHO CAN APPLY?You can apply for a GREAT Surrey Scholarship if:- You hold a high first-class degree from an Indian university (the minimum requirement is 65 per cent from a prestigious university or 70 per cent from a regional university).
- You hold an offer from Surrey to study any MSc course within the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, as listed above (you must hold an offer before submitting an application for a scholarship)

Value of Scholarship(s)



The GREAT Scholarship – India programme is aimed at high-calibre Indian students who want to study for a postgraduate programme in engineering.

Application Procedure

To apply, you will need to complete the online form - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/content/great-scholarships-india-2016

Further Information



Teaching Assistantships - 6 Awards

Our department-led scholarships enable you to assist with the teaching of Physics undergraduate students through laboratory sessions, tutorials, problem-solving classes, computing and other teaching activities depending on suitability. Open to home or international, full-time or part-time students, the University of Surrey gives out approximately six of these awards per annum. The Teaching Assistantship award is available on all MSc Physics programmes, and if successful, you can earn up to £3,000 throughout the year.

Value of Scholarship(s)

up to £3,000


Eligible MSc applicants will be sent an application form by email in August 2016 and the application procedure includes an interview (which can be completed by telephone).

Application Procedure

See the website

Further Information


Entry Requirements

A minimum 2.2 honours degree (or overseas equivalent) in the physical sciences or in a relevant engineering discipline. Applicants with suitable industrial experience will also be considered.

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Recipient: University of Surrey

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