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MASt in Physics

Course Description

The MASt in Physics is a taught masters level course in which candidates coming from outside Cambridge work alongside students taking the final year of the integrated Undergraduate + Masters course in Physics. It is designed to act as a top-up course for students who already hold a 3-year undergraduate degree in physics (or an equivalent subject with similar physics content) and who are likely to wish to subsequently pursue research in physics, either within the department or elsewhere.

The course aims to bring students close to the boundaries of current research, and is thus somewhat linked to the expertise from within the specific research groups in the Department of Physics. Candidates make a series of choices as the year proceeds which allow them to select a bias towards particular broad areas of physics such as condensed matter physics, particle physics, astrophysics, biophysics, or semiconductor physics. The emphasis can range over the spectrum from strongly experimental to highly theoretical physics, and a range of specialist options may be chosen.

All students also undertake a substantial research project, which is expected to take up one third of their time for the year. Details of the current Part III physics course can be found at http://www.phy.cam.ac.uk/students/teaching/current-courses/III_overview . Please note that the courses available to students do change from year to year (especially the Minor Topic courses taken in the Lent Term) and so this year's course listing should only be used as a guide to what courses might be available in future.

See the website http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/courses/directory/pcphasphy

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the programme, students will have:

- reinforced their broad understanding of physics across the core areas studied in the Cambridge bachelors physics programme.
- developed their knowledge in specialised areas of physics bringing them close to the boundaries of current research.
- developed an understanding of the techniques and literature associated with the project area they have focussed on.
- demonstrated the application of knowledge in a research context and become familiar with the methods of research and enquiry used the further that knowledge.
- shown abilities in the critical evaluation of knowledge.
- demonstrated some level of self-direction and originality in tackling and solving research problems, and acted autonomously in the planning and execution of research.


The course begins with taught courses offered in seven core areas: these "Major Topics" are lectured in the Michaelmas Term and cover substantial areas of physics. Students may choose to attend three or more of these for examination in the Lent term. In the Lent term, students take three or more shorter more specialised "Minor Topic" courses (from about twelve) for examination in the Easter Term. Substitutes for Major and Minor Topic courses are available from a small subset of courses taught by or shared with other departments. Throughout the year students also work on a research project that contributes to roughly a third of their mark and at the end of the year sit a three hour unseen paper on General Physics.

Depending on the lecturer for each course, students may be expected to submit work (i.e. problem sets) in advance of the small group sessions for scrutiny and/or present their work to those attending the sessions.


The research project will be assessed on the basis of scrutiny of the student's project laboratory notebook and project report (typically 20-30 pages) and a short (approx 30 minute) oral examination with the project supervisor and another member of staff.

It is not usual for submitted work to be returned with detailed annotations. Rather, feedback will be predominantly oral, but lecturers are expected to submit a short written supervision report at the end of each term for each of their students.

Feedback on the research project will be be primarily oral, during the student/supervisor sessions, though a short written supervision report at the end of the Lent term will be provided by each supervisor

Candidates will normally take:

- A two hour unseen examination on three or more of the Major Topic courses. These will be taken at the start of the Lent Term.
- A one and a half hour unseen examination on three or more of the Minor Topic courses. These will normally be taken at the start of the Easter term.
- One three hour unseen General Physics Paper, taken towards the end of the Easter term.
- A number of additional unseen examination papers, if the candidate has chosen to take any of the interdisciplinary courses, Part III Mathematics courses, or other shared courses in lieu of any of the Major or Minor Topic papers.

Candidates who have chosen to substitute a Minor Topic paper with an additional External Project, will be assessed on that work via scrutiny of the student's project report (typically 20-30 pages) and a short (approx 30 minute) oral examination with two members of staff.

Candidates who have taken the Entrepreneurship course, in lieu of a Minor Topic, will be assessed on the basis of the course assignments set by the course co-ordinator.

How to apply: http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/applying

Funding Opportunities

There are no specific funding opportunities advertised for this course. For information on more general funding opportunities, please follow the link below.

General Funding Opportunities http://www.graduate.study.cam.ac.uk/finance/funding

Visit the MASt in Physics page on the University of Cambridge website for more details!

Entry Requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK High II.i Honours Degree. The entry requirement for the MASt in Physics is a qualification comparable to an upper second class or better UK Bachelor's degree in Physics. Historically, the majority of successful applicants have been of High II.i/Ist class standard. Candidates applying whose degree programmes have not included a substantial component of physics will likely be at a disadvantage. Selected candidates will be interviewed by Skype, telephone or in person

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