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MSc Physics

Course Description

Surrey's Department of Physics (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/physics/) has many decades of experience in delivering high-quality postgraduate taught courses, attracting students from all over the world.


Our Physics MSc enables you to obtain a postgraduate qualification in Physics by following a customised programme of taught modules tailored specifically, in agreement with the Programme Director, to suit your interests and previous knowledge.

Visit the website http://www.surrey.ac.uk/postgraduate/physics


The MSc Physics is a one year (90 ECTS credits) programme.

Students select eight modules (one taught compulsory module and seven optional taught modules) from a wide range of fundamental and applied physics topics, offered in the first year from the Department of Physics’ internationally-respected fundamental physics taught provision, as well as from the vocationally-oriented MSc programmes. Students tailor their study programme to suit their interests and needs in discussion with the Course Director (and subject to timetabling). The skills learnt are then used and applied during the summer, when you will undertake an eleven-week research project. The project may be undertaken in collaboration with an external partner organisation, which might be an industrial company or a national or international research facility such as the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

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

Programme structure

The Physics MSc consists of one taught compulsory module (below) and seven optional taught modules from a wide selection. The dissertation project is undertaken in the summer.

Compulsory module
- Research Skills

This module provides students with professional skills, research skills and personal development skills to support the Dissertation Project. It is carried out during Semester 2 in advance of choosing a dissertation project, namely February-May.

Research project and dissertation:

You will carry out independent research that demonstrates an advanced level of knowledge and understanding in the field of study. Under the guidance of your academic supervisor, you will design and manage a programme of research, embedded within the discipline context and through this, be able to demonstrate well-developed written, numerical, and analytical skills.

Optional modules:

Radiation Physics
This module will provide you with a detailed and systematic overview of atomic and nuclear physics including basic energetics of radioactive decay. You will gain understanding of fundamental processes involved with the interaction of X- and gamma-ray photons, charged particles and neutrons with matter.

Radiation Measurement
You will find out about the principles of radiation detection, measurement and dosimetry. After completing this module, you will be able to critically analyse and summarise original dosimetry data and understand the methods required to calculate dose and radiation effects.

Radiation Laboratory Skills
This module explores the experimental use of radioactive materials, radiation counting, spectroscopy equipment, dosimetry measurements and standard radiation experimental techniques. At the end of this course you will be more confident handling radioactive materials and will be able to understand the basic evaluation of experimental data using standard statistical methods

Experimental and professional skills for Medical Physics
The module will provide students with practical skills and background knowledge needed to work in a clinical setting. It includes two seminars/workshop on research ethics and intellectual property and a set of radiation laboratory experiments

Introduction to Radiation Biology
You will develop an understanding of the human body and the effect on it of ionising radiation. After completing this module, you will be able to analyse basic molecular cell and tissue structure, describe the control systems of the human body and appreciate the science underpinning radiological protection standards.

Non Linear Physics
This module focuses on nonlinear physics and chaos theory, and looks at the application of fundamental methods of nonlinear dynamics to chaotic systems. Module content includes fixed points, bifurcations, fractals, strange attractors and limit cycles.

Topics in Theoretical Physics
On successful completion of this module, you will gain a solid understanding of complex variable theory, and be able to test a function for analyticity and identify and classify poles and other singular points of functions.

Non-ionising Radiation Imaging
You will be taught on the basic principles of two major non-ionising radiation imaging modalities which are used in hospital environments, and develop an understanding on the physics behind the operation of nuclear magnetic resonance and ultrasound imaging applications.

Therapy Physics
On this module you will explore how radiations of various types are used for therapeutic purposes. Module content includes UV radiation and blue light; ultrasound therapies; and lasers in medicine.

Diagnostic Applications of Ionising Radiation Physics
You will develop an understanding of medical X- and gamma-ray imaging technology, and how to use radiopharmaceuticals in nuclear medicine. By the end of the module you should have a broad understanding of the techniques used in-vivo and in-vitro nuclear medicine studies.

Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety
This course describes the international legislative framework of radiation protection. From this starting point the course covers population and personal exposures to radiation, the principles of dose calculations, and example procedures for implementing radiation protection programmes. Nuclear reactor safety case work is also discussed. The module completes with a general assessment of the concept of risk. Please note that this topic will be taught over an intensive week.

Nuclear Metrology
This module will provide an understanding of nuclear metrology for applications in the nuclear industry, environmental monitoring and nuclear medicine. Please note that this topic will be taught over an intensive week.

Environment and Legislation
This module describes the legislative framework of environmental protection, describing the major concepts in the field. It reviews the establishment and verification of systems for environmental protection, considering both legal and economic aspects. The module concludes with a practical review of environmental protection as applied in the nuclear industry. Please note that this topic will be taught over an intensive week.

Extended group project
Through laboratory-based sessions and hands-on computing laboratory teaching, you will learn how to use and implement FLUKA Monte Carlo simulation software. You will have the opportunity to develop a complete radiation detector instrumentation system of your choice, and Medical Physics MSc students will normally undertake a library-based project.

Learning outcomes

- Subject knowledge and skills

Material is introduced through lectures, laboratories, and directed reading and research. Students are given guidance on how to manage their learning, and at each stage in their development they are expected to take responsibility for their own learning.

Understanding is developed and consolidated through interactions in group meetings, by laboratory work and by private study. Project work, leading to the dissertation, is used to integrate material and make knowledge functional.

- Core academic skills

The various advanced lecture modules in the first year and the research training deliver knowledge in depth and breadth, and develop the ability to deal with concepts and applications at the frontiers of the subject. The project module develops the ability to plan and execute a substantial project, developing a careful and critical approach to experimental design and/or mathematical modelling, and maintenance of accurate records.

- Personal and key skills

Teaching and learning of a range of transferable skills (in the ability to exercise independent judgement, use of information technology, oral and written communication, presentation, accessing information and group work) are embedded within the programme; the emphasis of these elements can vary depending on the each individual’s customised study programme.

Find out how to apply here - http://www.surrey.ac.uk/apply/postgraduate

Visit the MSc Physics 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. ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS: IELTS minimum overall: 6.5; IELTS minimum by component: 6.0

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