Close up of student's face inspecting physics equipment in the lab

Physics MSci

University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK

Course overview

About Physics at the University of Nottingham

We have a proud history of learning and innovation. Research undertaken within the School of Physics and Astronomy, by Professor Sir Peter Mansfield, was recognised with a 2003 Nobel Prize for the invention of Magnetic Resonance Imaging body scanners. This technology has already helped more than half a billion people worldwide. More recently, our use of quantum technologies to understand how the brain works is changing the way that neurological conditions are detected and treated.

Our research activities cover cutting-edge topics ranging from probing quantum mechanics at ultralow temperatures to understanding the largest structures in the Universe. 

Modules

Mandatory

Year 1

From Newton to Einstein

Mandatory

Year 1

Introductory Experimental Physics

Mandatory

Year 1

Frontiers in Physics

Mandatory

Year 1

Computing For Physical Science

Mandatory

Year 1

Quantitative Physics

Mandatory

Year 1

Basic Mathematical Methods for Physics

Mandatory

Year 2

The Quantum World

Mandatory

Year 2

Thermal and Statistical Physics

Mandatory

Year 2

Classical Fields

Mandatory

Year 2

Wave Phenomena

Mandatory

Year 2

Intermediate Experimental Physics

Optional

Year 2

The Structure of Stars

Optional

Year 2

The Structure of Galaxies

Optional

Year 2

Force and Function at the Nanoscale

Optional

Year 2

Principles of Dynamics

Optional

Year 2

Theory Toolbox

Optional

Year 2

Health Physics

Mandatory

Year 3

Quantum Dynamics

Mandatory

Year 3

Physics Project

Mandatory

Year 3

Atoms, Photons and Fundamental Particles

Mandatory

Year 3

Introduction to Solid State Physics

Optional

Year 3

Atmospheric and Planetary Physics

Optional

Year 3

Introduction to Cosmology

Optional

Year 3

Extreme Astrophysics

Optional

Year 3

Functional Medical Imaging

Optional

Year 3

Scientific Computing

Optional

Year 3

Semiconductor Physics

Optional

Year 3

Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics

Optional

Year 3

Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos

Optional

Year 3

Principles of Dynamics

Optional

Year 3

Molecular Biophysics

Optional

Year 3

From Accelerators to Medical Imaging

Optional

Year 3

Health Physics

Optional

Year 3

The Structure of Galaxies

Optional

Year 3

Symmetry and Action Principles in Physics

Optional

Year 3

Force and Function at the Nanoscale

Optional

Year 3

Theory Toolbox

Mandatory

Year 4

Physics Research Project

Optional

Year 4

Molecular Biophysics

Optional

Year 4

Order, Disorder and Fluctuations

Optional

Year 4

Advanced Techniques for Nanoscience Research

Optional

Year 4

Modern Cosmology

Optional

Year 4

Magnetic Resonance

Optional

Year 4

The Politics, Perception and Philosophy of Physics

Optional

Year 4

Quantum Transport

Optional

Year 4

Imaging and Data Processing

Optional

Year 4

Gravity

Optional

Year 4

Research Techniques in Astronomy

Optional

Year 4

Light and Matter

Optional

Year 4

Quantum Coherent Devices

Optional

Year 4

Modern Applications of Physics

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About modules

The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. Modules (including methods of assessment) may change or be updated, or modules may be cancelled, over the duration of the course due to a number of reasons such as curriculum developments or staffing changes. This content was last updated on Friday 10 March 2023.

Teaching methods

  • Computer labs
  • Lab sessions
  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Tutorials
  • Workshops
  • Problem classes

 

 

For a typical core module the examination carries a weight of 80%, the remaining 20% usually being allocated for regular coursework and workshop assignments throughout the year.

Experimental and other practical work is continually assessed through laboratory notebooks and formal reports.

Assessment methods

  • Coursework
  • Group project
  • Lab reports
  • Written exam
  • Research project

Typically in the first year, there are 10 lectures per week including problem sheets and directed reading. Some modules are supplemented by additional workshops where you will have the opportunity to put your learning into practice.

You will take part in weekly small group tutorials (typically five students), where your tutor will provide support and guidance. The practical modules involve working between three and six hours per week in laboratories. Subsequent years will vary with the largest change being no more weekly tutorials.

Studying advanced physics will enable you to become more adaptable and better at problem solving. These are invaluable traits for any career. Our students go on to work in a variety of industries, including engineering, aerospace, IT, and finance, as well as academic research. Others use their training in communication skills to enter teaching or science communication careers.

Employers of our graduates include Accenture, BBC, EDF Energy, Jaguar Land Rover, and various NHS Trusts. Roles include Trainee Clinical Scientist, Medical Physicist, Systems Engineer, Data Analyst and Software Development Engineer.

The student-centred nature of the fourth year will give you additional experience in communication, group work, and project management.

Average starting salary and career progression

73.9% of undergraduates from the School of Physics & Astronomy secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £27,714.*

*HESA Graduate Outcomes 2019/20 data published in 2022. The Graduate Outcomes % is derived using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.

Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.

Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.

Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers (Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).

University undergraduate student Cole Pearce studying in Nightingale Hall accommodation's library, University Park. November 5th 2021.

In the summer of 2017 during my degree, I had a 12 week summer internship with the defence and aerospace company BAE Systems. I graduated in July 2018, and started my new role at BAE Systems in September that year. A physics degree teaches you to have a strong mathematical and logical grounding. This in turn gives you the ability to approach complex problems in a certain way, and therefore means you can solve them efficiently and effectively. "

Jake

MSci Physics graduate

Course data