Triangle

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. We have been ranked joint third in the UK for research quality in physics (Research Excellence Framework 2014).

Our courses offer a wide range of optional modules, so you can explore new areas of physics and specialise in the ones that interest you the most. You can study topics as diverse as cosmology, nanoscience, and medical imaging and learn from experts in those fields. What’s more, there is flexibility to transfer between most physics courses after the first year.

Some of our teaching staff share their love of physics with budding scientists worldwide through the popular Sixty Symbols YouTube channel. Our unique, student centred MSci course offers innovative teaching methods, with few to no exams in the final year.

We encourage students to share their fascination with physics with the wider community through our outreach programme. This programme can help you further develop skills such as organisation, communication and team working. We also have an active student society, PhysSoc, which organises social events throughout the year. Our mentoring scheme gives new starters the opportunity to connect with more experienced physics students, helping you settle into university life.

Physics with Theoretical Astrophysics MSci

This course focuses on the sophisticated theoretical techniques and applications of modern physics. You will study specialist astrophysics modules such as The Structure of Stars and Extreme Astrophysics. There is no practical study after year one.

Our unique fourth year will develop your professional and transferrable skills with immersive, student-centred learning. You will focus on fewer but more specialised areas and complete a year-long research project. Under the guidance of our expert staff you will benefit from a range of learning styles. These include group work, projects, delivering seminars and independent learning.

Why choose this course?

Research project

supervised by one or more academic staff members

Specialist modules

in theoretical physics and astronomy

Joint 3rd

in the UK for research quality in physics

Research Excellence Framework 2014

Accredited

by the Institute of Physics


Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements below apply to 2022 entry.

UK entry requirements
A level AAB in Clearing for home students

Please note: Applicants whose backgrounds or personal circumstances have impacted their academic performance may receive a reduced offer. Please see our contextal admissions policy for more information.

Required subjects

A in maths and A in Physics.

IB score 34; 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level in Clearing for home students

A levels

AAB in Clearing for home students, including an A in maths and an A in Physics.

Excluding:

  • General Studies
  • Critical Thinking
  • Global Perspectives
  • Citizenship Studies

Foundation progression options

If you don't meet our entry requirements there is the option to study the Engineering and Physical Sciences Foundation Programme. There is a course for UK students and one for EU/international students.

Mature Students

At the University of Nottingham, we have a valuable community of mature students and we appreciate their contribution to the wider student population. You can find lots of useful information on the mature students webpage.

Learning and assessment

How you will learn

Teaching methods

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

How you will be assessed

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
  • Research project
  • Written exam

Contact time and study hours

Typically in the first year, there are 10 lectures per week including problem sheets and directed reading. 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.

Study abroad

Our Physics with European Language degree courses give you the opportunity to spend a year studying in a European country and develop proficiency in another language.

Each year students may apply for a limited number of competitive places to spend several months abroad conducting the research for the final year project with one of our international partners. Previous destinations have included China, Brazil, France, and the USA.

Year in industry

Our year in industry degree courses give you the opportunity to spend a year on placement with an industrial partner. These placements enable you to apply your learning to a practical setting within a physics-related industry.

Placements

There are opportunities to take on a paid summer research internship within the School. 

Study Abroad and the Year in Industry are subject to students meeting minimum academic requirements. Opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university’s control. Every effort will be made to update information as quickly as possible should a change occur.

Modules

Build up your knowledge of the subject through modules in the core elements of physics. The first two years will develop your key practical, mathematical and computational skills. You therefore do not have to make an early decision as to whether you wish to pursue a three-or four-year degree.

From Newton to Einstein

How does the world really work?

We’ll take you from Newton’s mechanics, the pinnacle of the scientific revolution and the foundation of our understanding of modern physics, right through to our current understanding of physics with Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.

This module will underpin your entire physics degree. It contains all the ideas and principles that form the basis of our modern world. As you’ll find out, some of these ideas are very strange indeed.

You’ll study:

  • Newton’s laws of mechanics
  • The physics of waves and oscillations
  • Electricity and magnetism
  • Quantum mechanics and the foundations of modern physics
  • Einstein’s relativity
Computing For Physical Science

You’ll receive training in basic computing techniques using Python, and will be introduced to their use in solving physical problems.

You’ll spend two hours in computer classes and a one hour lecture each week. 

Introductory Experimental Physics

In this module you will receive: an introduction to the basic techniques and equipment used in experimental physics; training in the analysis and interpretation of experimental data; opportunities to observe phenomena discussed in theory modules and training in the skills of record keeping and writing scientific reports.

Mathematics for Physics and Astronomy

You’ll study a selection of mathematical techniques that are used for analysing physical behaviour. Topics will include:

  • complex numbers
  • calculus of a single variable
  • plane geometry
  • differential equations
  • calculus of several variables
  • matrix algebra

You’ll spend around three hours per week in workshops and lectures studying this module.

Quantitative Physics

This module will teach you how the basic principles of physics are applied in a range of situations and provide you with knowledge of the primary mathematical methods for the analysis of physical problems. On completion of the module, you will be able to formulate problems in physics using appropriate mathematical language. 

Frontiers in Physics

This module will cover major areas at the forefront of modern research, beyond those encountered in the core modules. You’ll be introduced to cutting-edge topics in medical physics, nanoscience, and astronomy by experts in each of these fields.

The frontiers of knowledge in physics are constantly changing. This module will cover major areas at the forefront of modern research, beyond those encountered in the core modules. You’ll be introduced to cutting-edge topics in medical physics, nanoscience, and astronomy by experts in each of these fields.

You’ll study:

  • Medical physics: the physics of sound and hearing; radioactivity in medicine; magnetic resonance imaging
  • Nanoscience: physics at the nanoscale; introduction to quantum mechanics; viewing and manipulating matter at the atomic level; chaos
  • Astronomy: stars, galaxies, and black holes; gravitational waves; the Big Bang; climate change
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. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on Monday 01 August 2022.

You will study the same core modules as MSci Physics with Theoretical Physics. You won't do any laboratory work in this year or the next. This time is freed up to study more advanced modules in theoretical astrophysics, such as Theory Toolbox and Classical Fields.

Core modules

Principles of Dynamics

This module will introduce you to the mathematical language behind the classical mechanics describing our universe. You will learn about Lagrangians and Hamiltonians, the starting place from which we can determine the dynamics of complicated systems, like pendula and planets orbiting the sun, as well as the origin of conserved quantities such as energy and momentum.

This is a fun module. At school you learnt Kepler’s Laws, Newton’s Law of Gravity, and F=ma, but how can you derive these amazing results? Where do they come from?

Here you will find out, as we introduce you to the mathematical language behind the classical mechanics describing our universe. You will learn about Lagrangians and Hamiltonians, the starting place from which we can determine the dynamics of complicated systems, like pendula and planets orbiting the sun, as well as the origin of conserved quantities such as energy and momentum. For two hours a week we will take you into the mathematics and ideas of giants like Newton, Euler, Lagrange, Noether and Hamilton.

Among many exciting things, you will study:

  • Newton’s Laws and deriving the orbits predicted by Kepler
  • Lagrangians and Hamiltonians, the building blocks behind classical mechanics
  • The Euler-Lagrange equations describing the dynamics behind classical systems
  • Rigid bodies – introducing moments of inertia, centre of mass and more so that we can apply these results to many particle rigid systems, like pendulums and even you
  • Constraints – how to determine the dynamics of a system where it is constrained, for example, the motion of an explorer constrained to be on the surface of the earth
  • The motion of charged particles, like electrons in an electromagnetic field
  • Hamilton’s equations as an alternative way to determine the dynamics of a system, particularly useful when we are searching for conserved quantities like angular momentum
  • Spinning tops – what? You heard right, the vital roles of gyroscopes in our life are understood by 5-year-olds, but the mathematics certainly is not. Thanks to this course, now you can understand that as well.
The Quantum World

This module provides an introduction to the theory and elementary applications of quantum mechanics, a theory that is one of the key achievements of physics. Quantum mechanics is an elegant theoretical construct that is both beautiful and mysterious. Some of the predictions of quantum mechanics are wholly counter-intuitive and there are aspects of it that are not properly understood. Nonetheless, it has been thoroughly tested empirically for nearly a century and, wherever predictions can be made, they agree with experiment.

The notes, videos, and simulations for the first semester of The Quantum World are all publicly available and freely accessible. Check out the notes online, which include embedded links to the videos and interactive simulations.

You’ll study:

  • Quantum vs classical states
  • Fourier series and transforms: translating from position to momentum space
  • The Heisenberg uncertainty principle (particularly from a Fourier perspective)
  • The time-dependent and time-independent Schrödinger equation
  • Bound and unbound states, scattering and tunnelling
  • Wavepackets
  • The subtleties of the particle in a box
  • Operators, observables, and the thorny measurement problem
  • Matrix mechanics and Dirac notation
  • The quantum harmonic oscillator
  • Conservation and correspondence principles
  • Angular momentum
  • Stern-Gerlach experiment
  • Spin
  • Zeeman effect, Rabi oscillations
  • 2D and 3D systems
  • Degeneracies
  • Hydrogen atom and the radial Schrödinger equation
  • Entanglement and non-locality
  • ... and, of course, that ever-frustrating feline...
Wave Phenomena

The physics of waves features in our everyday lives. Waves are important phenomena. They include:

  • electromagnetic waves that we know as light
  • communication via radio and microwaves
  • surface waves on water
  • shock waves in earthquakes

Understanding light and how it can be manipulated leads to important technical applications such as optics and cameras in mobile phones, telecommunication and the internet or even quantum computers.

This module will cover the wave description of light; geometrical optics and imaging, interference and diffraction; optical interferometry. The second half of the module will introduce more general methods for the discussion of wave propagation, and Fourier methods.

You’ll study:

  • Imaging and matrix methods
  • Microscopes and telescopes. State of the art telescopes such as the Hubble Telescope, the VLT (Very Large Telescope) and the James Webb Telescope.
  • Interference patterns and their applications, for example to study the structure of proteins, of crystals and of fullerenes
Thermal and Statistical Physics

Macroscopic systems exhibit behaviour that often differs from that of their microscopic constituents. This module explores the relationship between the macro and micro worlds, and the complexity which emerges from the interplay of many interacting degrees of freedom.

You’ll study:

  • Laws of thermodynamics, and how they are still relevant
  • Macroscopic characterisation of matter, for example how liquid nitrogen is made and understood
  • Statistical formulation, linking micro and macro systems
  • Quantum statistics, providing a theory for everything!
Classical Fields

In this module you will explore the concepts of scalar and vector fields. You will learn the mathematics of vector calculus, which give us a powerful tool for studying the properties of fields and understanding their physics.

You will then study its application in two important and contrasting areas of physics: fluid dynamics, and electromagnetism. We use examples such as water draining from a sink or wind in a tornado to provide intuitive illustrations of the application of vector calculus, which can then help us to understand the behaviour of electric and magnetic fields.

You’ll study:

  • The fundamental principles and techniques of vector calculus, and methods to visualise and calculate the properties of scalar and vector fields
  • The application of vector calculus to fluid flow problems
  • Maxwell’s equations of electrodynamics, and their applications in electrostatics, magnetic fields and electromagnetic waves.
Theory Toolbox

This module introduces a range of theoretical techniques for the construction and analysis of simplified effective models. You will learn advanced mathematical methods and apply them to problems in quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, and other areas of physics.

You’ll study:

  • Differential calculus of complex functions
  • Advanced solution methods for differential equations such as the Schrödinger equation
  • Vector spaces of functions and Green functions
The Structure of Stars

In this module you will learn how the same physics that works on Earth – gravity, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, optics, quantum physics, atomic and nuclear physics – is used to understand stars. You will explore the most important physical processes occurring in stars of different types. You will then use this knowledge to build mathematical models of stars and to understand their internal structure, their formation, evolution, and death.

You’ll study:

  • How astronomers measure the most important properties of stars such as their mass, size, distance, brightness, temperature, chemical composition and age. This module will then teach you how physics is able to explain these properties.
  • How energy is generated inside stars through nuclear fusion, and how it is transported to the surface to make stars shine.
  • How to write the equations that describe the structure of stars, and how to use them to build mathematical models that explain their properties and evolution.
  • How stars are born, how they evolve with time, how long they live, how they die, and what remnants they leave behind. You will be able to understand, for instance, how supernovae explode and how some black holes form.
The Structure of Galaxies

This module will develop your current understanding of the various large-scale physical processes that dictate the formation, evolution and structure of galaxies, from when the Universe was in its infancy to the present day.

You’ll explore a range of topics, starting with the fundamentals of observational techniques used by astronomers for understanding the structure of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. We will then look at the more sophisticated ways of unpicking the physics that drives the complexity we see throughout the population of galaxies in the Universe.

Specifically, in this module, you will study:

  • The structure of the Milky Way – how we determine the structure of the Milky Way, its rotation curve and what this implies for its dark matter content
  • Properties of galaxies in the Universe – how astronomers classify galaxies, the properties of the different classes and how their constituents vary between classes
  • Dynamics of galaxies – kinematics of the gas and stars in galaxies, why spiral arms form, the theory of epicycles, bar formation, different types of orbits of matter within galaxies
  • Active galaxies – radio galaxies, quasars and active galactic nuclei, super-massive black holes
  • The environment of galaxies – how the environment that a galaxy resides in affects its evolution and structure
  • Galaxy evolution – observations of galaxy evolution from the early Universe to the present day, models of galaxy evolution.
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. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

You will complete the core elements of physics and theoretical astrophysics. Optional modules will give you the opportunity to study advanced physics modules that interest you.

You will apply the wide range of skills that you have learned to a theoretical astrophysics project.

Core modules

Introduction to Solid State Physics

Solid state physics underpins almost every technological development around us, from solar cells and LEDs to silicon chips and mobile phones.

The aim of this module is to introduce to you the fundamental topics in solid state physics. We start by looking at why atoms and molecules come together to form a crystal structure. We then follow the electronic structure of these through to interesting electronic, thermal and magnetic properties that we can harness to make devices.

You’ll study:

  • Why atoms and molecules come together to form crystal structures
  • The description of crystal structures, reciprocal lattices, diffraction and Brillouin zones
  • Nearly-free electron model – Bloch's theorem, band gaps from electron Bragg scattering and effective masses
  • Band theory, Fermi surfaces, qualitative picture of transport, metals, insulators and semiconductors
  • Semiconductors – doping, inhomogeneous semiconductors, basic description of pn junction
  • Phonons normal modes of ionic lattice, quantization, Debye theory of heat capacities, acoustic and optical phonons
  • Optical properties of solids absorption and reflection of light by metals, Brewster angle, dielectric constants, plasma oscillations
  • Magnetism – Landau diamagnetism, paramagnetism, exchange interactions, Ferromagnetism, antiferromagnetism, neutron scattering, dipolar interactions and domain formation, magnetic technology
Atoms, Photons and Fundamental Particles

This module will introduce students to the physics of atoms, nuclei and the fundamental constituents of matter and their interactions. The module will also develop the quantum mechanical description of these.

Topics to be covered are:

  • Approximation techniques first order perturbation theory, degeneracies, second order perturbation theory, transition rates, time-dependent perturbation theory, Fermi's golden rule
  • Particle Physics protons and neutrons, antiparticles, particle accelerators and scattering experiments, conservation laws, neutrinos, leptons, baryons and hadrons, the quark model and the strong interaction, weak interactions, standard model
  • Introduction to atomic physics review of simple model of hydrogen atom, Fermi statistics and Pauli principle, aufbau principle, hydrogenic atoms, exchange, fine structure and hyperfine interactions, dipole interaction, selection rules and transition rates
  • Lasers optical polarization and photons, optical cavities, population inversions, Bose statistics and stimulated emission, Einstein A and B coefficients
  • Nuclear Physics Radioactivity, decay processes, alpha, beta and gamma emission, detectors, stability curves and binding energies, nuclear fission, fusion, liquid drop and shell models.
Introduction to Cosmology

Cosmology is the scientific study of the Universe as a whole. It aims to understand what the Universe is made of, and its evolution from the Big Bang until today (and into the future).

You’ll study:

  • observational evidence for the Big Bang
  • how the expansion of the Universe depends on its contents and geometry
  • how the contents of the Universe evolve as it expands and cools
  • dark matter and dark energy: observational evidence and the latest theoretical models
  • inflation, a proposed period of accelerated expansion in the very early Universe
Extreme Astrophysics

This module explores the physical processes involved in the most extreme environments known in the Universe. Among the objects studied are neutron stars, black holes, supernova explosions, and active galactic nuclei.

Quantum Dynamics

Understanding the dynamics of quantum systems is crucial, not just for describing the fundamental physics of atoms, but also for the development of exciting new quantum-based technologies. This module will equip you with the key theoretical concepts and methods needed to explore how quantum systems evolve with time.

You’ll study:

  • Connections between the dynamics of quantum systems and that of more familiar classical ones
  • When (and how) to use approximations that allow complex problems to be made much simpler
  • The extent to which the evolution of quantum states can be controlled
  • How to put theory into practice using one of IBM’s prototype quantum computers.
Physics Project

You will carry out a project drawn from one of several areas of physics. The project may be experimental or theoretical in nature. Many of the projects reflect the research interests of members of academic staff. You will work in pairs and are expected to produce a plan of work and to identify realistic goals for your project. Each pair has a project supervisor responsible for setting the project.

In your third year you will carry out a research project drawn from one of several areas of physics. The project may be experimental, computational or theoretical in nature. Many of the projects reflect the current research interests of members of academic staff and could allow you to make a contribution to a particular field of physics research. Occasionally the work from these projects is used in scientific publications, and the students involved are named as authors on those publications.

You will work in pairs and will be expected to produce a plan of work and identify realistic goals for your project. Each pair has a project supervisor responsible for setting and guiding you through the project. You will also be required to maintain a diary/laboratory notebook throughout.

Depending upon the type of project that you decide to do, you will design and carry out your own experiments, theoretical calculations or computational work and use them to generate what are often new and interesting results. The project culminates in your writing a scientific report which is submitted for assessment along with your laboratory notebook.

Optional modules

Scientific Computing

This module aims to provide you with the skills necessary to use computational methods in the solution of non-trivial problems in physics and astronomy. You’ll also sharpen your programming skills through a three hour computing class and one hour of lectures per week. 

Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics

Particle physics has been hugely influential in both science and society, from the discovery of the electron to the detection of the Higgs boson. In this module you will be introduced to the mathematical tools required to understand our current description of the Standard Model of particle physics.

You’ll study:

  • The Dirac equation, which describes electrons, quarks and neutrinos
  • How symmetry and conservation laws are crucial in particle physics
  • The Feynman approach to computing the scattering of particles
Symmetry and Action Principles in Physics

Symmetry plays a central role in physics. Most of the fundamental Laws of modern physics have been formulated using symmetry principles. Symmetry is also expected to guide for further understanding and development of theories of physical phenomena.

Through a combination of lectures, engagement sessions and workshops, this module equips you with:

  • the key concepts of symmetry
  • the correspondence between symmetries and conservation laws
  • the derivations of physics laws from the action principles
  • and the consequences of symmetry breaking.

You’ll study:

  • Symmetries of space and phase space using classical mechanics
  • Symmetries of spacetime and in electromagnetism using special relativity
  • Main symmetry groups of modern physics laws
  • How structures in nature are results of symmetry breaking.
Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos

How can complicated nonlinear mechanical, electrical and biological systems be understood? In this module you will develop your knowledge of classical mechanics of simple linear behaviour to include the behaviour of complex nonlinear dynamics. You’ll learn about the way in which nonlinear deterministic systems can exhibit essentially random behaviours, and approaches to understand and control them.

You’ll learn:

  • In-depth knowledge of nonlinear dynamics in continuous and discrete classical systems
  • Practical skills in using analytical, geometric and numerical approaches to analyse dynamics in nonlinear systems of various dimensions
  • Methods to understand and create beautiful fractals through simple iteration rules.
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. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

In the final year, you will work on a range of activities, projects and presentations. You will also carry out a major research project, working on a cutting-edge problem in theoretical astrophysics.

Core modules

Physics Research Project

In this year-long module you’ll work on an original theoretical or practical problem directly relevant to the research taking place in the school or in a collaborating external organisation, such as industry or an overseas university. You’ll spend semester one researching the background to your chosen project and carry out your original research in semester two.

You’ll:

  • Choose a project from a wide range of options reflecting the broad range of research in the school (Astronomy; Particle Cosmology; MRI; Experimental and Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics)
  • Study the background and underlying physical principles of your choice
  • Carry out the original research and present your results orally and in a written report
Gravity

After more than 200 hundred years of Newtonian gravity, Einstein revolutionised the way we view space and time. This module will introduce you to the key concepts and tools used to describe gravitational physics as set down in General Relativity.

You’ll study:

  • How geometry plays a central role in physical measurements
  • How to compute the paths of objects in curved spacetime
  • The spacetime geometry of black holes
Research Techniques in Astronomy

This module develops a range of modern astronomical techniques through student-centered approaches to topical research problems. You’ll cover a range of topics related to ongoing research in astronomy and astrophysics, and will encompass theoretical and observational approaches. This module is based on individual and group student-led activities involving the solution of topical problems including written reports and exercises, and a project.

Modern Cosmology

This module introduces you to the key ideas behind modern approaches to our understanding of the role of inflation in the early and late universe, in particular through the formation of structure, the generation of anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background radiation, and the origin of dark energy. You’ll study through a series of staff lectures and student-led workshops.

Optional modules

Imaging and Image Processing

Modern science is data rich. For example, it’s not uncommon for a single experiment to generate terabytes, or even petabytes of data. As scientists, one of the major challenges we face is to collapse these vast data archives into meaningful information that we can understand, and use to draw conclusions.

In this module, you will learn the critical mathematical techniques that are used to do this. We will cover techniques from simple image processing, all the way to advanced blind source separation and machine learning. You will then put these techniques into practice, in a data processing project that may range from satellite imaging to measuring the amount of information stored by the human brain.

Order, Disorder and Fluctuations

This module will develop the modern theoretical description of phase transitions and critical phenomena and provide an introduction to the dynamics of non-equilibrium systems. Topics to be covered will include:

 • ordered phases of matter;

 •  order parameters;

 •  scaling behaviour at critical points;

 •  mean-field approaches;

 •  finite-size scaling;

 • stochastic processes;

 • Langevin dynamics and the Fokker-Planck equation.
Applications, both within and beyond, condensed matter physics will be discussed.

Quantum Transport

Electronic devices such as transistors and light emitting diodes are the basic building blocks of the technology that underpins all aspects of the modern world.

Previous modules on Solid State Physics and Semiconductor Physics should have given you a good understanding of how these devices work. The move to make these building blocks ever smaller leads us into regimes where we have to treat the quantum nature of electrons in solids much more seriously.

Research in this area has led to the development of entirely new types of electronic devices such as quantum well lasers. It has also uncovered entirely new physical phenomena like the quantum Hall effects. It is this new physics and its applications that is the topic of this module.

You will study:

  • The quantum theory of electrical transport in solids – elastic and inelastic scattering, conductance quantization
  • Quantum confinement – technology for producing 2d, 1d and 0d electronic systems
  • Quantum interference phenomena – weak and strong localization, Aharonov Bohm effect
  • Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene
  • Quantum Dots – tunnelling, charging effects, optoelectronic applications
  • Quantum Hall Effects and Topological Insulators.
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. Please refer to the module catalogue for information on available modules. This content was last updated on

Fees and funding

UK students

£9,250
Per year

International students

£26,500*
Per year

*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.

If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .

Additional costs

All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.

As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.

You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies. If you do these would cost around £40.

Due to our commitment to sustainability, we don’t print lecture notes but these are available digitally. You will be given £5 worth of printer credits a year. You are welcome to buy more credits if you need them. It costs 4p to print one black and white page.

If you study abroad, you need to consider the travel and living costs associated with your country of choice. This may include visa costs and medical insurance.

Personal laptops are not compulsory as we have computer labs that are open 24 hours a day but you may want to consider one if you wish to work at home.

Scholarships and bursaries

Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.

* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.

International students

We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.

International scholarships

Careers

Physics is a fundamental subject that serves as a foundation for most areas of science and engineering. Studying this specialist subject will develop your expertise in theoretical astrophysics. You will be taught all the key mathematical, computational and theoretical skills to help with your future career.

Average starting salary and career progression

87.0% of undergraduates from the School of Physics and Astronomy secured graduate level employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £26,673.*

* HESA Graduate Outcomes 2020. 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).

Institute of Physics

The Institute of Physics accredits bachelor and integrated masters degree programmes for the purposes of the professional award of Chartered Physicist. Chartered Physicist requires an IOP accredited degree followed by an appropriate period of experience during which professional skills are acquired. 

An accredited integrated masters degree fulfills the academic requirement for Chartered Physicist status.

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Important information

This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.