Why this course?
The MPhys teaches physics in greater depth than the BSc Honours degree. It’s for those of you who want to pursue a professional career in physics, with classes designed to meet the needs of the professional physicist.
You’ll focus your studies on a specific area, such as theoretical and computational physics, plasma physics or laser physics. You’ll also undertake a project, supervised by a member of staff in their research labs.
There is a strong emphasis on laboratory work, which will help you develop a sound understanding of experimental physics and instrumentation.
You’ll complete your laboratory work training with a research project carried out in an up-to-date research lab, attached to one of the department’s research groups. This allows you to benefit from our lively and diverse research environment.
What you’ll study
You’ll study the foundations of physics. Classes will also cover maths, mechanics, wave and optics, electromagnetism and quantum physics and practical work undertaken in the teaching laboratory. You’ll also select elective classes from across the University.
All classes are compulsory and will increase your understanding of physics developed in first year. You'll be introduced to new classes, including solid-state physics and computational physics. Laboratory work becomes more sophisticated, recognising your growing maturity as a physicist.
Compulsory classes include quantum physics, statistical mechanics, electromagnetism and solid-state physics together with mathematics. The laboratory work undertaken in Year 3 is aimed at further developing your laboratory skills in readiness for the fourth-year project. A key part of being a physicist is the communication of your understanding of the subject and in third year you will take a classes designed to enhance the communication skills acquired in Years 1 and 2.
You’ll undertake a project in research labs and a class that introduces the ideas behind the commercialisation of a physics idea. You can select optional classes from topics as diverse as Photonics through to Quantum Information Theory.
This year includes a further project, which follows on from the project work undertaken in fourth year together with a class that develops the skills to start successful research. These classes are taken in the first semester. In the second semester you can select classes from a range of optional classes which link to those taken in fourth year.
You'll have the opportunity to spend either a full year or a semester abroad studying under the Erasmus Programme, in the case of EU countries, or Student Exchange Programmes with many universities in North America, Canada and the rest of the world.
We recognise the key links between physics and industry and many start-up companies and SMEs in Scotland owe their existence to physics-based ideas.
This is why we offer our students the chance to undertake an industrial placement during the break between either Year 3 and Year 4 or Year 4 and Year 5.
These placements are offered on a competitive basis.
You'll undertake a year-long project with research groups within the Department of Physics in Year 4, and a semester-long project in Year 5.
In year 2, there's an imaging competition as part of the Optics class.
If you're looking to progress to porstgraduate study, we have a number of courses available:
High Flyer Programme
Well-qualified applicants with appropriate A Levels and Advanced Highers will be admitted to the Faculty of Science prestigious 'High Flyer' Programme, which allows students to complete an Honours degree in three years and an Integrated Masters degree in four. If you are studying the relevant subjects you may receive a dual offer, specifying grades to direct entry to Year 2 as a High Flyer and also standard Year 1 entry.
Find out more about our High Flyer Programme.
Accredited by the Institute of Physics for the purpose of fully meeting the educational requirement for Chartered Physicist.
This class is an introduction to working in a laboratory environment. You'll undertake experiments related to the taught components of the first year physics curriculum, learning how to handle experimental uncertainties. In addition to laboratory work, you'll also undertake a group project.
Mechanics, Optics & Waves
We'll provide you with an understanding of motion of simple mechanical systems, gravitation and simple harmonic motion. You'll also learn about the fundamentals of wave propagation and the superposition of waves as well simple optical phenomena such as diffraction.
Quantum Physics & Electromagnetism
This class is designed to introduce you to quantum mechanics and electromagnetism. It highlights experimental observations that resulted in the development of quantum mechanics, such as the photoelectric effect and blackbody radiation. In terms of electromagnetism, you'll cover basic electrostatics such as Gauss's law and magnetostatics.
This class is an extension of Experimental Physics from year 1. You'll undertake more complex experiments that are related to the taught components of the second year curriculum. You'll will see the statistical origin for experimental uncertainties.
Mechanics, Optics & Waves
This class builds on Mechanics, Optics and Waves from year 1. You'll be introduced to special relativity, the vector treatment of rotational motion and the behaviour of systems when forced to oscillate. To extend your understanding of wave phenomena you'll be introduced to the wave equation, Fresnel and Fraunhofer diffraction and the operation of lasers.
Quantum Physics & Electromagnetism
This class builds what you learned in year 1. you'll be introduced to the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics and you'll develop a vector model of electromagnetism.
This class will introduce you to the fundamentals of computer programming and the applications of computer programming, using Matlab, to solve physical problems.
Condensed Matter Physics
You'll be introduced to solid state physics covering topics such as bonding in solids, through to the difference between conductors, insulators and semi-conductors.
Gases & Liquids
Here you'll discover some of the key concepts associated with liquids and gases. You'll cover topics such as ideal and imperfect gases, Maxwellian distributions, hydrostatics and Bernoulli's equation.
This class extends the laboratory work developed in years 1 and 2. In this class the laboratory work is open ended with so you're able to fully explore the experiments in preparation for the final year project.
Quantum Physics & Electromagnetism
Building on what you learned in year 2, this class will extend your understanding of quantum mechanics by introducing advanced concepts such as time independent perturbation theory and electromagnetism by exploring the wave like nature of electromagnetism as predicted by Maxwell's equations.
This class will develop your knowledge base and transferable skills in preparation for the project undertaken in years 4 and 5 of the course. It focuses on oral, written and graphical presentations, literature and group-work skills, individual data analysis and interpretation skills, and basic grounding in physics problem solving.
Condensed Matter Physics
Here you'll cover condensed matter physics and be introduced to concepts such as the Fermi surface, superconductors, phonons and other forms of collective excitations.
This class covers the fundamentals of thermodynamics through to an introduction to various distributions such as Maxwellian, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein.
This class is a reduced version Experimental Physics. It's offered only to students on the BSc Physics with Teaching degree.
The aim of this class is to help you develop as an enquiring independent physicist by undertaking a project under the supervision of a member of staff of the department.
This class will further develop your skills as a professional physicist. It'll introduce you to key concepts in the commercialisation of research thereby introducing you to the business world as well as further refining your problem solving skills.
Topics in Physics
Here you'll be introduced to state-of-the-art developments in generation and use of charged particles in various forms such as free electron beams, plasmas and astrophysical plasmas.
Topics in Solid State Physics
Here you'll track the development of key concepts in solid state physics and how these concepts can be exploited to form functional optical and electronic devices.
Topics in Nanoscience
Here you'll be introduced to nanoscience. Specifically, the course will address concepts relating to Nanoparticle production, characterisation and structure before progressing to the physics associated with molecular nanoscience, including intermolecular forces and the techniques used to investigate these forces.
Topics in Photonics
This class provides an introduction to laser physics, laser optics and nonlinear optics as required for the work in many photonic laboratories.
Topics in Computational & Complexity Physics
You'll be introduced to the ideas and concepts associated with complexity physics and to the use of computer simulations to demonstrate these processes.
Topics in Theoretical Physics
The aim of this class is to introduce you to the large scale structure of space-time.
Topics in Quantum Physics
This class provides an introduction to the basic concepts and theoretical ideas of quantum optics.
Topics in Atomic, Molecular & Nuclear Physics
This class aims to give a general overview and understanding of atomic and molecular physics and relate these to practical applications and related fields of study.
This is the MPhys Project. It's designed to follow on from the BSc project undertaken in year 4 and will help you further develop as an independent learner.
You'll be introduced to the processes associated with applying for research funds and asesing proposals for research funding along with elements of the ethics of research.
Advanced Topics in Physics
This class provides an introduction to advanced applications of ultra high intensity laser.
Advanced Topics in Solid State Physics
The aim of this class is to introduce advanced concepts associated with the physics of nano-scale structures. This will be underpinned by exposure to relevant key concepts in modern condensed matter physics and optics. Modern computational methods to investigate these systems.
Advanced Topics in Nanoscience
The aim of this class is to introduce the advanced imaging and microscopy techniques associated with modern nanoscience. This will be underpinned by the physics required for a thorough understanding of these methods, including the Molecular Physics of absorption and fluorescence and the Optical Physics relating to microscopy and imaging in the visible and X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
Advanced Topics in Photonics
This class provides you with an introduction to phenomena and experimental techniques in modern atomic physics and quantum optics. Aside from theoretical basics, a particular focus will be on experiments and techniques, such as laser cooling and Bose-Einstein condensation, EPR-paradox, quantum teleportation, Schrödinger cats, quantum information and quantum cryptography.
Advanced Topics in Computational & Complexity Physics
You'll extend your awareness of self-organisation and complexity in natural sciences.
Advanced Topics in Theoretical Physics
Here we cover topics in advanced mechanics both classical and quantum by introducing you to the concepts of Lagrangians, Hamiltonians and more in depth study of fields.
Advanced Topics in Quantum Physics
This class provides an introduction to the basic concepts and theoretical ideas of quantum information processing.
Advanced Topics in Electromagnetism & Plasma Physics
This class introduces you to the primary methods for transmitting and manipulating electromagnetic waves and the interaction of these waves with plasmas.
Teaching methods include lectures, tutorials, interactive learning using both personal response systems and web-based teaching resources, directed laboratory work, group-based learning and self-paced project work.
Learning & teaching
Assessment methods include exams, continuous assessment, written reports, moderated peer assessment in tutorials and workshops, talks and poster sessions.
Required subjects are indicated following minimum accepted grades.
Year 1 entry: AAAB or AABBB (Physics B, Maths B)
Year 2 entry: Physics and Mathematics AB, in addition to grades as Year 1 above
Year 1 entry: BBB
Typical entry requirements: ABB
Year 2 entry: ABB (Physics B, Maths B)
Typical entry requirements: AAA
34 (Physics HL6, Maths HL6)
- deferred entry is accepted
- if you have Higher Physics or Maths at grade C, you will be required to upgrade and achieve a grade A if repeating the Higher, or a grade B at Advanced Higher
- if you have a grade D at first attempt in Higher Physics or Higher Maths, you will not normally receive an offer
- in sixth year it is advisable to take both Advanced Higher Physics and Maths
We want to increase opportunities for people from every background. Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.
Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.
Find out entry requirements for your country.
Degree preparation course for international students
We offer international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the International Study Centre. To find out more about these courses and opportunities on offer visit isc.strath.ac.uk or call today on +44 (0) 1273 339333 and discuss your education future.
You can also complete the online application form, or to ask a question please fill in the enquiry form and talk to one of our multi-lingual Student Enrolment Advisers today.
Fees & funding
How much will my course cost?
All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.
Rest of UK
Course materials & costs
At present, the department charges students £5 for lecture notes in PH 151 and PH 152. These notes are supplied by the University printers. Digital copies of notes are published on MyPlace for students to download.
A recommended textbook that comes with an online homework system is priced at £75, and covers both first and second-year material. If students don't wish to buy this text, the department issues the homework in paper copy for students to hand in for marking.
This process is currently under review, as the department are considering moving to an online textbook. This will be priced at £30 and accessed through MyPlace.
The department supplies students with lab books (£1) for recording data through years 1-3. First-year students are supplied with USB keys (£10) for the collection of data. Personal response handsets are also available at lectures.
How can I fund my studies?
Some Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish government.
Please note that funding is not applicable to all courses. Please contact SAAS to confirm if your particular course is eligible.
Students from the rest of the UK can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loans Company.
The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees
Throughout the course, you’ll develop the key skills that will make you a successful physicist and maximise your career options.
Our graduates can be found working anywhere from research and development to production and management in every field of science and industry. Some find employment as medical physicists and environmental physicists, others as petroleum engineers, patent officers as well as research scientists.
How much will I earn?
The starting salary for an NHS medical physicist as a Healthcare Scientist on the graduate-entry NHS Scientist Training Programme at Band 6 is £26,041.* This could increase to £80,000 in a management position.
Your salary in other sectors will vary.
Research scientists earn a similar salary with University professors earning between £50,000 and £70,000.*
Where are they now?**
Recent job titles include:
- Graduate Training Programme Physicist
- Trainee Engineer
- Graduate Metering Engineer
Recent employers include:
- Baker Hughes
- Cascade Technologies
- Emerson Process Management
- University of Birmingham
- University of Edinburgh
- University of Strathclyde
*Information is intended only as a guide and based on NHS salary scales.
**Based on the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey 2012/13, 2011/12, (aggregated data).