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MSc/PgDip Advanced Physics

Key facts

  • Start date: September
  • Accreditation: Institute of Physics
  • Study mode and duration: MSc: 12 months full-time, 24 months part-time
    PgDip: 9 months full-time, 21 months part-time

Study with us

  • focus on topics such as theoretical physics, quantum information, plasma physics and solid state physics
  • choose taught elements relevant to your career interests
  • gain transferable, problem solving and numeracy skills
  • opportunity to choose classes relevant to your interests
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Why this course?

Our four divisions – Nanoscience, Optics, Plasmas and the Institute of Photonics – all contribute research-based teaching expertise to the course. You can choose taught elements relevant to your career interests from a wide range of topics, including:

  • theoretical & computational physics
  • quantum optics and quantum information
  • complexity science
  • physics and the life sciences
  • solid-state physics
  • plasma physics

You'll put the knowledge gained in the taught components to use in a cutting-edge research project, which can be theoretical, computational or experimental.


THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

Chat to a student ambassador

If you want to know more about what it’s like to be a Science student at the University of Strathclyde, a selection of our current students are here to help!

Our Unibuddy ambassadors can answer all the questions you might have about courses and studying at Strathclyde, along with offering insight into their experiences of life in Glasgow and Scotland.

Chat now!

Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city

Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.

Life in Glasgow

Strathclyde has been consistently among the top universities for research output. This environment was exactly what an aspiring researcher like me was looking for.
Siddharth Rangnekar

What you’ll study

You'll explore and master theoretical, computational and experimental physics skills. Two semesters of taught classes are made up of compulsory and optional modules. MSc students also undertake a three-month research project. 

Learning & teaching

Our teaching is based on lectures, tutorials, workshops, laboratory experiments, and research projects.


The assessment of most taught modules is based on a written examination and continuous coursework (about 20%), and, in some modules, an oral examination. The final project is assessed mainly by a report supplemented by a talk, an oral examination (viva) and an assessment of the performance and engagement during the project by the supervisor.

Student competitions

The Department of Physics MSc Excellence Prize

This will be awarded to a meritorious student of at least distinction level on any MSc course offered by the Department. It will be awarded to the student who achieves the highest credit weighted average over the whole course portfolio.

The Department of Physics MSc Prize

This will be awarded to a meritorious student of at least distinction level on any MSc course offered by the Department. It will be awarded to the student who achieves the highest mark for the MSc Project.


The course is run by the Department of Physics. Departmental facilities include:

  • cutting-edge high-power laser research with SCAPA, researching the future of particle accelerators via laser-based acceleration
  • the Ultrafast Chemical Physics lab with state-of-the-art femtosecond laser systems for multi-dimensional IR spectroscopy
  • access to the top-of-the-range high performance and parallel computer facilities of ARCHIE-WeSt
  • a scanning electron microscopy suite for analysis of hard and soft matter
  • new high-power microwave research facility in the Technology & Innovation Centre
  • advanced quantum optics and quantum information labs
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Course content


Semester 1

Physics Skills (20 credits)

You'll gain necessary skills in IT, working with literature, data analysis, and written and oral communication to support a great learning experience in your programme.


Project (60 credits)

You'll gain experience of research techniques by performing an open-ended cutting-edge research project that runs over summer after the taught component of the MSc. The topic may be from a programme relevant field in physics or its interdisciplinary applications. Students with the corresponding ambition and relevant qualification will be supported to find an alternative placement in chemistry or an industrial placement but this depends on availability. The work is normally carried out in the research laboratories under the individual supervision of an experienced researcher.

Elective modules

Semester 1

Research Skills (20 credits)

You'll gain core skills needed to obtain research funding and successfully manage the resulting research in both an academic and a commercial environment.

Introductory Nanoscience (20 credits)

You'll learn basic concepts relating to nanoscale physics and techniques associated with production and characterisation of nanomaterials/nanostructures, as well as their potential impact in engineering, energy and healthcare.

Photonics Materials & Devices (topics in solid state physics) (20 credits)

You'll study semiconductor physics, semiconductor electronics and semiconductor photonics with an outlook on micro and nano-structures and current hot topics.

Topics in Photonics: Laser & Nonlinear Optics (20 credits)

You'll study laser physics, laser optics and nonlinear optics as required for the work in many photonic labs.

Topics in Quantum Physics (20 credits)

You'll learn advanced quantum physics concepts: Mixed states and density matrix, perturbation and scattering theory, quantization of the electromagnetic field, many particle systems and the Dirac equation.

Semester 1 & 2

Semester 2

Advanced Nanoscience 1: Imaging & Microscopy (20 credits)

You'll study spectroscopy, imaging and microscopy techniques associated with modern nanoscience such as:

  • fluorescence methods
  • single molecule imaging and microscopic techniques
  • atomic force microscopy (AFM)
  • electron microscopy

Advanced Nanoscience 2: Solid State Nanoscience (20 credits)

You'll learn advanced key concepts in modern nano-scale condensed matter physics and optics, as well as modern computational methods to investigate these systems. The module will illustrate methods of applying these concepts to realistic nanosystems.

Advanced Topics in Photonics: Ultrafast Physics & Plasmas (20 credits)

You'll study laser-plasma interaction, in particular with very high power and ultrashort pulses, and the resulting applications in radiation sources from the terahertz to the X-ray region, laser fusion and laser-based particle acceleration.

Advanced Photonics Devices (20 credits)

You'll study advanced photonics devices including their principles and applications (quantum confinement, waveguide optics, photonic and electronic bandgaps, photonic crystals).

Advanced Topics in Quantum Physics (20 credits)

You'll study modern concepts of quantum optics and quantum information:

  • photon correlation
  • EPR paradox
  • entanglement and resulting applications in quantum cryptography
  • communication and quantum simulation

Plus, we'll look at:

  • quantization of the electromagnetic field
  • behaviour on beam splitters and Hong-Ou Mandel experiment
  • quantized light-matter interaction and Jaynes-Cummings Hamiltonian
  • quantum q-bits
  • quantum gates and basics of quantum algorithms

You'll also have an introduction to realizations of quantum computing with trapped ions and with ultracold atoms in optical lattices.

Advanced Topics In Electromagnetism And Plasma Physics (20 credits)

You'll study primary methods for transmitting, storing and manipulating electromagnetic waves and the interaction of these waves with plasmas and plasma physics. The module will look at both theoretical and practical considerations for a range of applications. 

Experimental Laboratories (20 credits)

You'll carry out open-ended practical work in the laboratory conveying the basic skills of instrument handling, data management, record keeping, and develop report-writing and oral presentation skills. You're required to complete two experiments selected from a range of topics.

Advanced Topics in Light-Matter Interaction and Quantum Optics (20 credits)

You'll study modern developments in the field of quantum optics and light-matter interactions:

  • interaction of light with two-level systems (Bloch equations, Mollow spectra) and three-level systems (electromagnetically induced transparency, sub-natural linewidth)
  • complex susceptibility and the quantum origin of optical nonlinearities
  • quantum interference effects electromagnetically induced transparency
  • nonlinear Schroedinger equation and solitons
  • open quantum systems and quantum optics in cavities
  • collective atom-light interactions
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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

Minimum second-class Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in physics (Mathematics and Physics, Theoretical Physics, Astrohphysics, Engineering Physics etc), or a related subject.

Applicants from an engineering discipline need to have had sufficient exposure to fundamental physics courses in quantum mechanics and electromagnetism, or need to demonstrate that they can acquire the necessary background. Contact us about your application and the possibility of conversion courses.

English language requirements

You must have an English language minimum score of IELTS 6.0 (with no component below 5.5).

We offer comprehensive English language courses for students whose IELTS scores are below 6.0.

As a university, we now accept many more English language tests other than IELTS for overseas applicants, for example, TOEFL and PTE Cambridge. View the full list of accepted English language tests here.

Pre-Masters preparation course

The Pre-Masters Programme is a preparation course held at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre, for international students (non EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for a Masters degree at University of Strathclyde. The Pre-Masters programme provides progression to a number of degree options.

Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

Nizar Lethif
The lecturers were really good at explaining complicated subject matter and the courses were well-designed, providing a good balance between depth and breadth of information.
Nizar Lethif
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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.

Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.

All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.

Annual revision of fees

Students on programmes of study of more than one year should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.

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England, Wales & Northern Ireland




Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

Additional costs

If you are an international student, you may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

All recommended textbooks are available in the library (and some freely available as online resources). However you may wish to purchase your own copies. There are computers in the library and teaching labs but having access to your own laptop will be beneficial.

Please note: the fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.

How can I fund my course?

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Scottish postgraduate students

Scottish postgraduate students may be able to apply for support from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). The support is in the form of a tuition fee loan and for eligible students, a living cost loan. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from England

Students ordinarily resident in England may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance England. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Wales

Students ordinarily resident in Wales may be to apply for postgraduate support from Student Finance Wales. The support is a loan of up to £10,280 which can be used for both tuition fees and living costs. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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Students coming from Northern Ireland

Postgraduate students who are ordinarily resident in Northern Ireland may be able to apply for support from Student Finance Northern Ireland. The support is a tuition fee loan of up to £5,500. Find out more about the support and how to apply.

Don’t forget to check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

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A Masters degree in Physics prepares you for a wide and versatile range of careers in science and engineering as well as all areas of management, financial services, etc. Many graduates proceed to a PhD.

Strathclyde Physics graduates are working across the world in a number of different roles including:

  • Medical Physicist
  • Senior Engineer
  • Professor
  • Systems Engineer
  • Treasury Analyst
  • Patent Attorneys
  • Software Engineer
  • Teacher
  • Spacecraft Project Manager
  • Defence Scientist
  • Procurement Manager
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Part time study and Pg Diploma options are available. Please contact science-masters@strath.ac.uk for more information.

Start date: Sep 2024

Advanced Physics

Start date: Sep 2024

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Contact us

PGT Admissions Team

Telephone: +44 (0)141 553 6023

Email: science-masters@strath.ac.uk

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International students

We've a large range of scholarships available to help you fund your studies. Check our scholarship search for more help with fees and funding.

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