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MScApplied Physics

Why this course?

This is a vocational course in applied physics for anyone with a background in the physical sciences or engineering.

You can choose classes relevant to your career interests from a wide range of topics including:

  • high-power microwave technology
  • laser-based particle acceleration and enabled applications
  • physics and the life sciences
  • materials and solid state physics
  • photonics
  • quantum optics and quantum information technology

On the programme you'll acquire:

  • in-depth knowledge of current and emerging theories, techniques and practices within the field of physics and the life sciences and the ability to apply these theories in a professional setting
  • problem-solving and high numeracy skills that are widely sought-after across the commercial sector skills required to use high-power microwave technology in an industrial environment
  • professional abilities in applying laser-based particle acceleration and enabled applications
  • in-depth knowledge of materials and solid state physics, photonics & quantum optics and quantum information technology

You‘ll put the knowledge gained in the taught classes to use on a research project. You can design the project to fit in with your interests and career plans.

The course gives you the opportunity to explore and master a wide range of applied physics skills. It teaches you transferable, problem-solving and numeracy skills that are widely sought after across the commercial sector.

You’ll study

You’ll have two semesters of taught classes made up of compulsory and optional modules. This is followed by a three-month research project.


This course is run by our Department of Physics. The department’s facilities include:

  • cutting-edge high-power laser and particle acceleration research with SCAPA, enabling generation of radiation from the terahertz to the X-ray region, and biomedical applications
  • the Ultrafast Chemical Physics lab with state-of-the-art femtosecond laser systems for multi-dimensional IR spectroscopy
  • a scanning electron microscopy suite for analysis of hard and soft matter
  • access to top-of-the-range high-performance and parallel computer facilities
  • state-of-the-art high-power microwave research facility in the Technology & Innovation Centre
  • advanced quantum optics and quantum information labs
  • several labs researching optical spectroscopy and sensing

Course content

Compulsory classes

Research Skills

This course introduces core skills needed to obtain research funding and successfully manage the resulting research in both an academic and a commercial environment.

Project Training

This course develops your transferable skills (communication skills, literature survey) in preparation for the project undertaken on the course.

It also helps you in developing an understanding of the management of projects in an industrial setting and preparation for successful working in technological industries.


You'll undertake a cutting edge research project in either one of the research groups of the Department of Physics or with collaborating departments and institutions (Chemistry, Institute of Photonics, Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, Electronic & Electrical Engineering, Centre for Biophotonics).

Elective classes

Introductory Nanoscience

The course addresses basic concepts relating to nanoscale physics before progressing to the techniques associated with production and characterisation of nanomaterials/nanostructures, and their potential impact in engineering, energy and healthcare.

Advanced Nanoscience 1: Imaging & Microscopy

The aim of this course is to introduce the 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

This course introduces advanced key concepts in modern nano-scale condensed matter physics and optics.

Modern computational methods to investigate these systems will then be introduced to illustrate methods of applying these concepts to realistic nanosystems.

Topics in Photonics: Laser & Nonlinear Optics

The course provides an introduction to laser physics, laser optics and nonlinear optics as required for the work in many photonic labs.

Experimental Quantum & Atom Optics

The course provides an introduction to basic phenomena and experimental techniques in quantum and atom optics with a focus on laser cooling and Bose-Einstein condensation.

Advanced Topics in Photonics: Ultrafast Physics & Plasmas

The course provides an introduction to 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.

Photonics Materials & Devices (topics in solid state physics)

The course provides an introduction into semiconductor physics, semiconductor electronics and semiconductor photonics with an outlook on micro and nano-structures and current hot topics.

Advanced Photonics Devices

This introduces advanced photonics devices including their principles and applications (quantum confinement, waveguide optics, photonic and electronic bandgaps, photonic crystals).

Theoretical Quantum Information

The course provides an introduction to the basic concepts and theoretical ideas of quantum information processing.

Quantum Optics, Nonlinearity & Open Quantum Systems

The course provides an introduction to the basic concepts and theoretical ideas of quantum optics, open quantum systems and nonlinear optics.

Advanced Topics in Complex Systems

The course introduces concepts of complexity science as the synchronisation of nonlinear oscillators, nonlinear waves and solitons and self-organisation and pattern formation in spatially extended nonlinear systems.

Advanced Topics In Theoretical Physics

The class covers 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 Electromagnetism And Plasma Physics

The class introduces you to the primary methods for transmitting, storing and manipulating electromagnetic waves and the interaction of these waves with plasmas and plasma physics. It will look at both theoretical and practical considerations for a range of applications. 

Optical Communication (Photonic Systems)

This module enables you to develop a basic conceptual understanding and working knowledge of fibre optic communications systems and their component parts addressing basic principles, engineering, design and performance limits.

Control Principles

This course introduces you to the basic concepts, mathematical tools and design methods of classical control theory.

It enables you to analyse and design closed loop control system specifically using industrial three term (PID) controllers and to appreciate the application of control theory in industrial applications.

Learning & teaching

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


The final assessment will be based on your performance in examinations, coursework, a research project and, if required, in an oral exam.

Entry requirements

  • MSc: first or second-class Honours degree in Physics or a related subject
  • Other qualifications may be considered
  • English language: IELTS 6.0 is required for all non-English speakers

Fees & funding

How much will my course cost?

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


  • 2017/18 - £5,000

Rest of UK

  • 2017/18 - £6,000


  • 2017/18 - £18,000

How can I fund my course?

Scottish students

Students living in Scotland can find out more about funding from the Student Awards Agency Scotland.

English students

Students ordinarily resident in England may be eligible to apply for a loan of up to £10,000 to cover their tuition fees and living costs.

Please note

The fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.


What kind of jobs do Strathclyde Physics graduates get?

To answer this question we contacted some of our Physics graduates from all courses to find out what jobs they have. They are working across the world in a number of different roles including:

  • Medical Physicist
  • Senior Engineer
  • Professor
  • Systems Engineer
  • Treasury Analyst
  • Patent Attorney
  • Software Engineer
  • Teacher
  • Spacecraft Project Manager
  • Defence Scientist
  • Procurement Manager
  • Oscar winner

Success story: Iain Neil

Iain Neil graduated from Strathclyde in Applied Physics in 1977 and is an optical consultant, specialising in the design of zoom lenses for the film industry. He has received a record 12 Scientific and Technical Academy Awards, the most for any living person.

Contact us


Applied Physics

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, part-time

Applied Physics

Qualification: MSc, Start date: Sep 2017, Mode of delivery: attendance, full-time

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