MRes Physics

Key facts

  • Start date: September or January
  • Study mode and duration: 12 months full-time or 24 months part-time
  • Scholarships available: check fees & funding section

Study with us

  • Masters by Research (MRes) postgraduate research degree in Physics
  • further your knowledge and develop your research skills in Physics
  • tailor your studies to suit your own research interests and career objectives
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Why this course?

Our Department of Physics is engaged with exciting projects at the forefront of Physics research, from teasing out the fundamental properties of the Universe to spearheading market-driven device-oriented interdisciplinary projects.

Our MRes Physics is an advanced research-focused Masters degree which you can complete in one year full-time or two years part-time. You’ll advance both your research skills through undertaking an original, extended research project supervised by our expert staff, and your knowledge of key physics topics through choosing from a selection of our taught modules. You'll be embedded into a research group and benefit from being part of an exciting research enterprise. You can undertake your degree in any of our four research divisions. Visit Nanoscience, Optics, Plasmas or Institute of Photonics to find out more about the world leading research our academics are involved in. This includes:

  • fundamental and applied cold atom physics
  • quantum simulation and quantum technologies
  • plasma physics and advanced microwave sources
  • laser-plasma interaction and laser-based particle acceleration

You'll acquire skills enabling you to navigate a successful career in academia, research institutes or industrial research and development by training not only in paper and report writing but with an introduction to project proposal writing and review. You'll get detailed technical training in the methodology, instrumentation and data analysis relevant in your chosen field of research.

The programme would be of particular interest to you if you are considering PhD studies or a position focusing on Research & Development in a company or research institute in the future. After a successful MRes the department will be very happy to discuss the possibility of a PhD project with you.

Electron microscope image of wide bandgap AlGaN semiconductor material

Electron microscope image showing the surface morphology of a sample of wide bandgap AlGaN semiconductor material.

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

Our facilities

Facilities in the Department of Physics include:

  • cutting-edge high-power laser and particle acceleration research with Scottish Centre for the Application of Plasma-based Accelerators (SCAPA), enabling generation of radiation from the terahertz to the x-ray region, and biomedical applications
  • 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
  • labs researching advanced laser concepts based on solid-state gain materials, semiconductors and organic compounds
  • several labs researching optical spectroscopy and sensing
Araceli Venegas-Gomez, Physics PhD student
We collaborate with some of the best research groups in the fields of quantum optics, and we have several events over the year with people from all over the world.
Araceli Venegas-Gomez
Physics MRes and PhD student
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Course content

Compulsory modules

Project (120 credits)

You'll perform a cutting-edge experimental, theoretical or computational project under the supervision and guidance of an academic member of staff with strong track record in research. You'll be embedded in a larger research group providing an exciting and stimulating research environment. Typically, you'll interact with other research or final year project students, postdoctoral staff and other academics in addition to your supervisor to advance specific aspects of your project. You'll acquire technical skills and master methods as appropriate to the research field you chose and develop your abilities in critical data analysis and critical judgement. As a result, you take a further step in your development to an independent researcher. You might be able to publish your findings in an international, reviewed journal or co-author a publication of your group you contributed to.

The project can be carried out continuously throughout the 12 month period of the course.

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.

Elective modules

You need to choose 40 credits of modules from the following list. The department will work with you to identify the modules most suitable for your interest and ambition.

September - December

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.

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.

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 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
  • Dirac equation

January - March

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 will then be introduced to 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 Electromagnetism & 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. It will look at both theoretical and practical considerations for a range of applications. 

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
  • 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
  • introduction to realizations of quantum computing with trapped ions and with ultracold atoms in optical lattices

Advanced Topics in Complex Systems (20 credits)

You'll study 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.

Learning & teaching

The taught modules are delivered via lectures, tutorials, and workshops. The research project is independent study and research guided, supported by an experienced supervisor and embedded in a wider research group.


The assessment of most taught modules is based on a written examination and continuous coursework which can be presentations, answers to problems, essays or small design projects. Some of these will involve group work. Some taught modules don't have an exam and assessment is based on larger pieces of continuous coursework alone. The project is assessed by a written report (thesis) and possibly an oral examination (viva).

Student support

From financial advice to our IT facilities, we have a wide range of support for all students here at Strathclyde. Get all the information you need at Strathlife.

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Fees & funding

All fees quoted are per academic year unless otherwise stated.

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 (or studying standalone modules) 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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  • 2024/25: £4,786
  • 2023/24: £4,712
England, Wales & Northern Ireland
  • 2024/25: £4,786
  • 2023/24: £4,712
  • 2024/25: £25,250
Additional costs

International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

Available scholarships

Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.

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.

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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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Entry requirements

Academic requirements

First-class or upper second-class (2:1) UK Honours degree, or overseas equivalent, in physics or a related subject, from a recognised educational establishment.

English language requirements

You must have an English language minimum score of 6.5 (with no component below 6.0).

We offer comprehensive English language courses for students whose IELTS scores are below 6.5. Please see English Language Teaching for full details.

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.

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

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Our MRes prepares you to progress to research-heavy roles in industry, academia, and, in particular, to progress to a PhD. The University Careers Service can help you with everything from writing your CV to interview preparation.

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

Our research

Experimental Quantum Optics and Photonics Group

The Experimental Quantum Optics and Photonics (EQOP) group is leading in the development of the next generation of sensing and timing devices based on some of the subtle effects of quantum physics.

One example of this is magnetic field sensing, where laser-driven atomic magnetometers are developed for applications ranging from geomagnetic surveying and space weather monitoring to biomedical imaging.

In another project, we use accurate atomic clocks based on laser cooled atoms. Through cooperation with the National Physics Laboratory (NPL), we have recently built up a unique timing infrastructure. This includes a clock, that is never out by more than 10 nsec from Universal Time. All these activities are supported by state-of-the-art laser and optical systems, test and measurement equipment and micro fabrication facilities.

Prof Erling Riis, Head of Experimental Quantum Optics and Photonics Group

Semiconductor Spectroscopy and Devices Group

In our advanced electron microscope facility, the semiconductor spectroscopy group are pioneering new developments for in-depth analysis of semiconductor materials and nanostructures. These include multi-mode imaging, for example, combining light emission, X-ray emission, electron diffraction and induced currents.

Prof Robert Martin, Head of Semiconductor Spectroscopy and Devices Group

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If you're interested in commencing your studies outwith the September or January intake, please contact the Department of Physics to discuss options available to you.

When you apply, you’ll be asked for the following information:

  • your full contact details
  • transcripts and certificates from your studies to date
  • proof of English language proficiency, if English is not your first language
  • two references, one of which must be academic
  • funding or scholarship information
  • research proposal of 250 to 1,000 words in length, detailing the subject area and topic to be investigated

By filling these details out as fully as possible, you'll avoid any delay to your application being processed by the university.

MRes Research Proposal

You should identify the field of your interest and possibly more concrete topics and potential supervisors. The more information you give, the easier it is for us to find a supervisor matching your interests and ambitions. You can find potential supervisors and their research interests in the list above, the departmental research pages, and obtain further information on their activities by searching them on our website.

If you have a concrete suggestion for a research project, please formulate motivation, objectives and potentially core methodology and instrumentation needed in a few lines.


All Department of Physics academic staff are offering MRes projects. View a selection of our academics with a brief summary of their research interests. Our department staff list also provides are more extensive list and access to academic’s research profiles.

You can identify and interact with a supervisor before applying, or you can let us know who you'd like to work with within your application and we'll team you up with the best supervisor for your project. When we've received your application, your research proposal is passed to potential supervisors for consideration. It is likely that the potential supervisor will contact you at this stage to discuss details and your qualification for the project. If it's not compatible with the Researcher's current projects and they're unable to supervise, it's passed to another potential supervisor for consideration. If they can supervise you, they'll confirm, and an offer of study will be sent to you through Pegasus, our online application system.

Accepting an offer

When you've accepted our offer, you'll need to fulfil any academic, administrative or financial conditions that we ask.

International students

An ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance certificate is a mandatory requirement for some postgraduate students in science, engineering and technology.

Find out if you need an ATAS certificate.

Part-time study

If you're interested in part-time study, please email us for more information and to discuss options.

Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024


Start date: Oct 2023 - Sep 2024

Start date: Oct 2024 - Sep 2025


Start date: Oct 2024 - Sep 2025

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Contact us


Telephone: +44 (0)141 548 3362


John Anderson Building
107 Rottenrow
G1 1XJ