Postgraduate taught 

Theoretical Physics MSc



  • To complete the MSc degree you must undertake a project worth 60 credits, which will integrate subject knowledge and skills that you acquire during the MSc programme.
  • The MSc project provides students with an opportunity to carry out an extended, in-depth research project embedded within one of the School of Physics and Astronomy’s internationally-leading research groups.  In undertaking this project students will gain, within a first class training environment, subject-specific and generic skills that will form an excellent foundation for a career of scientific leadership in academia and industry.

The aims of the MSc project are:

  • To provide advanced training and experience in the principles and practice of experimental, computational and/or theoretical (astro-)physics, using advanced instrumentation, methodology and software as appropriate, and in the critical analysis of experimental data.
  • To develop problem solving abilities, critical assessment and communication skills, to a level appropriate for a career of leadership in academia or industry.
  • To employ these skills in preparing and writing a dissertation on an extended and demanding project.
  • To encourage students to work effectively, to develop a professional attitude to what they do and to take full responsibility for their own learning.

At the end of the project, students should be able to:

  • Recover, evaluate and summarise the professional literature and material from other sources concerned with a chosen area of physics or astronomy.
  • Prepare a written analysis of the current position in the chosen area, which should include a critical comparison of material from the sources he/she has identified and a summary of likely future developments.
  • Define, with the help of colleagues and taking into account the time available, a suitable area of work for a project and hence make a preliminary definition of goals to be achieved during the project.
  • Make an appropriate safety assessment for the work proposed; with the help of colleagues, analyse what experimental/theoretical/computational methods might be necessary to achieve the goals of the project and hence decide how the project tasks should be organised.
  • Perform the practical part of the investigation, taking due account of experimental errors of measurement and possible assumptions and approximations in analytical and computational work as appropriate.
  • Revise the goals and strategies for completion of the project in the light of results achieved and difficulties encountered.

Example projects

Here are some typical project titles from recent years:

  • Optimal Quantum Measurements.
  • Infrared Limit of Quantum Chromodynamics.
  • Gauge-Gravity Duality.
  • Topology in Lattice QCD.