Your topic will be decided in discussions between yourself and your research supervisor, who will be a member of academic staff. It is normal for all students to be registered initially for the degree of MPhil, but if you intend to study for a PhD, the registration can be changed at the end of the first year of study, subject to a formal assessment. Throughout your time at Southampton your progress will also be monitored in a less formal way.
Being a member of a research group means that interested people are always on hand, who will be keen to hear your ideas, discuss your results and offer help and encouragement. You will also be able to attend postgraduate lecture courses, classes and research seminars to broaden your knowledge of the subject.
There will be opportunities for you to attend short courses or summer schools, such as NATO Advanced Study Institutes. These bring together experts to give lectures and lead discussions. It is also expected that you will attend national and international conferences to present your results. You will be encouraged to write up your results in the form of articles for publication in scientific journals.
The culmination of your efforts after three years is the thesis, which you write. It will be formally examined by two or more established experts in your field of research. This is your own work, although the contents will be the subject of discussions between yourself, your supervisor and colleagues.
After Your PhD
A newly qualified PhD in Physics can offer a variety of career options. Many students head into non-scientific careers, or take up science-based appointments in the UK. For others, their interest in physics and research takes them on to postdoctoral research, often in the United States, Europe or, increasingly, Japan.
From there they often return to the UK, some to join a university, but most to continue with research and development in an industrial or research establishment.
10 per cent discount on postgraduate courses for University of Southampton final-year students and alumni.Find out more