The University of Southampton

F303 MPhys Physics with Industrial Placement (4 Years)

Explore the fundamental theories that help us understand our universe, and see how physics makes a difference in a high-tech world. You’ll study core physics concepts and follow your own interests through optional modules, on topics ranging from quantum theory to stellar evolution. You’ll also join a company for six months on a paid industrial placement, applying your physics skills and knowledge to a real product development project. In the process you’ll develop professional skills and a commercial awareness that will help you to get an exciting, well-paid job when you graduate.

Ask our studentsQuestions about studying at Southampton?

Introducing your degree

We're ranked 6th in the UK for physics by the Guardian University Guide 2019.

Open to top-performing students on the MPhys Physics degree, the industrial placement is a chance to build skills you can only learn in a commercial environment.

The south of England is home to numerous high-tech companies, giving you access to a variety of sectors including defence, satellite technology and photonics. We regularly place students with companies such as global radiation detection company Symetrica, fibre laser specialists NKT Photonics, and electronics and engineering consultancy Roke Manor Research Ltd.

Unlike the sandwich-year placements offered by many other universities, this integrated industrial placement won’t add an extra year to your studies. You’ll be able to enter the job market after four years with real-world experience that will impress employers. Almost all of our placement students find a role in industry R&D as soon as they graduate, many with their placement company.

Connor Penfold
I spent my 6-month industrial placement at NKT Photonics, which gave me industry experience that will set me aside from other students, and a valuable insight to how physics is used in industry. I worked on a project important to the company and am proud to say I did a placement with one of the world's largest fibre laser manufacturers.
Connor Penfold, MPhys Physics with Industrial Placement, 2017


What is this?(More Information)This information is based on historical data and may have been aggregated. It is also subject to theUniversity's disclaimer notice.

For the first three years of the degree you’ll follow the MPhys Physics programme, gaining a thorough training in physics theory and practice. You’ll apply for your industrial placement during the third year, selecting from projects that span a wide range of sectors and research areas.  Your industrial placement will start after your third-year exams and run until December, after which you’ll write up your project results and continue with your final MPhys Physics modules.

Past projects have involved: 

  • developing new ways of assessing optical coatings for fibres
  • looking at the transmission of acoustic waves through materials
  • investigating the use of machine learning for identifying radioactive isotopes

As well as experiencing industry R&D first hand, you’ll develop essential professional skills, for example by presenting to staff at different levels of the business, designing and budgeting for your experiments and liaising with customers.

When it comes to choosing and applying for your industrial placement, we’ll give you plenty of support. Companies make their selection via CV and interview, so it’s great practice for future job hunting. If none of the projects on offer match your research interests, we’ll do everything we can to find you one that does. And you don’t have to commit to joining this programme until you have secured a placement that suits you – should you decide not to go ahead you’ll continue with the MPhys Physics degree.

If you undertake a summer placement through the South East Physics Network scheme, and find that you’re really enjoying it, you may be able to convert it into a six-month placement.

You’ll be well supported during your placement too, with day-to-day guidance from a supervisor in your placement company and visits from the programme leader, who is available throughout the six months should you need to get in touch.

View the 2018/19 programme specification document for this course

View the 2019/20 programme specification document for this course

Outstanding resources for learning and enterprise

You’ll use state-of-the-art equipment in our teaching laboratories, with expert technicians on hand to support your experimental work. Our specialist facilities also include a photonics lab with the latest laser equipment, one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers and a £120m clean room for fabrication at the atomic level.

The University of Southampton is a hub for enterprise and innovation – indeed, some of our industrial placement partners are University spin-out companies – so it’s a great place to develop your entrepreneurial skills. If you’re interested in setting up your own commercial venture, our Future Worlds start-up incubator offers mentoring and support to help your fledgling business thrive. It can help you connect with expert industry mentors and investors, and runs events including ‘dragon’s den’ funding competitions.

A top-five research department

Join one of the top five Russell Group departments for physics and astronomy research (REF 2014). Our reputation for research excellence builds on a track record of discovery, and we remain on the frontline of new developments. For example, Southampton physicists were instrumental in the development of erbium-doped amplifiers that make today’s internet possible, and recently our scientists were involved in detecting gravitational waves and light from the collision of two neutron stars for the first time.

Your studies will be enhanced by our research expertise in areas such as photonics, astronomy, particle physics and quantum mechanics. We regularly update our modules based on new findings and your lecturers will bring you news of the latest advances – often before they are published in the media.


Our MPhys Physics programmes are accredited by the Institute of Physics

Programme Structure

Year one includes an introduction to special relativity and the foundational theories of quantum physics and electromagnetism. You’ll gain more in-depth knowledge as you progress, applying your learning in areas such as particle physics and atomic physics. Your industrial placement will start after your third-year exams and run until December, after which you’ll write up your project results and continue with your final MPhys Physics modules.

You’ll have the freedom to build a degree that suits you by choosing from a wide range of optional modules in every year of your studies. Try different aspects of physics, deepen your knowledge in specialist fields, or take advantage of the University’s expertise in related areas, such as medical physics or sound and vibration research. You could also study a language or broaden your intellectual horizons by choosing from a range of innovative cross-disciplinary modules, on topics including music, business, and earth sciences.

In addition, because all our Physics and Astronomy programmes share core modules in years one and two, you could switch to the BSc Physics degree up until the end of year two.

To Apply

All undergraduate applications for Physics and Astronomy should be made online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Applications for this path should be made through MPhys Physics (F303)

Find out how to apply and get further details about UCAS' website, phone and contact details.

Key Facts

We're ranked 6th in the UK for physics by the Guardian University Guide 2019

Top three for Overall Student Satisfaction in the Russell Group in the National Student Survey (NSS) for the last four years (not all Russell Group universities are returned in the NSS every year).

Complete your industrial placement in the summer of your third year and first semester of year four. You’ll enter the job market after four years with impressive, real-world experience.

Gain skills you can only learn in a commercial environment by working alongside finance, technical and engineering professionals and liaising with customers

Many of our students are hired by their placement company

We’re a hub for enterprise and innovation – if you’re interested in setting up your own commercial venture, our start-up incubator Future Worlds offers mentoring and support

Welcome to Physics and Astronomy at Southampton

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:
A Level

AAA, including AA in Mathematics and Physics.


GCSE Mathematics and English at grade C or above

Alternative qualifications:

Alternative qualifications:

We welcome applications from candidates offering qualifications other than A and AS levels (including BTEC, European Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate and Scottish Highers). You will be expected to attain an equivalent standard to an A level applicant.

International applicants:

We welcome applications from international students. Visit our international site for more information about our international student community, support and how to apply.

Mature applicants:

We welcome applications from mature students. If you will be over 21 at the start of your proposed degree programme, you are eligible for exemption from our normal entry requirements. However, you will be required to provide evidence of having completed recent study (eg Access, Return to Study, Open University foundation courses) and of your capacity to pursue the course.

Selection process:

We select students on the basis of a UCAS application. Please apply to UCAS Code F303, course title: MPhys Physics, duration: 4 years


Career Opportunities

With six months’ hands-on experience and a highly respected physics qualification, you’ll be a standout candidate for industry research roles. Employers will appreciate your robust knowledge and the confidence with which you can apply it within a commercial setting. The majority of graduates from this flagship programme go straight into an industry research job, many within their placement company.

You’ll also be in a good position to continue your studies at PhD level – a path followed by around a third of Physics and Astronomy graduates.

If you decide on a career outside physics you’ll be able to demonstrate transferable and professional skills, such as computational and coding skills, statistical analysis, presentation and project management skills, that will be valuable in almost any sector.

If you’re not sure what you want to do in the future, our 12-week programme of career-focused sessions in year two, designed specially for physics students and timetabled to fit in with your studies, will help you to decide. The sessions include industry site visits and talks from external physics professionals, as well as application and interview workshops.

Our Physics and Astronomy graduates work in the private and public sectors, in government, defence, finance, business, industry and teaching. Others are running their own successful businesses. Here are just some of the roles they have secured:

  • data analyst
  • government science policy officer
  • industry researcher
  • science communicator
  • software engineer
  • statistician
  • systems analyst
  • web developer

Find out more about careers support in Physics and Astronomy.

Learning & Assessment

Our academics are as passionate about your education as they are about their research. We’re keen to share our knowledge and enthusiasm for physics with you, and inspire the next generation of physicists.

Find out more about our commitment to professionalism in teaching

We combine traditional teaching and learning methods with tried-and-tested innovations to improve your learning experience. Use interactive technology to ask a question from your seat in the lecture hall and receive a response during the session. Or get a bit of extra help by revisiting a lecture online or watching a tutor explain a tricky physics problem via a video tutorial.

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Course fees for 2017/18 full-time UK and EU undergraduate students are typically £9,250 per year. Tuition fees for international students differ between each course. Most part-time courses cost 50% of the full-time fee.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Communicating and Teaching and The Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme (PHYS3019)
Please note that students are required to pay for their travel costs to and from the schools they work with during the module.  However travel costs will be reimbursed on production of travel receipts.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

Approved CalculatorsCandidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
TextbooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source.

Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Printing and Photocopying CostsIn the majority of cases, coursework such as essays; projects; dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here:

In some cases you’ll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at


Related courses

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.