The University of Southampton

F303 MPhys Physics (4 Years)

This four-year physics degree offers exceptional flexibility and depth of study, allowing you to shape your degree to suit you, while gaining a rigorous scientific training. From quantum mechanics to the evolution of the universe, you can explore the topics that interest you most at a profound level, learning from experts who share your passion. An ideal choice for students who want to become professional physicists, this highly respected degree is also an excellent springboard for a wide range of other careers.

How to applyFind out how to apply for this course

Introducing your degree

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

Channel your curiosity and investigate the beautiful – and sometimes paradoxical – concepts that underpin our understanding of space, time and matter. You’ll gain new insights into phenomena ranging from time dilation to the birth of stars, and learn how the classical rules of behaviour change at the quantum level. 

You’ll also have the opportunity to study general relativity – we are one of only a few UK universities to offer this within an undergraduate programme.

High-performing students on this degree also have the chance to join one of our distinctive flagship programmes. These offer superb opportunities to conduct an extensive real-world research project in industry, at CERN in Geneva, or within Southampton’s Quantum, Light and Matter Research Group.

Kayleigh Richardson
The most exciting aspect of my degree is the research, as I feel like I’m contributing relevant work to the most up-and-coming areas of science. Doing a Masters year has allowed me to tailor my work to an area of research that really interests me and do something that has never been done before.
Kayleigh Richardson MPhys Physics, 2016


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.

On the MPhys Physics degree you’ll learn about the core physical theories that help us to understand the universe. You’ll also develop the mathematical skills to model real-world problems and analyse data, and the practical skills to work confidently in the lab and design your own experiments. It's a great foundation for further study at PhD level.

With optional modules in every year of study, including options from other subject areas, you can tailor your degree to suit your interests. The MPhys Physics gives you the most flexibility out of all our physics and astronomy degrees. For example, you could:

  • study general relativity and its application to black holes and cosmology (the formation and evolution of the universe)
  • explore nanoscience and examine the way physical phenomena change at the nanoscale  
  • learn about the theory and practical application of light, optics and lasers in photonics modules, some of which are taught by researchers from Southampton’s world-leading Optoelectronics Research Centre 

You’ll receive a thorough scientific training, from lab-based mini-projects in year one to more advanced practical work – for example, you might make a high-temperature superconductor, investigate cosmic ray muon flux or undertake gamma ray spectroscopy.

In the fourth year you’ll spend time embedded in one of our research groups, where you’ll work with another student on an extended research project. You can choose a field of physics that interests you; past projects have included analysing astronomy data from the Cassini satellite, investigating aspects of particle physics using CERN data and performing Raman scattering measurements on nanomaterials to study their optical, electronic and vibrational properties.

Professional and transferable skills, such as computing and coding, statistical analysis, communication and project management skills, are integral to the programme, enhancing your employability.

View the 2018/19 programme specification document for this course

View the 2019/20 programme specification document for this course

Research-grade facilities

You’ll use state-of-the-art equipment in our teaching laboratories, with guidance from expert technicians who are there to support your experimental work. Specialist facilities include:  

  • an observatory on the roof of the Physics and Astronomy building, with high-spec telescopes
  • a photonics lab with the latest laser equipment
  • one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers
  • a £120m clean room for fabrication at the atomic level – one of the best of its kind in Europe

A top-five research department

Study with us and you’ll join one of the top five Russell Group departments for physics and astronomy research (REF 2014). Our research reputation is built 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, which make today’s internet possible – and more 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, bringing discoveries to the classroom as soon as they happen – often before they are published in the media. And because our research covers the spectrum of physics, once you have identified your own research interest there will be experts here to help you take it forward.


Our MPhys Physics programmes are accredited by the Institute of Physics

Programme Structure

With a wide range of optional modules in every year of your degree, you’ll have the freedom to try different areas of physics, deepen your knowledge in specialist fields, or take advantage of the University’s expertise in related areas, such as medical physics and 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 business, music and earth sciences.   

If you change your mind about doing the MPhys Physics programme you can switch to BSc Physics up until the end of year two. It’s also possible to move from this programme to one of our specialist MPhys degrees, provided you have taken the required options.

To Apply

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

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

Key Facts

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

Top 3 for Overall Student Satisfaction in the Russell Group in the National Student Survey for the last four years (not all Russell Group universities are returned in the National Student Survey every year).

100% of MPhys Physics students agreed that the course is intellectually stimulating (National Student Survey, 2018)

Study topics including general relativity, quantum mechanics and the evolution of the universe

MPhys Physics is a great foundation for PhD study, and an excellent springboard for a wide range of other careers

The MPhys Physics is our most flexible degree - you can shape the course to your interests

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:

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.

Foundation Year:

If you want to study for a degree in Engineering, Physics, Mathematics, or Geophysics but you did not choose mathematics and physics at A level, our Foundation Year may be of interest to you. The Engineering/Physics/Maths/Geophysics Foundation Year is a one-year full-time course integrated with a further three or four-year degree course. Find out more about the Foundation Year.

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. UCAS code: F303 Course title: MPhys Physics Course duration: 4 years


Career Opportunities

A physics degree opens up a huge range of career options. Your experimental, theoretical and analytical skills will be a strong foundation for further study – a path followed by around a third of our graduates – or for an industry research role.

If you decide on a career outside physics, you’ll be able to demonstrate transferable skills such as computation and coding, statistical analysis, communication and project management skills. In addition, your physics degree will indicate to employers that you are an independent thinker who is intellectually curious, insightful and not afraid of a challenge.

You may already know what sort of career you’d like to pursue, but if not, we’ll offer the support you need to help you decide. You can attend a programme of career-focused sessions in year two, designed specially for physics students and timetabled to fit in with your studies. They include application and interview workshops, as well as talks from visiting professionals. We can also help you to find a paid summer placement through the South East Physics Network scheme, giving you valuable real-world experience and the chance to make industry contacts.

Our graduates work in the private and public sectors, in government, defence, finance, business, and industry. Here are just some of the roles they have secured:

  • astrophysicist
  • acoustician
  • air traffic controller
  • bioinformatics specialist
  • data analyst
  • government science policy officer
  • medical physicist 
  • satellite engineer
  • science communicator
  • software engineer
  • statistician
  • systems analyst
  • weather forecaster
  • web developer

Learning & Assessment

Professionalism in teaching

You’ll learn from academics who give as much care and attention to their teaching as they do to 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 watching a tutor explain a tricky physics problem via online video tutorials.


Breakdown of study time and assessment

Proportion of time spent in scheduled learning, teaching and independent study
Learning, teaching and assessment stage1234
Scheduled learning & teaching study39%33%23%18%
Independent study61%67%77%82%
Placement study0%0%0%0%
Proportion of assessment by method
Learning, teaching and assessment stage1234
Written exam assessment44%70%70%69%
Practical exam assessment23%8%3%0%
Coursework assessment33%22%27%31%

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


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