The University of Southampton

F390 MPhys Physics with Nanotechnology (4 Years)

From the tiny components that make our smartphones work to new medical diagnostic tools, nanotechnology continues to change the world. Physicists, with their innovative nature and profound understanding of the world at the atomic scale, are at the forefront of developments in this exciting field. On this physics with nanotechnology degree you’ll gain the fundamental physics training, lab experience and specialist know-how to join the next wave of innovation in nanotechnology.

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.

Our department is a thriving hub for nanotechnology research. This means you’ll be taught by academics who are making advances in exciting areas. They are working on ‘atom chips’ for quantum computing, for example, and investigating the properties of carbon nanotubes. You’ll also benefit from our fantastic facilities, which include a £120m Cleanroom Complex where you'll build your own nanodevices.

Nanotechnology is widely used in industries ranging from biotechnology to electronics, and there are numerous intriguing aspects of nanoscience that are yet to be explored. With this specialist physics degree you could embark on a career in industry R&D, undertake further study at PhD level, or choose from a wide range of other professions.

Madalina Mironiuc
I like to think of myself as a curious person so in the future I am hoping to be involved in a research team. Studying nanotechnology will help me understand how this curiosity can help find life-saving discoveries and make a real difference in the world.
Madalina Mironiuc, MPhys Physics with Nanotechnology, second year


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.

You’ll be introduced to the fundamental concepts of nanoscience from year one, building on this in later years with more in-depth study of light and matter interactions, quantum devices and nanomaterials.

This is a highly interdisciplinary subject, so alongside your physics studies you’ll learn how other disciplines relate to nanotechnology. There’s a module on the structure and function of macromolecules in living cells, for example, and you’ll also learn about photonics (the science of light).

In year four you’ll work with a fellow student on an in-depth research project. This could be practical or theoretical and could involve fabricating your own nanoscale device. You can choose a project that interests you from a range offered by our researchers, which might tackle an aspect of:

  • new forms of light generation
  • sustainable technology, such as more efficient solar cells or LED lights
  • storing and transmitting information using light, for applications in quantum computing
  • the properties of materials such as ultra-thin coatings and carbon nanotubes

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. This includes facilities for testing and examining the properties of nanomaterials such as X-ray microscopes, scanning electron microscopes and X-ray diffraction equipment. Expert technicians are on hand to support your experimental work.

The University is also home to a superb Cleanroom Complex which houses advanced nanofabrication facilities that are available for fourth-year research project work.

Our excellent facilities enable us to bring concepts to life. For example, you’ll gain greater insight into the challenging theories of quantum mechanics through a demonstration of the well-known double-slit experiment.

Other specialist facilities include:  

  • a photonics lab with the latest laser equipment
  • one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers

You’ll also benefit from our recently refurbished Physics and Astronomy foyer, with a specialist library and dedicated study spaces. 

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 – components that underpin the internet  – and more recently our scientists were involved in detecting gravitational waves and light from the collision of two neutron stars for the first time.

Our Quantum, Light and Matter group conducts nanotechnology research of international standing. You’ll be taught by researchers from this group, who will share the latest advances in their field with you – often before they reach the media.


Our MPhys Physics with Nanotechnology is accredited by the Institute of Physics.

Programme Structure

Throughout the degree you’ll study core physics subjects alongside specialist nanotechnology modules. Optional modules in years three and four give you the freedom to deepen your knowledge in areas of physics that interest you. You might strengthen your computing or mathematical skills, for example, or learn more about photonics, medical physics or signal processing.

You could also broaden your intellectual horizons by learning a language or choosing from a range of innovative cross-disciplinary modules, on topics including law, business and bioengineering.

If you change your mind about your field of study after you arrive, our programme structure makes it possible to switch to the MPhys Physics or BSc Physics degree up until the end of year two. It may also be possible to change to one of the other specialist programmes, provided you’ve taken the required modules.

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 rank sixth for physics in the Guardian University Guide 2019

We've ranked in the top three 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).

Learn how light, matter and machines behave at the nanoscale

You’ll have access to one of the largest nanofabrication facilities in Europe, where you’ll build your own nanodevices

Nanotechnology is widely used in industries ranging from medicine to electronics. You'll be prepared for an exciting career in industry R&D, further study at PhD level - or a wide range of other professions

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.

International applicants:

We welcome applications from international students. Visit our international site for more information about 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 and an invitation to visit the department.

UCAS code: F390

Course title: MPhys Physics with Nanotechnology

Course duration: 4 years


Career Opportunities

With a robust physics training and specialist nanotechnology expertise, you’ll have a huge range of career options to choose from. Your experimental skills will be sought after in industry R&D, where you could work on the development and characterisation of new nanoscale devices and materials. Or you’ll be well equipped for further research at PhD level – a path followed by around a third of Physics and Astronomy graduates.

If you decide on a career outside physics, your transferable skills, such as computation and coding, statistical analysis, communication and problem solving, will be in demand in numerous professions. 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.

Tailored careers support

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 on which you could gain industry experience of nanotechnology research, through the South East Physics Network scheme.

Career destinations

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 pay 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.

Learn 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. Academics use interactive technology to encourage group discussions in lectures, or to enable you to submit a question that they will answer during the session. Or you could 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%26%17%
Independent study61%67%74%83%
Placement study0%0%0%0%
Proportion of assessment by method
Learning, teaching and assessment stage1234
Written exam assessment53%59%70%66%
Practical exam assessment23%16%14%0%
Coursework assessment24%25%16%34%

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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