MPhys (Hons) Physics - University of Portsmouth
A Gold rating in teaching excellence Read more
MPhys (Hons)


UCAS codeF302

full time4 yrs

Apply physics to real world issues.

Course Overview

Why take this course?

Developments in physics initiate the new technologies that create the possibilities for the development of human society.

This course establishes a fundamental knowledge and understanding of physics and its applications that will ensure you are well placed to enter graduate employment or further research. You can make your own contribution to the creation of the future.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Choose to spend a year in industry or research placement to gain vital experience and employability skills.
  • Widen your understanding of the diverse applications of physics through industry and research organisation site visits.
  • Investigate real-world problems using our excellent facilities and analytical equipment.

What opportunities might it lead to?

This MPhys degree will develop the high-level skills needed for further study at research level or in employment in technical-based industry or commerce. Applied physics graduates have been very successful in applying their analytical skills in many more general areas of employment not immediately related to applied physics.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • PhD and Masters studies 
  • Development and applications of information technology
  • Medical Physics graduate training
  • Development of defence systems and communications
  • Energy industries
  • Aerospace 



Mathematics and Physics

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • The practical problem-solving approach based on real-world issues
  • Approachable lecturers who are doing current research
  • Relevant work placements to help build employability skills

Browse all courses in Mathematics and Physics

Back to top

Structure & Teaching

Year one

Key subjects covered in the first year include mathematical physics and dynamics, computational physics, electricity and magnetism, space science and modern laboratory techniques and skills. Alongside this you’ll learn the relevant practical and problem-solving skills, such as computational techniques that will be an important tool throughout your course.

Core units you will study in this year include:

  • Space Science and Applications of Physics
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Introduction to Computational Physics
  • Introduction to Laboratory and Field Physics
  • Introduction to Mathematical Physics 1
  • Introduction to Mathematical Physics 2

Year two

The second year establishes much of the core curriculum but also allows a choice of energy or astrophysics units.

Core units you will study in this year include:

  • Mathematical Physics
  • Introduction to Modern Physics and Astrophysics
  • Practical Laboratory and Field Physics
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
  • Waves and Optics

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Universe, Planetary Systems, Stars and Galaxies
  • Work-Based Learning
  • Computational Physics

Year three

Part of the third year consists of a minor field or laboratory project that enables you to investigate and find a solution to a well-defined and often environmental problem. In addition, there are a variety of optional units to choose from.

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Minor Group Project
  • Modern Astrophysics
  • Quantum Mechanics with Applications in Quantum Information and Nanostructures
  • Particle Physics
  • Radiofrequency and Microwave Physics
  • Applied Physics Study Tour
  • Health Physics
  • Physics Industrial Placement

Year four

This year consists of a major research project and a number of options to choose from.

Options to choose from in this year currently include:

  • Advanced Computational Techniques
  • Observational Astronomy and Cosmology
  • Contemporary Theoretical Physics

Physics Industrial Placement is optional year in employment at the end of second year which is not included in the classification credits.

We use the best and most current research and professional practice, alongside feedback from our students, to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.


You will be taught in a variety of ways, but our emphasis is always on active learning. We use a combination of lectures, practicals and fieldwork, seminars, workshops and projects, with comprehensive learning support from the academic staff.

The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:

  • Year one students: 36% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 64% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year two students: 30% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 70% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year three students: 22% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 78% studying independently and 0% on work placement
  • Year four students: 12% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 88% studying independently and 0% on work placement


There is a variety ways in which you are assessed. Here’s how:

  • coursework
  • practical work (both laboratory and field based)
  • presentations
  • production of posters and portfolios
  • a research based final-year project

The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:

  • Year one students: 28% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 72% by coursework
  • Year two students: 47% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 53% by coursework
  • Year three students: 33% by written exams, 11% by practical exams and 56% by coursework
  • Year four students: 17% by written exams, 27% by practical exams and 56% by coursework

Tutor's view


Dr Melvin M Vopson
Applied Physics

The MPhys degree in Applied Physics offers you the opportunity to acquire unique practical skills in synthesis of smart nano-materials and advanced measurement techniques, preparing you for a wide range of career options including high-tech engineering and scientific research.

Back to top

Facilities & Features

Specialist Software and Scientific Equipment

LabVIEW is used for digital data acquisition and instrument control and design. Matlab is used to develop programs for computational physics simulations and calculations. There is a range of equipment with expert technical staff available to assist you. Here are a few examples:

  • x-ray diffraction
  • x-ray fluorescence
  • electron and atomic force microscopes
  • various types of spectroscopy including ICPMS, GCMS and AAS


Our well-stocked student labs house a wide range of monitoring and analytical equipment for challenging practical work. Such equipment allows for the monitoring of weather conditions, pollutants, ionising and non-ionising radiation levels and many other parameters of interest.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider


The cost of travel or accommodation associated with compulsory fieldwork is included in the course fee. You will be expected to pay for meals and other subsistence costs associated with compulsory fieldwork. 


Back to top

Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Career prospects
Where next?

Many graduates go on to further study for MSc degrees or PhDs in a wide range of topics from photonics to astrophysics and cosmology. Recent graduates have also been employed in roles ranging from medical physics, scientific journalism, teaching and medical research. Many highly numerate physics graduates with modelling experience also go into a range of financial services.

Work Experience

Work Experience
Employment boosting opportunites

Taking a placement year in industry could be one of the best decisions you make as more often than not, it leads to further opportunities after graduation. SPEC, our Student Placement and Employability Centre, not only helps you to arrange your placement but acts as a source of information and guidance throughout the recruitment process and beyond. We help on everything related to employability skills as well as assisting you in gaining other types of work experience.

Career planning

Career planning

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

Back to top

Apply now or visit us

Apply for 2018 entry

To apply, you'll need this course's UCAS code, which is at the top of this page, and the University of Portsmouth institution code – P80.

Apply now

After you apply, we'll invite you to an Applicant Experience Day where you’ll get to speak to lecturers and meet your future classmates.

Open Days for courses starting in 2019

Come to an Open Day and explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.

Book your Open Day

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.

University of Portsmouth
University House
Winston Churchill Avenue
Portsmouth PO1 2UP

T: +44 (0)23 9284 8484