Experiment being performed in a physics lab

Postgraduate research in physics

Ready to start your research career? Explore our postgraduate research degrees in Physics

Physics at the University of Portsmouth is ranked 6th of all UK universities and the top modern university for research quality

Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021

Read more about our outstanding physics research

If you're interested in taking your existing expertise and qualifications in Physics into a postgraduate research degree, Portsmouth is the perfect place to realise your ambitions.

Physicists observe natural phenomena – the way matter and energy interact – and create laws to explain them. They explore physical matter on every scale, from stars to sub-atomic particles, and energy in all its forms, such as light, motion and gravity.

When you join us to study for a postgraduate research degree, you'll have the opportunity to make your own contribution to the pioneering work we're doing – and play a part in transforming our research into impact.

Our physicists are working to advance knowledge and unlock advanced technology – and from researching new information processing and quantum computing to exploring new materials, we're using our expertise in Physics to power the future, improve industry, security, defence and the environment.

In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF 2021), 100% of our research outputs were judged world-leading or internationally excellent, making Portsmouth the top-ranked modern university in Physics.

Claudia Maraston, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Portsmouth, features in Research.com's ranked list of physicists from around the world.

Read more

Research degrees

Find out about our PhD, MPhil and PhD by Publication opportunities in Physics below, including how to apply, entry requirements and funding your degree. For more detailed information about the application process, visit our How to Apply pages.

Physics PhDs and MPhils

Explore our pre-approved funded and self-funded PhD projects in Physics, or submit your own research idea. 

PhD by Publication

A PhD by publication is a postgraduate research degree based on research you've already undertaken and had published (excluding self-publishing) before registering with us.

Eligible research outputs include peer-reviewed academic papers, complete books or chapters in anthologies, and other materials accepted for publication, exhibited or performed. You'll have to submit these materials for examination between 6–12 months after registering with us.

For more information, please visit our PhD by Publication page.

Duration, fees and funding 

What do my tuition fees cover?

If you're self-funding your PhD, you'll pay tuition fees to the University to cover course and university costs.

Your tuition fees cover:

  • The cost of your postgraduate research programme* at the University as well as charges for registration, tuition, supervision, and examinations
  • Bespoke training, professional development courses, networking, and research support through The Graduate School
  • Research seminars and workshops (university-wide and faculty-specific)
  • A contribution to funding to attend a conference or development activity in your research field
  • Tailor-made weekly and monthly events, including weekly, themed experienced researcher-led talks and workshops
  • Helping you become part of our thriving research community, including Research and Innovation services where 77% of our research is world leading and internationally excellent in REF 2021
  • Your graduation ceremony
  • Viva examination and administration costs
  • The facilities and equipment you need to complete your studies, such as computer rooms, access to laptops, the Library, and laboratories
  • Access to resources including electronic journals, alternative guide to funding, and thousands of hours of educational videos on LinkedIn Learning
  • University support services including academic, financial, careers and wellbeing support and personal tutors
  • Membership of the Students' Union (giving you the right to vote in elections, join clubs and societies, and get free independent advice)
  • Access to software such as Microsoft Office, SPSS and Adobe Creative Suite (this includes Photoshop, InDesign, and Adobe Premiere Pro)

*Please note that some research programmes may come with additional bench fees.

How long will my research degree take?

  • MPhil: 2 years full-time, 4 years part-time
  • PhD: 3 years full-time, 6 years part-time
  • PhD by Publication: 1 year part-time

How much will my degree cost?

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

EU students

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)

International students

  • Full-time students: £18,300 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £9,150 (may be subject to annual increase)

PhD by Publication 

External candidates: £4,596

Members of staff: £1,760 

 

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2022/23 please visit this page.

PhD and MPhil

UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man students 

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*

EU students

(including Transition Scholarship)

  • Full-time:  £4,596 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £2,298 per year (may be subject to annual increase)*

International students

  • Full-time students: £19,200 (may be subject to annual increase)
  • Part-time and part-time distance learning: £9,600 (may be subject to annual increase)

PhD by Publication 

External candidates: £4,596*

Members of staff: £1,850

 

All fees are subject to annual increase. If you are an EU student starting a programme in 2023/24 please visit this page.

*This is the 2022/23 UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) maximum studentship fee; this fee will increase to the 2023/24 UKRI maximum studentship fee when UKRI announces this rate in Spring 2023.

Bench fees

Some PhD projects may include additional fees – known as bench fees – for equipment and other consumables, and these will be added to your standard tuition fee. Speak to the supervisory team during your interview about any additional fees you may have to pay. Please note, bench fees are not eligible for discounts and are non-refundable.

Funding support

MPhil full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Postgraduate Loan (UK/EU students only).

PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the Government Doctoral Loan (UK/EU students only).

For information on other sources of funding, visit our funding your postgraduate research degree page.

Entry requirements

The entry requirements for a PhD, or MPhil include a good honours degree or equivalent in a relevant subject, or a master’s degree in an appropriate subject. Equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications may be considered. All applicants are subject to interview.

If English is not your first language, you'll need English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Exemptions apply to those applicants who have studied in the UK, and to applicants with a degree whose medium of instruction is English.

Support and facilities

When you join us, you'll be supported by our Graduate School, alongside your assigned supervisory team, who'll help you get the most from our facilities. The Graduate School will help you become part of our thriving, collaborative research community, and help grow your skills as a researcher through the Graduate School Development Programme, which offers training, workshops and events.

Along with a supercomputer facility in the ICG, our facilities include a quantum optics lab including lasers, nonlinear crystals, optics and photon detectors, and a time-resolved photoluminescence system. Our LabLine plasma sputtering tool is the only one in Europe, and we are the company’s demo site. We also have fully-equipped laboratories to test microstructure, magnetic properties, thermal properties, conduction properties, dielectric properties and microscopy.

What can a postgraduate research degree do for my career?

Once you complete your postgraduate research degree, you'll be a highly-skilled researcher with the knowledge and skills to make an impact in many different industries.

Your postgraduate research qualification demonstrates to potential employers that you're an intelligent, capable and motivated person, with provable abilities and experience in critical thinking, problem-solving, project management, communication, leadership and creativity.

Apply

Apply for a research degree in Physics by completing our online form. 

February (2023 start)

April (2023 start)

October (2023 start)

Current research

Explore the work we're doing across our areas of research expertise in Physics.

Condensed Matter Physics

We're looking for solutions to issues around energy harvesting, efficiency and storage, medical technologies, security, and the environment. Explore our condensed matter physics research.

Close up of Molecular Beam Epitaxy system
Read more

Quantum information and sensing technologies

We're conducting research into new quantum technologies, including applications for high-precision measurements, computing, and secure communication.

Male BAME scientist studying the Zeeman effect
Read more

Quantum Optics and Quantum Foundations

Our work in this area is studying the particle-like properties of photons, and wave-like behaviour of massive objects, such as electrons and atoms.

STANDARD LICENSE; PLEASE SEE ADDITIONAL ASSET FOR FULL LICENSE TERMS.

Glass tubes with quantum dots of perovskite nanocrystals, luminescing with all colors of the rainbow under ultraviolet radiation.
Read more