MSc Theoretical Physics with Advanced Research
Why choose Herts?
- Employability: learn crucial analytical and problem-solving skills to equip you for your career in research or industry
- Cutting-edge research: be at the frontier of research in the field through a specialist lecture series with guest lectures
- Active research culture: participate in an active research community alongside internationally recognised experts
Entry requirements and key information
The normal entry requirements for the programme are a 2:1 or above Honours degree (or equivalent) in physics, mathematics or a closely related subject, where the degree is accredited by a professional statutory regulatory body such as the Institute of Physics (or a body of equivalent standing in a related subject or overseas).
If you wish to join the course with a 2:2, applications may be considered on a case-by-case basis, where entry may be possible based on additional information and/or an interview.
School of study
School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science
- Full Time, 2 Years
- University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield
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Upon graduation, you’ll be well-equipped for a career in a variety of industries and stand out with advanced analytical and problem-solving skills. Theoretical physics graduates go on to careers in IT and technology, banking and investment management, in consultancy, and in a variety of other areas including the energy and environmental sectors, materials science, telecommunications, and engineering.
The course also provides you with the building blocks for PhD study and a research career in academia. This is an exciting time to progress onto a pathway in research and academia due to increased investment in the UK in the mathematical and physical sciences. Your skills as a theoretical physics graduate will be in high demand.
About the course
Theoretical physics addresses foundational questions: What is our universe made of? And how does it work? Throughout this course, you’ll be exposed to the elegant and unifying mathematical ideas that underpin humanity’s best answers to these questions to date.
You’ll explore the fundamental physical theories which govern the behaviour of space, time and matter. From the quantum field theories that allow us to compute amplitudes in high-energy particle scattering experiments, to the geometry of black holes and other curved spacetimes, you’ll gain exposure to the key concepts of the field.
This is just the start of your journey. Through project work and research seminars, you will explore the latest research and undertake your own scientific exploration.
Why choose this course?
Research-informed teaching and scientific exploration is the core focus of the course. Bringing you to the forefront of research in the field, this course will ensure you are fully prepared to pursue a career in research academia, or in industry applying your skills and knowledge to solve a range of business needs.
You’ll benefit from being taught by experts within the Department of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics. Our researchers are internationally recognised for their expertise in areas of theoretical physics, including:
- supergravity, strings and generalised geometry
- scattering amplitudes in gauge theory
- integrability in quantum field theory
- quantum groups and integrable systems.
You will work side-by-side with our academics, contributing to seminars and participating in an active research culture.
Find out more about the Mathematics and Mathematical Physics research group.
Unique to this course, you’ll also attend a lecture series on Recent Advances designed to expose you to the latest cutting-edge research and the material which is underpinning modern developments in the field.
The Department of Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics is also a member of the South East Physics NETwork (SEPNET). You’ll have access to a rich collection of resources, including:
- networking opportunities
- lectures and events
- access to research
- opportunities for placements and careers.
Find out more about the South East Physics NETwork (SEPNET).
The University of Hertfordshire was ranked 2nd in the East of England (after Cambridge) for Physics and Astronomy (2023 Complete University Guide).
What will I study?
The course aims to develop hard skills in conceptualisation and critical thinking, mathematical and scientific writing, and also soft skills – in communication, teamwork and presentation– which are highly transferable as well as being vital in academic research.
Your core modules will each be taught across two hours of lectures and one hour of classroom tutorials per week. Assessment will be a mix of exams and course work assignments. Core topics include:
- Quantum Field Theory
- Relativity and Field Theory
- General Relativity
- Groups and Representations
Optional modules provide you with the opportunity to customise your degree. These include:
- Lagrangian Dynamics
- Statistics and Analysis
- High Energy Astrophysics
- Physics of Elementary Particles.
In addition to these, you’ll benefit from a series of Recent Advances lectures designed specifically to explore active topics in the field and bring you closer to the research frontier. This module will bridge the gap between traditional teaching, and the more collaborative and open-ended style of working with real-life research. Teaching is in the form of two to three lectures a week delivered by staff and visiting academics. Assessment takes the form of a series of written essays.
The course requires a substantial commitment of individual study time, especially in the core Research Project module. This project allows you to develop your research skills with the support of a staff member. However, you’re expected to be able to work with a substantial degree of independence.
Unique to the Advanced Research pathway, the Research Seminar module takes these ideas one step further. You’ll take an active role, in conjunction with staff, and work collaboratively with peers, taking turns to synthesise and present topics for a series of individual seminar-style talks. You’ll develop strong skills in public speaking and presentation skills, which are vital both within academia and in industry.
Throughout your studies, you’ll be allocated a personal tutor who will be the first port of call for all academic issues and is available for 1:1 drop-in sessions.
Where will I study?
Learn in our brand-new School of Physics, Engineering and Computer Science building, opening in 2024, where you’ll experience a range of experiential learning zones.
You will benefit from two new dedicated physics teaching labs. The new building will also be home to the Centre for Climate Change Research and the Wolfson Centre for Biodetection and Instrumentation Research, which have both been created in response to the most pressing global challenges.
You will also benefit from a Success and Skills Support Unit, which is aimed at helping you build your employability and academic skills. Plus, have access to industry mentors who will provide you with pastoral support, vocational guidance, and career progression opportunities.
The new building will also provide space to collaborate, with plenty of workshops, social and meeting spaces available. Even better, the building has been designed with the University’s net zero carbon target in mind, and forms part of our plan to replace or upgrade older sites that are energy inefficient.
|Groups and Representations||15 Credits||Compulsory|
|The Physics of Elementary Particles||15 Credits||Optional|
|Lagrangian Dynamics||15 Credits||Optional|
|Relativity and Field Theory||15 Credits||Compulsory|
|General Relativity||15 Credits||Compulsory|
|Quantum Field Theory||15 Credits||Compulsory|
|Recent Advances in Theoretical Physics I||30 Credits||Compulsory|
|Recent Advances in Theoretical Physics II||30 Credits||Compulsory|
|Research Seminar||30 Credits||Compulsory|
|Theoretical Physics Research Project||60 Credits||Compulsory|
|High Energy Astrophysics||15 Credits||Optional|
|Statistics and Analysis||15 Credits||Optional|
Dr Charles Strickland-Constable
Find out more about Dr Charles Strickland-Constable
Dr Charles Young
Find out more about Dr Charles Young
Dr Livia Ferro
Find out more about Dr Livia Ferro
Dr Tomasz Lukowski
Find out more about Dr Tomasz Lukowski
Dr Vidas Regelskis
Find out more about Dr Vidas Regelskis
Further course information
|Course fact sheets|
|MSc Theoretical Physics with Advanced Research||Download|
|MSc Theoretical Physics with Advanced Research||Download|
Sandwich placement or study abroad year
Applications open to international and EU students
At the University of Hertfordshire, we want to make sure your time studying with us is as stress-free and rewarding as possible. We offer a range of support services including; student wellbeing, academic support, accommodation and childcare to ensure that you make the most of your time at Herts and can focus on studying and having fun.
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Funding and fees
Other financial support
Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students
- £9900 for 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 inclusive
- £17950 for 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 inclusive
- £17950 for 2023/2024 and 2024/2025 inclusive
*Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University's Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed "When tuition fees change"), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.
View detailed information about tuition fees
Living costs / accommodation
The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.
View detailed information about our accommodation
How to apply
International/EU applicants without pre-settled status in the UK
Apply through our international/EU application portal
Home and EU applicants with pre-settled/settled status in the UK
Start Date End Date Link 27/09/2023 31/05/2024 Apply online (Full Time)
Start Date End Date Link 27/09/2024 31/05/2025 Apply online (Full Time)