Postgraduate study

School: Physics & Astronomy

About the School

As the birthplace of the Higgs mechanism and the prediction of the Higgs boson, the University of Edinburgh’s School of Physics & Astronomy has a strong track record of innovation and research excellence.

Our research – 96 per cent of which was rated 4* world leading or 3* internationally excellent on the overall quality profile of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 – pushes the frontiers of scientific thinking. From the smallest to largest scales, the School’s pioneering work regularly attracts global attention. Not only have we played a vital role in the world’s largest scientific experiment – to find the Higgs boson – but we have also carried out the biggest exercise yet to map dark matter, spanning billions of light years across the universe.

New discoveries, and more to come

The discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN prompted the creation of a new centre at the School – where Peter Higgs remains an Emeritus Professor – to support research in theoretical physics. The Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics brings together scientists from around the world to seek deeper understanding of the workings of the universe and its contents, through its extensive visitor and workshop programmes.

Our researchers work in three institutes:

The Institute for Astronomy

The Institute for Astronomy is one of the UK’s major centres of astronomical research, with particular strengths in survey astronomy, cosmology, active galaxies and the formation of stars and planets.

The Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems

At the Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems we explore everything from the motion of microorganisms to the behaviour of matter under the extreme pressures found at the centres of stars.

The Institute for Particle and Nuclear Physics

The work of the Institute for Particle and Nuclear Physics includes the giant experiments of the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, Switzerland, which are revealing the secrets of the building blocks of the universe.

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About our degrees

We offer a range of options for postgraduate study: from professional qualifications to independent research, on-campus taught programmes to part-time, online study. Find out which graduate study option is right for you: