Postgraduate study

Particle Physics PhD

Awards: PhD

Study modes: Full-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Particle Physics

Exploring nature at the tiniest scale, the Particle Physics group seeks to add to our understanding of the make-up of our universe.

By joining our research group, you will be following in the footsteps of our celebrated emeritus professor, Peter Higgs, whose groundbreaking Higgs mechanism has excited the world of physics for decades and has been the focus of operations at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

You will also have the opportunity to confer and work with some of the greatest minds in physics today, through our links with leading conferences and international facilities.

Our research group works in two areas: Theory and Experiment.

Particle Physics – Theory

This research concerns fundamental physics at all energy scales, from hadronic binding energy to the massive forces at play in the first instants of the universe’s existence.

We collaborate with leading facilities, such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and the WMAP and Planck satellites.

Our current research explores developments in both perturbative and non-perturbative field theory, renormalization theory and the application of quantum theory to other branches of physics, such as turbulence theory and condensed matter systems.

Particle Physics – Experiment

We look to understand the fundamental particles of nature and the interactions that govern their behaviour.

In particular, from understanding the symmetries present in the universe, we seek to explain the dominance of matter over anti-matter, and mechanisms of symmetry-breaking that led to the creation of mass via the Higgs boson and non-Standard Model particles.

Researchers from our group are working on two experiments at the Large Hadron Collider, the LHCb experiment and the ATLAS experiment.

In addition to research, our students attend a wide range of lectures and participate in international conferences.

The Particle Physics group offers prospective PhD students exciting opportunities to study at the very frontier of understanding. Fully funded studentships are available for a wide range of theoretical and experimental projects, plus opportunities to travel to CERN for long and short visits.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in physics.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic: total 6.5 with at least 6.0 in each component

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 with at least 20 in each section

  • PTE Academic: total 61 with at least 56 in each of the Communicative Skills scores

  • CAE and CPE: total 176 with at least 169 in each paper

  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss national, you may need an Academic Technology Approval Scheme clearance certificate in order to study this programme.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDPhysics3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • School of Physics & Astronomy
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • Peter Guthrie Tait Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible.

You must submit two references with your application.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • School of Physics & Astronomy
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • Peter Guthrie Tait Road
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3FD