Postgraduate study

Mathematical Physics

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time

Funding available

Programme website: Mathematical Physics

This MSc programme is designed to prepare you for a research career in academia or industry by introducing advanced ideas and techniques that are applicable in a wide range of research areas, while emphasising the underlying physics concepts.

The MSc programme is a core part of the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics, which has been created to mark the start of a new era in theoretical physics research, following the discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN. You will take part in the centre’s activities, including weekly seminars, colloquia and workshops involving physicists from around the world, and you will be involved in research-level projects as part of your dissertation.

The partnership between mathematics and physics is an essential one. In theoretical physics we attempt to build abstract constructs that rationalise, explain and predict physical phenomena. To do this we need mathematics: the language of physics. The underlying structure of the physical world can be understood in great detail using mathematics; this is a never-ending source of fascination to theoretical physicists.

Taught courses

You will take two compulsory courses plus a selection of courses that will bring you to an advanced level in subjects such as general relativity, cosmology, statistical physics, condensed matter physics, quantum field theory and the standard model of particle physics. You may also take courses drawn from a wider pool including specialist courses in mathematics, computing and climate science. For the MSc in Mathematical Physics, mathematics courses can account for almost half of the taught course element.

Dissertation

Following the taught component of the programme, you will undertake a three-month research project, which leads to a dissertation.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScMathematical Physics1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2017/18

By engaging with and completing the MSc in Mathematical Physics, graduates will acquire core knowledge of theoretical physics subjects and the research methodologies of modern theoretical and mathematical physics.

The programme aims to develop research skills and problem solving skills, especially in mathematics. It also aims to develop an attitude of mind conductive to critical questioning and creative thinking and the capacity to formulate ideas mathematically.

These degrees are designed to prepare you for a research career by introducing advanced ideas and techniques that are applicable to a wide range of research areas and sectors including academia, industry, education and finance.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in physics or mathematics with sufficient theoretical physics content. Check our website for details of what we consider "sufficient":

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • 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(A): 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

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

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.

  • The School of Physics and Astronomy
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JZ

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. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

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

Further information

  • The School of Physics and Astronomy
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • James Clerk Maxwell Building
  • The King's Buildings Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH9 3JZ