Department of Physics: masters programmes overview

1. MSc in Optics and Photonics

Term 1:

Students study 4 compulsory lecture courses:

  • Imaging (6 ECTS);
  • Lasers (6 ECTS);
  • Optical Measurement and Devices (6 ECTS)

And either

  • Information Theory (3 ECTS) and Optical Communications (3 ECTS); or
  • Plasmonics and Metamaterials (6 ECTS).

The students complete a series of compulsory laboratory experiments (7 ECTS).

Term 2:

Optional courses: 24 ECTS from the following:

  • Advanced Topics in Nanophotonics (6 ECTS)
  • Laser Technology (3 ECTS);
  • Nonlinear Optics (3 ECTS);
  • Laser Optics (3 ECTS);
  • Biomedical Optics (3 ECTS);
  • Photonics Structures (3 ECTS);
  • Optical Fibre Technology (3 ECTS);
  • Optoelectronic Components and Devices (3 ECTS);
  • Optical Displays (3 ECTS);
  • Optical Design (6 ECTS);
  • Optical Design Laboratory (6 ECTS).

Students design and build a working optical system as part of their laboratory work (5 ECTS).

Students undertake a supervised ‘self-study’ literature review, assessed by a written report and a presentation (2 ECTS).

Term Three and Summer:

The students complete their 4 month project and submit a report and an assessed presentation (28 ECTS). The projects may be based at an external institution (but with an Imperial College supervisor assigned). 

Further details can be found in the MSc in Optics and Photonics, and MRes in Photonics

2. MSc in Quantum Fields and Fundamental Forces

Term 1:

Students study 4 compulsory lecture courses:

  • Quantum Electrodynamics (8 ECTS);
  • Quantum Field Theory (8 ECTS);
  • Unification (8 ECTS);
  • Particle Symmetries (8 ECTS).

Students take four optional lecture courses over terms 1 and 2. In the first term the options are:

  • Differential Geometry (8 ECTS);
  • Group Theory (6 ECTS);
  • General Relativity (6 ECTS);
  • Quantum Information (6 ECTS).

The Theoretical Physics group offers a series of seminars - students are expected to attend.

Term 2:

In January, two tests (two hours long) on the first term's courses, one on Particle Symmetries, the other examining both the QFT and Unification courses. These do not count towards the final degree result.

Students complete the Quantum Electrodynamics course.

Students complete their selection of optional courses from the following options:

  • String Theory (8 ECTS);
  • Cosmology and Particle Physics (8 ECTS);
  • Supersymmetry (8 ECTS);
  • Advanced Quantum Field Theory (8 ECTS);
  • Black Holes (8 ECTS);
  • Quantum Theory of Matter (6 ECTS).
  • Foundations of Quantum Mechanics (6 ECTS);

Term 3 and Summer:

After the exams there are a series of special topics lectures. By the beginning of July students shall have chosen the topic of their dissertation, which is submitted in late September (30 ECTS).

3. MRes in Photonics

Term 1:

Four compulsory lecture courses:

  • Imaging (6 ECTS);
  • Lasers (6 ECTS);
  • Optical Measurement and Devices (6 ECTS)

And either

  • Information Theory (3 ECTS) and Optical Communications (3 ECTS); or
  • Plasmonics and Metamaterials (6 ECTS).

The students complete a series of compulsory laboratory experiments (6 ECTS).

Term 2:

Students may choose up to 12 ECTS worth of courses from the following optional courses. These courses will be chosen to support their project work, with the approval of their supervisor.

  • Advanced Topics in Nanophotonics (6 ECTS);
  • Laser Technology (3 ECTS);
  • Nonlinear Optics (3 ECTS);
  • Laser Optics (3 ECTS);
  • Biomedical Optics (3 ECTS);
  • Photonics Structures (3 ECTS);
  • Optical Fibre Technology (3 ECTS);
  • Optoelectronic Components and Devices (3 ECTS);
  • Optical Displays (3 ECTS);
  • Optical Design (6 ECTS);
  • Optical Design Laboratory (6 ECTS).

The students prepare a literature review and project plan for their MRes project and PhD study (if appropriate) (10 ECTS).  Project work starts in term 2.

Term Three and Summer:

The students continue their projects and submit a report and an assessed presentation (50 ECTS).

This course is offered as part of an integrated 1+3 MRes plus PhD.

Find out more

4. MSc in Physics

Terms 1 and 2:

Compulsory lecture courses:

  • Mathematical Techniques (6 ECTS);
  • Advanced Classical Physics (6 ECTS).

Students who have already covered these courses in sufficient depth take additional options.

Optional lecture courses (total 30 ECTS). All students choose five options (6 ECTS each) from the list below of specialised lecture courses, some are offered in term 2,  or courses offered by the Department’s other masters courses (please note that a few courses may not be available because of equipment or the need to have studied several pre-requisite courses).

  • Advanced Particle Physics;
  • Astrphysics;
  • Atmospheric Physics;
  • Complexity and Networks;
  • Computational Neuroscience;
  • Computational Physics;
  • Cosmology;
  • Foundations of Quantum Mechanics;
  • General Relativity;
  • Group Theory;
  • Laser Technology;
  • Plasma Physics;
  • Plasmonics and Metamaterials;
  • Principles of Instrumentation;
  • Quantum Field Theory;
  • Quantum Information;
  • Quantum Optics;
  • Quantum Theory of Matter;
  • Space Physics;
  • Statistical Mechanics;
  • Unification.

And the following courses are 3 ECTS:

    • Advanced Hydrodynamics;
    • Imaging Biophotonics;
    • Information Theory;
    • Lasers;
    • MI: Nuclear Diagnostics and MRI;
    • MI: X-Ray Imaging and Ultrasound;
    • Nanotechnology in consumer electronics;
    • Optical Communications.

Self Study Project (6 ECTS), a literature based project on a topic in physics.

Laboratory Research Skills Training (6 ECTS). In the first and second terms the students have a series of laboratory based exercises and mini-projects, designed to teach them how to interface laboratory equipment with data analysis tools and to effectively utilise computational and numerical tools.  

Term 3:

Most of the third term and the Summer is devoted to dedicated individual project work (36 ECTS) in research groups or research laboratories.

Further details can be found in MSc in Physics (inclucing +Extended Research, +Quantum Dynamics and +Nanophotoni

Students on the course use an electronic timetable. 

4b. MSc in Physics with Nanophotonics

All courses marked with an B in the courses listed in the MSc in Physics are compulsory courses, plus the Imaging and Advanced Topics in Nanophotonics courses under the MSc in Optics and Photonics. Students will undertake a research project in the field of nanophotonics.

4c. MSc in Physics with Extended Research

For the MSc in Physics with Extended Research, term 1 and 2 are identical to the MSc in Physics. In term 3 after the examinations students prepare a literature review and project plan (6 ECTS).

In the second academic year the students undertake their individual project work (60 ECTS).

4d - MSc in Physics with Quantum Dynamics

Students on this stream study the Quantum Optics and Quantum Information modules, plus specialist modules on 'Advanced Quantum Information', 'Quantum systems 1: Cold atomic systems' and 'Quantum systems 2: Hybrid quantum systems'. Project work is related to controlled quantum dynamics. 

5. MRes in Soft Electronic Materials

Overview

This course provides a thorough foundation in the science and application of soft electronic materials, and offers practical training in diverse areas including microscopy, device fabrication and molecular modelling.
Participating departments are Physics, Chemistry and Materials at Imperial.
The 12-month, 90-ECTS, Bologna-compliant, MRes in Soft Electronic Materials aims to provide a thorough foundation in the science and application of soft electronic materials. The course is a full-time one year Masters in Research, consisting of a multidisciplinary research project, taught courses in the physics, chemistry and materials science of soft electronic materials, practical training workshops, transferable skills courses, and regular group discussion sessions.
MRes students are also encouraged to attend regular research seminars given by the wider CPE community that are organised throughout the year, as well as colloquia targeting specialised areas, such as perovskite photovoltaics or bioelectronics.
The taught course runs between October and December, with examinations in February. Advanced and practical courses take place January to February. The majority of the project work will take place after the exams, finishing in September.

Core modules

In the first term, MRes the course offers two core modules.

Module 1
  • Fundamentals of Organic and Inorganic Semiconductors and Optoelectronic Processes
  • Materials Synthesis and Processing
Module 2
  • Materials Characterisation
  • Device Physics and Applications

Fundamentals of Organic and Inorganic Semiconductors and Optoelectronic Processes

This module will refresh the basic properties of semiconducting materials, highlighting the key similarities and differences between electronic behaviour in organic and inorganic materials. It will the cover the physics of the electronic structure of pi-conjugated materials and their neutral, excited and charged states (excitons, polarons), their optical properties (absorption, emission, gain), photophysical processes, photochemistry, charge and exciton transport. It will include an introduction to the techniques used to model the electrical and optical properties of molecular materials. Aspects of other material properties such as ferroelectricity, thermoelectricity and magnetism will also be introduced where relevant.

Materials Synthesis and Processing

This module will focus on the preparation and deposition of electroactive materials including the organic, inorganic and hybrid components used in soft electronic devices. Such electroactive materials will include small molecular charge transport materials, sensitising dyes used in solar cells, fluorescent and phosphorescent materials as well as electroactive polymers. The key concepts of conjugation, synthesis (e.g. by Suzuki or Yamamoto coupling, living polymerisations by McCullough route) and relevant characterisation (e.g. by spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, elemental analysis, GPC, cyclic voltametry) will underpin the organic components of the module which should enable students to select molecules for specific (opto) electronic applications and to suggest functionalisation (i.e. fluorination etc.) that will optimise their physical properties.  Considering the "active layers" of devices we will focus on photovoltaic systems, organic, hybrid and perovskite and expore the numerous chemical and physical deposition systems utilised in the research, development and commercialisation of these systems before moving on to interlayers and finally metallic electrode deposition.  Throuhgout the course we will survey the properties of the materials being deposited and correlate their processing with consideratirons of compatibility, scale and cost.  The key kinetic and thermodynamic concepts underlying the control of morphology, crystallisation, phase behaviour, and processing of single and multi-component systems used in devices will also be covered.

Materials Characterisation

In conjunction with the Materials and Processing module, this part of the course will introduce materials characterisation techniques relevant to assessing the microstructure and surface/interface properties of relevant electroactive materials including microscopy, X-ray diffraction, rheology and thermal analysis (including degradation). The module will also introduce steady-state and time-resolved spectroscopic techniques suitable for interrogating structural properties, excited states, and charge carriers in electroactive materials. Knowledge of these techniques should provide students with a platform to start tackling the practical problems they will encounter during their projects.

Device Physics and Applications

This module will cover the basic principles of operation and design and molecular and hybrid light emitting devices, solar cells, photodiodes, thin film transistors, organic sensors, solar fuels, flexible/wearable electronics using 2D materials, lighting and displays. Emerging devices classes will also be introduced including spintronic and bioelectronics devices. The module will also provide an introduction to device fabrication (including encapsulation) and device engineering for maximum performance and lifetime. Methods to evaluate and assess device performance and bottlenecks will be covered (e.g. solar cell operating efficiency, transistor transfer curves). This understanding will provide students with approaches to diagnose and rectify problems in their device designs.

Project work and practical workshops

Students will be expected to select a research project proposal in the first term following discussion with potential supervisors. Examples of previous projects can be seen here.

Potential practical workshops that could be offered during the course of the student’s MRes year are organised in conjunction with, and frequently hosted by, our industrial partners, eg:

  • Polymer processing
  • High volume printing
  • Device fabrication
  • Imaging and advanced measurement of molecular electronic materials
  • Molecular modelling

Find out more

Further details can be found at the following link: MRes in Soft Electronics 

6. MRes Machine Learning and Big Data in the Physical Sciences

This MRes will cover the methodologies and toolkits for research involving large data sets. The challenges faced in modern physics research, combined with the large datasets and data rates generated, make the field a unique development ground for machine learning and artificial intelligence.

You will learn the science behind these methods and how they can be deployed in real research. During the course, you will discover the tools used in research, both within academia and industry, and how to apply them to real-life experimental data.

The main component of this course is an extended research project where you will carry out original work embedded in a research group. You will explore cutting-edge research within your chosen topic, working with and learning from world-leading experts at the College.

Find out more

Find out more and apply for the MRes Machine Learning and Big Data in the Physical Sciences

7. MSc in Security and Resilience

Train in the science and cutting-edge technologies that underpin global security

Are you a STEM graduate with an interest in security or a security professional?

Organisations, communities, and cities across the globe have a growing need to be secure and resilient and, on this course, you'll have the opportunity to develop the knowledge and skills to support them. You'll study the who, what, how and why of global security and resilience threats and responses. Through lectures, workshops, labs, and project work, you'll cover the science, technology, human activity, policy and implementation of security and resilience, using quantitative and qualitative research methods to explore these areas in-depth.

Find out more

Find out more about the MSc in Security and Resilience: Science and Technology including details about course content, structure, career opportunities and how to apply.

Further information

The Department currently offer eight Master level programmes. These are one-year, full-time courses, though part-time attendance over two years may be permitted for some of the courses.

Please read our Physics PG Competency Standard.

Course details and how to apply

For further information including entry requirements and how to apply, see the individual course details in the Postgraduate prospectus.

Fees and funding

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