Physics research equipmentDuration: 1 year full-time
Start date: October 2017
LocationSouth Kensington
ECTS: 90 credits

This course is now open to applications for 2017 entry.

Photonics is an exciting area of physics, which enables developments in fields as diverse as biomedical imaging and high power fibre lasers.

About the course


The Department of Physics has a long and successful research record in imaging and photonics.

This 12-month MRes, built on our renowned MSc in Optics and Photonics, usually forms the first year of the four-year MRes+PhD research training programme in the Photonics group.

Some funded studentships for the combined MRes and PhD programme are available to Home/EU students.

The MRes course runs from October to September each year.

It is aimed at students who wish to develop their research interests and skills in photonics. It will:

  • give you the experience of undertaking a major, individual project and recording the results in a full scientific report and presentation
  • train you in appropriate research methods
  • develop your written and oral communication skills for both specialised and non-specialised audiences
  • equip you for further academic study at doctoral level in photonics, and in subjects where photonics is an important enabling science

The taught element in the first term will improve your knowledge of photonics through lectures and a substantial taught laboratory element, which reinforces the practical skills demanded by further research. These elements of the course are shared with the MSc in Optics and Photonics offered by the Department.

From the second term onwards a significant research project is undertaken as a more thorough preparation for students starting their PhD studies. In addition, there is an opportunity to take optional modules in the second term from the MSc in Optics and Photonics, where it is considered relevant to your research project.

Written examinations are held in January and April/May. The laboratory work is continually assessed during the course. The final project is assessed by oral presentations and a dissertation submitted in September.


Modules shown are for the current academic year, and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Core modules

  • Imaging
  • Laboratory
  • Lasers
  • Optical Measurement and Devices
  • Research Project
  • Self-Study Project

Optional modules

You choose one of the option groups below.

Option 1
  • Information Theory
  • Optical Communications
Option 2
  • Plasmonics and Metamaterials

Teaching and assessment


  • Blackboard
  • E-learning
  • Lectures
  • Panopto
  • Practical classes
  • Practical work
  • Problem classes
  • Tutorials
  • Self-study project


  • Examination
  • Oral presentation
  • Problem exercises
  • Written report

Entry requirements

Minimum academic requirement

First class (1st) Honours degree in physics. Other scientific disciplines (e.g. engineering, chemistry, mathematics) may be considered.

International qualifications

The academic requirement above is for applicants who hold or who are working towards a UK qualification.  

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications. For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed here are the minimum for entry to the College.

If you have any questions about admissions and the standard required for the qualification you hold or are currently studying then please contact the relevant admissions team.

English language requirements

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification.

For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for postgraduate applicants.

Fees and funding

Home and EU students

2017 entry:


Islands and overseas students

2017 entry:


Government funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation.

If you are a Home or EU student who meets certain criteria, you can apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan of up to £10,000 from the UK government for programmes beginning in October 2016. The loan is not means-tested, and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs. 

Funding from Imperial


We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies. Try our scholarships search tool to see what you might be eligible for.

For more information on the Postgraduate Master's Loan scheme and other funding opportunities that are available, please visit our Fees and Funding website.

How to apply

All applicants must apply online.

For full details on the online application process, or to start your application, please visit the How to Apply section of our website.

You can usually apply for up to two courses, although your second choice will only be considered if your first-choice application is unsuccessful.

Most of our postgraduate courses don't have a formal closing date, but popular courses close when they are full. We therefore recommend applying early to avoid disappointment, especially students who will also be applying for funding or applying for a visa.

You will need to upload documents with your applications, which may include transcripts and degree certificates.

Offer holders will need to pay a deposit to secure your place. This will be deducted from the balance of your tuition fees.

ATAS Certificate

An ATAS certificate is required for overseas students applying for this course. Your Tier 4 visa application, or extension of stay, will automatically be refused if you need an ATAS certificate and cannot provide one.

For further guidance on obtaining an ATAS certificate please see the information on our International Student Support team website.