PhysicsUCAS code: F309
ECTS: 242 credits
Start date: October 2017
Duration: 4 years full-time

LocationSouth Kensington

The study of the universe and its origins; the understanding of how matter behaves through space and time.

Our four-year MSci Physics with a Year in Europe course combines the opportunity to achieve a Master's level degree and study abroad for a year.

About the course


What you study

All our courses are structured around a common core to ensure that all students have a good grounding in the fundamental aspects of physics, mathematics and experimental methods.

You can then specialise by following themes, such as:

  • Theoretical physics
  • Astrophysics
  • Particle physics and cosmology
  • Quantum optics and photonics
  • Solid state physics

All our degrees include a substantial final-year project undertaken in one of our research groups.

MSci Physics with a Year in Europe

This MSci Physics with a Year in Europe course is designed for those wishing to study at a higher level or pursue a career as an academic or researcher, as well as spend a year on exchange at a leading European institution. It is comparable in level to the longer degree courses typically found in most other European countries.

Which degree course is right for you?

A wide choice is available and there is considerable flexibility in how you make your choice, subject to the degree stream you have chosen.

In your application you only need to specify one course. We will discuss your choice with you and we take a flexible approach to course changes both at admissions stage and during the early years of the course.

You can do the MSci course without a year abroad, or one of the many other courses offered by the Department of Physics.


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

You will cover the fundamentals of Physics in the first two years, and spend the third year studying abroad. In the fourth year you will have the choice of advanced mathematics and specialised physics optional modules.

You will normally need to achieve a grade of 40% in each academic year in order to progress to the next.

The grade you must achieve in the fourth year is 50%.

You will take a Horizons Language module in the first and second years, in order to improve your capability in the language of the European country you will visit on exchange.

Year 1

Core modules
  • Electricity and Magnetism, Relativity
  • Imperial Horizons (language module)
  • Laboratory and Computing I
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanics, Vibrations and Waves
  • Professional Skills I
  • Project
  • Quantum Physics and Structure of Matter

Year 2

Core modules
  • Atomic , Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Electromagnetism and Optics
  • Imperial Horizons (language module)
  • Laboratory and Computing II
  • Mathematics and Statistics of Measurement 
  • Professional Skills II
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Solid State Physics
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics

Year 3

You choose modules at the host institution during your year abroad.

There is not a fixed number of modules that you have to take, but you must gain 24 ECTS credits. As a guide, most of the first and second year modules are worth 6 ECTS credits each.

In addition to the taught modules, you complete a Master's level project at the host institution, worth 36 ECTS credits.

Read more about the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS credits).

Partner Universities
  • École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • ESPCI ParisTech, France
  • Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
  • PHELMA, France
  • Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain
  • Universidad de La Laguna, Spain
  • Università degli Studi di Trento, Italy
  • Universität Freiburg, Germany
  • Universität Hamburg, Germany
  • Universität Heidelberg University, Germany
  • Université Paris-Sud, France
  • University of Padova, Italy
  • University of Valencia, Spain

Read more on the Department of Physics website.

Year 4

Core modules
  • Comprehensive Physics
  • Physics Laboratory III
  • Professional Skills III
Optional modules

The majority will be chosen from Groups 1 and 2

Group 1
  • Advanced Classical Physics
  • Astrophysics
  • Communicating Physics
  • Complexity and Networks
  • Computational Physics
  • Fluid Dynamics
  • Foundations of Quantum Mechanics
  • Group Theory
  • Imaging and Biophotonics
  • Lasers
  • Light and Matter
  • Medical Imaging: Nuclear Diagnostics and MRI
  • Medical Imaging: X-Rays and Ultrasound
  • Physics of the Universe
  • Plasma Physics
  • Principles of Instrumentation
  • Statistical Mechanics
Group 2
  • Advanced Hydrodynamics
  • Advanced Particle Physics
  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Cosmology
  • General Relativity
  • Information Theory
  • Laser Technology
  • Nanotechnology in Consumer Electronics
  • Optical Communications 
  • Plasmonics and Metamaterials
  • Quantum Field Theory
  • Quantum Information
  • Quantum Optics
  • Quantum Theory of Matter
  • Space Physics
  • Unification
Group 3

You can choose one of the modules below.

  • Environmental Physics
  • Mathematical Methods
  • Sun, Stars and Planets
Group 4 - Humanities and Business

You can choose one of the modules below, in order to broaden your degree.

Teaching and assessment


You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, laboratory classes and computing labs. You will be able to utilise the office hours of staff from the department to discuss your progress.

There will also be group and individual project work, in order to ensure our degrees provide a strong set of additional skills, such as presentational and communicative skills.


Our Physics degrees use a variety of assessment methods, the below list provides a guide to what you can expect:

  • Written examinations
  • Assessed problem sheets
  • Laboratory and project reports
  • Continuous assessments, e.g. essay writing
  • Group and individual presentations

Key Information Set (KIS)

Additional details about how this course is taught and assessed are provided in the KIS (Key Information Set).

The KIS is a set of statistics which all universities use to describe how their courses are taught and assessed. This allows students to compare similar courses at different institutions.

The KIS describes the percentage of time which students typically spend in timetabled activity and in independent study for each year of their course as well the percentage of assessment which is exams, coursework or practical. An overview of the KIS is shown in the widget at the bottom of the page and further detail (including a year-by-year breakdown) is available via unistats.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis. If your qualifications are not listed here, please see the Department of Physics' website for information on a range of international qualifications.

Foreign language requirement

Applicants to this course require a pass in a modern European language at grade B or above in GCSE (or equivalent).

Applicants offering an AS level or A-level in the language will have an advantage.


We require A*A*A overall, to include:

  • A* in Mathematics
  • A*/A in Physics
  • A*/A in another subject
Practical endorsement (practical science assessment)

If you are made an offer you will be required to achieve a pass in the practical endorsement in all science subjects that form part of the offer.

International Baccalaureate

We require a score of 39 points overall, to include:

  • 7, 6, 6 at higher level, which must include Mathematics and Physics

Other qualifications

We also welcome applications from candidates with Scottish Advanced Highers, the International, European and French Baccalaureates, the German Abitur and certain other qualifications giving university entrance in other countries. Please see the Department of Physics' website for details.

English language requirements (all candidates)

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 undergraduate applicants.

Selection process

If your UCAS application shows that you are suitable you will be invited for an interview. Because we receive many more excellent applications than we have places available, our interviews will involve some technical discussions so that we can assess candidates with similar academic records and predictions.

You will be given the opportunity to have lunch with our undergraduates, and you will meet with a member of the admissions team. This meeting will help you find out more about the course, our Department and College facilities, and social life in general.

It also gives us the chance to assess your suitability for the course, to learn about your interests and motivation, and to decide whether to offer you a place.

If you have not decided exactly which of the courses you want to apply for you can use the interview to discuss your choice with us. You will normally be able to see one of the labs and something of the research work.

Candidates who are unable (for travel reasons) to attend an interview will be assessed on the basis of their UCAS applications but we are keen to interview candidates whenever this is possible.

Tuition fees and funding

Home and EU students

2017 entry:

£9,250 per year

Year Abroad:

15% of the relevant fee for that year

The UK government has confirmed that universities that have achieved a ‘meet expectations’ award – which includes Imperial – will, under the first year of the new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), be able to raise their fees in 2017. The rise is an inflationary amount of 2.8% to a maximum of £9,250. The measure of inflation used is RPI-X (the retail price index, excluding mortgage interest payments). You should expect the fee to increase beyond 2017 for each year that your course lasts, subject to UK government regulations on fee increases.

The UK government has also confirmed that EU students starting or continuing their studies in the 2017–18 academic year will continue to pay the Home rate of tuition fees for the duration of their course. EU students will also remain eligible for the same government funding support as they are now, including the Tuition Fee Loan. This access to government funding will continue throughout your course, even if the UK exits the EU during this time. 

Islands and overseas students

2017 entry:

£27,000 per year

Year Abroad:

100% of the relevant fee for that year

Please note that the tuition fee amount you will pay may increase each year.

Government funding

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

Home and EU students (with the exception of Graduate Medicine students) can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the Government to cover the full cost of their fees each year.

Home students may also be eligible for a Maintenance Loan to help with their living costs.

Bursaries and scholarships

Imperial Bursary

The Imperial Bursary is available to any Imperial Home undergraduate student (except Graduate Medicine students) whose household income falls below £60,000 per year.

It is designed to ease the cost of London living by providing support on a sliding scale, from £2,000 up to £5,000 per year.

As long as your household income remains below £60,000 you will automatically qualify for a bursary for every year of undergraduate study.

The bursary is paid on top of any government loans to which you are entitled and does not need to be paid back. Find out more about the Imperial Bursary.


Our President’s Undergraduate scholarships are available to all undergraduate applicants studying an undergraduate degree for the first time who have applied to the College by 15 October.

They’re worth £1,000 for each undergraduate year of study. There are up to 112 awards available for students starting their studies in 2017–18.

A wide range of other scholarships is also available. Find out which scholarships you may be eligible for by using our scholarships search tool.

To find out more about the range of financial support available please see our Fees and Funding website.

How to apply

UCAS Apply system

To apply to study at Imperial you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

The UCAS code for Imperial College London is I50.

Application deadlines

All applications which include choices for medicine at Imperial must be submitted to UCAS by 18.00 (UK time) on 15 October 2016 for entry in October 2017. 

The deadline for other courses at Imperial starting in 2017 is 18.00 (UK time) on 15 January 2017.

Students at a school/college registered with UCAS

All UK schools and colleges and a small number of EU and international institutions are registered with UCAS.

To make it clear which school or college you are applying from you will need to ask one of your teachers or advisers for the UCAS buzzword. You will need to enter this in UCAS’s Apply system when you register.

See our How to apply section for further guidance.

Independent applicants and students at schools/colleges not registered with UCAS

If you’re applying independently or from a school/college not registered with UCAS you will still need to use UCAS’s Apply system. You will not need a UCAS buzzword.

See our How to apply section for further guidance.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

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.

Tracking your application

Once you’ve completed your application and it’s been submitted through UCAS’s Apply system, you can use UCAS’ Track system to follow its progress and manage your choices.

Professional accreditation and associateship


All of our Physics degrees are accredited by the Institute of Physics.


They also lead to the award of the Associateship of the Royal College of Science (ARCS).

What our graduates do

Imperial's Physics graduates are sought after by a wide range of employers – for example, the electronics industry needs physicists to design next-generation display technologies, lasers, optical fibres, and advanced semiconductor devices. Increasingly, the energy sector looks to physicists to improve photovoltiac cells for solar energy generation, to optimise wave and wind power technologies, and to improve the efficiency of electrical components.

Recent graduates of the Department have become:

  • Research Analyst, National Physical Laboratory
  • R&D Engineer, BBC
  • Technology Consultant, IBM
  • Graduate Trainee, European Space Agency
  • Software Engineer, Ocado Technology