Physics

Study at one of the largest centres for optics-based research and applications in the UK on this well established MSc course.

Key information

Duration: 1 year full-time, 2 years part-time
Start dateOctober 2022
Location: South Kensington
ECTS: 90 credits
Course overview
Apply now

Overview

Optics is of key importance to many industrial sectors including medicine, ICT and high-tech manufacturing, and Imperial is one of the largest centres for optics-based research and application in the UK.

Imperial has offered an advanced course in optics for over 80 years and the current MSc in Optics and Photonics draws on our experience as one of the largest centres for optics-based research and application in the UK.

The programme includes substantial laboratory and project work, often based within industry. There is also a chance to undertake a self-study project in an area of your choice. You finish with a four-month, full-time project, which may be in industry, an academic research group, or abroad.

Graduates of this course are well qualified to apply their knowledge in a wide range of industrial contexts, as well as in a research environment. They find employment with a variety of careers in industry and many move on to doctoral studies at leading universities in the UK and abroad.

The course lasts one year full-time and begins in October. A part-time course lasting two years is also available for students working for an appropriate organisation in the optics field.

We offer a wide range of core and optional modules, taught by experts in the field, allowing you to develop specialist knowledge across a wide range of optics.

The main coursework (i.e. lectures and laboratory work) takes place in the first two terms. The first term consists of foundation modules and laboratory work. In the second term, you choose further lectures from the optional modules available, and there is a laboratory project to design and build a working optical system.

Laboratory skills are recognised as an important element of the course and you will be required to undertake a total of approximately 160 hours of labwork.

Throughout the course, seminars will provide examples of both technical/scientific innovation and of entrepreneurship in research and industry.

A self-study activity in the second term is an introduction to project work (over approximately 50 hours) and is designed to encourage initiative and self-sufficiency in the learning process. It is assessed by a written report and oral presentation. This is one of several activities focused on developing your transferable skills.

You will spend the months of May to September on a major project, which is often carried out in industry.

Structure

This page reflects the latest version of the curriculum for this year of entry. However, this information is subject to change.

The curriculum of this programme is currently being reviewed as part of a College-wide process to introduce a standardised modular structure. As a result, the content and assessment structures of this course may change for this year of entry.

We recommend you check this page before finalising your application and again before accepting your offer. We will update this page as soon as any changes are confirmed by the College.

Find out more about the limited circumstances in which we may need to make changes to or in relation to our courses, the type of changes we may make and how we will tell you about any changes made.

Page last reviewed on 25 October 2021.

Structure

Core modules

You take all of the core modules below.

  • Final Project
  • Imaging
  • Laboratory
  • Laser Fundamentals
  • Optical Measurement and Devices
  • Self-Study Project

Optional modules

Group 1

You choose one of the options below.

  • Optical Communications and Information Theory
  • Plasmonics and Metamaterials

Group 2

You choose between four and eight modules from below.

  • Advanced Topics in Nanophotonics
  • Biomedical Optics
  • Laser Optics
  • Laser Technology
  • Nonlinear Optics
  • Optical Design
  • Optical Design Laboratory
  • Optical Displays
  • Optical Fibre Technology
  • Optoelectronic Components and Devices
  • Photonic Structures

Teaching and assessment

Teaching

  • Blackboard
  • E-learning
  • Individual Project
  • Lectures
  • Panopto
  • Practical classes
  • Problem classes
  • Tutorials

Assessment

  • Coursework
  • Examinations
  • Oral presentation
  • Poster
  • Practical
  • Repots
  • Viva

Course timetable

You will receive your course timetable by the beginning of your studies in October and the core teaching hours for the College are 9am–6pm.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis.

Admissions

Minimum academic requirement

Our minimum requirement is a 2.1 degree in physics, mathematics or electrical engineering.

Evidence of appropraite qualifications may also be considered.

Applicants who do not meet the academic requirements listed but who have substantial relevant industry experience may exceptionally be admitted following completion of a Special Qualifying Exam.

International qualifications

We also accept a wide variety of international qualifications.

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

For guidance see our Country Index though please note that the standards listed are the minimum for entry to the College, and not specifically this Department.

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 requirement (all applicants)

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.

Competence standards

Our competence standards highlight the core skills students should be able to demonstrate by the end of this course.

View the Department of Physics's competence standards [pdf]

We believe in providing the widest practicable access to all of our degree programmes and will make reasonable adjustments wherever possible to support your study. For more information, please contact the Department using the contact details below.

Department of Physics

T: +44 (0)20 7594 7512
E: l.sanchez@imperial.ac.uk

How to apply

How to apply

Making an application

Apply online

All applicants must apply online.

Visit our Admissions website for details on the application process.

You can submit one application form per year of entry. You can usually choose up to two courses.

Application fee

If you are applying for a taught Master’s course, you will need to pay an application fee before submitting your application.

The fee applies per application and not per course:

  • £80 for taught Master's applications (excluding MBAs)
  • £135 for MBA applications

There is no application fee for MRes courses, Postgraduate Certificates, Postgraduate Diplomas or research courses, such as PhDs and EngDs.

If you are facing financial hardship and are unable to pay the application fee, we encourage you to apply for our application fee waiver. 

Find out more about the application fee and waiver

ATAS certificate (overseas candidates)

An ATAS certificate is required for all visa-nationals, with the exception of EEA/Swiss nationals and nationals of the following countries: Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the USA.

To apply for an ATAS certificate online, you will need your programme’s Common Aggregation Hierarchy (CAH) code and ‘descriptor’, as well as your university supervisor name. For this course, these are:

CAH codeDescriptorSupervisor name
CAH07-01-01 Physics Professor Michele Dougherty

Your student 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 website.

Further questions?

Find answers to your questions about admissions. Answers cover COVID-19, English language requirements, Visas and more.

Visit the FAQs

Tuition fees and 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 fees and funding opportunities.

Tuition fees

Home rate of tuition

2022 entry

Full-time - £13,400
Part-time - £6,700 per year

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2022 will apply to fees for the academic year 2022–2023.

Fee status

Whether you pay the Home fee depends on your fee status.

Your fee status is assessed based on UK Government legislation and includes things like where you live and your nationality or residency status.

Find out more about how we assess your fee status.

EU/EEA/Swiss students

The Government has confirmed that EU/EEA/Swiss students who begin a course before the 31 July 2021 will be eligible to pay the same fee as Home students and have access to student finance for the duration of their course, as long as they meet certain requirements which are unchanged from previous years. This includes students who begin the course remotely.

EU/EEA/Swiss students starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home fee rate and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note, we do not expect this to apply to Irish students or students benefitting from Citizens' Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens' Rights Agreement respectively. However, we are currently awaiting the formal publication of the amended Fees and Awards regulations.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website has useful information on the conditions you currently need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the Home rate for study on a higher education course in England and reflect the regulations as they currently stand (not the amended regulations which are subject to publication).

UKCISA has also provided some information in response to Questions for students starting their course from the 1 August 2021. 

Overseas rate of tuition

2022 entry

Full-time - £31,100
Part-time - £15,550 per year

Fees are charged by year of entry to the College and not year of study.

Except where otherwise indicated, the fees for students on courses lasting more than one year will increase annually by an amount linked to inflation, including for part-time students on modular programmes. The measure of inflation used will be the Retail Price Index (RPI) value in the April of the calendar year in which the academic session starts e.g. the RPI value in April 2022 will apply to fees for the academic year 2022–2023.

Fee status

Whether you pay the Overseas fee depends on your fee status.

Your fee status is assessed based on UK Government legislation and includes things like where you live and your nationality or residency status.

Find out more about how we assess your fee status.

EU/EEA/Swiss students

The Government has confirmed that EU/EEA/Swiss students who begin a course before the 31 July 2021 will be eligible to pay the same fee as Home students and have access to student finance for the duration of their course, as long as they meet certain requirements which are unchanged from previous years. This includes students who begin the course remotely.

EU/EEA/Swiss students starting a course on or after 1 August 2021 will no longer be eligible for the Home fee rate and so will be charged the Overseas fee. Please note, we do not expect this to apply to Irish students or students benefitting from Citizens' Rights under the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EEA EFTA Separation Agreement or Swiss Citizens' Rights Agreement respectively. However, we are currently awaiting the formal publication of the amended Fees and Awards regulations.

The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) website has useful information on the conditions you currently need to meet to be entitled to pay tuition fees at the Home rate for study on a higher education course in England and reflect the regulations as they currently stand (not the amended regulations which are subject to publication).

UKCISA has also provided some information in response to Questions for students starting their course from the 1 August 2021. 

Postgraduate Master's loan

If you're a UK national, or EU national with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you may be able to apply for a Postgraduate Master’s Loan from the UK government, if you meet certain criteria.

For 2021-22 entry, the maximum amount is £11,570. The loan is not means-tested and you can choose whether to put it towards your tuition fees or living costs.

Scholarships

We offer a range of scholarships for postgraduate students to support you through your studies.

See what opportunities you may be eligible for.

If you are an Iranian national and are accepted to study at Imperial starting this October, you may be eligible to apply for the Irani family scholarship.

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.

Further information

Physics

Got a question?

Loli Sanchez
T: +44 (0)20 7594 7512
E: l.sanchez@imperial.ac.uk

The Queen's Tower on our South Kensington Campus

Sign up for our newsletter

Receive regular updates with useful information about studying with us.

Sign up

A student in a laboratory

Download our study guide

Find out more about our courses and how to apply.

Download a copy

Studying at Imperial

London Eye

Living in London

London’s fusion of culture and charm will give you a student experience unlike any other.

Students outside the Union

Student finance

Our tuition fees website has everything you need to know about funding your studies.

Students at graduation

International students

Imperial is ranked as the UK's most international universitywelcoming students from over 140 countries.

Terms and conditions

There are some important pieces of information you should be aware of when applying to universities. We've put together this information in a dedicated section of our website.Makerspace

Read our terms and conditions for these areas: