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MSc Physics (by research)

Unleash your curiosity with academic independence, allowing you to focus on a research project of your interest.

Show year of entry: 2022


1 year full-time
2 years part-time
Distance learning available

Start date

October 2023
January 2024
April 2024
July 2024
(semester dates)

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Find out more

At York, our renowned research groups play a leading role on both the national and international stages, collaborating with industries and major higher education institutions. If your passion lies in research, our Masters by research degree provides the opportunity for academic independence, allowing you to focus on your research project, alongside a small number of taught modules.

Your research

The focus of your work will be an independent research project. You'll be supported with a small number of taught modules to develop your knowledge and practical skills.

You'll have 12 months to experiment and collect data, and a further three months (if needed) to write your thesis.

You'll be part of one of our leading research groups, which bring together expertise in fields such as Condensed Matter Physics, Nuclear Physics, Plasma Physics and Fusion, Physics of Life - Biological Physics and Biophysics, and Quantum Communication.

Research projects

Our academics are working on a wide range of projects suitable for research students to join.


Explore Physics, Engineering and Technology funding for MPhil/PhD researchers and wider postgraduate support.


We encourage you to find out about our academics and get to know how their work and expertise fit with your research interests.

Research projects

Our academics are working on a wide range of projects suitable for research students to get involved with.

Training and support

We provide training which will equip you with skills in a wide range of research methods to support your growing expertise and enhance your employability.

Alongside your research, taught modules will help you develop specialist skills and relate your project to developments in the field. You'll choose from a wide range of Masters and undergraduate modules in specialist areas to complement your research, including:

You'll also take part in a transferable skills programme, covering soft and hard skills.

Programme location

You will be based on Campus West. Most of your training and supervision meetings will take place here, though your research may take you further afield.

Distance learning (DL)

We offer a distance learning option for this programme if you cannot live in York full- or part-time.

As part of the application process, we will ask for justification for taking the DL option and will then assess the feasibility of the work programme. The latter will be embodied in a plan of study outlining resources and facilities needed, training requirements and an associated timeline, which will need to be in place before being accepted onto the programme. Unless special arrangements can be agreed in advance, a research topic that requires specialised equipment and facilities may not be possible with DL.

Entry requirements

You should have, or be about to complete, a BSc degree at 2:2 (or equivalent) in Physics, or a related subject.

English language requirements

If English is not your first language you must provide evidence of your ability.

English language requirements


Apply for the MSc in Physics by research

Apply for the MSc in Physics by research - distance learning

Take a look at the supporting documents you may need for your application.

Funded projects

If you are applying for an advertised research project, which gives full details of the project, you do not need to submit a research proposal, but you may wish to contact the supervisor directly to discuss your interest in the project. You should indicate which research project(s) you are interested in on your application form.

Self-funded projects

We welcome applications at any time from those who are able to fund their own studies. If you are not applying for a particular research project, you should give the name of your preferred supervisor, research area or field of research and write a brief outline of the research you are interested in. We would advise that you contact your potential supervisor in advance to discuss this. Your proposal should be 250 to 350 words in length. It must be in English and be your own words.

On your application form please let us know about your research interests. If you are interested in working with a particular supervisor, please make this clear.

Next steps

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