What will I learn?

About the course

The course provides a high-level, internationally competitive training in mathematical and theoretical physics, right up to the level of modern research. It covers the following main areas.

  • quantum field theory, particle physics and string theory
  • theoretical condensed matter physics,
  • theoretical astrophysics, plasma physics and physics of continuous media
  • mathematical foundations of theoretical physics

The course concentrates on the main areas of modern mathematical and theoretical physics. elementary-particle theory, including string theory, condensed matter theory (both quantum and soft matter), theoretical astrophysics, plasma physics and the physics of continuous media (including fluid dynamics and related areas usually associated with courses in applied mathematics in the UK system) and mathematical structures underlying physical theory. If you are a physics student with a strong interest in theoretical physics or a mathematics student keen to apply high-level mathematics to physical systems and their underpinning mathematics, both pure and applied, this is a course for you.

The course offers considerable flexibility and choice; you will be able to choose a path reflecting your intellectual tastes or career choices. This arrangement caters to you if you prefer a broad theoretical education across subject areas or if you have already firmly set your sights on one of the subject areas, although you are encouraged to explore across sub-field boundaries.

The MSc offers a substantial opportunity for independent study and research in the form of an optional dissertation which may be worth a single or double unit depending on the amount of work involved.

Pattern of learning and teaching

You will have to attend at least ten units' worth of courses, where one unit corresponds to a 16-hour lecture course or equivalent.

Depending on how many courses you take in total and how they split between terms, you can expect to attend two, three or four (or, in exceptional cases, five) lecture courses per term. Each lecture course has roughly two one hour lectures per week supplemented by roughly four 90 minute classes per term.

Assessment

Your performance will be assessed by one or several of the following means.

  • invigilated written exams
  • course work marked on a pass/fail basis
  • take-home exams
  • mini-projects due shortly after the end of the lecture course.

The modes of assessment for a given course are decided by the course lecturer and will be published at the beginning of each academic year. As a general rule, foundational courses will be offered with an invigilated exam while some of the more advanced courses will typically be relying on the other assessment methods mentioned above. In addition, you will be required to give an oral presentation towards the end of the academic year which will cover a more specialised and advanced topic related to one of the subject areas of the course. At least four of the ten units must be assessed by an invigilated exam and, therefore, have to be taken from lecture courses which provide this type of assessment. A further three units must be assessed by invigilated written exam, take-home exam or mini-project. Apart from these restrictions, you are free to choose from the available programme of lecture courses

Graduate destinations

Research in mathematical and theoretical physics or industry.

Which department am I in?

University of Oxford

Study options

Full Time (9 months)

Tuition fees
£27,460.00 (US$ 36,325) Overall cost
Course fees are payable each year, for the duration of your fee liability (your fee liability is the length of time for which you are required to pay course fees). For courses lasting longer than one year, please be aware that fees will usually increase annually.

This is a fixed fee
Start date

Expected October 2022

Venue

University of Oxford

University Offices,

Wellington Square,

Oxford,

Oxfordshire,

OX1 2JD, England

Entry requirements

For international students

As a minimum, applicants should hold or be predicted to achieve the equivalent of the following UK qualifications. a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours in mathematics, physics, or a related discipline. For applicants with a degree from the USA, the minimum GPA sought is 3.6 out of 4.0. Applicants need to have an IELTS score of 7.5 with a minimum of 7.0 per component; TOEFL iBT score of 110 with a minimum component score of 22 in listening, 24 in reading, 24 in writing and 25 in speaking.

*There may be different IELTS requirements depending on your chosen course.

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