What will I learn?

Push the boundaries of knowledge at the frontiers of science in one of the largest Physics departments in the country. Combining a high profile for research both in the UK and internationally, by studying a PhD at Birmingham you will work with talented researchers at the very leading-edge of their fields.

The School of Physics and Astronomy has a rich history of distinguished research and has delivered breakthrough discoveries which continue to transform our understanding of the universe, its laws and fundamental characteristics in a number of themes: Astrophysics and Space Research? Condensed Matter Physics? Metamaterials? Molecular Physics? Nanoscale Physics? Nuclear Physics? Particle Physics? Positron Imaging? Solar and Stellar Physics? Theoretical Physics? and Ultra Cold Atoms.

Studying a PhD at the University of Birmingham offers you a wealth of opportunities to expand and transform your thinking through independent inquiry. From working alongside world leaders in physics and astronomy, you’ll have the stimulation, support and challenges you need to succeed. The quality and impact of our research is proven with 90% of the research outputs in the School were rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in the latest Research Exercise Framework (REF).

We have a long tradition of advancing discovery through distinguished research originating from the time of John Henry Poynting, the first Professor of Physics at Birmingham, whose work included the theory of the transfer of electromagnetic energy. Today, however, the School offers research projects across the breadth of the discipline: from nuclear and particle physics experiments at the large hadron collider at the smallest scales, to the role of dark matter at cosmological scales. In between, we cover areas of quantum matter in both experiment and theory which includes ultracold atomic gases, metamaterials, nanoscale physics and condensed matter. Our astronomers are renowned for work in astroseimology, gravitational waves and for extragalactic astronomy.

Our students work in research groups, typically of ten to 40 people with a high level of technical and academic support. Annual research income is over £7 million and 250 research publications are produced each year.

Why study Physics PhD at Birmingham?

  • Be part of the latest discoveries: from probing what happened an instant after the Big Bang, developing new quantum materials to leading the quest to find gravitational waves and leading experiments to ‘see’ inside the sun and other stars. By studying a PhD with us, you will be applying knowledge to science and engineering to make a positive difference to society, industry and our environment.
  • Birmingham is home to a vibrant and supportive physics research community. From our strong connections, you will have a range of opportunities to meet other researchers, discuss your work and learn about the cutting-edge projects being carried out by academics within the University and at other institutions.
  • As well as benefitting from regular colloquia, you’ll have access to an unparalleled support network. All doctoral researchers have a mentor as well as a supervisor and by working in research groups, you will have access to support across the group, including the head of section.
  • Research groups hold regular seminars with many distinguished external speakers and the vast majority of our research activity involves national or international collaboration, often with industrial partners. The School also hosts conferences and meetings on various research topics, bringing in leading scientists from around the world.

Which department am I in?

School of Physics and Astronomy

Study options

Full Time (3.5 years)

Tuition fees
£23,580.00 (US$ 31,440) per year
This is a fixed fee

*Price shown is for indicative purposes, please check with institution

Start date

Expected September 2022

Venue

University of Birmingham

Edgbaston,

Birmingham,

B15 2TT, England

Entry requirements

For international students

Typically a first or 2:1 undergraduate degree. Students need to have an IELTS 6.0 with no less than 5.5 in any band is equivalent to: TOEFL: 80 overall with no less than 19 in Reading, 19 in Listening, 21 in Speaking and 19 in Writing; Pearson Test of English (PTE): Academic 51 in all four skills; Cambridge English (exams taken from 2015): Advanced – minimum overall score of 169, with no less than 162 in any component.

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

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About University of Birmingham

The university is known globally for its pioneering research – students benefit from trailblazing discoveries that impact international society.

  • One of the world’s top research-intensive universities
  • Based in Europe’s youngest city
  • 5 colleges offering hundreds of study options
  • Plenty of dedicated international student support

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