Entry requirements

A first degree in physics or a related subject, normally at a level equivalent to at least UK upper second-class honours, or a relevant postgraduate master's qualification.

Months of entry


Course content

For more than 100 years, the Bristol School of Physics has made major research contributions, including the discovery of the pi meson (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1950) and fundamental advances in quantum mechanics.

The School of Physics has a world-class reputation for cohort-based research training and has over the past ten years received UK national funding for Centres of Doctoral Training in Functional Nanomaterials, Condensed Matter Physics, Quantum Engineering, Particle Physics, Artificial Intelligence Machine Learning, and Advanced Computing.

Our Physics Graduate School community comprises more than 200 students from a diverse global background, and with a very good gender balance. We have strong interactions with industry, and are well connected to the unique Bristol start-up and SME community, including joint training activities.

As a research student you will be a member of the Physics Graduate School, which organises social and scientific events to support you, coordinates skills training in Physics, organises induction, builds a community, and helps you navigate through the University procedures.

Our research degree programmes are offered across six diverse research themes. For informal discussions before making an application, prospective students are encouraged to contact either the academic lead in the research theme of interest for guidance, or the potential supervisor for project discussions.

Once you have settled on a research area and/or supervisor, you will need a CV, a personal statement introducing yourself and outlining your motivation for research, and details of your qualifications.

Research Area:

At the top of your personal statement, state the research area that overlaps with your research interests (you can choose up to two research areas).

Choose from the research themes of the School of Physics:

  • Astrophysics
  • Materials and Devices
  • Particle Physics
  • Quantum and Soft Matter
  • Quantum Engineering Technologies
  • Theoretical Physics

If you have already contacted a potential supervisor or are replying to a studentship advert, please indicate the potential supervisors name in the 'Research Proposal' section of the application.

Information for international students

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Fees and funding

In each academic year, the School of Physics has a number of scholarships for PhD degrees, which are awarded competitively to candidates with the highest research potential. The type of scholarship varies according to the research theme of the PhD opportunity. Applicants are encouraged to contact the postgraduate opportunities rep in their research theme of interest for more information.

We warmly welcome applications from candidates who are applying for funding in their home country, for example; your own Government scholarships, Commonwealth scholarships, charities.

If you are unsure about which research theme your interests align with, please contact the admissions team.

Further information on funding for prospective UK and international postgraduate students.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    part time
    96 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
  • MSc by research
    part time
    48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    full time
    24 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Postgraduate administrator
+44 (0) 117 33 17946