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.

See international equivalent qualifications on the International Office website.

Months of entry


Course content

The School of Physics at Bristol University is one of the best Physics research environments in the UK - Bristol Physics research is ranked 4th in the UK (THE analysis of REF 2021). Our success today is built on immensely strong foundations: for more than 100 years, Bristol Physics has made major research contributions, including the discovery of the pi meson (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1950) and fundamental advances in quantum mechanics.

As a research student you will be a member of the Physics Graduate School, which comprises a community of 250 students from a diverse global background, and with a great gender balance. We have strong interactions with industry, and are well connected to the unique Bristol start-up and SME community, with opportunities for placements during your research programme and joint training activities.

Our Physics Graduate School 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. We will also support your professional development as a teacher - many of our research students take up roles as paid Graduate Teaching Assistants for part of their working week, helping to support undergraduate programmes.

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 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.

For your application you will need a CV, a personal statement introducing yourself and outlining your motivation for research, and details of your qualifications. Please see our Admissions Statement for more information.

Research Area:

Please make sure to indicate your preferred area of research at the top of your personal statement. This will help us to process the application effectively.

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 on the application form.

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 Academic Contact in the research theme of interest for more information. The School also benefits from a number of University of Bristol PGR Scholarships each year.

The School also offers a number of MScR Research Bursaries, which provide financial support for part of the costs of the MScR research degree.

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

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

Director of the Graduate School
+44 (0) 117 455 5287