Entry requirements

Applicants for this course should have achieved a UK Masters (Pass).

Important (please read)

Please note that the University's International Qualifications equivalency table only applies to your three-year or four-year bachelor's degree, and does not provide you with the equivalency of a UK master's degree or a UK "integrated master's" (honours) degree. For students who only hold a bachelor's degree, a master's degree is normally required as well.

The Degree Committee for the Faculty of Physics and Chemistry normally requires applicants to have the equivalent of a UK master's (pass). This requirement is in addition to satisfying the University minimum academic requirement. Applicants should obtain the equivalent of:

at least a II.i in a UK four-year "integrated master's" (honours) degree, OR

at least a II.i in a UK three-year bachelor's (honours) degree plus a relevant one/two-year UK master's degree.

Months of entry

January, April, October

Course content

The PhD in Physics is a full-time period of research which introduces or builds upon, research skills and specialist knowledge. Students are assigned a research supervisor, a specialist in part or all of the student's chosen research field, and join a research group which might vary in size between a handful to many tens of individuals.

Although the supervisor is responsible for the progress of a student's research programme, the extent to which a postgraduate student is assisted by the supervisor or by other members of the group depends almost entirely on the structure and character of the group concerned. The research field is normally determined at entry, after consideration of the student's interests and the facilities available. The student, however, may work within a given field for a period of time before their personal topic is determined.

There is no requirement made by the University for postgraduate students to attend formal courses or lectures for the PhD. Postgraduate work is largely a matter of independent research and successful postgraduates require a high degree of self-motivation. Nevertheless, lectures and classes may be arranged, and students are expected to attend both seminars (delivered regularly by members of the University and by visiting scholars and industrialists) and external conferences. Postgraduate students are also expected to participate in the undergraduate teaching programme at some time whilst they are based at the Cavendish, in order to develop their teaching, demonstrating, outreach, organisational and person-management skills.

It is expected that postgraduate students will also take advantage of the multiple opportunities available for transferable skills training within the University during their period of research.

Information for international students

Language Requirement

IELTS (Academic)

Element Score

Listening 7.0

Writing 7.0

Reading 6.5

Speaking 7.0

Total 7.0

TOEFL Internet Score

Element Score

Listening 25

Writing 25

Reading 25

Speaking 25

Total 100


Score: Grade A & B (overall score of 193, with no element lower than 185 plus a Language Centre assessment)


Score: Grade A, B, or C (with at least 200 with no element lower than 185).

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • PhD
    full time
    36-48 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
    part time
    60-84 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details