Taught course

Theoretical Physics

University of Edinburgh · School of Physics and Astronomy

Entry requirements

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or international equivalent, in physics or mathematics (with sufficient theoretical-physics content).

We are looking for significant knowledge of the following physics topics at advanced or intermediate undergraduate level:

  • Classical/Lagrangian Dynamics
  • Electromagnetism
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Special Relativity
  • Statistical/Thermal physics

Similarly, we would like all of the following topics in mathematics:

  • Vector calculus
  • Fourier Analysis
  • Tensors
  • Complex Analysis

We recognise that many students will not have covered all of these topics at this level. We consider every application on an individual basis and may accept students who have studied a significant subset of these topics.

Degrees in engineering, chemistry, geosciences, etc, are unlikely to be suitable preparation for this programme, but there may be exceptions. Please contact us to check before you apply.

Months of entry


Course content

This MSc programme is designed to prepare you for a research career in academia or industry by introducing advanced ideas and techniques that are applicable in a wide range of research areas, while emphasising the underlying physics concepts.

The MSc programme is a core part of the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics, which has been created to mark the start of a new era in theoretical physics research, following the discovery of the Higgs boson at CERN. You will take part in the centre’s activities, including weekly seminars, colloquia and workshops involving physicists from around the world, and you will be involved in research-level projects as part of your dissertation.

The partnership between mathematics and physics is an essential one. In theoretical physics we attempt to build abstract constructs that rationalise, explain and predict physical phenomena. To do this we need mathematics: the language of physics. The underlying structure of the physical world can be understood in great detail using mathematics; this is a never-ending source of fascination to theoretical physicists.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MSc
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

MSc Administrator
+44 (0)131 651 3448