What physics master’s are there?

  • Helena Kudiabor
  • May 15 2023

Completing a physics master’s is a great way to gain a deeper understanding of physics, and to conduct research in an area you’re interested in. But what are the different physics master’s courses you can do?


What does a physics master’s involve?

A physics master’s is a postgraduate course that allows you to delve deeper into a topic you’re passionate about. You’ll study a specific topic in more depth than you would at undergraduate level, and will spend more time studying independently. A master’s takes a year if studied full-time, but two years if studied part-time. 

What physics master’s are there?

There are a range of different master’s for physics students. There’s the Physics MSc, which is the most common physics master’s offered. This course allows students to gain a deeper understanding of topics discussed in undergraduate physics, such as cosmology, particle physics and general relativity. Universities will provide students with a number of optional module choices, so you can choose the topics that interest you the most.

In addition to the Physics MSc, which is more general, there are a number of physics master’s which allow for greater specialisation. Master’s options vary greatly between universities, so you’re bound to find a master’s that matches your interests. Examples include: Astrophysics MSc, Physics and Engineering in Medicine MSc and Robotics and Artificial Intelligence MSc. 

What’s the difference between the different master’s courses?

The Master’s of Arts (MA) is typically awarded to students studying courses like social science, art and humanities. However, the Master’s of Science (MSc) covers degrees in the STEM field, and focuses on theories and research as opposed to essay writing. Most, if not all, physics master’s are MSc courses. A Master’s of Research (MRes) in a year long, full-time research programme. This focuses primarily on independent research and study.

Physics apprenticeships

Have you ever thought about completing an apprenticeship? An apprenticeship combines paid work experience and training in the sector you’re interested in. An apprentice who completes a Level 7 apprenticeship finishes with a qualification that’s equivalent to a master’s degree. Completing an apprenticeship has a number of advantages, such as gaining valuable work experience and not having to pay tuition fees.

How do I decide what to specialise in?

Given the exciting, diverse nature of physics, it can be difficult to decide what to specialise in. Think about the lectures and projects you completed during your undergraduate degree: which ones did you find the most interesting? It’s also wise to do some research into potential careers for physics graduates, and find a master’s degree that’s related to your career goals.