PhD Theoretical Physics / Overview
Year of entry: 2023
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- Degree awarded
- 3 to 4 years -some funding schemes are for 3.5 yrs
- Entry requirements
A minimum of a 2i class UK Masters honours degree or international equivalent is required or a first degree with an additional Masters degree or international equivalent.
- How to apply
- Apply online
You should include details of your previous study, your research project title and the name of the academic member of staff you would like to supervise your research.
We strongly recommend that you make contact with your proposed supervisor before submitting an application.
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The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Manchester is one of the largest and most active departments of physics in the UK. We have a long tradition of excellence in both teaching and research, and have interests in most areas of contemporary research.
The department has a strong presence in a number of Manchester-based centres for multidisciplinary research: The National Graphene Institute, the Photon Science Institute, the Manchester Centre for Non-Linear Dynamics, the Dalton Nuclear Institute, and the Mesoscience and Nanotechnology Centre. In addition, the Jodrell Bank Observatory in Cheshire is part of the department.
Work on theoretical physics is concentrated in four main areas: complex systems, quantum descriptions of matter and its interactions with light, nuclear physics, and particle physics. Brief summaries of these are given below; more information can be found on the webpages for each group.
- Statistical Mechanics and Complex Systems
The group works on applications of statistical mechanics to questions in biology, the social sciences, and medicine. Examples include the stability of eco-systems, the spread of epidemics, pattern formation in developmental biology, topics in evolutionary game theory, the modelling of cancer and problems in medical statistics. The common feature these problems share is that they involve many entities interacting together and producing complex behaviour. Our approach is driven by physics ideas, and we use tools such as stochastic differential equations, path integrals and master equations, Bayesian statistics and maximum likelihood methods, combined with algorithms for fast numerical simulations. Postgraduate projects can focus on applications or on fundamental aspects of models of complex systems. PhD projects often involve collaboration with national and international partners across disciplines.
- Quantum Theory of Light and Matter
The group working on Quantum Theory of Light and Matter applies a diverse array of tools, including QFT methods and master equations, to a broad range of topics. These include: the study of quantum materials, topological order and superconductivity, theories of quantum transport, strongly-coupled non-equilibrium phenomena, quantum thermodynamics, quantum noise, and open quantum systems. Close connections to experimental groups in the Department and the National Graphene Institute helps with development of these theories.
- Nuclear Theory
The research interests of the Nuclear Theory Group range from low-energy nuclear structure to the frontier where nuclear and particle physics overlap. We focus on 'fundamental' approaches to nuclear physics, linking it to quantum chromodynamics, and have particular expertise in the areas of effective field theory and microscopic many-body theory. Current particular interest include: the responses of nucleons and light nuclei to external fields (being probed with Compton scattering in experiments at Mainz and Duke Universities), and the origins of nuclear forces.
- Particle Theory
The fundamental properties of matter are studied by the theory members of the Particle Physics Group. The Group has particular expertise in almost all aspects of Collider Physics phenomenology, Quantum Chromodynamics, in the Physics of the Early Universe, in Higgs and Neutrino Physics and in Physics Beyond the Standard Model. Our projects are often focused on aspects of theoretical physics that can be tested in ongoing or future experiments on colliders and non-accelerator physics, and in cosmological and astrophysical observations. The connections between particle physics and cosmology are also being explored in collaboration with members of the Jodrell Bank Observatory for Astrophysics.
You can also download our Postgraduate Project Booklet (PDF document, 2.5Mb) which contains details of research projects available within the department.
The postgraduate research environment is well funded and world-class as demonstrated by our ranking in REF2014. Supervision is provided by academic staff, who are leaders in their fields, with independent pastoral back-up. Transferable skills training is available and there are some department teaching opportunities.
Fees for entry in 2023 have not yet been set. For reference, the fees for the academic year beginning September 2022 were as follows:
UK students (per annum): Band A £4,596; Band B £6,000; Band C £9,000; Band D £11,000
International, including EU, students (per annum): Band A £25,500; Band B £27,000; Band C £30,000; Band D £32,000
UK students (per annum): Band A: TBC; Band B £3,000; Band C £4,500; Band D £5,500
International, including EU, students (per annum): Band A £12,750; Band B £13,500; Band C £15,000; Band D £16,000
Further information for EU students can be found on our dedicated EU page.
Please note for the majority of projects where experimentation requires further resource: higher fee bands (where quoted) will be charged rather than the base rate for supervision, administration and computational costs. The fees quoted above will be fully inclusive and, therefore, you will not be required to pay any additional bench fees or administration costs.
All fees for entry will be subject to yearly review and incremental rises per annum are also likely over the duration of the course for Home students (fees are typically fixed for International students, for the course duration at the year of entry). For general fees information please visit: postgraduate fees . Always contact the department if you are unsure which fee applies to your project.
- Department of Physics & Astronomy
- Contact name
- Postgraduate Admissions Team
- +44 (0) 161 543 4026
Our internationally-renowned expertise across the School of Natural Sciences informs research led teaching with strong collaboration across disciplines, unlocking new and exciting fields and translating science into reality. Our multidisciplinary learning and research activities advance the boundaries of science for the wider benefit of society, inspiring students to promote positive change through educating future leaders in the true fundamentals of science. Find out more about Science and Engineering at Manchester .
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