MSc by Research Particle Physics / Programme details

Year of entry: 2023

Programme description

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 a part of the Department.

The Manchester Particle Physics group performs theoretical and experimental research into the fundamental constituents of matter and the interactions that govern them. The group includes over 50 academic, research, and technical staff and over 50 postgraduate research students, making it one of the largest groups in the country. Opportunities exist for prospective postgraduates to directly contribute to the world-class experimental and theoretical particle physics research conducted by our group members, including projects that span experiment and theory. Our theoretical research spans the development of models of Beyond the Standard Model physics and their testing at existing and future experimental facilities, connections to the study of particle cosmology and the early Universe, and research into high-precision quantum chromodynamics calculations and Monte Carlo modelling. Our experimental research spans the LHCb and ATLAS experiments at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, the DUNE experiment and short-baseline neutrino experiment programme at Fermilab in the USA, the IceCube/PINGU detectors at the South Pole, the Mu2e and g-2 experiments at Fermilab, the SuperNEMO experiment on the French/Italian border, the BES-III experiment in China, and the Darkside-50/20k dark matter direct detection experiments in Italy. The group holds leadership responsibilities in 11 international experiments, and hosts the spokespeople of three major international collaborations. As well as playing a leading role in the exploitation of existing facilities, the group has key roles in the design and development of future experiments including Liquid Argon TPC detector development, particle tracking detector upgrades for the LHCb and ATLAS experiments, and 3D diamond detector technologies. The group has strong links with national and international facilities, a very well-equipped laboratory space and state-of-the-art clean rooms, and hosts one of the largest and most successful Tier-2 distributed computing centres in the UK. Through our 4IR Centre for Doctoral Training in Data Intensive Science we provide training opportunities in advanced data analysis, modelling and machine learning as well as opportunities for industrial placements and engagement.

You can also download our  Postgraduate Project Booklet  (PDF document, 2.6MB) 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.

Note: Although the course requires 1 year full time study, students should expect the process of examination of the dissertation may take several months. MSc degrees are usually awarded several months after the end of the programme.

Additional programme information

Equality, diversity and inclusion is fundamental to the success of The University of Manchester, and is at the heart of all of our activities.

We know that diversity strengthens our research community, leading to enhanced research creativity, productivity and quality, and societal and economic impact.

We actively encourage applicants from diverse career paths and backgrounds and from all sections of the community, regardless of age, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender expression, sexual orientation and transgender status.

We also support applications from those returning from a career break or other roles.

We consider offering flexible study arrangements (including part-time: 50%, 60% or 80%, depending on the project/funder), carer support funds for conferences, and peer support networks for parents and carers.

All appointments are made on merit.

The University of Manchester and our external partners are fully committed to equality, diversity and inclusion.

Coursework and assessment

A research project is undertaken under the supervision of a staff member throughout the year together with lectures. Full time is spent working on the project unless attending lectures. A dissertation will be submitted at the year-end. We provide a range of skills training which is particularly focussed on the needs of physics research. 

For further information about coursework and assessment please visit our  Course handbook

Programme unit details

A range of specialist and more general lecture units in different areas of physics will be available.

Scholarships and bursaries

There are a range of scholarships, studentships and awards at university, faculty and department level to support both UK and overseas postgraduate researchers.

To be considered for many of our scholarships, you’ll need to be nominated by your proposed supervisor. Therefore, we’d highly recommend you discuss potential sources of funding with your supervisor first, so they can advise on your suitability and make sure you meet nomination deadlines.

For more information about our scholarships, visit our funding page or use our funding database to search for scholarships, studentships and awards you may be eligible for.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: