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University of Birmingham: Physics and Astronomy

Institution University of Birmingham View institution profile
Department School of Physics and Astronomy
Study type Research


Push the boundaries of knowledge at the frontiers of science in one of the largest Physics departments in the country. Combining a high profile for research both in the UK and internationally, by studying a PhD at Birmingham you will work with talented researchers at the very leading-edge of their fields.

The School of Physics and Astronomy has a rich history of distinguished research and has delivered breakthrough discoveries which continue to transform our understanding of the universe, its laws and fundamental characteristics in a number of themes: Astrophysics and Space Research; Condensed Matter Physics; Metamaterials; Molecular Physics; Nanoscale Physics; Nuclear Physics; Particle Physics; Positron Imaging; Solar and Stellar Physics; Theoretical Physics; and Ultra Cold Atoms.

Studying a PhD at the University of Birmingham offers you a wealth of opportunities to expand and transform your thinking through independent inquiry. From working alongside world leaders in physics and astronomy, you’ll have the stimulation, support and challenges you need to succeed. The quality and impact of our research is proven with 90% of the research outputs in the School were rated as world-leading or internationally excellent in the latest Research Exercise Framework (REF).

We have a long tradition of advancing discovery through distinguished research originating from the time of John Henry Poynting, the first Professor of Physics at Birmingham, whose work included the theory of the transfer of electromagnetic energy. Today, however, the School offers research projects across the breadth of the discipline: from nuclear and particle physics experiments at the large hadron collider at the smallest scales, to the role of dark matter at cosmological scales. In between, we cover areas of quantum matter in both experiment and theory which includes ultracold atomic gases, metamaterials, nanoscale physics and condensed matter. Our astronomers are renowned for work in astroseimology, gravitational waves and for extragalactic astronomy.

Our students work in research groups, typically of ten to 40 people with a high level of technical and academic support. Annual research income is over £7 million and 250 research publications are produced each year.

Doctor of Philosophy - PhD

University of Birmingham

Our high-quality teaching and supervision will help you take your skills and career to the next level.

Here, you’ll feel engaged, motivated and challenged, as part of our inclusive community that has a strong research culture.  At Birmingham, we’ll support your health, wellbeing and personal development. While our professional and academic careers services will help you take the next step. This is your time. This is your place.

With more than 600 taught programmes and a range of research opportunities to choose from, Birmingham is one of the most popular UK universities for postgraduate study.

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