1. Course Variations
    Nomenclature Duration Mode Of Attendance
    Ph.D. 3Yr FT
    Ph.D. 6Yr PT
    MPhil 2Yr FT
    MPhil 4Yr PT
  2. Typical offer:
    UK 2:1
  3. Swansea University wins the Postgraduate category!

Course Overview


The Physics department is always keen to attract applications from highly motivated and suitably qualified candidates to undertake postgraduate research in the Department of Physics.

As a PhD (3 years) student you will be guided by internationally leading researchers and will carry out a large individual research project.

You will be fully integrated into one of our established research groups and participate in research activities such as seminars, workshops, laboratories, and field work.

Key Features

Swansea is a research led University to which the Physics department makes a significant contribution, meaning that as a Postgraduate Physics Student you will benefit from the knowledge and skills of internationally renowned academics. We have many active research groups which include 

Over 80% of the research outputs from both the experimental and theoretical groups were judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent (REF 2014-2021). 


The three main research groups within the Department of Physics currently focus on the following areas of research:

Applied Physics and Materials Group

  • Next Generation Solar Cells
  • Materials and Devices for Photodetection
  • Physics of Next Generation Semiconductors
  • Bioelectronics
  • Material Physics
  • Biophysics
  • Novel sensors for medicine 

Atomic, Molecular and Quantum Physics Group

  • Antihydrogen, positronium and positrons
  • Quantum control
  • Cold atoms and quantum optics
  • Nano-scale physics and the life sciences
  • Analytical laser spectroscopy unit
  • Ultrafast Dynamics, Imaging and Microscopy
  • Quantum Computation and Simulation
  • Quantum Control and Optomechanics 

Particle Physics And Cosmology Theory Group

  • Integrability and AdS/CFT
  • Higher spin holography
  • Dense quark matter at strong coupling and gauge/string duality
  • Quantum fields in curved spacetime
  • Theoretical cosmology
  • Amplitudes in gauge and supergravity theories
  • Non-abelian T-duality and supergravity solutions
  • Holography and physics beyond the Standard Model
  • Large-N gauge theories, supersymmetry and duality
  • Lattice studies of strongly interacting systems
  • Lattice QCD at nonzero temperature
  • Dense quark matter and the sign problem
  • High-performance computing

Entry Requirements

We normally require a minimum of an upper second class Honours degree or equivalent in physics or a related field, or an appropriate Master’s degree with Merit.

International students:  please visit our International pages for information on entry requirements for your country:  Africa, South Asia, East Asia, Europe and Russia, Middle East, North America, South America, South East Asia.  If your country is not listed in these regions, please contact international-science@swansea.ac.uk


Applicants to this programme would normally be expected to meet the minimum entry requirements indicated above. The College/School reserves the right to ask for higher academic grades and qualifications. Admissions decisions take into account not only prior academic qualifications, but also factors including the standard of the research synopsis/proposal submitted by the applicant, their performance at interview (if required), intensity of competition for limited places and relevant professional experience (where appropriate).

How To Apply

If you already have the funding or are self-fundingplease apply online. 

Swansea University’s Department of Physics has a call for STFC funded scholarships in 2019 in areas spanning the research interests of the Particle Physics and Cosmology Theory group.  The closing date is 15th February 2019. 

Clearly state the field of research that interests you on your application.

Enquiries for experimental physics (AMQP, APM Groups): Dr Markus Müller

Enquiries for theoretical physics (PPCT Group): Dr Daniel Thompson

Tuition Fees

Annual tuition fees for entry in the academic year 2019/20 are as follows:

UK/EU International
Ph.D. Full-time £4,345 £18,400
Ph.D. Part-time £2,172.50 £9,200
MPhil Full-time £4,345 £18,400
MPhil Part-time £2,172.50 £9,200

Tuition fees for years of study after your first year are subject to an increase of 3%.

You can find further information on fees and how to pay on our tuition fees page.

Note: The UK/EU fee is indicative pending confirmation from UKRI

If your course starts in January, April or July 2019 please refer to the 2018/19 fee costs on our tuition fees page.

You may be eligible for funding to help support your study. To find out about scholarships, bursaries and other funding opportunities that are available please visit the University's scholarships and bursaries page.

International students and part-time study: It is now possible for some students to study part-time under the Tier 4 visa route. This is dependent on factors relating to the course and your individual situation. It may also be possible to study with us if you are already in the UK under a different visa category. Please visit the University information on Visas and Immigration for further guidance and support.

Current students: You can find further information of your fee costs on our tuition fees page.

Additional Costs

The tuition fees for the PhD Physics do not cover costs incurred personally by the student such as the purchase of books or stationery, printing or photocopying costs.

Course Structure

The Physics Department is always keen to attract high-quality postgraduate students to join our research groups. As a PhD (3 years) student you will be guided by internationally leading researchers and will carry out a large individual research project.

You will be fully integrated into one of our established research groups and participate in research activities such as seminars, workshops, laboratories, and field work. 


PhD: A thesis of no more than 100,000 words is submitted, which demonstrates original research that contributes significantly to the subject area, and assessment in the form of an oral examination (viva).


As a postgraduate student in the Department of Physics you will have access to the following Specialist Facilities:

  • Low-energy positron beam with a high field superconducting magnet for the study of
  • positronium
  • CW and pulsed laser systems
  • Scanning tunnelling electron and nearfield optical microscopes
  • Raman microscope
  • CPU parallel cluster
  • Access to the IBM-built ‘Blue C’ Super computer at Swansea University and is part of the shared use of the teraflop QCDOC facility based in Edinburgh

Links with Industry

Our three research groups, Particle Physics and Cosmology Theory (PPCT), Atomic, Molecular and Quantum Physics (AMQP), and Applied Physics and Materials (APM) deliver impact with commercial benefits both nationally and internationally, complemented by a public engagement programme with a global reach. 

The PPCT group has strong links with SMEs and large International companies working in sectors such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Finance and High Performance Computing. In partnership with other universities, the department participates in Centre(s) for Doctoral Training which integrate six-month work placements at an industrial partner organisation into a four-year doctoral programme

The work of the AMQP group on trapping and investigating antihydrogen has generated great media interest that feeds into a significant and on-going programme of public engagement. Activities include the development of a bespoke software simulator (Hands on Antihydrogen) of the antimatter experiment for school students.

Also within the AMQP group, work on optomechanics offers unparalleled control over large mass quantum mechanical systems. These techniques are key to recent LIGO observations of gravitational waves, and the promise of sensors, based on levitated optomechanics, has attracted interest from industry and UK Defence agencies. The prospects for space-borne experimental platforms are currently under investigation by the European Space Agency in association with researchers from Swansea.

The APM group has strong links to industry, particularly the semiconductor and advanced materials sectors via the Sustainable Advanced Materials Program (Sêr SAM). Through the Centre for Integrative Semiconductors, Swansea University (several groups including APM and the Centre for Nanohealth) is part of the CS Connected Cluster---a regional industry collective which seeks to expand and support the South Wales semiconductor and optoelectronic manufacturing base. Companies involved in this cluster include IQE, SPTS and Newport Wafer Fab plus numerous supply chain organisations. The Sêr SAM Program has several cooperative projects with Cluster members across optoelectronic platforms and welcomes PhD students wishing to undertake industry-relevant projects.

Also within the APM group, longterm research in the area of Raman Spectroscopy resulted in the creation of a spinout company, CanSense LtD, in 2018. The company is developing a state-of-the-art tool for colorectal cancer screening and has secured funding from Cancer Research Wales. Work in nanoparticle synthesis resulted in the creation of a spinout company, RefieX LtD. The company seeks to exploit a new technique for carbon nanomaterial purification from bioprocessing waste in order to increase sustainability.


The results of the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014 show that over 80\% of the research outputs from both the experimental and theoretical groups were judged to be world-leading or internationally excellent.

Research groups include:

AMQP Group

The Atomic, Molecular and Quantum Physics Group comprises academic staff, postdoctoral officers and postgraduate research students. Its work is supported by grants from EPSRC, the EU, The Royal Society, the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales and various industrial and government sources. There are two main fields of research: Atomic, Molecular and Laser Physics and Nanoscale Physics.

PPCT Group

The Particle Physics and Cosmology Theory Group has fifteen members of staff, in addition to postdoctoral officers and research students. It is the fourth largest particle physics theory group in the UK, and is supported mainly by STFC, but also has grants from EPSRC, the EU, Royal Society and Leverhulme Trust. The group recently expanded by hiring two theoretical cosmologists (Ivonne Zavala and Gianmassimo Tasinato). There are five main fields of research: Quantum Field Theory, Strings, Lattice Field Theory, Beyond the Standard Model Physics and Theoretical Cosmology.

APM Group

The Applied Physics and Materials (APM) Group has been very recently established at our department and is supported by grants from the European Union, Welsh Government, National Science Foundation, Australian Research Council, Welsh European Funding Office, and EPSRC. Its main areas of research range from Biophotonics, covering nano- and micro-structured materials, biomimetics, analyte sensing and light-tissue interaction, over Nanomedicine to Sustainable Advanced Materials, such as Next generation semiconductors, bioelectronic materials and devices, optoelectronics including photodetection, solar energy conversion, advanced electro-optics and transport physics of disordered solids.