Jump to body content. Jump to course search.
Postgraduate Courses 2017/18

Physics (Euromasters) - MSc

Canterbury

Overview

The School of Physical Sciences offers a two-year Master’s degree in Physics in partnership with the South East Physics Network (SEPnet) which comprises the universities of Kent, Portsmouth, Queen Mary London, Royal Holloway London, Southampton, Surrey and Sussex.

The programme involves both a taught and research component.

In the first year, you will follow a taught Master’s course, which includes specialised research, and in the second year you will undertake an advanced research project with the option to change locations to a SEPnet partner university or research institution. This may include Cern, Switzerland, the UK’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, ISIS, Diamond or NPL. The School of Physical Sciences at Kent offers EuroMasters research strands in Atomic and Condensed Matter and Astrophysics.

The MSc in Physics (EuroMasters) is fully compatible with the European Credit Transfer Accumulation System across the European Union and other collaborating European countries, and qualifies students to pursue a PhD or a career in physics upon completion. It is also open to UK entrants.

About the School of Physical Sciences

The School offers postgraduate students the opportunity to participate in ground-breaking science in the realms of physics, chemistry, forensics and astronomy. With strong international reputations, our staff provide plausible ideas, well-designed projects, research training and enthusiasm within a stimulating environment. Recent investment in modern laboratory equipment and computational facilities accelerates the research.

Our principal research covers a wide variety of topics, theoretical, experimental and applied – you can see a list of example topics on our available research projects page. We also offer taught programmes in Forensic Science, studied over one year full-time, and a two-year European-style Master’s in Physics (one year taught, one year research).

National ratings

In the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, research by the School of Physical Sciences was ranked 7th in the UK for research impact and a demonstration of its importance to industry and the public sector.

An impressive 100% of our physics research was judged to be of international quality, with 75% of this judged world-leading or internationally excellent. The School’s environment was judged to be conducive to supporting the development of research of international excellence.

Course structure

Modules

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This list is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  Most programmes will require you to study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also have the option to take modules from other programmes so that you may customise your programme and explore other subject areas that interest you.

PH709 - Space Astronomy and Solar System Science (15 credits)

SYLLABUS:



Space Astronomy

Why use space telescopes; other platforms for non-ground-based astronomical observatories (sounding rockets, balloons, satellites); mission case study; what wavelengths benefit by being in space; measurements astronomers make in space using uv, x-ray and infra-red, and examples of some recent scientific missions.



Exploration of the Solar System

Mission types from flybys to sample returns: scientific aims and instrumentation: design requirements for a spacecraft-exploration mission; how to study planetary atmospheres and surfaces: properties of and how to explore minor bodies (e.g. asteroids and comets): current and future missions: mission case study; how space agencies liaise with the scientific community; how to perform calculations related to the orbital transfer of spacecraft.



Solar System Formation and Evolution

The composition of the Sun and planets will be placed in the context of the current understanding of the evolution of the Solar System. Topics include: Solar system formation and evolution; structure of the solar system; physical and orbital evolution of asteroids.



Extra Solar Planets

The evidence for extra Solar planets will be presented and reviewed. The implications for the development and evolution of Solar Systems will be discussed.



Life in Space

Introduction to the issue of what life is, where it may exist in the Solar System and how to look for it.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

PH711 - Rocketry and Human Spaceflight (15 credits)

Flight Operations: Control of spacecraft from the ground, including aspects of telecommunications theory.



Propulsion and attitude control: Physics of combustion in rockets, review of classical mechanics of rotation and its application to spacecraft attitude determination and control.



Impact Damage: The mechanisms by which space vehicles are damaged by high speed impact will be discussed along with protection strategies.



Human spaceflight: A review of human spaceflight programs (past and present). Life-support systems. An introduction to some major topics in space medicine; acceleration, pressurisation, radiation, etc.



International Space Station: Status of this project/mission will be covered.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

PH712 - Cosmology and Interstellar Medium (15 credits)

SYLLABUS:

Interstellar Medium

The major properties of the Interstellar Medium (ISM) are described. The course will discuss the characteristics of the gaseous and dust components of the ISM, including their distributions throughout the Galaxy, physical and chemical properties, and their influence the star formation process. The excitation of this interstellar material will be examined for the various physical processes which occur in the ISM, including radiative, collisional and shock excitation. The way in which the interstellar material can collapse under the effects of self-gravity to form stars, and their subsequent interaction with the remaining material will be examined. Finally the end stages of stellar evolution will be studied to understand how planetary nebulae and supernova remnants interact with the surrounding ISM.



Extragalactic astrophysics

Review of FRW metric; source counts; cosmological distance ladder; standard candles/rods.

High-z galaxies: fundamental plane; Tully-Fisher; low surface brightness galaxies; luminosity functions and high-z evolution; the Cosmic Star Formation History

Galaxy clusters: the Butcher-Oemler effect; the morphology-density relation; the SZ effect

AGN and black holes: Beaming and superluminal motion; Unified schemes; Black hole demographics; high-z galaxy and quasar absorption and emission lines;

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

PH722 - Particle and Quantum Physics (15 credits)

• Approximation Methods, perturbation theory, variational methods.

• Classical/Quantum Mechanics, measurement and the correspondence principle.

• Uncertainty Principle and Spin precession .

• Key Experiments in Modern Quantum Mechanics (Aharonov-Bohm, neutron diffractyion in a gravitational field, EPR paradox).

• Experimental methods in Particle Physics (Accelerators, targets and colliders, particle interactions with matter, detectors, the LHC).

• Feynman Diagrams, particle exchange, leptons, hadrons and quarks.

• Symmetries and Conservation Laws.

• Hadron flavours, isospin, strangeness and the quark model.

• Weak Interactions, W and Z bosons.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

PH751 - Research Review (15 credits)

In consultation with a member of staff the student will choose a topic within any branch of physics for which appropriate supervision is available and write an article on that topic that would be suitable for publication in the scientific literature as a review article.

Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

Read more

PH752 - Magnetism and Superconductivity (15 credits)

  • Introduction, electrons in solids

  • Superconductivity: Introduction to properties of superconductors, Thermodynamics and electrodynamics of superconductors, Type I and Type II superconductors, the flux lattice

  • Superconducting phase transitions

  • Microscopic superconductivity, correlations lengths, isotope effect, Cooper pairs, Froehlich Interaction, BCS theory.

  • High Tc superconductors, superfluids, liquid helium.

  • Magnetism, magnetometry and measuring techniques

  • Localised and itinerant magnetic moments, spin and orbital moments, magnetic moments in solids

  • Paramagnetism

  • Exchange interactions, direct, indirect and superexchange, Magnetic structures, ferro, ferri, antiferromagnetism

  • Neutron and x-ray scattering

  • Spin waves, magnons

  • Magnetic phase transitions

  • See also http://blogs.kent.ac.uk/strongcorrelations/teaching/superconductivity-and-magnetism

    Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

    Read more

  • PS700 - Physical Science Research Planning (15 credits)

    Aims:

  • Students will develop a number of skills related to the planning and preparation of a research proposal. Students will learn how to search and retrieve information from a variety of locations (databases, websites, journals, proceedings etc). They will learn how to compile a professionally-produced document such as a grant proposal for funding a research activity in a direction of their own. They will exercise presentation skills of their grant proposal and present critical reviews and referee's reports of the research of others.



    SYLLABUS:

  • Research skills

  • Colloquium attendance

  • Revision of methods of searching the scientific literature (e.g, Web of Science)

  • Introduction to sources of information concerning research funding

  • How the Research Councils work

  • How specific funding bodies (e.g. STFC, FP7) operate

  • Peer review of research proposals

  • Identifying research areas and collaborators

  • Writing an entire case for support

  • Scheduling research programmes

  • Costing research

  • Completing a research proposal form

  • Poster presentation of the research proposal



    Details of the work to be done will be announced by the convenor during the first two weeks of the academic year.

    Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

    Read more

  • PS701 - Topics in Functional Materials (15 credits)

    Chemists and physicists are now playing an important role in the growing field of materials research. More recently there has been a growing interest, driven by technological needs, in materials with specific functions and this requires a combination of physics and chemistry. For example, new materials are needed for the energy industry (batteries and fuel cells), for the optics and electronics industry (semiconductors, lasers and wave-guides), and for the environment (sensors, actuators and ‘smart’ materials). The aim of this module is to introduce students to this area of modern materials and techniques.



    Examples of the topics that might typically be covered are:

    1. Crystal growth and defects.

    2. Liquid crystals.

    3. Magnetism and Magnetic Materials.

    4. X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS).

    5. Nanomaterials.

    6. Multiferroics.

    Credits: 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits).

    Read more

    PH754 - Euromasters Project (120 credits)

    • A student, supervisor and project will be brought together consensually and a one year research project will be performed within one of the SPS research groups. This will be completely equivalent to a current research masters degree.

    Credits: 120 credits (60 ECTS credits).

    Read more

    Teaching and Assessment

    An interim report, dissertation and presentations.

    Programme aims

    The programme aims to:

    • develop an integrated and critically aware understanding of physics to prepare you to undertake a PhD in the sub-disciplines of astrophysics or condensed matter physics anywhere in Europe
    • enhance your employment opportunities and career prospects in physics/astrophysics
    • develop a variety of Master’s level intellectual and transferable skills
    • equip you with the learning skills to keep abreast of developments in the continually evolving fields of astrophysics or condensed matter physics
    • instil in you a sense of enthusiasm for physics by underlining the role of the discipline at the core of our understanding of all physical phenomena and as the foundation of many of the pure and applied sciences
    • involve you in the intellectually stimulating and satisfying experience of learning within a research-led environment
    • enable you to undertake and report on an experimental, computational or theoretical investigation based on an extended project in physics or astrophysics
    • enable you to realise your academic potential
    • enhance your appreciation of the applications of physics in different contexts including an appreciation of the importance of physics in industrial, economic, environmental and social contexts

    Learning outcomes

    Knowledge and understanding

    You gain a knowledge and understanding of:

    • aspects of the theory and practice of condensed matter physics or  astrophysics, and of those aspects upon which it depends: a knowledge of key physics, the use of electronic data processing and analysis, and modern day mathematical and computational tools
    • the most fundamental laws and principles of physics and of astrophysics, along with their application to a variety of areas in physics and/or astrophysics, some of which are at (or are informed by) the forefront of the discipline.

    Intellectual skills

    You gain intellectual skills in:

    • the ability to identify relevant principles and laws when dealing with problems, and to make approximations necessary to obtain solutions
    • the ability to solve problems in physics using appropriate mathematical tools
    • the ability to execute and analyse critically the results of an experiment or investigation and draw valid conclusions. To evaluate the level of uncertainty in these results and compare them with expected outcomes, theoretical predictions or with published data; thereby to evaluate the significance of their results in this context
    • the ability to use mathematical techniques and analysis to model physical behaviour
    • the ability to comment critically on specialised equipment and techniques, and their use in condensed matter, space science or astrophysics research
    • the ability to solve advanced problems in physics using appropriate mathematical tools, to translate problems into mathematical statements and to obtain order of magnitude or more precise solutions as appropriate
    • the ability to interpret mathematical descriptions of physical phenomena
    • the ability to plan an experiment or investigation under supervision and to understand the significance of error analysis
    • a variety of experimental, mathematical and/or computational techniques applicable to current research within physics
    • the ability to work within in the condensed matter or astrophysics area that is well-matched to the frontiers of knowledge, the science drivers that underpin government-funded research and the commercial activity that provides hardware or software solutions to challenging scientific problems in these fields.

    Subject-specific skills

    You gain subject-specific skills in:

    • the competent use of appropriate C&IT packages/systems for the analysis of data and the retrieval of appropriate and useful information
    • the ability to present and interpret information graphically
    • the ability to communicate scientific information, in particular to produce clear and accurate scientific reports
    • familiarity with laboratory apparatus and techniques, including relevant aspects of health and safety
    • the systematic and reliable recording of experimental data
    • an ability to make use of appropriate texts, research-based materials or other learning resources as part of managing your own learning
    • C&IT skills that show fluency at the level and range needed for project work, such as familiarity with a programming language, simulation software or the use of mathematical packages for manipulation and numerical solution of equations
    • the ability to communicate complex scientific ideas, the conclusion of an experiment, investigation or project concisely, and to do so accurately and informatively
    • an ability to make use of research articles and other primary sources
    • the competent use of specialised equipment, the ability to identify appropriate pieces of equipment and to master new techniques and equipment.

    Transferable skills

    You will gain the following transferable skills:

    • problem-solving skills, in the context of both problems with well-defined solutions and open-ended problems, an ability to formulate problems in precise terms and to identify key issues, and the confidence to try different approaches in order to make progress on challenging problems. Numeracy is subsumed within this area
    • investigative skills in the context of independent investigation including the use of textbooks and other available literature, databases, and the interaction with colleagues to extract important information
    • communication skills in the area of dealing with surprising ideas and difficult concepts, including listening carefully, reading demanding texts and presenting complex information in a clear and concise manner. C&IT skills are an important element of this
    • analytical skills: associated with the need to pay attention to detail and to develop an ability to manipulate precise and intricate ideas, to construct logical arguments and to use technical language correctly
    • personal skills: the ability to work independently, to use initiative, to organise yourself to meet deadlines and to interact constructively with other people.

    Careers

    All programmes in the School of Physical Sciences equip you with the tools you need to conduct research, solve problems, communicate effectively and transfer skills to the workplace, which means our graduates are always in high demand. Our links with industry not only provide you with the opportunity to gain work experience during your degree, but also equip you with the general and specialist skills and knowledge needed to succeed in the workplace.

    Typical employment destinations for graduates from the physics programmes include power companies, aerospace, defence, optoelectronics and medical industries. Typical employment destinations for graduates from our forensic science and chemistry programmes include government agencies, consultancies, emergency services, laboratories, research or academia.

    Study support

    Postgraduate resources

    The University has good facilities for modern research in physical sciences. These include: NMR spectrometers; powder X-ray diffractometers; X-ray fluorescence; atomic absorption in flame and graphite furnace mode; gel-permeation, gas, analytical and preparative high-performance liquid chromatography; mass spectrometry; scanning electron microscopy and EDX. We also have various microscopes, differential scanning calorimetry and thermal gravimetric analysis, dionex analysis of anions and automated CHN analysis. For planetary science impact studies, there is a two-stage light gas gun.

    Interdisciplinary approach

    Much of the School's work is interdisciplinary and we have successful collaborative projects with members of the Schools of Biosciences, Computing and Engineering and Digital Arts at Kent, as well as an extensive network of international collaborations.

    National and international links

    The School is a leading partner in the South East Physics Network (SEPnet), and benefits from £2.5 million of funding from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE). The School has collaborations with universities around the world, particularly in Germany, France, Italy and the USA. UK links include King's College, London and St Bartholomew's Hospital, London. Our industrial partners include BAE Systems, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary, and Ophthalmic Technology Inc, Canada. We also have collaborations with NASA, European Southern Observatory (ESO) and European Space Agency (ESA) scientists.

    Dynamic publishing culture

    Staff publish regularly and widely in journals, conference proceedings and books. Among others, they have recently contributed to: NatureScienceAstrophysical JournalJournal of Polymer ScienceJournal of Materials Chemistry; and Applied Optics.

    Global Skills Award

    All students registered for a taught Master's programme are eligible to apply for a place on our Global Skills Award Programme. The programme is designed to broaden your understanding of global issues and current affairs as well as to develop personal skills which will enhance your employability.  

    Entry requirements

    First or second class honours degree in Physics, Chemistry or a cogent discipline is normally required.

    General entry requirements

    Please also see our general entry requirements.

    English language entry requirements

    For detailed information see our English language requirements web pages. 

    Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of pre-sessional courses in English for Academic Purposes through Kent International Pathways.

    Research areas

    Applied Optics Group (AOG)

    The Group’s research focuses on optical sources, optical configurations and signal processing methods for optical measurements and imaging. The Group developed the first en-face OCT image of the eye and now works with national and international institutions to extend OCT capabilities. They also conduct research on coherence gated wavefront sensors and multiple path interferometry, as well as Fast Fourier transformations on graphics cards, supercontinuum sources and fast tunable lasers.

    https://www.kent.ac.uk/physical-sciences/research/aog/index.html

    Centre for Astrophysics and Planetary Science (CAPS)

    The group’s research spans observation, experimentation, simulation and modelling. The major topics are star formation, planetary science and early solar system bodies, galactic astronomy and astrobiology. The group uses data from the largest telescopes in the world and in space, such as ESO’s Very Large Telescope, the New Technology Telescope, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Herschel Space Observatory. They also use our in-house facilities, including a two-stage light gas gun for impact studies.

    http://astro.kent.ac.uk/

    Forensic Imaging Group (FIG)

    The Group’s research has an applied focus. They explore mathematical and computational techniques and employ a wide variety of image processing and analysis methods for applications in many areas, including forensics and cyber security. The Group holds major grant funding from EPSRC. It has spawned a very successful spin-out company, Visionmetric Ltd, and was central to the School’s excellent REF 2014 rating for impact; placing the School equal 7th nationally in this category.

    https://www.kent.ac.uk/physical-sciences/research/fig/index.html

    Functional Materials Group (FMG)

    Research in the multi-disciplinary FMG encompasses the synthesis, characterisation, theory and computer modelling of cutting-edge materials. Researcher are interested in finding new optical, mechanical, electronic, magnetic or biological properties that challenge present understanding or can give rise to new innovative technologies. The Group is unique nationwide in that it integrates both physicists and chemists, and its research benefits from this exchange of ideas and expertise.

    https://www.kent.ac.uk/physical-sciences/research/fmg/index.html

    Staff research interests

    Full details of staff research interests can be found on the School's website.

    Professor Mark Burchell: Professor of Space Science

    Hypervelocity impacts, the very violent events typical of solar system impacts, including: impact cratering in ices, intact capture in aerogel, impact disruption of target bodies, oblique incidence impacts, astrobiology (survival of microbial life in impact events); solar system dust using impact ionisation techniques. 

    Profile

    Dr Sam Carr: Lecturer in Physics

    Theoretical condensed matter physics, in particular field theory and non-perturbative techniques applied to strongly correlated quantum many-body systems.

    Profile

    Dr George Dobre: Lecturer in Applied Optics

    Optical coherence tomography; optical design; interferometric sensors; fibre optic sensors.

    Profile

    Dr Dirk Froebrich: Senior Lecturer in Astronomy and Astrophysics

    Earliest stages of star and star cluster formation; structure and properties of molecular clouds; structure analysis of star clusters.

    Profile

    Dr Stuart Gibson: Lecturer in Forensic Science

    Digital image processing with forensic applications; computer vision; interactive evolutionary computation (IEC) and cognitive psychology relating to human facial appearance.

    Profile

    Dr S.C. Lowry: Senior Lecturer in Astronomy and Astrophysics

    Comets, asteroids, solar system, spacecraft and remote observation.

    Profile

    Dr Jingqi Miao: Senior Lecturer in Theoretical Astrophysics

    SPH numerical simulation of collapsing molecular clouds; effect of the UV radiation on the Bright Rim clouds; DSMC modelling of the space particles impacts on spacecraft; structures and formation of proplyds.

    Profile

    Dr Gavin Mountjoy: Reader in Condensed Matter Physics

    Multi-technique characterisation of oxide glasses (including ‘sol gels’); vibrational spectroscopy of silicate glasses; use of X-ray absorption spectroscopy to characterise nanocrystalline transition metal alloys and oxides, including nanocomposite materials.

    Profile

    Dr Emma Pugh: Lecturer in Physics

    Experimental condensed matter physics; magnetism, unconventional superconductivity, quantum condensed states; use of low temperature, high pressure and high magnetic field sample environments; use of central facilities including X-ray and neutron scattering centres.

    Profile

    Dr J. Quintanilla-Tizon: Lecturer/SEPnet Fellow in Condensed Matter Theory

    Quantum condensed matter and materials physics; spontaneous Fermi surface deformations in strongly correlated quantum matter; unconventional pairing in superconductors; complementarity between cold atom and condensed matter experiments; proximity effect in magnetic nanostructures; design of new quantum informationbased neutron scattering and cold atoms probes of strongly correlated quantum matter, and novel topological excitations in frustrated magnets.

    Profile

    Dr Silvia Ramos: Lecturer in Materials Science

    Strongly correlated quantum matter; atomic and electronic structure; characterisation of materials using microscopic probes available at large facilities such as X-rays, neutrons and muons. Interest in materials with competing electronic order (such as superconductors or magnets) and emergent electronic order at interfaces.

    Profile

    Professor Adrian Podoleanu: Professor of Biomedical Optics

    Atomic-scale structure of novel amorphous (noncrystalline) materials of contemporary interest such as nonlinear optical glasses and ‘sol gel’ glasses, which may be catalytically or biologically active.

    Profile

    Dr M.C. Price: Senior Lecturer in Space Science

    Experimentally based and computer modelling of hypervelocity impacts relevant to the evolution of solar system bodies.

    Profile

    Professor Michael Smith: Professor of Astronomy

    Star formation; molecular clouds; evolution of galaxies; astrophysical simulation; simulation; shock waves; planetary nebulae.

    Profile

    Dr Christopher Solomon: Reader in Physics

    Image processing and reconstruction; facial modelling, encoding and synthesis; facial composites, forensic image analysis.

    Profile

    Professor Paul Strange: Professor of Physics

    First principles calculation of the properties of condensed matter; the electronic and magnetic properties of rare earth materials, superconductors, carbon and other nanotubes; superatom materials.

    Profile

    Enquire or order a prospectus

    MSc Euromasters in Physics

    Resources

    Contacts

    Admissions enquiries

    T: +44 (0)1227 827272

    E:information@kent.ac.uk

    Subject enquiries

    T: +44 (0)1227 823759

    F: +44 (0)1227 827558 

    E: spsrecruit@kent.ac.uk

    School website

    Fees

    The 2017/18 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

    Euromasters in Physics - MSc at Canterbury:
    UK/EU Overseas
    Full-time £4340 £10830

    For students continuing on this programme fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* If you are uncertain about your fee status please contact information@kent.ac.uk

    The University of Kent makes every effort to ensure that the information contained in its publicity materials is fair and accurate and to provide educational services as described. However, the courses, services and other matters may be subject to change. Full details of our terms and conditions can be found at: www.kent.ac.uk/termsandconditions.

    *Where fees are regulated (such as by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills or Research Council UK) they will be increased up to the allowable level.

    Publishing Office - © University of Kent

    The University of Kent, Canterbury, Kent, CT2 7NZ, T: +44 (0)1227 764000