Physics with Astrophysics with a Year Abroad - MPhys

UCAS code F3FM


Physics reaches from the quark out to the largest of galaxies, and encompasses all the matter and timescales within these extremes. At the heart of a professional physicist is a fascination with the ‘how and why’ of the material world around us. We aim to equip you with the skills to understand these phenomena and to qualify you for a range of career pathways.


The combination of specialist modules and an attachment to one of our research teams opens avenues for even deeper exploration: for instance, in space probe instrumentation, fibre optics, or the atomic-scale structure of a new engineering material, or neutron scattering work.

On this programme, you spend the third year of your degree studying abroad at one of our partner universities.

You can also take this programme without a year abroad. 
For more details, see Physics with Astrophysics

Think Kent video series

Dr Stephen Lowry, Senior Lecturer in Astronomy and Astrophysics at the University of Kent, and a member of the science team for the OSIRIS optical camera instrument on board ESA's Rosetta spacecraft, examines what the mission has revealed about comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and the formation of the solar system.

Independent rankings

Physics at Kent was ranked 5th for graduate prospects in The Guardian University Guide 2017. Of Physics and Astronomy students who graduated from Kent in 2015, 88% were in work or further study within six months, according to the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey*.

*conducted by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA)

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation.  

On most programmes, you study a combination of compulsory and optional modules. You may also be able to take ‘wild’ modules from other programmes so you can customise your programme and explore other subjects that interest you.

Stage 1

Possible modules may include Credits

Introduction to Special Relativity and Cosmology

The distance scale; Redshif;, Hubble constant; Feynmann light clock and time dilation; Lorentz constraction and simultaneity derived with light ray signals; Lerentz transformation and invariant interval; Light cones; Special relativistic paradoxes; Cosmological principle; Space expansion and concept of critical density, closed, open and flat universe; The problem of missing matter.

Introduction to, Planetary and Space Science

Solar system; Theory of orbital dynamics; Kepler’s Laws; Earth-moon system; Tidal force and the consequent phenomena; Rocket equation; Basic components of spacecraft.

Introduction to Astronomy

Astronomical coordinate systems; Positions and motions of stars; Stellar luminosity and magnitudes; Magnitude systems and the color of stars; Lluminosity; Stellar temperatures; luminosity and radi;. Stellar spectral classification; Line strength and formation. Hertzsprung-Russell diagram, mass-Luminosity relation.

Introduction to Particle Physics

Discovery of elementary particles. The concept of four different forces and fields in classical and quantum physics; Introduction to virtual particles and discovery of different particles for different type of interaction forces; Standard model of particles.

Introduction to Space Science

Rocket equation. Basic components of spacecraft.

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Measurement and motion; Dimensional analysis, Motion in one dimension: velocity, acceleration, motion with constant acceleration, Motion in a plane with constant acceleration, projectile motion, uniform circular motion, and Newton's laws of motion.

Work, Energy and Momentum; Work, kinetic energy, power, potential energy, relation between force and potential energy, conservation of energy, application to gravitation and simple pendulum, momentum, conservation of linear momentum, elastic and inelastic collisions.

Rotational Motion; Rotational motion: angular velocity, angular acceleration, rotation with constant angular acceleration, rotational kinetic energy, moment of inertia, calculation of moment of inertia of a rod, disc or plate, torque, angular momentum, relation between torque and angular momentum, conservation of angular momentum.

Concept of field; 1/r2 fields; Gravitational Field; Kepler's Laws, Newton's law of gravitation, Gravitational potential, the gravitational field of a spherical shell by integration.

Oscillations and Mechanical Waves; Vibrations of an elastic spring, simple harmonic motion, energy in SHM, simple pendulum, physical pendulum, damped and driven oscillations, resonance, mechanical waves, periodic waves, their mathematical representation using wave vectors and wave functions, derivation of a wave equation, transverse and longitudinal waves, elastic waves on a string, principle of superposition, interference and formation of standing waves, normal modes and harmonics, sound waves with examples of interference to form beats, and the Doppler Effect. Phase velocity and group velocity.

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Properties of Light and Optical Images; Wave nature of light. Reflection, refraction, Snell’s law, total internal reflection, refractive index and dispersion, polarisation. Huygens' principle, geometrical optics including reflection at plane and spherical surfaces, refraction at thin lenses, image formation, ray diagrams, calculation of linear and angular magnification, magnifying glass, telescopes and the microscope.

Electric Field; Discrete charge distributions, charge, conductors, insulators, Coulomb’s law, electric field, electric fields lines, action of electric field on charges, electric field due to a continuous charge distribution, electric potential, computing the electric field from the potential, calculation of potential for continuous charge distribution.

Magnetic Field; Force on a point charge in a magnetic field, motion of a point charge in a magnetic field, mass spectrometer and cyclotron.

Electric current and Direct current circuits, electric current, resistivity, resistance and Ohm’s Law, electromotive force, ideal voltage and current sources, energy and power in electric circuits, theory of metallic conduction, resistors in series and in parallel, Kirchhoff’s rules and their application to mesh analysis, electrical measuring instruments for potential difference and current, potential divider and Wheatstone’s bridge circuits, power transfer theorem, transient current analysis in RC, RL, LC and LRC circuits using differential equations.

Alternating Current Circuits; Phasor and complex number notation introduced for alternating current circuit analysis, reactance and complex impedance for Capacitance and Inductance, application to LRC series and parallel circuits. Series and parallel resonance, AC potential dividers and filter circuits, Thevenin's theorem, AC bridge circuits to measure inductance and capacitance, mutual inductance, the transformer and its simple applications.

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Static Equilibrium, Elasticity and fluids; Elasticity: stress, strain, Hooke's law, Young's modulus, shear modulus, forces between atoms or molecules, intermolecular potential energy curve, equilibrium separation, Morse and 6-12 potentials, microscopic interpretation of elasticity, relation between Young's modulus and parameters of the interatomic potential energy curve, the nature of interatomic forces, the ionic bond, calculation of the energy to separate the ions in an ionic crystal, viscosity of fluids, Poiseuille's law, Stokes' law.

Thermodynamics; Thermal equilibrium, temperature scales, thermal expansion of solids, relation between thermal expansion and the interatomic potential energy curve, the transfer of thermal energy: conduction, convection, radiation, the ideal-gas law, Boltzmann's constant, Avogadro's number, the universal gas constant. The kinetic theory of gases, pressure of a gas, molecular interpretation of temperature, molecular speeds, mean free path, specific heat, molar specific heat. The equipartition theorem, degrees of freedom. Heat capacities of monatomic and diatomic gases and of solids. Internal energy of a thermodynamic system, the first law of thermodynamics, work and the PV diagram of a gas., work done in an isothermal expansion of an ideal gas. Molar heat capacities of gases at constant pressure and at constant volume and the relation between them. Adiabatic processes for an ideal gas. Heat engines and the Kelvin statement of the second law of thermodynamics, efficiency of a heat engine. Refrigerators and the Clausius statement of the second law of thermodynamics. Equivalence of the Kelvin and Clausius statements. The Carnot cycle, the Kelvin temperature scale.

Atoms; The nuclear atom, Rutherford scattering and the nucleus, Bohr model of the atom, energy level calculation and atom spectra, spectral series for H atom. Limitation of Bohr theory. Molecules.

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Standard Lectures

How Physical Sciences are taught at Kent.

Library use. Bibliographic database searches.

Error analysis and data presentation. Types of errors; combining errors; Normal distribution; Poisson distribution; graphs – linear and logarithmic.

Probability and Statistics. Probability distributions, laws of probability, permutations and combinations, mean and variance.

Academic integrity and report writing skills.

Laboratory experiments

A choice of experiments in weekly sessions. Some of the experiments require two consecutive sessions to complete.

Choice of (among others): Deduction of a law, Wind tunnel, Probability distributions, Geometrical optics on the magnetic board, Computer–aided study of electrical and electronic circuits, Heat engines, Waves, Firing projectiles with the model catapult, mechanical simulation of stabbing action, etc.

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Stage 2

Possible modules may include Credits


Most practicing physicists at some point will be required to perform experiments and take measurements. This module, through a series of experiments, seeks to allow students to become familiar with some more complex apparatus and give them the opportunity to learn the art of accurate recording and analysis of data. This data has to be put in the context of the theoretical background and an estimate of the accuracy made. Keeping of an accurate, intelligible laboratory notebook is most important. Each term 3 three week experiments are performed. The additional period is allocated to some further activities to develop experimental and communications skills.

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Revision of classical descriptions of matter as particles, and electromagnetic radiation as waves.

Some key experiments in the history of quantum mechanics. The concept of wave-particle duality.

The wavefunction. Probability density. The Schrodinger equation. Stationary states.

Solutions of the Schrodinger equation for simple physical systems with constant potentials: Free particles. Particles in a box. Classically allowed and forbidden regions.

Reflection and transmission of particles incident onto a potential barrier. Probability flux. Tunnelling of particles.

The simple harmonic oscillator as a model for atomic vibrations.

Revision of classical descriptions of rotation. Rotation in three dimensions as a model for molecular rotation.

The Coulomb potential as a model for the hydrogen atom. The quantum numbers l, m and n. The wavefunctions of the hydrogen atom.

Physical observables represented by operators. Eigenfunctions and eigenvalues. Expectation values. Time independent perturbation theory.

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Atomic Physics

Review of previous stages in the development of quantum theory with application to atomic physics; Atomic processes and the excitation of atoms; Electric dipole selection rules; atom in magnetic field; normal Zeeman effect; Stern Gerlach experiment; Spin hypothesis; Addition of orbital and spin angular moments; Lande factor; Anomalous Zeeman effect; Complex atoms; Periodic table; General Pauli principle and electron antisymmetry; Alkali atoms; ls and jj coupling; X-rays. Lamb-shift and hyperfinestructure (if time).

Nuclear Physics

Properties of nuclei: Rutherford scattering. Size, mass and binding energy, stability, spin and parity.

Nuclear Forces: properties of the deuteron, magnetic dipole moment, spin-dependent forces.

Nuclear Models: Semi-empirical mass formula M(A, Z), stability, binding energy B(A, Z)/A. Shell model, magic numbers, spin-orbit interaction, shell closure effects.

Alpha and Beta decay: Energetics and stability, the positron, neutrino and anti-neutrino.

Nuclear Reactions: Q-value. Fission and fusion reactions, chain reactions and nuclear reactors, nuclear weapons, solar energy and the helium cycle.

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Vectors: Review of Grad, Div & Curl; and other operations

Electrostatics: Coulomb's Law, electric field and potential, Gauss's Law in integral and differential form; the electric dipole, forces and torques.

Isotropic dielectrics: Polarization; Gauss's Law in dielectrics; electric displacement and susceptibility; capacitors; energy of systems of charges; energy density of an electrostatic field; stresses; boundary conditions on field vectors.

Poisson and Laplace equations.

Electrostatic images: Point charge and plane; point and sphere, line charges.

Magnetic field: Field of current element or moving charge; Div B; magnetic dipole moment, forces and torques; Ampere's circuital law.

Magnetization: Susceptibility and permeability; boundary conditions on field vectors; fields of simple circuits.

Electromagnetic induction: Lenz’s law, inductance, magnetic energy and energy density;


Field equations: Maxwell's equations; the E.M. wave equation in free space.

Irradiance: E.M. waves in complex notation.

Polarisation: mathematical description of linear, circular and elliptical states; unpolarised and partially polarised light; production of polarised light; the Jones vector.

Interference: Classes of interferometers – wavefront splitting, amplitude splitting. Basic concepts including coherence.

Diffraction: Introduction to scalar diffraction theory: diffraction at a single slit, diffraction grating.

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Aims: To provide a basic but rigorous grounding in observational, computational and theoretical aspects of astrophysics to build on the descriptive course in Part I, and to consider evidence for the existence of exoplanets in other Solar Systems.


Observing the Universe

Telescopes and detectors, and their use to make observations across the electromagnetic spectrum. Basic Definitions: Magnitudes, solid angle, intensity, flux density, absolute magnitude, parsec, distance modulus, bolometric magnitude, spectroscopic parallax, Hertzsprung-Russel diagram, Stellar Photometry: Factors affecting signal from a star. Detectors: Examples, Responsive Quantum Efficiency, CCD cameras. Filters, UBV system, Colour Index as temperature diagnostic.

Extra Solar Planets

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


Basic stellar properties, stellar spectra. Formation and Evolution of stars. Stellar structure: description of stellar structure and evolution models, including star and planet formation. Stellar motions: Space velocity, proper motion, radial velocity, Local Standard of Rest, parallax. Degenerate matter: concept of degenerate pressure, properties of white dwarfs, Chandrasekhar limit, neutron stars, pulsars, Synchrotron radiation, Schwarzschild radius, black holes, stellar remnants in binary systems.

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The aim of the module in Medical Physics is to provide a primer into this important physics specialisation. The range of subjects covered is intended to give a balanced introduction to Medical Physics, with emphasis on the core principles of medical imaging, radiation therapy and radiation safety. A small number of lectures is also allocated to the growing field of optical techniques. The module involves several contributions from the Department of Medical Physics at the Kent and Canterbury Hospital.


Radiation protection (radiology, generic); Radiation hazards and dosimetry, radiation protection science and standards, doses and risks in radiology; Radiology; (Fundamental radiological science, general radiology, fluoroscopy and special procedures); Mammography (Imaging techniques and applications to health screening); Computed Tomography (Principles, system design and physical assessment); Diagnostic ultrasound (Pulse echo principles, ultrasound imaging, Doppler techniques); Tissue optics (Absorption, scattering of light in the tissue); The eye (The eye as an optical instrument); Confocal Microscopy (Principles and resolutions); Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) and applications; Nuclear Medicine (Radionuclide production, radiochemistry, imaging techniques, radiation detectors); In vitro techniques (Radiation counting techniques and applications); Positron Emission Tomography (Principles, imaging and clinical applications); Radiation therapies (Fundamentals of beam therapy, brachytherapy, and 131I thyroid therapy); Radiation Protection (unsealed sources); Dose from in-vivo radionuclides, contamination, safety considerations.

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Most physically interesting problems are governed by ordinary, or partial differential equations. It is examples of such equations that provide the motivation for the material covered in this module, and there is a strong emphasis on physical applications throughout. The aim of the module is to provide a firm grounding in mathematical methods: both for solving differential equations and, through the study of special functions and asymptotic analysis, to determine the properties of solutions. The following topics will be covered: Ordinary differential equations: method of Frobenius, general linear second order differential equation. Special functions: Bessel, Legendre, Hermite, Laguerre and Chebyshev functions, orthogonal functions, gamma function, applications of special functions. Partial differential equations; linear second order partial differential equations; Laplace equation, diffusion equation, wave equation, Schrödinger’s equation; Method of separation of variables. Fourier series: application to the solution of partial differential equations. Fourier Transforms: Basic properties and Parseval’s theorem.

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Year abroad

Students on a four-year degree programme spend a year between Stages 2 and 4 at one of our partner universities in the USA, Canada or Hong Kong.  For a full list, please see Go Abroad. Places are subject to availability.

You are expected to adhere to any academic progression requirements in Stages 1 and 2 to proceed to the Year Abroad.  If the requirement is not met, you will be transferred to the equivalent programme without a Year Abroad. The Year Abroad is assessed on a pass/fail basis and will not count towards your final degree classification.

Going abroad as part of your degree is an amazing experience and a chance to develop personally, academically and professionally.  You experience a different culture, gain a new academic perspective, establish international contacts and enhance your employability.

Possible modules may include Credits

PH790 needs to cover a majority of learning outcomes in Stage 3 of the parent MPhys programme. The modules in the university abroad should normally cover similar topics at a similar level. Note that a one-to-one correspondence is not feasible and would negate the purpose of the Year Abroad, which is to provide the student with the experience of the educational system abroad. In addition, the student has the opportunity to study some modules which are not available at University of Kent.

With regards to topics, the academic liaison (typically DoUGS Physics) will check and approve the students choice of modules at the time they are at the university abroad.

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Stage 4

Possible modules may include Credits


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;

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  • To provide an experience of open-ended research work.

  • To begin to prepare students for postgraduate work towards degrees by research or for careers in R&D in industrial or government/national laboratories.

  • To deepen knowledge in a specialised field and be able to communicate that knowledge orally and in writing.


    All MPhys students undertake a laboratory, theoretical or computationally-based project related to their degree specialism. These projects may also be undertaken by Diploma students. A list of available project areas is made available during Stage 3, but may be augmented/revised at any time up to and including Week 1 of Stage 4. As far as possible, projects will be assigned on the basis of students' preferences – but this is not always possible: however, the project abstracts are regarded as 'flexible' in the sense that significant modification is possible (subject only to mutual consent between student and supervisor). The projects involve a combination of some or all of: literature search and critique, laboratory work, theoretical work, computational physics and data reduction/analysis. The majority of the projects are directly related to the research conducted in the department and are undertaken within the various SPS research teams.

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    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.

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    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.

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    • 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.

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  • 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

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    Teaching and assessment

    Teaching is by lectures, practical classes, tutorials and workshops. You have an average of nine one-hour lectures, one or two days of practical or project work and a number of workshops each week. The practical modules include specific study skills in Physics and general communication skills. In the MPhys final year, you work with a member of staff on an experimental or computing project.

    Assessment is by written examinations at the end of each year and by continuous assessment of practical classes and other written assignments. Your final degree result is made up of a combined mark from the Stage 2/3/4 assessments with maximum weight applied to the final stage.

    Please note that there are degree thresholds at stages 2 and 3 that you will be required to pass in order to continue onto the next stages. If you do not meet the thresholds at stage 2 you will be required to change your registration for the equivalent MPhys programme without the Year Abroad option.

    Programme aims

    The programme aims to:

    • foster an enthusiasm for physics by exploring the ways in which it is core to our understanding of nature and fundamental to many other scientific disciplines
    • develop an appreciation of the importance of astrophysics and its role in understanding how our universe came about and how it continues to exist and develop
    • to meet the needs of those students who wish to enter careers as professional research physicists and/or astrophysicists in industrial, university or other settings
    • to enhance an appreciation of the application of physics in different contexts
    • foster an enthusiasm for astrophysics and an appreciation of its application in current research
    • involve students in a stimulating and satisfying experience of learning within a research-led environment
    • motivate and support a wide range of students in their endeavours to realise their academic potential
    • provide students with a balanced foundation of physics knowledge and practical skills and an understanding of scientific methodology
    • enable students to undertake and report on an experimental and/or theoretical investigation and base this in part on an extended research project.
    • develop in students a range of transferable skills of general value
    • enable students to apply their skills and understanding to the solution of theoretical and practical problems
    • provide students with a knowledge base that allows them to progress into more specialised areas of physics and space science, or into multi-disciplinary areas involving physical principles; the MPhys is particularly useful for those wishing to undertake physics research
    • generate in students an appreciation of the importance of physics in the industrial, economic, environmental and social contexts
    • to provide the opportunity for students to broaden their experience through studying abroad.

    Learning outcomes

    Knowledge and understanding

    MPhys students gain a systematic understanding of most fundamental laws and principles of physics and astrophysics, along with their application to a variety of areas in physics and/or astrophysics, some of which are at the forefront of the discipline.

    The areas covered include:

    • electromagnetism
    • classical and quantum mechanics
    • statistical physics and thermodynamics
    • wave phenomena and the properties of matter as fundamental aspects
    • nuclear and particle physics
    • condensed matter physics
    • materials
    • plasmas and fluids.

    Intellectual skills

    You gain intellectual skills in how to:
    • identify relevant principles and laws when dealing with problems and make approximations necessary to obtain solutions
    • solve problems in physics using appropriate mathematical tools
    • execute an experiment or investigation, analyse the results and draw valid conclusions
    • evaluate the level of uncertainty in experimental results and compare the results to expected outcomes, theoretical predictions or published data in order to evaluate their significance
    • use mathematical techniques and analysis to model physical phenomena
    • an ability to comment critically on how telescopes (operating at various wavelengths) are designed, their principles of operation, and their use in astronomy and astrophysics research

    As an MPhys student, you also develop:

    • an ability to solve advanced problems in physics using mathematical tools, to translate problems into mathematical statements and apply their knowledge to obtain order of magnitude or more precise solutions as appropriate
    • an ability to interpret mathematical descriptions of physical phenomena
    • an ability to plan an experiment or investigation under supervision and to understand the significance of error analysis
    • a working knowledge of a variety of experimental, mathematical and/or computational techniques applicable to current research within physics
    • an enhanced ability to work within in the 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 use of communications and IT packages for the retrieval of information and analysis of data
    • how to present and interpret information graphically
    • the ability to communicate scientific information, in particular to produce clear and accurate scientific reports
    • the use of laboratory apparatus and techniques, including 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.

    As an MPhys student, you also gain:

    • IT skills which show fluency at the level 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
    • an ability to communicate complex scientific ideas, the conclusion of an experiment, investigation or project concisely, accurately and informatively
    • experimental skills showing the competent use of specialised equipment, the ability to identify appropriate pieces of equipment and to master new techniques
    • an ability to make use of research articles and other primary sources.

    Transferable skills

    You gain transferable skills in:

    • problem-solving including the ability to formulate problems in precise terms, identify key issues and have the confidence to try different approaches
    • independent investigative skills including the use of textbooks, other literature, databases and interaction with colleagues
    • communication skills when dealing with surprising ideas and difficult concepts, including listening carefully, reading demanding texts and presenting complex information in a clear and concise manner
    • analytical skills including the ability to manipulate precise and intricate ideas, construct logical arguments, use technical language correctly and pay attention to detail
    • personal skills including the ability to work independently, use initiative, organise your time to meet deadlines and interact constructively with other people
    • the ability to study within a different educational system and live in a foreign country.


    Of Physics and Astronomy students who graduated from Kent in 2015, 88% of were in work or further study within six months (Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey).

    Recent graduates have gone into research and development, technical management, the City and financial institutions, computing, software design, the media and teaching. Some have also gone on to postgraduate study.

    Kent science graduates have an excellent employment record, in part because we ensure they have the transferable skills necessary for success in today’s employment market.

    Professional recognition

    Fully accredited by the Institute of Physics.

    Entry requirements

    Home/EU students

    The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

    It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

    Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
    A level

    ABB, including A level Mathematics and Physics at BB (not Use of Mathematics), including the practical endorsement of any science qualifications taken

    Access to HE Diploma

    The University will not necessarily make conditional offers to all Access candidates but will continue to assess them on an individual basis. 

    If we make you an offer, you will need to obtain/pass the overall Access to Higher Education Diploma and may also be required to obtain a proportion of the total level 3 credits and/or credits in particular subjects at merit grade or above.

    BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

    The University will consider applicants holding/studying BTEC National Diploma and Extended National Diploma Qualifications (QCF; NQF;OCR) in a relevant Science or Engineering subject at 180 credits or more, on a case by case basis. Please contact us via the enquiries tab for further advice on your individual circumstances.

    International Baccalaureate

    34 points or 16 at HL including Physics and Mathematics 5 at HL or 6 in SL (not Mathematics Studies)

    International students

    The University welcomes applications from international students. Our international recruitment team can guide you on entry requirements. See our International Student website for further information about entry requirements for your country.

    If you need to increase your level of qualification ready for undergraduate study, we offer a number of International Foundation Programmes.

    Meet our staff in your country

    For more advise about applying to Kent, you can meet our staff at a range of international events.

    English Language Requirements

    Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

    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. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

    General entry requirements

    Please also see our general entry requirements.


    The 2018/19 entry tuition fees have not yet been set. As a guide only, the 2017/18 tuition fees for this programme are:

    UK/EU Overseas
    Full-time £9250 £16480

    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.* 

    Your fee status

    The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

    General additional costs

    Find out more about accommodation and living costs, plus general additional costs that you may pay when studying at Kent.

    Fees for Year in Industry

    For 2017/18 entrants, the standard year in industry fee for home, EU and international students is £1,350. Fees for 2018/19 entry have not yet been set.

    Fees for Year Abroad

    UK, EU and international students on an approved year abroad for the full 2017/18 academic year pay £1,350 for that year. Fees for 2018/19 entry have not yet been set.

    Students studying abroad for less than one academic year will pay full fees according to their fee status. 


    University funding

    Kent offers generous financial support schemes to assist eligible undergraduate students during their studies. See our funding page for more details. 

    Government funding

    You may be eligible for government finance to help pay for the costs of studying. See the Government's student finance website.


    General scholarships

    Scholarships are available for excellence in academic performance, sport and music and are awarded on merit. For further information on the range of awards available and to make an application see our scholarships website.

    The Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence

    At Kent we recognise, encourage and reward excellence. We have created the Kent Scholarship for Academic Excellence. 

    For 2018/19 entry, the scholarship will be awarded to any applicant who achieves a minimum of AAA over three A levels, or the equivalent qualifications (including BTEC and IB) as specified on our scholarships pages

    The scholarship is also extended to those who achieve AAB at A level (or specified equivalents) where one of the subjects is either Mathematics or a Modern Foreign Language. Please review the eligibility criteria.

    The Key Information Set (KIS) data is compiled by UNISTATS and draws from a variety of sources which includes the National Student Survey and the Higher Education Statistical Agency. The data for assessment and contact hours is compiled from the most populous modules (to the total of 120 credits for an academic session) for this particular degree programme. 

    Depending on module selection, there may be some variation between the KIS data and an individual's experience. For further information on how the KIS data is compiled please see the UNISTATS website.

    If you have any queries about a particular programme, please contact

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