Theoretical Physics

MSc ( 1 year Full-time )


This comprehensive MSc brings you to the forefront of research in theoretical physics. The programme has a focus on the study of Quantum Field Theory and is taught by academic staff at Queen Mary including leading string theorists from the University’s Centre for Research into String Theory.

You will develop expertise in advanced mathematical techniques and their applications in theoretical physics. Modules cover topics including Supersymmetric Field Theories, String Theory and Quantum Field Theory.

The programme includes a one-term long specialist project, which you will complete under the supervision of an academic with research interests in a similar area to your own. The project is an independent piece of research that goes beyond the immediate scope of the curriculum and is the best possible preparation for PhD style learning.

The programme is designed to give you a complete specialist overview of key topics in theoretical physics as a preparation for study PhD. Our theoretical physics researchers work closely with leading research groups around the world and we have a track record in preparing students for PhD places at these institutions.  

The high level of mathematics covered in the course will also prepare you for a career in a range of other industries where these skills are in high demand, such as finance.

Programme Highlights

  • Taught by staff from one of the UK’s leading string theory groups
  • Complete and complementary programme of modules in key topics
  • Small cohort teaching, work closely with academic staff
  • Excellent preparation for PhD study as well as numerical and technical careers


QMUL highlights

1st in London

Ranked joint first in London for research outputs (REF 2014), the School of Physics and Astronomy has an international reputation for its research across areas such as particle physics, materials physics, string theory and astronomy.

Access taught modules at other London universities

As a student of the University of London you will have access to modules taught at UCL and King’s College London and Royal Holloway, University of London.
Students with an existing Transport for London travelcard will normally be able to reach these institutions at no extra cost.

Join the research community

Broaden your academic horizons by taking part in regular academic meetings, colloquia and seminars with exciting speakers from renowned institutions.

Physics work spaces

An MSc office and open breakout spaces provide a range of opportunities for you to work, meet or discuss ideas with others. Each research group has its own breakout space and kitchen facilities, while staff and students from across the School regularly make use of the School’s larger social and study space. 

Queen Mary facilities

Facilities include a fully resourced library, IT labs, social and sports facilities. The new graduate centre provides excellent teaching and study spaces for use by postgraduate students.





The MSc in Theoretical Physics is available to study full-time over one year.

The programme consists of eight taught and examined modules during the first two semesters and a substantial research project undertaken in the second and third semesters.

Students will take 120 credits of taught modules and a 60 credit research project.

You will also be able to take physics modules from University College London, King's College London or Royal Holloway University of London at the programme director's discretion. These options should be taken from the approved list of intercollegiate MSc modules.

MSc Theoretical Physics

Semester A

Semester B

Further information

To find out more, please visit the School of Physics and Astronomy website.


Entry requirements

This programme requires ATAS clearance. Students who are not EEA or Swiss nationals may require ATAS clearance to undertake this course. The CAH3 code for this course is CAH07-01-01. Further information on ATAS can be found on our Advice and Counselling webpages.

We expect students to have at least an upper second class degree in Physics or closely related discipline; in exceptional circumstances students may be admitted with a lower second class degree.

Non-native English speaking applicants would have to achieve at least 6.5 IELTS score and the equivalent in the relevant TOEFL assessment.

International applicants

Students from outside of the UK help form a global community here at Queen Mary. For detailed country specific entry requirements please visit the International section of our website. If your first language is not English, you must provide evidence of your English language proficiency. Find out more about our English language entry requirements.

If you do not meet language or scholarly requirements it might be possible for you to undertake foundation or pre-sessional programmes that will prepare you for the masters programme. For more information, please contact the Admissions Office.

Learning and teaching

The majority of the MSc is delivered through lectures. As a member of a small student cohort you will also have ample access to the academic staff responsible for delivering the lecture courses during their scheduled office hours.

You will have 3 hours of lectures per module and normally four taught modeuls per semester. You will also be expected to undertake a large amount of personal study, reading widely around your subject. 

Additional support is provided by your allocated academic adviser and the supervisor for your research project.

The majority of taught modules are assessed by a final examination (typically 90% of the final mark) and by coursework (typically 10% of the final mark), although individual module mark schemes may vary from this.

The compulsory MSc project is assessed by the final written report (60% of the final mark), a student presentation and oral examination (30% of the final mark) and performance during the project (10% of the final mark).

You will also be assessed on a research project (as above).


Tuition fees for Home and EU students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £9,900
Part-time study is not available for this course

Tuition fees for International students

2019/20 Academic Year

Full time £20,850
Part-time study is not available for this course


There are a number of sources of funding available for Masters students.

These include a significant package of competitive Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas, as well as external sources of funding.

Queen Mary bursaries and scholarships

We offer a range of bursaries and scholarships for Masters students including competitive scholarships, bursaries and awards, some of which are for applicants studying specific subjects.

Find out more about QMUL bursaries and scholarships.

Alternative sources of funding

Home/EU students can apply for a range of other funding, such as Professional and Career Development Loans, and Employer Sponsorship, depending on their circumstances and the specific programme of study.

Overseas students may be eligible to apply for a range of external scholarships and we also provide information about relevant funding providers in your home country on our country web pages.

Download our Postgraduate Funding Guide for detailed information about postgraduate funding options for Home/EU students.

Read more about alternative sources of funding for Home/EU students and for Overseas students.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5079

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 8717

Graduate employment

Studying postgraduate theoretical physics at Queen Mary is excellent preparation for a PhD position or technical role in the private sector. Recent graduates have gone on to roles including:

Technical Consultant - Sparta Global

Audit Trainee - KPMG

PhD Student - Centre for Research in String Theory, Queen Mary University of London

PhD Student - Instiute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth





Nadia Bahjat-Abbas, MSc Theoretical Physics (Euromasters)

I thoroughly enjoyed my Euromaster degree from start to finish, but the outstanding highlight was the year I spent in research.

While I was following modules, I would regularly use the office hours. I found all of the staff at Queen Mary to be helpful and welcoming, and this accelerated my learning significantly.

Every module I studied contributed to the foundation needed to engage in physics research, however, the research leg of the Euromaster degree was instrumental in leading me to a PhD. 

The length of time enabled proper investigation of a fascinating research problem, culminating in new results and ultimately publication. During this time, my supervisor and I also got to know each other better. Not only did I get the chance to experience what academic research is like and network with academics, but my supervisor was also able to assess my research skills. I believe that this could only serve to provide a very rich reference letter in PhD applications.

Sam Lawrence
MSc Theoretical Physics, Graduated 2017

The fact that Queen Mary is part of the larger set of colleges that make up University of London enabled me to choose courses taught elsewhere. As such, I was blessed with an opportunity to learn an extremely diverse range of topics across the theoretical physics spectrum.

Moreover, the MSc being a 12 month course gave me an extra edge over the fourth year MPhys students. I believe the MSc teaches an additional two modules and has a three month summer research project, this was a great benefit of the course.

I am currently a PhD student at the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, University of Portsmouth. I am just returning from a four month research placement in Aachen, Germany. I have been well equipped for such things given my time spent at QM. My research involves both theory and computing, looking at developing a second-order Boltzmann code to help analyse the next generation of galaxy surveys and better understand cosmology.

A rigorous and intense schedule over the 12 months including isolated time to conduct a short research project really helped me prepare for my career. Prior to the masters course, I had studied undergraduate mathematics. The MSc gave me an opportunity to give me a feel for what area of physics I liked best. The course has given me a solid foundation in theoretical physics and has given me the confidence to approach unsolved problems.


Alex Keshavarzi, MSc Theoretical Physics (Euromasters)

After completing an Astrophysics BSc at QMUL, the Euromasters MSc at the same institution seemed like an obvious option. I liked the department and after working on my BSc dissertation in the theoretical physics department, I knew I would gain a lot from completing the year-long MSc project there. The fact that it was a two year course with a whole year dedicated to research was also an attraction. I wanted to undertake a PhD and felt that the experience of the research project as part of the MSc would be a good stepping stone to be able to achieve that.

I appreciated the taught year of the MSc program and benefitted from the choice of intercollegiate studies, allowing me to pick modules at King's college, UCL and Royal Holloway. This made a huge difference as it widened my options and allowed to experience different institutions.

I am now in the second year of my PhD in theoretical physics at the University of Liverpool. There is no doubt that the MSc at QMUL fully prepared me for project research and helped me to realise that a PhD was definitely what I wanted to do for my next step.


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