Physics and Astronomy

  • 9th in the UK for Physics & Astronomy in The Complete University Guide 2016
  • Weekly, small group tutorials with academic staff
  • Multi-million pound renovation of the Physics building, including teaching laboratories and study environments
  • 90% of research classified as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • Home to the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training in Metamaterials, The Centre for Graphene Science and The Living Systems Institute; each with pioneering research in material, quantum and biomedical physics
  • Specialise in Astrophysics: our world-leading group focuses on star formation and exoplanets
  • A long experimental or theoretical project during the final two years of the MPhys degrees based in our research groups
  • Spend your third year studying in a university abroad, or undertaking a research project as part of a salaried placement

Studying physics is a challenging, stimulating, thought-provoking and ultimately rewarding experience. We are one of the foremost centres of research in the UK, staffed by academics dedicated to their research and teaching. Our building is set in a beautiful location with views of the coastline and Dartmoor, providing an inspiring environment for you to address the intellectual challenges that arise as part of your scientific training. 

The Physics Building has recently undergone a multi-million pound investment programme, filling our teaching laboratories and computer suites with new equipment, creating new student study areas, and relocating the Student Services area to an accessible location in the Foyer. We have advanced research facilities that include clean-rooms for photo and nanolithography, a helium liquefier for low temperature experiments, a water tank for acoustic experiments (SONAR), amplified ultra-fast laser systems for the study of ultra-high speed phenomena, and a suite of instruments for imaging biological materials.

Our degree programmes include a wide range of options, both applied and theoretical, allowing you to develop your own particular interests. The options range from cosmology and biophysics to many-body theory, exoplanets, and programming. You can also take options in other subjects such as a modern language, philosophy or mathematics. Lectures are illustrated with in-depth descriptions of recent discoveries and many of our option modules reflect our research interests.

Prof Alastair Hibbins, Admissions Tutor

Ultimately we are training you to be a practitioner of physics, in other words, a researcher in your own right, and that means you need to obtain first-hand experience of what it is like to conduct research work yourself.  You will gain this experience either in our third-year teaching laboratory, or embedded in our research groups.  Indeed, we rely on undergraduates to contribute towards Exeter’s research effort in the years to come, via this project work, as potential PhD students, or by playing a role in promoting our department if you find employment in industry. Therefore we firmly believe in individual attention, from the day you visit us for an interview. During your programme, you will meet the professors and lecturers in tutorials, in problem-solving classes, and in the laboratories, and we have an ‘open-door’ policy to encourage academic discussion between students and staff. You will feel part of a department that is enthusiastic about physics and wants you to succeed.

Prof Alastair Hibbins, Admissions Tutor


Our Research

Student Life

Staff Profiles

Student Profiles

Funding Opportunities

Equality in Science

The Exeter Observatory

We maintain an on-site observatory for undergraduate teaching purposes.  The observatory has recenetly been upgraded (2015) to a robotic facility with a computer-controlled mount and dome, 14" Schmidt-Cassegrain, CCD and filters.  You can read more about the observatory here.

All our MPhys and Single Honours BSc degrees are accredited by the Institute of Physics. Accredited MPhys degrees fully satisfy the educational requirements of the Chartered Physicist (CPhys) professional qualification.