Physics and Astronomy

  • 10th in the UK for Physics & Astronomy in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2017
  • 9th in the UK for Physics & Astronomy in The Complete University Guide 2017
  • Multi-million pound renovation of the Physics building, including teaching laboratories and study environments
  • 90% of research classified as world-leading or internationally excellent
  • Specialise in Astrophysics: our world-leading group focuses on star formation and exoplanets
  • 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
  • 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
  • Weekly, small group tutorials with academic staff

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.

Dr Nathan Mayne, Admissions Tutor

One of the greatest things about a Physics degree is the range of work you can undertake during your studies. We are training you, essentially, in how to solve and approach complex problems. Physics as a discipline allows people with a range of skills and preferences to excel. For example, research can be very applied involving lab-based experiments and interaction with complex equipment, or theoretically based using resources such as high-performance computers (or a mixture). During your module work you will explore the underlying principles of different areas of physics, such as astrophysics or quantum mechanics. These principles can then find an application in your problem-solving classes and extended projects either in the third-year laboratory (Bsc) or embedded within our research groups (MPhys). We actively encourage students to become involved in our cutting edge-research, and your education here will equip you to contribute to a wide range of subject areas in your future career. We have an 'open-door' policy, meaning staff are available and approachable and we pride ourselves on being a friendly and enthusiastic department where undergraduates are integrated into our department as a whole.

Dr Nathan Mayne, Admissions Tutor

The Exeter Observatory

We maintain an on-site observatory for undergraduate teaching purposes. The observatory has recently 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.