PhD Physics

Duration MPhil: Full time 2-3 years; Part time 4-5 years
PhD: Full time 3-4 years; Part time 6-7 years
MSc by Research: Full time 1-2 years; Part time 2-3 years
  • Physics
LocationCornwall (Penryn), Exeter (Streatham)
Start date September, January or April


Exeter’s Centre for Doctoral Training in Metamaterials

Physics’ research activities are concentrated in four research groups: Astrophysics, Biomedical Physics, Electromagnetic and Acoustic Materials, and Quantum Systems and Nanomaterials. All research students join one of these groups, and those associated with the two materials themes may be allocated a studentship as part Exeter’s Centre of Doctoral Training in Metamaterials (XM2).


Being part of a collaborative research community is the ideal environment for you to flourish.  We encourage our students to engage with each other, as well as our world-class academics, to promote a vibrant, supportive and friendly research atmosphere.  The group structure provides a very positive support mechanism, helping research students to sustain productive research; over 90 per cent submit within the EPSRC deadline period, with most publishing several scientific papers during their period of study.  We understand that it is vital that you are a part of a stimulating and energetic environment with your peers throughout your research degree.  We also recognise  that being in a position to discuss stages of your work is essential to your long-term success.  To support this, we organise a series of postgraduate seminars where research students discuss their work, carry out presentations and swap ideas. We strive to ensure that you are a valued and intrinsic member of a close-knit group of ambitious research students, who will cooperate and provide support to each other when necessary.

All postgraduate research students are allocated a second supervisors and/or mentor to guide you throughout your postgraduate degree and we deliberately create a policy of openness and approachability. You will undertake a full programme of induction and training in order to

  • provide the technical, mathematical, organisational and personal skills required for your research;
  • heighten your awareness of recent advances in physics and astronomy research, through the Colloquium Programme;
  • provide you with essential safety, and fire training;
  • introduce you to the facilities, support and monitoring services provided by Physics and Astronomy and throughout the College.

Research areas

World-leading research staff

Physics at the University of Exeter is exemplified by our world-leading academic staff. Our academic team have an outstanding breadth of knowledge, passion and energy across a wide range of research interests, from quantum behaviour in nanomaterials, the formation of stars and the age of the universe to biomedical physics, photonics and astrophysics. that will support you throughout your research. You will develop a strong personal relationship with your supervisor and tutor which will support you to achieve your ambitions. 

Our academic team are enthusiastic about sharing their expertise and knowledge with the next generation of physicists, and are on hand to assist you in your innovative research projects. As well as dedicated contact hours with your supervisor and tutor, our team operate an open door policy which allows you to raise questions and issues as they arise.  This collaborative approach allows you to flourish by creating a supportive, cooperative environment in which to excel in your research.

Entry requirements 2018

Requirements for international students

If you are an international student, please visit our international equivalency pages to enable you to see if your existing academic qualifications meet our entry requirements.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

Overall score 6.0. No less than 6.0 in any section.


Overall score 87 with minimum scores of 21 for writing, 21 for listening, 22 for reading and 23 for speaking.

Pearson Test of English (Academic)

55 overall with no less than 55 in all communicative skills.

Other accepted tests

Information about other acceptable tests of linguistic ability can be found on our English language requirements page.

Pre-sessional English

Applicants with lower English language test scores may be able to take pre-sessional English at INTO University of Exeter prior to commencing their programme. See our English language requirements page for more information.

Finance: fees and funding

Tuition fees per year 2018/19

  • UK/EU: £4,400 full-time; £2,200 part-time
  • International: £23,000 full-time

Fee information

Fees can normally be paid by two termly instalments and may be paid online. For further information about paying fees see our Student Fees pages.

Current available funding