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The course

UCAS code
Up to 5 years
Delivery type


  • Contact

    Dr David Townsend

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 131 451 3794

  • Email


This Physics degree covers subjects including dynamics, electromagnetic fields and optics. These areas lead onto the quantum world of subatomic particles, the unique nature of laser light, and the philosophically challenging ideas of quantum physics and astrophysics. Mathematics also plays an important part in understand physical concepts in more depth. In later years, the course will offer you various topics, including Laser Physics, Photonics, Semiconductor Physics, Instrumentation, Nuclear Physics and Elementary Particles.

Through research projects, you’ll be able to develop skills in experimental design or computational modelling. The course will also help with your practical abilities, initiative and teamwork. The Physics degree is mathematically rigorous and suitable if you’re interested in a career in research.


This integrated masters in Physics (MPhys) is accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP) for the purpose of fully meeting the educational requirement for Chartered Physicist.

Susan Chan

As a student I was awarded summer internships in research groups. It was great to be part of the research going on in Physics at Heriot-Watt. I was able to see what research was like and this helped me find my PhD place.

Susan Chan, Physics BSc

Course content

Detailed course guide
Year 1

Provides foundations of physics and mathematics and gives the opportunity to look at wider aspects of physics through experimental study in investigative techniques. Also covered are fundamental engineering skills in electronics and mechanics.

Year 2

Important themes of physics are introduced through courses in Thermal Physics, Photonics and Optics and Electronics. Experimental, Programming, and Communication skills are developed through practical laboratory activities.

Year 3

Deals with more advanced treatments of core physics, such as: Electromagnetism; Dynamics and Relativity; and Solid State Physics. Experimental and programming skills are further developed using more in-depth experimental studies.

Year 4

Deals with more advanced treatments of core physics, such as: Advanced Electromagnetism; Laser Physics; Quantum Concepts; and Solid State Physics. Students can choose from specialist topics including Optical Sensing and Optoelectronics.

Year 5

A major part of the final year is the Research Project; this usually takes place in our state-of-the-art research laboratories alongside our research staff. Taught courses include Condensed Matter, Nanophotonics and Material Physics.