Physics and Astrophysics research degrees

How to applyPhysics and Astrophysics

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Our programmes

Physics offers a range of postgraduate study options at MSc and PhD level, both full and part-time.

Our research broadly covers the following areas:

  • Lasers and their applications
  • Theory of condensed matter
  • Experimental solid-state physics
  • Astrophysics and gravitation

Research is funded from a range of sources, including the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, the Royal Society, government and industrial establishments. Our work also benefits from strong interdisciplinary links within the university and with other groups at the national and the international level.

We have well-established links with a number of industrial companies and research centres with whom we conduct collaborative research.


Theory of condensed matter

The research interests of the group span across a range of topics in condensed matter including hard matter (e.g., semiconductors), soft matter (e.g., polymers, colloids, surfactants etc.), surfaces and quantum technologies.

Semiconductor physics

We employ a unique mix of semiconductor theory and monte-carlo computation techniques to address issues in existing devices or develop new devices. Current research includes:

  • High field transport in Gallium Nitride transistors
  • On-going development of our Monte-Carlo code MC2
  • Design and development of THz emitters

Soft matter

Soft matter includes industrially and biologically important systems such as colloids, polymers and surfactants. The distinctive feature of all these systems is the presence of mesoscopic length-scales which necessitates the use of coarse grained models to access the length and time scales of interest.

Surface science

Our work focuses on the:

  • Development and application of high-performance computing for quantum vibrational dynamics and properties of extended systems
  • Hydrogen-bonding and weak interactions in biological systems and nanostructures
  • Description of molecule–surface interactions

Quantum technology

Specific areas of research include:

  • Quantum transport
  • Quantum feedback control
  • Quantum information processing 
  • Quantum optics
  • Quantum criticality


  • Dr David Benoit
  • Dr Martin Buzza
  • Dr Angela Dyson

Experimental solid-state physics


The University of Hull is renowned for its work on liquid crystals materials following its invention of the first room-temperature liquid crystal which heralded the advent of the multi-million dollar liquid crystal display technology. This interdisciplinary research continues this tradition and applies semiconducting liquid crystals to emerging application areas, such as organic light-emitting displays, solar cells and plastic electronics. We also have interests in plasmonic structures for enhanced light-emission and nano-photonics.


Our projects include: 

  • molecular spintronics
  • lab-on-chip nanogap sensors for electronic detection of DNA / proteins
  • organic memristors for nonvolatile data storage
  • novel applications of conducting polymers
  • new methods of nanoscale engineering


  • Professor Mary O’Neill
  • Dr Ali Adawi
  • Dr Jean-Sebastien Bouillard
  • Dr Neil Kemp

Lasers and light-matter interactions

The research interests of the group broadly cover the interaction of light with matter for scientific, industrial and medical applications; this primarily involves laser sources and so the group also studies the generation and delivery of high intensity light. Below are some of the areas we’re currently involved in.

  • Laser-induced forward transfer
  • Analysis of laser produced fume
  • Femtosecond laser interactions
  • VUV laser interactions
  • Enhancing light harvesting in organic solar cells (Daphne Jackson fellowship)


  • Dr David Sands
  • Dr Howard Snelling
  • Dr Chris Walton
  • Dr Julian Daniels

Astrophysics and gravitation (E.A Milne Centre for Astrophysics)

From the Big Bang to black holes, and from quantum mechanics to the theory of everything, The E.A. Milne Centre’s world leading experts pursue explanations for the wonders of the Universe and then share their awe-inspiring discoveries with students, schools and the public to ignite the passions of the Einsteins and Hawkings of tomorrow.

Solar and stellar physics

  • The magnetic sun
  • Stellar nucleosynthesis and cosmo-chemistry

Galaxy and galaxy-cluster physics

  • Galactic archaeology
  • Galaxy evolution
  • Galaxy clusters

Cosmological and high-energy physics

  • The early universe
  • Large-scale structures
  • String theory


  • Dr Ronald Reid-Edwards
  • Dr Siri Chongchitnan
  • Dr Kevin Pimbblet
  • Dr Sergei Zharkov
  • Professor Brad Gibson
  • Dr Marco Pignatari
  • Dr Elke Roediger

Admissions status

Open for admission in 2018/19

Research options

PhD: 4 years (full-time) / 7 years (part-time)

MSc by Research: 1 year (full-time) / 2 years (part-time)


Home/EU: £4,195 (full-time) / £2,098 (part-time)

Overseas: £15,300 (full-time)

*Please note, the fees shown are for 2017/18 entry. The fees for 2018/19 have not yet been confirmed, and may increase.

These fees are for all Physics and Astrophysics research degrees research programmes on this page. For courses lasting more than one year, small annual increases may apply. For more information, please visit

The Postgraduate Training Scheme

It is now widely recognised by employers, professional bodies and research funding agencies that specialist expertise alone is not sufficient preparation either for research or a subsequent career. With this in mind, the University of Hull requires all its postgraduate research students to follow a research training programme relating both to their particular field of study and to generic skills; for example, information technology and communication skills.

Postgraduate Training Scheme

Next steps


For information about bursaries and how to fund your studies see our money page, or take a look at our PhD scholarships page for specific funded PhD opportunities.

Entry requirements

You will need at least the equivalent of a second class Honours degree in physics or a related subject.

International students (language requirements)

If you require a Tier 4 student visa to study or if your first language is not English you will be required to provide acceptable evidence of your English language proficiency level.

This course requires IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in each skill. For other English language proficiency qualifications acceptable by this University, please click here.

If your English currently does not reach the University’s required standard for this programme, you may be interested in one of our English language courses.


Part of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, we offer a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, delivered in state-of-the-art facilities, as part of our commitment to high quality teaching and cutting-edge research.

We have well-established links with a number of industrial companies and research centres with whom we conduct collaborative research.

Our postgraduates are eagerly sought after by employers and commonly find jobs in universities, research establishments, industry or commerce, both in the UK and abroad.