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Physics PhD

Most students complete this programme in 4 years full-time

Our research has a high international profile, in keeping with the University's position as a leading research institution in the United Kingdom.

We cover a wide spectrum of activities, from fundamental physics to technological applications. Our activities are organised into five Research Groups and University Research Centres:

See our PhD programme in Condensed Matter Physics (CMP-PhD+)

Our recent Physics graduates have gone on to further research or teaching in the UK, Europe, China and Japan and research posts in the UK, Germany, Italy, Japan and South Africa. Employers include the Met Office, BAE systems, Renishaw, and Fianium in the UK.

Find out what our research graduates go on to do

Department of Physics

Programme structure

Most students complete this programme in 4 years. You cannot take less than 2 years to finish your research and the maximum time you are allowed is normally 4 years.

You may start this programme at any time. Most students start in September.

Occasionally we make changes to our programmes in response to, for example, feedback from students, developments in research and the field of studies, and the requirements of accrediting bodies. You will be advised of any significant changes to the advertised programme, in accordance with our Terms and Conditions.

Your academic progress and general welfare will be monitored by your supervisor.

Academic milestones

  1. Registration
  2. Induction
  3. Candidature
  4. Confirmation
  5. Research
  6. Writing up
  7. Give notice of intention to submit a thesis / portfolio
  8. Submission for examination
  9. Examination (Viva Voce)
  10. Examiners report
  11. Final submission of thesis / portfolio
  12. Graduation

Programme content


  • Doctoral skills online
  • Doctoral skills workshop
  • Research project
  • Supervisory team

Research content

Studying Physics at Bath will not only teach you about the structure of physical law, but it will allow you to take part in its discovery.

The Department houses world-leading equipment for:

  • Fabricating and characterising photonic crystal optical fibres.
  • A Nanofabrication Facility for the production of nanoscale electronic and optical devices.
  • State-of-the-art UHV scanning probe microscopes in the Graphene Centre

We also have dedicated research officers managing our Material and Chemical Characterisation Facility (MC²).

Postgraduate students are offered a variety of practical training courses and are encouraged to attend international scientific meetings.

Go to our department research page to find out more about our research.

Professional Development

Professional development is a crucial element of doctoral study, not only in supporting your research but also as part of your longer term career development. Our DoctoralSkills workshops and courses will help you build your skills and help you succeed in your doctorate.

Read more about professional development support


Assessment methods

  • Thesis
  • Viva Voce

Assessment description

Most research students who ‘do a PhD’ register in the first instance as probationer for the degree of PhD. Candidates are expected to carry out supervised research at the leading edge of their chosen subject, which must then be written up as a substantial thesis.

The confirmation of the PhD programme (and the end of the probationary period) is subject to students passing an assessment process, which normally involves submission of written work and on oral examination which usually takes place 12 months after the initial registration.

The final stage of the PhD degree is the oral or viva voce examination, in which students are required to defend the thesis to a Board of Examiners.

Case study

Find out more about recent PhD students at Bath.

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

First or upper second class honours degree or equivalent in an appropriate subject.

English Language requirements

  • IELTS: 6.5 overall with no less than 6.0 in all components
  • The Pearson Test of English Academic (PTE Academic): 62 with no less than 59 in any element
  • TOEFL IBT: 90 overall with a minimum 21 in all 4 components

You will need to get your English language qualification within 24 months prior to starting your course.

If you need to improve your English language skills before starting your studies, you may be able to take a pre-sessional course to reach the required level.


Two references are required. At least one of these should be an academic reference from the most recent place of study.

Fees and funding

Fees and funding information for Physics PhD


Your tuition fees and how you pay them will depend on whether you are a Home or Overseas student.

Learn how we decide fee status

Tuition fees are liable to increase annually for all University of Bath students. If you aren't paying your fees in British pounds, you should also budget for possible fluctuations in your own currency.

Find out more about student fees

How to pay

Funding options

Find funding for doctoral research

Payment options

You can pay your tuition fees by Direct Debit, debit card, credit card or bank transfer.

Paying your tuition fees

Application information

  • Programme title
    Physics PhD
  • Final award
  • Mode of study
  • Course code
  • Department
  • Location
    University of Bath
    Claverton Down, Bath BA2 7AY
  • Application deadline

    3 months prior to the intended start date (for international applicants) or 2 months prior to the intended start date (for home applicants). For example, for an end of September start, the deadline is 30 June (international) and 31 July (home).

  • Regulator

Applicant profile

Applicants should include details of the following:

  • relevant research skills; theoretical, computing/coding and experimental
  • academic qualifications and major project work that was performed within these programmes
  • any research visits or internships they have carried out
  • conferences attended and oral/poster presentations they have given
  • prizes or awards they have received
  • journal papers they have published

See our guide about how to apply for doctoral study

Selection process

All applicants will be invited to attend an interview. If possible this will be a face-to-face interview allowing candidates to visit the Department and its research facilities and meet potential supervisors. However, where circumstances do not allow this (e.g., for overseas applicants living far from the UK) these can take place by video conferencing. In rare cases applicants may be asked to complete short tests in order to demonstrate key skills that will be required for specific PhD projects.

Immigration requirements

This PhD is covered by the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS). If you are an international student, you may require an ATAS certificate to join this course and you can find out more about the visa requirements for studying in the UK.

For additional support please contact the Student Immigration Service for matters related to student visas and immigration.

Programme enquiries

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