The University of Edinburgh offers one-year MSc programmes in Theoretical Physics (TP) and in Mathematical Physics (MP), both designed to prepare students for a research career in academia or industry. The two MSc degrees focus on introducing students to advanced ideas that are applicable in a wide range of research areas, while always emphasising the underlying physics concepts. The two tracks have a similar structure, with the MP degree requiring students to take a number of Mathematics courses (up to 40% of the taught course element) and the TP programme offering the freedom to take a wider range of optional courses.
Each degree is organized into two semesters, running respectively from September to Christmas and Christmas to Easter each year. Upon entering the degree, students will meet with a personal tutor to design an optimal individualized curriculum. The body of courses will fit the students needs and goals and can draw on courses from physics, mathematics, and related areas across the University.
Each MSc programme also includes two compulsory courses, one each semester. The first is a problem solving course designed to bring MSc students together, while filling in previous gaps and developing advanced problem solving techniques. The second semester's compulsory course is focused in research skills, in particular on how to effectively read research papers, give talks, design posters and generally communicate research-level material effectively. This sets up the final MSc project to be completed in the summer, after the main exams.
The MSc degrees offer a broad range of final projects, taking full advantage of the extensive research faculty of the Higgs Centre for Theoretical Physics. Offered topics range throughout the fields of theoretical particle physics and astronomy, as well as mathematics, statistical physics and condensed matter. The programme also invites co-supervision from faculty members and researchers worldwide, also taking advantage of the extensive network of Higgs Centre Affiliates and Associates to further improve the depth and breadth in offered topics.
The student typically selects an MSc project by December to ensure extensive preparation time, also in the context of the research skills course, before the dedicated research period in the summer. Upon completion of the project and the corresponding Master's thesis, graduates will be exceptionally well-prepared to pursue a PhD in theoretical physics or mathematics, as well as wider topics including informatics and geosciences, or to follow opportunities in industry, with recent past examples including software design, climate research, renewable energy research, optics and teaching. The supervisors and co-supervisors of MSc projects also benefit from the opportunity to work with outstanding young talent and to strengthen the network between their group / home institution and the Higgs Centre.
I'm very pleased to support the two new MSc programmes in theoretical and mathematical physics. This initiative will help the University of Edinburgh play a major role in training the next generation of theoretical physicists.
Professor Peter Higgs
Nobel Laureate and Emeritus Professor at the University of Edinburgh
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