The four-year course, of which Part III is the final component, is designed for students who wish to pursue a professional career in physics, (in academic or industrial research). It leads to an honours degree of Master of Natural Sciences, M.Sci., together with a B.A., though the latter cannot be conferred until the end of the fourth year.
The course aims to bring you close to the boundaries of current research, and is therefore somewhat linked to the expertise from within the specific research groups. You make a series of choices as the year proceeds which allows you, for instance, to select a bias towards particular broad areas of physics such as condensed matter physics, particle physics, astrophysics, or semiconductor physics. You can also range over the spectrum from strongly experimental to highly theoretical physics, and choose from a range of specialist options.
All students undertake a substantial research project, which is expected to take up one third of your time for the year.
The Michaelmas Term lectures are the Major Topics, which cover substantial areas of physics. The Lent Term lectures are the Minor Topics, which cover more specialised areas, mostly of active research interest in Cambridge.
Some of the Major and Minor Topics are given by staff from other Departments such as The Institute of Astronomy and the Department of Earth Sciences. You can also take as Major or Minor Topics certain courses given in Part III of the Mathematical Tripos but you may note that the style of Part III Mathematical Tripos is different from that experienced in the Part III Physics Topics, reflecting the difference in approaches of the two Departments.