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Department of Physics

The Cavendish Laboratory

The University offers two routes to a first degree in physics, both leading to a wide range of career options.

All students take Part II Physics in their third year. Students with a deep interest in the subject who do not intend to become professional physicists can graduate after Part II physics with an honours B.A. degree.

Students who wish to pursue a professional career in physics, for example, in academic or industrial research, will continue into Part III Physics in the fourth year. This course leads to an honours M.Sci. degree (Master of Natural Sciences), together with a B.A. which is not conferred until the end of the fourth year.
Entry into Part III Physics is normally dependent on achieving at least a 2.i degree in Part II physics and qualifying students can decide at the end of the third year whether they would like to graduate or progress into Part III.

Both courses are very flexible, and can range from strongly experimental to highly theoretical physics, with a range of specialist options. There are possibilities for substantial independent work and for experience of industrial research.


The aim of the lecture courses in Part II physics is to complete basic instruction in physics. In the Michaelmas term, there are core courses in Advanced Quantum Physics, Relativity, Electrodynamics and Optics, and in Statistical Mechanics. In the Lent/Easter term, options courses include Particle and Nuclear Physics, Quantum Condensed Matter, Soft Condensed Matter, and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics.

In addition, students may select an experimentally-biased course by carrying out up to two experimental investigations (E1 and E2), each lasting two weeks. Alternatively, there are two possible courses in Theoretical Physics (TP1 and TP2), consisting of lectures plus examples classes, which run respectively in the Michaelmas and Lent terms. You may, if you wish, take one of each of the E and TP courses.

Further information