skip to content

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.

The three-year course is designed for students with a deep interest in the subject who do not intend to become professional physicists. Those following this option take Part II Physics in their third and final year. The three-year course leads to an honours B.A. degree.

The four-year course is designed for students who wish to pursue a professional career in physics, for example, in academic or industrial research, and consists of Part II Physics in the third year, followed by Part III Physics in the fourth. 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.

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 is to complete basic instruction in physics. In the Michaelmas term, there are core courses in Advanced Quantum Physics, Relativity, Electrodynamics and Light, and in Thermal and Statistical Physics. In the Lent/Easter term, options courses include Astrophysics, Particle and Nuclear Physics, Quantum Condensed Matter and Soft Condensed Matter and Biophysics.

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

Part II resources