From the minute scale of the quantum world to the massive scale of cosmology; from the physics of ballistics and firearms in forensic science to that underpinning nuclear technology, our teaching and research activities span the domain of our fascinating subject.

Valuable employment skills

A physics degree equips students with cutting-edge scientific knowledge and the ability to solve problems. These qualities are valued by many employers and make a wide range of fulfilling careers available. NTU offers a suite of undergraduate and postgraduate physics courses that provide our graduates with a range of useful scientific and transferable skills in order to prepare them for the world of work. Our graduates have gone on to careers in a diverse range of specialist scientific fields; further study and research (including many master's and PhD students); and teaching. They have also entered non-scientific employment areas such as finance, computing/web design, healthcare, consultancy and the automotive industry.

We also offer students the opportunity to study abroad or to take a 12-month paid work placement. Previous students have worked within leading companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, E.ON, British Gypsum, Airbus, Merck, Siemens, Pfizer and Syngenta and at world-leading facilities such as CERN and the Diamond Light Source. Completion of the placement year gives you an additional award of a Placement Diploma in Professional Practice.

No matter which physics degree our students choose to study with us, they will also develop a range of transferable skills that are highly desirable in a variety of professional contexts.

Progression opportunities

For those who wish to take the subject further, we aim to prepare our students for further study in physics and instill a love of the subject that will stay with them for life. We strive to excite and inspire our students by giving them the opportunity to be involved in cutting-edge research projects supervised by members of the physics team. This is achieved by means of a number of competitively awarded summer scholarships funded from a mixture of internal and external sources, usually taking place in the summer of the students' second year.

Professional Accreditation

Importantly, our BSc and MSci courses are recognized and accredited by the Institute of Physics

Outstanding student satisfaction

We are proud of our record of outstanding levels of student satisfaction. Our academic, technical and support staff are friendly and accessible and we strive to offer physics with the personal touch! First class teaching facilities are based on NTU's Clifton Campus; these are used to develop our students' skills and specialised knowledge through lectures, tutorials, seminars, and through hands-on practical sessions in our excellent laboratory facilities.

Active student societies

Our students have formed one of the UK's most active subject-based Societies, APSoc (Astronomy and Physics Society) to which we provide free membership in the first year. APSoc won the Best New Society award at the Student Society Awards in 2012 and has organised trips to see the Northern Lights in Tromsø, Chernobyl, Iceland and CERN.

Physics facilities

We have invested significantly in our facilities over recent years and provide access to modern teaching and research laboratories, including a range of equipment for:

  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • optical coherence tomography
  • ultrasound and CT imaging
  • thin film deposition and processing
  • surface characterisation
  • forensic audio analysis
  • portable astronomy.

In addition, as part of the Midlands Physics Alliance Graduate School, we provide teleconferencing facilities to support Midlands-based Master's-level courses (in collaboration with the Universities of Nottingham, Warwick, Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough and Keele). Finally, our impressive Trent Astronomical Observatory is the largest teaching-only telescope at any UK University and provides some of the best facilities for University-based Astronomy in the country.

Search for a Physics course

Take a look at our Physics undergraduate and postgraduate courses.


We are interested in investigating applied problems that impact upon lives and society. Our research influences public engagement with science and research, manufacturing processes and product development.


To have an effect, cooperation is essential. Our academics have engaged in collaborative research with, and funded by, partners in industry (including spin-off activities) and with public sector and UK government agencies. These organisations cover the advanced instrumentation, aerospace and avionics, conservation and heritage, healthcare, Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) materials and displays, oil and gas, and sustainable technologies sectors, including:

  • Angus Fire
  • Beyeler Museum, Switzerland
  • British Museum
  • GEA Pharma
  • Gooch and Housego
  • Historic Royal Palaces
  • Kodak European Research Ltd
  • Johnson Matthey
  • Merck Chemicals Ltd
  • Oxsensis
  • Rolls Royce
  • Schlumberger
  • Shepherd Conservation
  • Unilever.

Placement partners

A wide range of placement partners illustrates the value of our collaborations and also has an important role in informing and influencing our teaching. Our undergraduate students can be found undertaking placements in:

  • Airbus (formally EADS), Germany
  • CERN, France
  • Diamond Light Source
  • E.ON Technologies Ltd
  • Merck Chemicals Ltd
  • Netherlands Forensic Institute.

We also provide and deliver consultancy services along with access to a range of knowledge transfer and business improvement funding opportunities:

  • The Innovations in Surfaces, Materials and Related Technologies (iSMART) Centre brings together expertise and facilities across a range of science and engineering disciplines to provide an extensive toolbox for collaborative research opportunities aligned to the needs of industry
  • The working with you scheme for small or medium enterprises based in the East Midlands.


Research is an important activity to ensure the vitality and health of our academic subjects and underpins the teaching of our undergraduate and postgraduate courses.

Physics staff are research active and supervise undergraduate, Master's, PhD and postdoctoral research projects within the classical subject areas of theoretical and experimental physics, and including applied research in imaging and materials science. We also recognise that modern science is highly interdisciplinary and we collaborate across our School and beyond, both nationally and internationally, with engineers, biologists and computer and materials scientists.

Research excellence
The research of the Physics Team was included in the University’s REF2014 submission under General Engineering (Unit of Assessment B15). Our submission was highly rated, having 84% of overall activity at the highest 3* (internationally excellent) and 4* (world-leading) grades. This included achieving an impressive ranking of joint seventh out of 62 submitted institutions (Times Higher) for the quality of our publications, 94.6% of which were judged as attaining 3* and 4* levels.

Our staff publish in the top Physics Journals, including Physical Review Letters and Applied Physics Letters, and in prestigious Journals with wide multidisciplinary readership, including Nature, Nature Photonics and Nature Communications.

Research collaborations
Our research activities in Physics have been funded by numerous collaborators. In addition to the collaborators and industrial sponsors listed in the commercial section, UK and EU agencies that fund our research include:

  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)
  • European Union
  • National Gallery of Ireland
  • Leverhulme Trust
  • Nuffield Foundation
  • Scottish Enterprise
  • STFC Technology
  • Tate Gallery
  • Technology Strategy Board (Innovate UK)
  • UK Sport.

Grants and funding
Major grants awarded to and led by Physics staff include:

  • EPSRC Platform Grant Exploiting the Solid-liquid Interface. These prestigious five-year grants are only awarded to well established, world leading research groups
  • EU funded €1.4M Swarmonitor collaboration . This project applies our ground breaking work in highly specific vibrational signature recognition, working with EU and UK Bee Farmers' Associations, EU research centres (CARI Belgium, INRA France), and SMEs (Capaz Germany, Szomel Hungary, Arnia). Swarmonitor's work will form a central contribution to the UK's exhibit for the UK Pavilion for the 2015 World Expo to take place in Milan, Italy. The visitor will be able to appreciate the UK's excellence in the Science and Technology of honey bee welfare, which is crucial to a sustainable strategy for humans to keep ‘feeding the world'.
  • EU funded €1.2M Autonomous Reed Bed Installations Research project developing commercial applications of remotely deployable MR sensing.
  • Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship (FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IEF) in laser processing and nano-plasmonics.

Find out more about our specialist areas of research.


The Physics team is comprised of academic and support staff who are subject experts in all aspects of experimental and theoretical Physics. Many of our staff have achieved Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy status in recognition of their commitment to teaching and continuing professional development.

Visit our staff profiles to find out more.