About the School

Part of the University’s Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences, the School of Physics and Astronomy has nearly 100 academic staff. We work to better understand the most fundamental physical laws, how they influence the evolution of the universe, and how that knowledge might be used to improve our lives. 

For physics and astronomy, we’re ranked in the top 5 among Russell Group schools and departments.

Our research groups and research community benefit from:

  • a supportive and inclusive research environment
  • strong partnerships with industry
  • advanced facilities such as the characterisation equipment and other resources in our nanofabrication centre’s clean room
Researcher using a rooftop observatory
An astronomy student uses one of our observatories.

Our research

Our research is outstanding, with 92% of outputs assessed as world leading or internationally excellent in the Research Excellence Framework 2021. One hundred percent of our research was judged world leading or internationally excellent for its impact on society.

We cultivate a supportive and inclusive environment that encourages interdisciplinary collaboration and the exchange of ideas and insights.

Our research is carried out by our research groups, each focusing on a particular theme.


This research group studies the Universe at all scales from our own Sun and planets in our Solar System, to exploding stars, distant galaxies and black holes.

High Energy Physics

This research group studies the mathematical foundations that describe nature from the smallest scales studied at particle colliders to the largest describing the evolution of the universe.

Quantum, Light and Matter

This research group aims to advance our fundamental understanding of quantum physics. Much of the research focuses on the themes of nanostructuring, optical control and quantum coherence.

Our teaching

We’re dedicated to high quality, research-led, teaching that benefits our students’ careers.

Our partnership with the South East Physics Network gives our students access to relevant paid placement opportunities within a wide range of local organisations.

Over 92% of our students are in employment or undertaking further study 15 months after graduating, according to the Higher Education Statistics Authority.

We are offering new and innovative programmes that explore the boundaries of physics, quantum science and technology, and computer science:

Physics with Artificial Intelligence (MPhys)

Physics with Quantum Science and Technology (MPhys)

These offerings are unique to the University of Southampton with a focus of forward looking skill requirements in research and industry.

Our impact

Our theoretical particle physics group collaborates closely with scientists at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research) on findings related to the discovery of the Higgs boson. Professor Andreas Jüttner was awarded a £1 million European Research Council grant for work in this area.

Our work with low-frequency array (LOFAR) telescopes attracted €5 million in funding.

Two researchers in the Quantum, Light and Matter group were awarded Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Early Career Fellowships. These were the only 2 such fellowships awarded in the UK that year. We achieved this by collaborating with the School of Electronics and Computer Science and the Optoelectronics Research Centre, using our clean room facilities.

Over the last decade we’ve hosted:

  • 7 Royal Society University Research Fellowships
  • 4 European Research Council grants
  • 3 Science and Technology Facilities Council Ernest Rutherford Fellowships
  • 3 Stephen Hawking Postdoctoral Fellowships
  • 3 Leverhulme Senior Research Fellowships
  • 1 University Anniversary Fellowship

Equality, diversity and inclusion

We strive to create an open and inclusive workplace culture that benefits everyone who works and studies here. We work to ensure that our school offers all staff and students equal opportunities and that the people who work and study here reflect society at large.

Our commitment to these principles and goals is evidenced by:

  • our Athena SWAN (Scientific Women's Academic Network) Silver Award, which recognises our efforts to ensure gender equality through action on issues such as representation and pay
  • our participation in the pilot of the IOP Physics Inclusion Award, where we were recognised as "committed" to inclusion in Physics.  
  • our involvement as a partner of Planet Possibility, which aims to encourage young people in the UK, especially those from underrepresented groups, to pursue careers in physics
  • our independently run Women's Physics Network and LGBT+ Network to provide discussion and support
Athena SWAN Silver Award logo
Our Athena SWAN Silver Award demonstrate our commitment to gender equality.
A banner that says "Committed to the Physics Inclusion Award"

Our courses

Research, engagement and outreach

Alongside teaching, we focus on academic research, public engagement and outreach activities.

Our research community

Explore current and past research projects run by our research groups and affiliated centres, and find about the people involved.


We’re uncovering the secrets of the universe, from the smallest scales to beyond our cosmic neighbourhood, and use our knowledge to develop technology that solves the challenges of today and tomorrow.
The School of Physics and Astronomy has been a dynamic and friendly department. In my time as chair of the equity, diversity and inclusion team, school leadership have been enthusiastic about helping us make this a supportive place to work and study.
Royal Society University Research Fellow
Even after 20 years, I still get a buzz out of research discoveries and teaching experimental physics.
Deputy Head of School, Research

Work with us

  • A person works in the physics lab

    Jobs at Southampton

    Find out about employment opportunities at the University, including any current roles at the School of Physics and Astronomy.

Contact us

Talk to us, we’re happy to help

You can contact us by:
School of Physics and Astronomy, Building 46, Level 5Highfield Campus, Southampton, SO17 1BJ
We’re open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm UK time

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