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Postgraduate research

Physics and astronomy

Researcher using a rooftop observatory

Join our rich and vibrant community of researchers. Together we’re understanding the physics behind the fabric of the Universe and how it affects the world we observe.


We are ranked in the top 5 physics and astronomy departments in the Russell Group for our research output. Our world-leading status has been confirmed in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021.

You will be supported by a supervisor who'll help you shape your research topic. You'll also join one of our research groups. Being a member of a research group means that interested people are always on hand to hear your ideas, discuss your results and offer help and encouragement.

You'll be able to attend postgraduate lecture courses, classes and research seminars to broaden your knowledge. There will also be opportunities to attend short courses or summer schools, such as Institute of Physics workshops and NATO Advanced Study Institutes. These bring together experts to give lectures and lead discussions.

We'll encourage you to travel for conferences and research collaborations at other large laboratories and world-class observatories, such as CERN and The European Southern Observatory in Chile. 

As a newly qualified PhD in Physics, you'll have many career options open to you. Our students head into non-scientific careers, or take up science-based appointments in the UK. Others go one to postdoctoral research, often in the United States, Europe or, increasingly, Japan.

Main areas of research

We invite PhD applications to study within the following research areas:

  • astronomy
  • quantum, light and matter
  • theoretical particle physics
  • astronomy and gravitation

Similar research degree topics

Horizon Europe Programme

The University of Southampton is pleased to announce that PGR students from EU and Horizon associated countries joining us in 2024-25 will pay the same as UK PGRs for their PhD.