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Theoretical Physics MSc

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The Theoretical Physics MSc is an intensive, research-led course in which you will examine basic topics in theoretical and mathematical physics such as general relativity and quantum field theory, before exploring advanced topics such as string theory, supersymmetry and integrable quantum field theory. You will be exposed to a wide range of research techniques and have the opportunity to conduct and write up your own project.

The course information sheet is a printable version of the information on this web page, which you can download for the full time or part time course.

  • Located in the heart of London, giving unparalleled access to research facilities.
  • You will be studying innovative modules covering modern theories of physics.
  • Research-led course taught by staff who are recognised leaders in their field.
  • Opportunity to study theoretical and mathematical physics such as general relativity and quantum field theory, and advanced topics such as string theory, supersymmetry and integral quantum field theories.
  • Excellent tutorial support, extensive course- specific interactive teaching and regular classroom discussions.

Key information

Application status Open

Duration One year FT, two years PT, September to September.

Study mode Full-time, Part-time

Credit value UK 180/ECTS 90

Course intake Approximately 15-20 FT, 5-10 PT.

Course leaders Professor Christopher Herzog

Further details

Course contact for further information

Postgraduate Admissions Team, Admissions Office tel: +44 (0) 20 7848 7000 fax: +44 (0) 20 7848 7200

Course contact form Postgraduate admissions

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences

Department Department of Mathematics



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Course detail


The Theoretical Physics MSc is a demanding research-informed course that gives you a coherent, comprehensive introduction to the building blocks of modern theoretical physics and the opportunity to explore more advanced topics.

The Theoretical Physics MSc offers you the choice to study either full or part-time and is made up of optional and required modules. You must take modules totalling 180 credits to complete the course, including 60 credits that will come from a research project and dissertation.

If you are studying full-time, you will complete the course in one year, from September to September.

If you are studying part-time, your course will take two years to complete, you will study from the required optional module list in the first year, and a further selection of required and optional modules, including the research module, in your second year.

You will study modules covering Lie groups and Lie algebras, manifolds, advanced quantum mechanics and field theory, and there are opportunities to explore an extensive range of innovative optional modules, allowing you to develop a study pathway that reflects your interests.

Further literature

Course format and assessment


We use lectures and group tutorials to deliver most of the modules on the course.

You will also be expected to undertake a significant amount of independent study.

You are expected to spend approximately 10 hours work per credit for each module you attend in your degree, e.g. 150 hours work for a 15 credit module. These hours cover every aspect of the module: lectures, tutorials, independent study, coursework and preparation for examinations.  


The primary method of assessment for this degree is written examination. You may also be assessed by essays, practical examination, oral presentation, reports, class tests and projects. The nature of assessment varies by module.


Year 1

Courses are divided into modules. You will normally take modules totalling 180 credits.

Required Modules

You are required to take:

  • Theoretical Physics Project (60 credits)
Optional Modules

You are also required to take at least 75 credits from a range of optional modules, which may typically include:

  • Lie Groups & Lie Algebras (15 credits)
  • Manifolds (15 credits)
  • Foundations of Mathematical Physics (15 credits)
  • Advanced Quantum Mechanics (15 credits)
  • Quantum Field Theory (15 credits)
  • Advanced General Relativity (15 credits)*
  • Space-time Geometry & General Relativity (15 credits)*
  • String Theory & Branes (15 credits)
  • Supersymmetry (15 credits)
  • Advanced Quantum Field Theory (15 credits)
  • Standard Model Physics & Beyond (15 credits)
  • Mathematical Methods for Theoretical Physics (15 credits)

* Both modules cannot be taken together.

Additionally, you will study sufficient modules to bring the total for the year to 180 credits from a wide range of options that may typically include:

  • Special Relativity & Electromagnetism (15 credits)
  • Topology (15 credits)
  • Rings & Modules (15 credits)
  • Metric & Banach Spaces (15 credits)
  • Probability Theory (15 credits)
  • Risk Neutral Valuation (15 credits)
  • Financial Markets (15 credits)
  • Stochastic Analysis (15 credits)
  • Statistics in Finance (15 credits)
  • Theory of Complex Networks (15 credits)
  • Dynamical Analysis of Complex Systems (15 credits)
  • Elements of Statistical Learning (15 credits)
  • Galois Theory (15 credits)
  • Representation Theory of Finite Groups (15 credits)
  • Algebraic Number Theory (15 credits)
  • Operator Theory (15 credits)
  • Fourier Analysis (15 credits)
  • Algebraic Geometry (15 credits)
  • Nonlinear Analysis (15 credits)
  • Numerical & Computational Methods in Finance (15 credits)
  • Interest Rates & Credit Risk (15 credits)
  • Recent Topics in Financial Mathematics (15 credits)
  • Incomplete Markets (15 credits)
  • Econophysics (15 credits)
  • Machine Learning (15 credits)
  • Equilibrium Analysis of Complex Systems (15 credits)
  • Mathematical Biology (15 credits)

Students taking the part time course should aim to take four modules in each year. The project is taken in the second year.

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest that you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

Entry requirements & how to apply

Theoretical Physics Entry Requirements
Minimum requirements 2:1

Bachelors degree with 2:1 honours in Maths. Alternatively, a 2:1 in a degree subject related to Maths will be considered on a case by case basis.

International requirements   Visit our admissions webpages to view our International entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band D Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.


Application procedure

Applications must be made online using King’s online application portal apply.kcl.ac.uk and a non-refundable application fee of £60 applies. Your application will be assessed by an admissions tutor. We will interview applicants at a mutually convenient time where reasonable.

ATAS  An ATAS certificate is required for successful applicants applying for this course whose nationality is outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. For further guidance on obtaining an ATAS certificate can be found on our International Student Advice pages.


Personal statement and supporting information

You will be asked to submit the following documents in order for your application to be considered:

Document checklist
Personal Statement Yes A personal statement of up to 4,000 characters (maximum 2 pages) is required
Previous Academic Study  Yes A copy (or copies) of your official academic transcript(s), showing the subjects studied and marks obtained. If you have already completed your degree, copies of your official degree certificate will also be required. Applicants with academic documents issued in a language other than English, will need to submit both the original and official translation of their documents.
References Yes Two references are required with at least one academic. Professional references will be accepted if you have completed your qualifications over five years ago.
Other Optional You may wish to include a CV (Resume) or evidence of professional registration as part of your application.

Application closing date

We recommend that you submit your application as soon as possible.  Our first application deadline is the 29 March 2019.  Applications will remain open if places are available and programmes will be closed as soon as they are full. 

Help and support

If you don't have a suitable qualification for direct entry to a UK university, or if English isn't your first language, our academic preparation courses can help you get ready for study in the UK.

Preparation courses

Fees and funding

  • Full time Home/EU fees: £9,990 per year (2019/20)
  • Full time overseas fees: £21,300 per year (2019/20)
  • Part time Home/EU fees: £4,995 per year (2019/20)
  • Part time overseas fees: £10,650 per year (2019/20)

 Students starting their programme in 2019/20 who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2020/21.

These tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.


When you receive an offer for this course you will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit to secure your place. The deposit will be credited towards your total fee payment.

The UK/EU deposit is £500.

The INTERNATIONAL deposit is £2,000. 

  • If you receive an offer on or before 31st March 2019, payment is due by 27th April 2019.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st April 2019 and 30th June 2019, payment is due within one month of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer between 1st July 2019 and 31st July 2019, payment is due within two weeks of receiving the offer.
  • If you receive an offer on or after 1st August 2019, payment is due within one week of receiving the offer.

If you are a current King’s student in receipt of the King's Living Bursary you are not required to pay a deposit to secure your place on the programme. Please note, this will not change the total fees payable for your chosen programme.

Additional costs/expenses

In addition to your tuition fees, you can also expect to pay for: 

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies 
  • Clothing for optional course related events and competitions 
  • Course packs, which are a vital part of your learning at King's and normally contain extracts from books and other useful documents that will inform your study.
  • Library fees and fines 
  • Personal photocopies 
  • Printing course handouts 
  • Society membership fees 
  • Stationery 
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses 
  • Graduation costs

Please visit our web pages on fees and funding for more information.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

Many of our graduates go on to start PhD studies in theoretical physics at various universities in the United Kingdom and abroad, including with our group here at King’s, for which the MSc is particularly well tailored.

Career destinations

Our graduates also take up full-time employment in various industries that require good mathematical/computer knowledge. Recent employers of our graduates have included the Algerian Space Agency, FRM Capital Advisors and Lloyds Banking Group.


Next steps

View our postgraduate guide

Learn more about postgraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our guide in PDF format.

Download guide

View online

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