PhD

Particle Physics

Study mode:Full-time Languages: English Duration:4 years
Local:$ 9.9k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 30.7k / Academic year(s) Deadline: Jan 20, 2022
StudyQA ranking:368

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The work of this world-class sub-department is in experimental particle physics, particle astrophysics and accelerator physics. Particle physics is the study of basic constituents of matter and their interactions. This is accomplished either directly with accelerators that create the particles under study or by observing high-energy particles from outer space.

Graduate destinations

The particle physics doctoral programme at Oxford is ideally suited to students who would like to pursue a career in research, either in academia or industry all over the world.

Students have taken on a wide variety of jobs in other fields, including investment banking, business analysis, and consulting. Physics as a discipline is always in high demand.

The sub-department is one of the largest in the UK and is well equipped to carry out research in a wide range of topics, from the study of new particles produced at high energy accelerators to neutrinos, dark matter and dark energy in the Universe. The sub-department’s experiments are carried out at facilities around the world, in Switzerland, Japan, the USA and Canada.

You will spend half the first year on a lecture course in addition to starting your research and, if appropriate, spend your second year on-site at your experiment. Laboratories here in Oxford and experiments at overseas facilities provide access to a high-tech environment and excellent research training, directly applicable to a broad range of fields.

The world's biggest accelerator, the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN, is running and in 2012 the Higgs boson, a particle thought to give mass to all elementary particles, was discovered. The understanding of its properties is one of the main aims of the ATLAS experiment. The Oxford group is also focused on the search of new particles predicted in Supersymmetry and other beyond the Standard Model theories. Elucidation of CP violation, one of the mysteries of particle physics, is the aim of the sub-department’s other LHC experiment, LHCb. Both experiments will require you to obtain and analyse data from the highest-energy machine in the world.

The sub-department is also involved in the study of neutrino oscillations and neutrino properties at the T2K experiment in Japan, MicroBooNe in the USA, and at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO+) in Canada.

The sub-department has been involved in direct searches for dark matter for many years and studentships are now available associated to the LUX/Zeplin project. Recently it has begun a programme in collaboration with the sub-department of astrophysics to elucidate the nature of dark energy with the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope.

The future of particle physics relies on the development of new instruments for detecting particles and novel ideas in accelerator physics. The sub-department is heavily involved in the development of these areas. It has outstanding facilities to build the new silicon detectors needed for the luminosity upgrade of the LHC and other applications. Furthermore, through the John Adams Institute, you will be involved in a range of projects on accelerators which would be used in high energy physics, nuclear physics, as X-ray sources, and in medical applications.

Applicants are normally expected to be predicted or have achieved a first-class or strong upper second-class undergraduate degree with honours (or equivalent international qualifications), as a minimum, in physics. This would normally be an undergraduate masters' degree, known as an MPhys in the UK and taken over four years in England, Wales and Northern Ireland or over five years in Scotland, though international equivalents are also considered.

For applicants with a degree from the USA, the typical minimum GPA sought is 3.3 out of 4.0. However, selection of candidates also depends on other factors in your application and most successful applicants have achieved higher GPA scores. 

Entrance is very competitive and most successful applicants have a first-class degree or the equivalent.

If you hold non-UK qualifications and wish to check how your qualifications match these requirements, you can contact the National Recognition Information Centre for the United Kingdom (UK NARIC).

No Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or GMAT scores are sought.

  • Official transcript(s)
  • CV/résumé
  • Research proposal: At least one paragraph, up to one page
  • References/letters of recommendation:Three overall, generally academic

ENGLISH LANGUAGE REQUIREMENTS

Standard level

Test

Standard level scores

Higher level scores

IELTS Academic 
Institution code: 0713

7.0 Minimum 6.5 per component  7.5  Minimum 7.0 per component 

TOEFL iBT 
Institution code: 0490

100

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
110

Minimum component scores:

  • Listening: 22
  • Reading: 24
  • Speaking: 25
  • Writing: 24
Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE) 185

Minimum 176 per component

191 

Minimum 185 per component

Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English (CAE) 185

Minimum 176 per component

191 

Minimum 185 per component

  • Global Education
  • Hill Foundation Scholarships
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