Graduate School Courses Information

Welcome from the CEO of the SUPA

Dear Researchers

Welcome to the SUPA Graduate School 2016/17. SUPA is a pan-Scotland strategic alliance for research and graduate training in Physics. Eight major universities work in partnership to create the SUPA Graduate School which offers postgraduate research students world class research opportunities, expert supervision, links to national and international facilities, advanced specialist courses, generic skills training, networks, industry engagement, outreach, exchanges and placements, careers and other events, which all draw upon on the knowledge and experience of the whole physics community across Scotland and beyond. This collaborative approach ensures that the SUPA Graduate School can offer the best possible opportunities for research students to acquire all of the skills needed to launch a successful career whether that be in academia, industry, enterprise or public and other sectors.

In the most recent UK wide research assessment exercise, REF2014, the ‘research power’ of SUPA combining quality and scale of activity was judged to have significantly exceeded that of Cambridge, Oxford, Imperial and UCL; U. Strathclyde was given the top ‘grade point average’ of any physics school and the joint PHYESTA submission from U. Edinburgh and U. St Andrews came 3rd equal in the UK. The ‘impact’ of Scottish physics research is extremely high.

Physics studies within SUPA are grouped by theme (Astronomy & Space, Condensed Matter & Material Physics, Energy, Nuclear & Plasma, Particle Physics, Photonics, and Physics & Life Sciences), and courses are given by video-conferenced lectures through the My.SUPA e-learning portal and include tutorials / handson- sessions / labs and via residential sessions.

We ask that all PhD students undertake a minimum of 40 hours of physics studies and 20 hours of core skills training during the first two years of their studies. Please note that this is a minimum requirement and some themes and universities will require their students to do more. Additional information about these requirements can be found in this handbook or from your local Graduate School.

Please take maximum advantage of the training offered. The SUPA Graduate School always strives to provide education and training at the highest international level in physics as well as the broader skills needed to establish you in a successful career. I am delighted that you have chosen to pursue your post-graduate studies in Scotland and I wish you every success.


Alan Miller

The enrolment dates for 2016/17 are:
Semester I – 1st September 2016 – 10th October 2016
Semester II – 7th November 2016 – 9th January 2017


Every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained within this brochure is correct at the time of publication. SUPA Graduate School courses are subject to on-going development which could necessitate cancellation of, or alteration to, the advertised courses. The SUPA Graduate School reserves the right to make changes at any time without prior notice.

Please note that the term ‘credits’ is only used in to refer to ‘SUPA Hours Equivalent Credits’ (the number of face to face hours per course that students are credited with towards their minimum coursework requirements). This term does not refer to ECTS or any other crediting system.

You can find information on other grad skill courses at following URLs:

Heriot Watt
Scottish Institute for Enterprise
St Andrews