Practical skills are an important part of studying physics, so we make sure that you have all the space and equipment you need to develop the skills of a professional scientist.

Quantum Information Laboratory

Teaching and learning changes for 2020-21

Due to the coronavirus pandemic we have made some changes to teaching and learning for some courses in the 2020-21 academic year.

Find out about teaching and learning changes

These pages will be updated regularly, so please check back for the latest information about your course.

We're based in the Hicks Building, where our students have access to a range of specialist technology, from the telescopes on the roof to our Quantum Information Lab, the only one of its kind in the UK. It's all right next to the Students' Union and down the road from the 24/7 library facilities at the Information Commons and The Diamond.

Teaching laboratories

In our teaching labs, students are trained to use essential experimental tools so that they have the skills to complete their own research projects in third and fourth year. This includes equipment such as tensiometers for measuring the thermodynamic properties of liquids and solids, and vacuum systems for measuring optical properties of metals.

You'll also learn to use specialist computer software for collecting and analysing data.


There are two telescopes on our roof: a computer-controlled 0.40m telescope and a remotely operated 0.25m telescope.

In addition to these, we share along with the University of Durham, pt5m, a 0.5m telescope at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands.

Third/fourth year students also have access to the pt5m for projects based in Sheffield used as a remote or fully robotic observatory, or via our annual observing field trip.

Research facilities

There are a range of research projects available in third year, so that students can complete projects in facilities such as the electronics laboratory in The Diamond, or our Quantum Information Laboratory.

Fourth year projects can be based in one of the research laboratories where professional scientists work on their research: this includes facilities for testing solar devices, and imaging and microscopy tools for analysing biological samples.

Lecture and tutorial spaces

Lectures take place in the Hicks Building and other lecture theatres across the University campus, close to the accommodation and Students' Union. They are recorded so you can return to them later.

You'll also have small group teaching sessions in our seminar rooms and staff offices, so you can look at problems more closely, and there are meeting rooms you can book to work on group projects with other students.

Independent study spaces

There are bookable computers available in the department, and 1,600 computers available through the University's library services, including at The Diamond and Information Commons, which are open to students 24/7.

The University of Sheffield's state-of-the-art library services were voted joint first in the UK in the Times Higher Education Student Experience Survey 2017.


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