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

We're based in the Hicks Building, where our students have access to a range of specialist technology, from the telescopes and solar panels on the roof, to our Quantum Information Lab – the first one of its kind in the UK.

We're also just across the road from the award-winning library facilities at the Information Commons and The Diamond, and the UK's number one students' union, and a short walk from the city centre.

First year lab

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.

The 0.4m Meade LX200-ACF Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope on the Hicks Observatory, Sheffield


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

We also work with the University of Durham to run pt5m, a 0.5m telescope at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma in the Canary Islands. In level three and four, astrophysics students also have access to pt5m for projects either remotely, based in Sheffield, or during our annual observing field trip to La Palma.

Researchers working in a materials laboratory

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.

Computer facilities

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

REF 2021 illustration showing University building and subject areas

Research Excellence Framework 2021

We have been rated 1st in the UK in terms of the quality of our research. In the latest REF, 100 per cent of research and impact from our department has been classed as world-leading or internationally excellent.

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