2021 start

Solar Cell Technology

Department of Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Science

The move from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is one of the biggest changes in society since the Industrial Revolution. This shift means there's a growing demand for scientists with specialist expertise in solar, a key energy technology of the 21st century.
Solar panels

Course description

This course is designed to train physical science and engineering graduates to develop new photovoltaic devices and test their effectiveness as a global energy resource. The course is based on more than 20 years of solar research at the University of Sheffield, and spans fundamental materials science and real-world PV system development.

Laboratory training in materials science will teach you how to characterise and test solar cell materials, leading to the fabrication and measurement of photovoltaic devices. You will learn how to analyse and assess the performance of photovoltaic systems by working with the team behind Sheffield Solar – they run the UK’s largest PV database and our rooftop solar testbed facility. There’s also dedicated business and enterprise training.

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Explore modules


  • Lectures
  • Laboratory classes
  • Computing and data analysis
  • Seminars
  • Enterprise training
  • Research project


  • Project assignments
  • Presentations
  • Examinations
  • Lab work
  • Exams
  • Dissertation and viva


1 year full-time

Your career

We have close links with organisations in the solar industry who we’ve collaborated with on projects and who have employed our graduates. These range from companies making solar cell materials to the National Grid. Our industry partners will support your learning by giving guest lectures, designing research projects and providing insights into possible jobs after graduation. The course is also great preparation for a PhD.

MPhys Physics student

My physics degree from the University of Sheffield provided me with a solid technical understanding of the physics involved in solar cell operation, as well as the manufacturing processes employed along the value chain.

Alex Barrows
MPhys Physics

Entry requirements

We usually ask for a 2:1 degree, or equivalent, in physics, materials science, physical chemistry, electrical engineering or a related subject.

English language requirements

Overall IELTS score of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component, or equivalent.


You can apply for postgraduate study using our Postgraduate Online Application Form. It's a quick and easy process.

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+44 114 222 3789

The course information set out here may change before you begin, particularly if you are applying significantly in advance of the start date.