1 year full time, 2 years part time
Starts September 2017

Frontiers of Quantum Technology

Exploration of quantum phenomena has recently led to extraordinary applications of quantum entanglement. The degree of control exerted over these systems is reflected in the term ‘quantum technology’, describing both experimental and theoretical developments in this area.

This course is for you if you’re interested in the wonders of quantum physics and have a desire to exploit its full power.

We cover:

  • ion-trap quantum processors
  • ion-photon interfaces for the projected quantum internet
  • quantum simulators
  • superconducting quantum circuits
  • devices for quantum-enhanced metrology.
It’s an exciting time to be studying this unique course – you not only get to meet great scientists performing great physics, but you also participate in it.”Foni Raphaël Lebrun-Ricalens
Frontiers of Quantum Technology MSc

Key facts

  • We are ranked in the top 15 in the UK for Physics (The Guardian University Guide 2018).
  • The Department is a founder member of SEPnet, the South East Physics Network of physics departments, which supports vital research, teaching and development in the South East.
  • Our research lies at the forefront of fundamental physics – from quantum information processing, through top-rated particle physics experiments to the theoretical understanding of space, time and matter.

How will I study?

Assessment is split equally between the project and modules.

Your project culminates in a dissertation (with a contribution from a research talk). The modules are assessed by problem sets, with either open-notes tests or unseen examinations.

You’ll attend research seminars and contribute to your group’s discussions of the latest journal papers.

Full-time and part-time study

In the full-time structure, you study core modules and options in the autumn and spring terms. You start work on your project at the beginning of the spring term. Later in the spring term, you give an assessed talk about your project. In the summer term, you focus on examinations and project work.

Your project can take the form of a placement in industry, but is usually supervised by faculty. Supervisors and topics are allocated, in consultation with you, at the start of the autumn term. You work on the project throughout the year. Often the projects form the basis of research papers that are later published in journals.

Find the modules for the full-time course below. 

In the part-time structure, you take the core modules in the autumn and spring terms of your first year. After the examinations in the summer term, you begin work on your project. Project work continues during the second year when you also take options. Distribution of modules between the two years is relatively flexible. Most of your project work naturally falls into the second year.

For details about the part-time course structure, contact us at 

What will I study?

  • Module list

    Core modules

    Core modules are taken by all students on the course. They give you a solid grounding in your chosen subject and prepare you to explore the topics that interest you most.

    • Project (MSc Frontiers of Quantum Technology)

      90 credits
      All Year Teaching, Year 1

      You undertake a research project carried out under the supervision of a member of faculty or postdoctoral researcher.

    • Atom Light Interactions

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The module deals with the interaction of atoms with electromagnetic radiation. Starting from the classical Lorentz model, the relevant physical processes are discussed systematically. This includes the interaction of classical radiation with two-level atoms and the full quantum model of atom light interactions. Applications such as light forces on atoms and lasers are explored.

    • Quantum Optics and Quantum Information

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The module will introduce you to quantum optics and quantum information, covering:

      • Quantum systems and the qubit
      • Non-locality in quantum mechanics
      • Methods of quantum optics
      • The density matrix
      • The process of measurement
      • Introduction of irreversibility
      • Decoherence and quantum information
      • Quantum and classical communication
      • Measures of entanglement and distance between states
      • Logic operations and quantum algorithms
      • Requirements for quantum computers
      • Physical systems for quantum information processing.
    • Electrons, Cold Atoms & Quantum Circuits

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Topics covered include:

      • Basics of Penning trap technology. Motion and eigenfrequencies of a trapped particle.
      • Electrostatics and design of planar Penning traps. 
      • Electronic detection of a single trapped particle. 
      • The continuous Stern-Gerlach effect. Measurement of the Spin. 
      • Applications 1: Measurement of the electron's g-factor. Test of QED.
      • Applications 2: Measurement of the electron's mass. Mass spectrometry.
      • Trapping of neutral atoms with magnetic fields: Ioffe-Pritchard traps and the atom chip. 
      • Basics of Bose-Einstein condensation. 
      • Matter wave interferometry in atom chips: the adiabatic RF dressing technique.
      • Introduction to circuit-QED. Superconducting microwave resonators and artificial atoms.
      • Coherent quantum wiring of electrons, cold atoms and artificial atoms in a chip.
    • Experimental Quantum Technologies and Foundations

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The module will introduce you to the practical implementation of quantum technologies. Topics include:

      • general introduction to quantum computers
      • ion trap quantum computers
      • quantum computing with superconducting qubits
      • quantum computing with neutral atoms
      • linear optics quantum computing
      • other quantum computing implementations
      • hybrid quantum technologies
      • quantum simulators
      • quantum cryptography
      • quantum effects in macroscopic systems
      • quantum effects in biological systems
      • foundations of quantum physics
      • quantum physics and philosophy


    Alongside your core modules, you can choose options to broaden your horizons and tailor your course to your interests.

    • Computational Chemistry

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      The aim of the module is to provide a guide to the various levels of theory (with their associated acronyms) appearing in the rapidly expanding field of computational chemistry, with a particular emphasis on quantum chemical methods.

      The module will start with the concept of a potential energy surface (stationary points, the Born-Oppenheimer approximation, etc), the types of computation normally performed, and the basic quantum mechanics of electrons and nuclei in molecules. The solution of the Schrodinger equation under different approximations will then be explored.

    • Data Analysis Techniques

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module introduces you to the mathematical and statistical techniques used to analyse data. The module is fairly rigorous, and is aimed at students who have, or anticipate having, research data to analyse in a thorough and unbiased way.

      Topics include: probability distributions; error propagation; maximum likelihood method and linear least squares fitting; chi-squared testing; subjective probability and Bayes' theorem; monte Carlo techniques; and non-linear least squares fitting.

    • Further Quantum Mechanics

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      Topics covered include:

      • Review of 4-vector notation and Maxwell equations. 
      • Relativistic quantum mechanics: Klein-Gordon equation and antiparticles.
      • Time-dependent perturbation theory. Application to scattering processes and calculation of cross-sections. Feynman diagrams.
      • Spin-1/2 particles and the Dirac equation. Simple fermionic scatterings.


    • Object Oriented Programming

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      You will be introduced to object-oriented programming, and in particular to understanding, writing, modifying, debugging and assessing the design quality of simple Java applications.

      You do not need any previous programming experience to take this module, as it is suitable for absolute beginners.

    • Programming in C++

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      After a review of the basic concepts of the C++ language, you are introduced to object oriented programming in C++ and its application to scientific computing. This includes writing and using classes and templates, operator overloading, inheritance, exceptions and error handling. In addition, Eigen, a powerful library for linear algebra is introduced. The results of programs are displayed using the graphics interface dislin.

    • Quantum Field Theory 1

      15 credits
      Autumn Teaching, Year 1

      This module is an introduction into quantum field theory, covering:

      1. Action principle and Lagrangean formulation of mechanics
      2. Lagrangean formulation of field theory and relativistic invariance
      3. Symmetry, invariance and Noether's theorem
      4. Canonical quantization of the scalar field
      5. Canonical quantization of the electromagnetic field
      6. Canonical quantization of the Dirac spinor field
      7. Interactions, the S matrix, and perturbative expansions
      8. Feynman rules and radiative corrections.
    • Advanced Condensed State Physics

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module covers the following topics:

      • Electronic Energy bands in Solids. Electrons in periodic potentials; Brillouin Zones; Bloch states. Nearly Free Electron (NFE) model. Tight-Binding Approximation (TBA) model. Band structure of selected metals, insulators and semiconductors. Optical Properties.
      • Electron Dynamics. Electrons and holes. Effective Mass. Mobilities. Magneto-transport.
      • Semiconductors. Classification; Energy Gaps. Donor and Acceptor doping. Equilibrium carrier statistics in intrinsic and doped materials. Temperature dependence of electrical and optical properties.
      • Semiconductor Devices. p-n junctions. Diodes, LEDs, Lasers, Transistors. Superlattices and 2DEG devices. 
      • Lattice Defects. Types of defects. Electronic and optical effects of defects in semiconductors and insulators.
    • Fibre Optic Communications

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Topics covered in this module include:

      • analysis of slab wave-guide
      • analysis of step index fibre
      • dispersion in the step index fibre
      • mono-mode fibre
      • propagation of light rays in multi-mode graded index fibres
      • dispersion in graded index fibres
      • light sources and detectors
      • modulation of semiconductor light sources
      • transfer characteristic and impulse response of fibre communication systems
      • power launching and coupling efficiency
      • receiver principles and signal-to noise ratio in analogue receivers
      • receivers for digital optical fibre communication systems
      • system noise
      • system components and aspects of system design
      • coherent optical fibre communication
      • network systems.
    • Introduction to Nano-materials and Nano-characterisation

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      Learn the most important analytical techniques used in the nano-physics laboratory today and discuss some of their applications in Materials Physics and nanotechnology where designing devices and functionality at the molecular scale is now possible.

      In this module, you cover:

      • the basic physical mechanisms of the interaction between solid matter and electromagnetic radiation, electrons and ions
      • the principles and usage of microprobes, electron spectroscopy techniques (AES and XPS), x-ray diffraction, electron microscopy (SEM and TEM), light optical microscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), scanning tunneling microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and time-resolved optical spectroscopy.

      The module includes a coursework component. This involve preparing and giving a presentation on a selected advanced topic related to recent breakthroughs in nanophysics.

      Each group will carry out an extensive literature review on a given topic and subsequently prepare and present a 30-minute presentation on their findings.

      In your presentation, you are expected to highlight the usefulness of advanced analytical techniques used by researchers in the given subject area.

    • Lasers and Photonics

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      This module covers:

      • Light-matter interaction. 
      • Rate equations of lasers. 
      • Principles of Gaussian optics and optical cavities. 
      • Types of lasers and their applications.
    • Monte Carlo Simulations

      15 credits
      Spring Teaching, Year 1

      The module will cover topics including:

      • Introduction to R 
      • Pseudo-random number generation 
      • Generation of random variates 
      • Variance reduction 
      • Markov-chain Monte Carlo and its foundations 
      • How to analyse Monte Carlo simulations 
      • Application to physics: the Ising model 
      • Application to statistics: goodness-of-fit tests

Find out about studying quantum physics at the Sussex Centre of Quantum Technologies

Entry requirements

A lower second-class (2.2) undergraduate honours degree or above in a physics- or mathematics-based subject with a basic background in quantum mechanics, quantum electronics and electrodynamics. Degrees in other subjects will be considered on an individual basis.

If you are a non-EEA or Swiss national we must receive your application by 1 August because you will need to obtain clearance by the UK Government Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) for this degree. Find out more about ATAS.

English language requirements

Lower level (IELTS 6.0, with not less than 6.0 in each section)

Find out about other English language qualifications we accept.

English language support

Don’t have the English language level for your course? Find out more about our pre-sessional courses.

Additional information for international students

We welcome applications from all over the world. Find out about international qualifications suitable for our Masters courses.

Visas and immigration

Find out how to apply for a student visa

Fees and scholarships

How much does it cost?


Home: £9,250 per year

EU: £9,250 per year

Channel Islands and Isle of Man: £9,250 per year

Overseas: £18,750 per year

Note that your fees may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

How can I fund my course?

Postgraduate Masters loans

Borrow up to £10,280 to contribute to your postgraduate study.

Find out more about Postgraduate Masters Loans


Our aim is to ensure that every student who wants to study with us is able to despite financial barriers, so that we continue to attract talented and unique individuals.

Chancellor's Masters Scholarship (2017)

Open to students with a 1st class from a UK university or excellent grades from an EU university and offered a F/T place on a Sussex Masters in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Chancellor's Masters Scholarship

Sussex Graduate Scholarship (2017)

Open to Sussex students who graduate with a first or upper second-class degree and offered a full-time place on a Sussex Masters course in 2017

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Graduate Scholarship

Sussex India Scholarships (2017)

Sussex India Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from India commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex India Scholarships

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Malaysia Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Malaysia commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Malaysia Scholarships

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Nigeria Scholarships are worth £3,500 or £5,000 and are for overseas fee paying students from Nigeria commencing a Masters in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Nigeria Scholarships

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships (2017)

Sussex Pakistan Scholarships are worth £3,500 and are for overseas fee paying students from Pakistan commencing Masters study in September 2017.

Application deadline:

1 August 2017

Find out more about the Sussex Pakistan Scholarships

How Masters scholarships make studying more affordable

Living costs

Find out typical living costs for studying at Sussex.


This exciting MSc is part of the dedicated postgraduate teaching programme of the Sussex Centre for Quantum Technologies. Its research and study programme is delivered by:

  • Faculty profiles

    Prof Jacob Dunningham
    Professor of Physics

    Research interests: Atomic and molecular physics, Bose-Einstein Condensation, Quantum dynamics, Quantum mechanics, Quantum Metrology, Quantum Optics & Information, Quantum Theory

    View profile

    Prof Claudia Eberlein
    Professor Of Theoretical Physics

    Research interests: Applied Quantum Field Theory, Cavity Quantum Electrodynamics, Cold Atoms and Applications, Quantum Electrodynamics (QED), Quantum Field Theory, Quantum optics, Theoretical Physics

    View profile

    Prof Barry Garraway
    Professor Of Quantum Physics

    Research interests: Atom-light Interactions, Atomic and molecular physics, Cavity Quantum Electrodynamics, Decoherence, Quantum Information Processing, Quantum optics, Quantum Optics & Information, Quantum Theory

    View profile

    Prof Winfried Hensinger
    Professor of Quantum Technologies

    Research interests: Atom-light Interactions, Atomic Physics - Quantum Logic, Atoms and Ions, Atoms in External Fields, Cold Atoms and Applications, Laser Cooling and Trapping, Laser technology, Light, Microfabricated devices, Microfabrication, Quantum Chaos, Quantum Computing, Quantum Information Processing, Quantum Metrology, quantum simulation

    View profile

    Dr Matthias Keller
    Reader in Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics

    Research interests: Quantum Information Processing

    View profile

    Dr Alessia Pasquazi
    Senior Lecturer

    View profile

    Dr Marco Peccianti
    Reader in Physics

    Research interests: Light, Photonics

    View profile

    Dr Diego Porras
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: Physics

    View profile

    Dr Jose Verdu Galiana
    Senior Lecturer

    Research interests: Atom-light Interactions, Atomic Spectroscopy, Atoms and Ions, Cavity Quantum Electrodynamics, Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance (FTICR), FT Mass Spectrometry, Mass Spectrometry, Quantum optics

    View profile

“We use photons to record what happens in the physical realm, but they speak an elusive language. They are affected by the way we measure them – this is the beauty of this world, not the issue.” Dr Marco PecciantiReader in Physics and Convenor of the Frontiers of Quantum Technology MSc


Graduate destinations

89% of students from the Department of Physics and Astronomy were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent graduates have gone on to roles including:

  • KCP associate, University of Leeds and Landmark Information Group
  • postdoctoral researcher, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
  • teacher, Our Lady of Sion School.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Post Graduate Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

This course may be attractive to you if you aim to:

  • go on to doctoral study (theory or experiment)
  • work in a high-technology company exploiting cutting-edge technologies related to our research (this could involve development of quantum information technology, high-precision measurements and quantum metrology, and photonics/optical communications)
  • work in business/data analysis, research, computer programming, software development, or teaching.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work