Although there have been some name changes in the intervening years, the current School of Physics and Astronomy was formed in October 1993 by the merger of the Department of Physics - called the Department of Natural Philosophy until the late 1960s - and the Department of Astronomy. The School has about 260 members of staff, of whom about 60 are academic staff devoted to research and teaching.
The research interests in the School are wide and varied and the academic and research staff all belong to one of the institutes within the School. These are the Institute for Astronomy (IfA), the Institute for Condensed Matter and Complex Systems (ICMCS) , the Institute for Particle and Nuclear Physics (IPNP), and EPCC, a technology transfer centre specialising in high-performance parallel computing. The quality of our research was recognised in the most recent Research Assessment Excercise (RAE2008) in which Edinburgh ranked 6th out of 42 Physics departments in the UK. In fact, only one of the top 5 departments had more research active staff and broader research interests than Edinburgh.
The School is also committed to excellent and innovative teaching and offers a wide range of possible degree programmes. These include Honours or Integrated Masters degrees in Physics, Computational Physics, Mathematical Physics or Astrophysics and an Honours degree in Physics with Meteorology. It is also possible to take joint degrees in Chemical Physics, Mathematics and Physics and Physics and Music, and we offer a one-year taught Masters degrees in High-Performance Computing. For those wishing to do research, we offer fully-funded PhDs and these students normally belong to one of our research institutes and make significant contributions to our research programmes.