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College of Physical Sciences and Engineering

The College of Physical Sciences and Engineering is a centre of academic excellence, internationally renowned for research and teaching excellence, innovation, industrial engagement, sustainable solutions and societal impact.

The College of Physical Sciences and Engineering comprises of seven academic Schools working together to find sustainable solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Our interdisciplinary approach facilitates research and teaching innovation and excellence, industrial engagement and societal impact.

We’re proud to offer our students a diverse and welcoming environment that encourages curiosity and innovation and creates highly skilled and sought after graduates.

Making education accessible to all

We encourage prospective students from all backgrounds to consider a degree in the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering. We make our subjects accessible to all through our widening access scheme, our foundation programmes and by promoting the value of science.

Cardiff offers a compelling student experience: Russell Group research credentials, the full gamut of traditional undergraduate degree courses and relatively affordable living with hot and cold running nightlife on tap.

Sunday Times University Guide

Research-led teaching

Leading researchers teach on every programme, giving our students the opportunity to engage with the latest research and keep up-to-date with innovative developments in the field. Our research-led approach to teaching is enhanced by our strong links with industry, which give students the opportunity to make valuable contacts with future employers and use the knowledge and skills learnt on their course.

Students can also develop their skills by working with academic staff on real projects. For example, our summer research placements in the Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (CUROP), is one of the largest undergraduate research schemes in the UK.

A focus on global issues

All of our subject areas have essential roles to play in resolving global challenges. Our students work with real-world issues, helping them to develop knowledge that can be applied to solve problems in their field and beyond.

Modern facilities

We aim to provide all of our students with a high-quality educational experience, which is why we are investing in teaching facilities across the College. Our lecture theatres, libraries and other teaching spaces are equipped with modern facilities enabling us to record lectures, engage in digital group discussion, and share teaching content.

Working with industry

Many of our Schools offer programmes with a year in industry so students have the opportunity to experience working in a professional environment. We offer integrated master’s programmes in most disciplines that are accredited by relevant professional institutions.

Students from National Software Academy in computer lab
Students from the National Software Academy

An exciting initiative developed by Cardiff University in collaboration with Welsh Government and industry leaders is the National Software Academy, which aims to address a national shortage of skilled programming and software engineering graduates. Academy students benefit from extensive industry engagement and a focus on real-life projects, which makes them able to make an immediate and smooth transition into the workplace as commercial software engineers.

Broaden your horizons

One of the reasons our degrees are so valuable at preparing students for their future careers is because we offer many extra educational experiences to enrich learning.

Many of our Schools offer programmes with years studying abroad. This means that our students have the opportunity to see their subject from an international perspective and are often able to conduct research in global laboratories.

The University’s Global Opportunities Centre offers students a variety of opportunities to work, volunteer or study abroad. The Languages for All scheme, open to all Cardiff University students, enables students to learn a language for free alongside their degree.

From supporting communities faced with natural disasters and securing global energy needs to improving healthcare, research in the College of Physical Sciences and Engineering has the power to solve global problems and improve our quality of life.

World-leading research that improves everyday life

Our world-leading scholars are using the fundamentals of science and engineering to add value to people’s lives. Examples of the impact our research has had on the global community include:

  • identifying gold as a catalyst with the potential to save lives
  • improving health by applying our mathematical expertise to improve patient management and reduce waiting times within the NHS
  • cleaning up the environment by finding safer ways to store nuclear waste
  • creating a unique index of the world’s species using big data to help save flora and fauna from extinction.

Facing future challenges head on

The College of Physical Sciences and Engineering enables research staff and students across our subjects to work together on the global challenges of the future. One of the ways we are doing this is through University Research Institutes, which have been set up in areas of expertise and cross-disciplinary strength to address specific challenges.

The Data Innovation Research Institute, for example, has been set up to conduct fundamental research into the aspects of managing, analysing and interpreting massive volumes of information for businesses in the areas of social sciences, biological and life sciences, computational sciences and engineering.

Staff from across our Schools are also instrumental in the Crime and Security Research Institute, the Cardiff Catalysis Institute, the Energy Systems Research Institute, the Sustainable Places Research Institute and the Water Research Institute.

Our research environment

Our research environment encourages innovation, entrepreneurship and original, cross-disciplinary thinking.

We offer dedicated training programmes to all of our research staff, whether they are at the start of their careers or at a more experienced level. We also offer funding and grant support to help our researchers make the most of available opportunities.

Our research staff benefit from excellent resources and equipment, from our artificial sky in the Welsh School of Architecture to our Cardiff Earth Laboratory for Trace Element and Isotope Chemistry.

Our facilities

Equipment in the Institute for Compound Semiconductors
Equipment in the Institute for Compound Semiconductors

We are investing in new facilities that will bring researchers closer across the disciplinary boundaries, as well as bridge the gap between research and industry. For example, we are currently investing £77 million into our Translational Research Hub, which will house the Cardiff Catalysis Institute and the Institute for Compound Semiconductors as part of the University’s Innovation Campus. Both Institutes have close links with industry and this investment will enable better engagement with the private sector to generate commercial revenue streams from our research.

Athena Swan

The University is a member of Athena Swan, which recognises our commitment to the advancement of gender equality. Many of our Schools currently hold a Bronze Award. We are also home to the Cardiff Women in Science network which exists to support female scientists across the University.

Our diverse international community of staff and students drives our teaching and research excellence. Together we find solutions to the challenges facing our world today.

Connecting with our inclusive international community

The College of Physical Sciences and Engineering is home to a diverse and vibrant international student and staff community. This creates a wonderful mix of experiences, thought processes and ideas which uniquely shape and enhance our teaching and research.

Working in partnership

We have agreements with over 50 institutions across the world, such as Xiamen University in China, the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore, India, and Rutgers University in the USA, to facilitate exchanges between students and staff. Our aim is to share our knowledge, facilities and skills with other experts across the world to address key challenges.

For example, scientists from the School of Chemistry are developing key strategic research collaborations with counterparts in Zhejiang University, China to address key global challenges of air pollution, water pollution and clean energy.

Experience life in a different environment

Many of our subjects can be studied with the addition of a year abroad at one of our overseas partner institutions. Depending on your chosen degree programme, students can choose from a range of partner institutions across Europe, North America, Africa, Asia and Australasia to experience studying and living in a completely different environment.

Putting theory into practice

Students on field trip
Earth and ocean sciences students on a field trip

We encourage participation in plenty of fieldwork, which allows students to put the theory they have learned into practice. Students from the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences are currently able to visit a minimum of two overseas locations, investigating topics such as the sustainability of Switzerland’s water resources by examining glaciers in the Swiss Alps.

Learning a new language

Learning another language can really enhance the employability of our students, which is why we offer some programmes with language tuition built in before students put their skills to the test with a year abroad. Our engineering programmes with a year in Spain, France or Germany, for example, are very popular with students who enjoy a challenge.

Making a difference

All of our students have the opportunity to make a difference internationally as well as gaining practical skills through the University’s Global Opportunities Centre. Architecture and engineering students recently volunteered to help build hospitals and schools with local communities in Africa, while a group of geology students undertook a placement in Middle America with the Panama Canal Authority.


Unlearning Racism in Geoscience

School members join Unlearning Racism in Geoscience programme

1 March 2021

School members join programme to facilitate anti-racism work in geoscience departments around the country

Conversations with KM

Cardiff University in conversation with…Kevin McCloud (MBE)

23 February 2021

Dr Jo Patterson discusses sustainable housing with Kevin McCloud (MBE)

Synergetic Landscapes

MA Architectural Design unit ‘Synergetic Landscapes’ to take part in Sustainability Week

22 February 2021

MA AD unit to offer online sessions for Sustainability Week