Number of places at Balliol

8-10 (including 4-5 for Physics and Philosophy)

Subject information

Please see the Physics website. There is also information on the course pages of the University's undergraduate admissions website.

Course requirements

For information on what subjects you need to study at school, please see the Physics admissions website.

College requirements

None specific to Balliol.

Admissions/Selection criteria

For information on how applicants are assessed, see the selection criteria pages on the Physics website.

Physics at Balliol

Among all the colleges in the University, Balliol has one of the largest intakes of Physics students: we admit 8 to 10 students per year in Physics and Physics and Philosophy. Balliol is one of only a handful of colleges to have four full-time Physics tutors. Between them they cover almost the entire Physics undergraduate syllabus in tutorials.

Balliol has a particular commitment to fundamental aspects of Physics, such as quantum mechanics, particle physics, and theoretical physics, which is reflected in the tutors’ research interests. The College also has a Philosophy Tutor specialising in the philosophy of Physics (see the Physics and Philosophy page). In addition, Balliol has a Professorial Fellow and a Junior Research Fellow in Physics. Our research reaches from quantum information processing and fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics to particle physics and string theory (see below).

Departmental lectures are accompanied by tutorials in College for the first three years of the course. Tutorials typically last one hour and are with one, two, or three students. The Balliol Tutors cover almost the entire range of undergraduate subjects, including mechanics, special relativity, and mathematics in the first year; electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics in the second year; and advanced courses on fluid dynamics, atomic physics, particle physics, symmetries, and general relativity in the third year.


Dr David Lucas, Fellow and Tutor in Physics. Dr Lucas gives tutorials in first-year classical mechanics and special relativity, first-year electromagnetism, and third-year atomic and laser physics. He is an experimental physicist who works on building quantum computers using trapped ions (see his research page).

David Lucas image

Professor André Lukas, Fellow and Tutor in Physics. Professor Lukas tutors first- and second-year mathematics, second-year electromagnetism, and third-year theoretical physics. He is a theoretical physicist whose main research interest is string theory and its relation to particle physics and cosmology.

Andre Lukas image

Dr Armin Reichold, Fellow and Tutor in Physics. Dr Reichold tutors first-year optics, second-year kinetic theory, thermodynamics, and statistical mechanics, and third-year nuclear and particle physics and special relativity. His research interests are in experimental particle physics (LHC detectors and SNO+ neutrino experiment) and accelerator physics (next-generation linear colliders ILC and CLIC), and large-scale metrology.

Armin Reichold image

Dr David Wallace moved into Philosophy of Physics after completing his Physics doctorate. His main research interests are in the philosophy of quantum mechanics, especially the 'many worlds' theory.

David Wallace image

Professor Brian Foster is a Professorial Fellow at Balliol and is Head of the Particle Physics Sub-Department at Oxford. His research interests are in deep inelastic scattering and he is European Director of the International Linear Collider project.

Brian Foster image


  • Dr Christopher Palmer, Lecturer in Physics. Christopher has been at Balliol since 1989, and has taught extensively across most parts of the course. Currently he teaches mathematics to the first-years, quantum mechanics to the second-years, and fluid dynamics to the third-years. His research background is similarly diverse – he has worked in laser spectroscopy and atomic physics, and on calibrating earth-observing satellite instruments. He is currently closely engaged with the running of the course at University level, being Chair of the Committee that runs the Physics and Philosophy degree, and a member of the committee that runs the Physics degree.