UCL Department of Physics and Astronomy »

High Energy Physics

05 Oct 2023

Summer Student Opportunities

Brian Duff Summer Internship

The HEP group in the Department of Physics and Astronomy are offering two studentships to undergraduates interested in pursuing research projects over the summer. The key aims of the studentships are to give motivated undergraduates the opportunity to work on a research project, gain experience developing and writing a research proposal and presenting their research to their peers.

The exact timetable and location of the research project (on campus at UCL, or remote) will be agreed between you and your supervisor following a successful application.

The deadline for receiving applications is 17:00 on Friday 28th April. General enquiries should be directed to the Group Administrator


  • Applicants should be undergraduates in the department of Physics and Astronomy or UCL Natural Sciences undergraduates with a physics major stream. The internships are for students in Year 2 (BSc or MSci) and Year 3 (MSci registered).
  • The main supervisor of the project will be a current academic in the department of Physics and Astronomy.
  • Students will be provided a bursary of £2000 during the studentship and are expected to work on the summer project for a total duration of 8–10 weeks.

Application Instructions

  • Consult the list of projects below.
  • Prepare a cover letter, indicating your project preference and describing how your skills and physics interests are matched to the project. This should be 1 side of A4.
  • Prepare an up-to-date CV including details of your academic performance so far. This should be a maximum of 2 sides of A4.
  • Please emaild both documents as PDF files to the HEP group administrator by the deadline specified above.
  • Successful applicants will be notified in May.

Projects for Summer 2023

  • [P1] Searching for Signatures of New Physics at the LHC [Prof. Jon Butterworth] The LHC is producing a library of energy-frontier measurements which probe how well the Standard Model (SM) works about the electroweak-symmetry-breaking energy scale, and also have implications for physics beyond the Standard Model (BSM). This project will use the Contur toolkit to compare data to SM and BSM predictions to push the limits of our knowledge at the energy frontier. See this web page for more information about Contur. The details and specific as to what models we would study will be discussed nearer the time. Contur is a python package running via the linux/unix shell.
  • [P2] Probing Exotic Physics with Tritium Beta Decay [Prof. Frank Deppisch] The beta decay of the hydrogen isotope tritium is a sensitive tool to determine the yet unknown masses of neutrinos. Future experiments detecting the cyclotron radiation of the electron emitted in the decay will be able to precisely measure the electron's energy and thus indirectly the mass of the neutrino that is also emitted. Such experiments can then also look for exotic physics that leaves a trace as minute modifications of the so-called electron energy spectrum at its highest possible energy. This for example includes potential violations of Lorentz symmetry manifest in neutrinos or the capturing of a cosmic background neutrino in a tritium nucleus. In this project, you will use existing calculations to create a simplified simulation of a future tritium decay experiment, to assess its expected sensitivity to such exotic physics effects. The project is in the field of particle physics theory but a good understanding of the course PHAS0040 "Nuclear and Particle Physics" will be sufficient. Most of the project work will be done using Mathematica, and basic knowledge, e.g., acquired in PHAS0012 "Computing for Mathematical Physics" will be required.
  • [P3] Communicating Quantum Technology [Dr. Nicola McConkey] The Quantum Technologies for Neutrino Mass (QTNM) project pulls together cutting edge technologies to make measurements of fundamental physics. This internship focuses on communicating science, and offers the chance to build and develop tools, games and resources for sharing our neutrino physics goals and detector technologies with an audience of school children. This will involve developing an understanding of the detector technologies and physics motivations of the project, as well as research into the current field of science outreach. In this project you will develop a self-contained outreach project, and will use skills in web design and science communication.

Summer Student Programmes at National Labs

The two major European Laboratories for Particle Physics, CERN and DESY, and the leading US particle physics laboratory, FNAL, offer very attractive Summer Student programmes for 3rd or 4th year undergraduate students of Physics or related subjects (such as Computing, Elec. Engineering etc). These are unique opportunities to get a first hand experience of how research is conducted at an international scale.

  • The deadline for applications to the CERN summer school is generally at the end of January and further details are available from the CERN website.
  • The deadline for applications to the DESY is at the end of January and further details are available from the DESY summer students page.
  • The deadline for the application to the FNAL programmes is February. Further details on Fermilab internships are here .
  • The particle physics group at RAL also runs a summer student programme, details can be found here : the deadline for applications is usually in February.

Faculty Scholarship Schemes

The MAPS faculty offers opportunities and funding for students to work with a research group over the summer. Further information can be found on Moodle: MAPS Summer Research Internships. The student application deadline likely to be in March.