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Institute of Physics

The Institute of Physics (IOP) is the UK's professional body for physicists. It was founded as the Physical Society in 1874 and it now has over 30,000 members worldwide. It grants the professional qualifications of Chartered Physicist (CPhys) as well as Chartered Scientist (CSci) as a member organisation of the Science Council and Chartered Engineer (CEng) as a nominated body of ECUK.

Through a wholly-owned subsidiary, Institute of Physics Publishing, the IOP is a leading publisher of science books and international journals, with over 40 titles. IoPP has won the Queen's Award for Export Achievement three times, in 1990, 1995 and 2000. A second subsidiary, Institute of Physics Events, runs the Rutherford Conference Centre at 76 Portland Place, London. The IOP also run, an online guide to physics, and, carrying physics news, jobs, and resources.

There are three grades of membership: Associated Member (AMInstP), Member (MInstP) and Fellow (FInstP). Qualification for AMInstP is normally by completion of an undergraduate degree accredited by the Institute - this covers almost all UK physics degrees. An AMInstP can become an MInstP by gaining professional experience as a physicist and an FInstP by making "an outstanding contribution to the profession". MInstP and FInstP are the two corporate grades of membership, granting the right to vote in Institute elections. There are also student and affiliate grades of membership for those currently studying physics degrees and those who do not have accredited degrees (or equivalent experience).

Chartered Physicist

The Institute grants the professional title of Chartered Physicist (CPhys). Until 1998 this was granted automatically with MInstP, however since then it has become a separate qualification that is equal in stature to Chartered Engineer. In order to gain the qualification, a physicist must be appropriately qualified (an MSci or MPhys undergraduate master's degree is standard, although experience leading to an equivalent level can be counted), have had a minimum of two years of structured training and a minimum of two years responsible work experience, have demonstrated a commitment to continuing professional development, and have gained a number of competencies.

Academic Dress

The Institute grants academic dress to the various grades of membership. Those who have passed the Institute's graduateeship examination are entitled to a violet damask Oxford burgon-shaped hood (e.g. a cowl only, with no cape) lined with red taffeta. Corporate members (MInstP and FInstP) may wear a full-shaped (cowl and cape) violet damask hood lined with violet tafeta. Additionally MInstP and those who have passed the graduateeship examination are entitled to wear a black mortarboard and a black bachelor's-style gown, while FInstP may wear a black doctor's bonnet with red tassels and a black Oxford doctor's-style gown with facings (10cm) and sleeves (15cm) of violet taffeta.


The IoP accredits undergraduate degrees (BSc/BA and MSci/MPhys) in Physics in British and Irish universities. At post-16 level, the IoP has developed the 'Advancing Physics' A-level course, in conjunction with the OCR examining board, which is accredited by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

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