Physics with Astrophysics BSc

Physics and Astronomy

Key information

Duration:
3 years full time
Typical A-level offer:
AAB-ABB
UCAS code:
F3F5
Start date:
September 2018

If you want to gain a broad understanding of Physics while exploring Astrophysics, this course is for you.

You'll learn from experts working at the forefront of Astrophysics, from exploring dark energy, to the early universe.

This means you study modules based on the latest research, from quantum mechanics to particle physics, as well as exploring astrophysics.

Supporting your career development you work in modern labs, developing advanced computer programming skills and working with state-of-the-art telescopic and imaging equipment.

Physics isn’t easy but every lecturer wants their students to succeed. They have an open door policy so if you need help you can just knock. ”Catherine Cole
Physics with a Foundation Year BSc 

MPhys or BSc?

We also offer this course as a four-year MPhys. Find out about the benefits of an integrated Masters year.

Entry requirements

A-level

Typical offer

AAB-ABB

Subjects

A-levels must include Mathematics. The A-level in 'Use of Mathematics' is not acceptable as meeting this requirement.

Physics A-level is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis without it. 

GCSEs

You should have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects                                                                                                                                                          

Other UK qualifications

Access to HE Diploma

Typical offer

Pass in the Access to HE Diploma with 45 level 3 credits at Merit or above, including 24 at Distinction.

Subjects

In addition to the Access to HE Diploma, you will also need A-level in Mathematics, with at least grade B.

Physics A-level is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis without it. 

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

Subjects

IB Higher Levels must include Mathematics, with a grade of 5.

Higher level Physics is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis with only standard level.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma)

Typical offer

DDD

Subjects

In addition to the BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma, you will also need an A-level in Mathematics (with at least grade B).

Physics is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis.

 

GCSEs

You should have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.              

Scottish Highers

Typical offer

AABBB

Subjects

Highers must include Mathematics, at grade B. You should also have Advanced Highers in Mathematics (with at least grade B).

Physics is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis.

Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced

Typical offer

Grade B and AB in two A-levels.

Subjects

A-levels must include Mathematics. The A-level in 'Use of Mathematics' is not acceptable as meeting this requirement.

Physics A-level is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis without it. 

GCSEs

You should have a broad range of GCSEs (A*-C), including good grades in relevant subjects.                                                                                                                                                                

International baccalaureate

Typical offer

32 points overall from the full IB Diploma.

Subjects

IB Higher Levels must include Mathematics, with a grade of 5.

Higher level Physics is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis with only standard level.

European baccalaureate

Typical offer

Overall result of at least 77%

Additional requirements

Evidence of existing academic ability in Mathematics is essential (normally with a final grade of at least 8.0). 

Physics is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis.

 

Other international qualifications

Australia

Typical offer

Relevant state (Year 12) High School Certificate, and over 85% in the ATAR or UAI/TER/ENTER. Or a Queensland OP of 5 or below.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Austria

Typical offer

Reifeprüfung or Matura with an overall result of 2.2 or better for first-year entry. A result of 2.5 or better would be considered for Foundation Year entry.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Belgium

Typical offer

Certificat d'Enseignement Secondaire Supérieur (CESS) or Diploma van Hoger Secundair Onderwijs with a good overall average. 

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Bulgaria

Typical offer

Diploma za Sredno Obrazovanie with excellent final-year scores (normally 5.5 overall with 6 in key subjects).

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Canada

Typical offer

High School Graduation Diploma. Specific requirements vary between provinces.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

China

Typical offer

We usually do not accept Senior High School Graduation for direct entry to our undergraduate courses. However, we do consider applicants who have studied 1 or more years of Higher Education in China at a recognised degree awarding institution or who are following a recognised International Foundation Year.

If you are interested in applying for a business related course which requires an academic ability in Mathematics, you will normally also need a grade B in Mathematics from the Huikao or a score of 90 in Mathematics from the Gaokao.

Applicants who have the Senior High School Graduation may be eligible to apply to our International Foundation Year, which if you complete successfully you can progress on to a relevant undergraduate course at Sussex. You can find more information about the qualifications which are accepted by our International Study Centre at  http://isc.sussex.ac.uk/entry-requirements/international-foundation-year .

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Croatia

Typical offer

Maturatna Svjedodžba with an overall score of at least 4-5 depending on your degree choice.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Cyprus

Typical offer

Apolytirion of Lykeion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Czech Republic

Typical offer

Maturita with a good overall average.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Denmark

Typical offer

Højere Forberedelseseksamen (HF) or studentereksamen with an overall average of at least 7 on the new grading scale.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Finland

Typical offer

Finnish Ylioppilastutkinto with an overall average result in the final matriculation examinations of at least 6.0.

Additional requirements

Evidence of existing academic ability in Mathematics is essential. 

Physics is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis.

France

Typical offer

French Baccalauréat with an overall final result of at least 13/20.

Additional requirements

You will need to be taking the science strand within the French Baccalaureat with a final result of at least 13/20 in Mathematics.

Physics is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis.

Germany

Typical offer

German Abitur with an overall result of 2.0 or better.

Additional requirements

Evidence of existing academic ability in Mathematics is essential (at least 12/15).

Physics is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis.

 

Greece

Typical offer

Apolytirion with an overall average of at least 18 or 19/20 will be considered for first-year entry.

A score of 15/20 in the Apolytirion would be suitable for Foundation Year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hong Kong

Typical offer

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE) with grades of 5, 4, 4 from three subjects including two electives. 

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Hungary

Typical offer

Erettsegi/Matura with a good average.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

India

Typical offer

Standard XII results from Central and Metro Boards with an overall average of 75-80%. 

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Iran

Typical offer

High School Diploma and Pre-University Certificate.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Ireland

Typical offer

Irish Leaving Certificate (Higher Level) at H1,H2,H2,H3,H3.

 

Additional requirements

Highers must include Mathematics, grade H1.

Physics is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis.

 

Israel

Typical offer

Bagrut, with at least 8/10 in at least six subjects, including one five-unit subject.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Italy

Typical offer

Italian Diploma di Maturità or Diploma Pass di Esame di Stato with a Final Diploma mark of at least 81/100.

Additional requirements

Evidence of existing academic ability in Mathematics is essential. 

Physics is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis.

Japan

Typical offer

Upper Secondary Leaving Certificate is suitable for entry to our Foundation Years. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Latvia

Typical offer

Atestats par Visparejo videjo Izglitibu with very good grades in state exams.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Lithuania

Typical offer

Brandos Atestatas including scores of 80-90% in at least three state examinations (other than English).

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Luxembourg

Typical offer

Diplôme de Fin d'Etudes Secondaires.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Malaysia

Typical offer

Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM). As well as various two or three-year college or polytechnic certificates and diplomas.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Netherlands

Typical offer

Voorereidend Wetenschappelijk Onderwijs (VWO), normally with an average of at least 7.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Nigeria

Typical offer

You are expected to have one of the following:

  • Higher National Diploma
  • One year at a recognised Nigerian University
  • Professional Diploma (Part IV) from the Institute of Medical Laboratory Technology of Nigeria
  • Advanced Diploma

You must also have a score of C6 or above in WAEC/SSC English.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Norway

Typical offer

Norwegian Vitnemal Fra Den Videregaende Skole- Pass with an overall average of at least 4.

Additional requirements

Evidence of existing academic ability in Mathematics is essential. 

Physics is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis.

Pakistan

Typical offer

Bachelor (Pass) degree in arts, commerce or science.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Poland

Typical offer

Matura with three extended-level written examinations, normally scored within the 7th stanine.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Portugal

Typical offer

Diploma de Ensino Secundario normally with an overall mark of at least 16/20. 

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Romania

Typical offer

Diploma de Bacalaureat with an overall average of 8.5-9.5 depending on your degree choice.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Singapore

Typical offer

A-levels, as well as certain certificates and diplomas.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovakia

Typical offer

Maturitna Skuska or Maturita with honours, normally including scores of 1 in at least three subjects.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Slovenia

Typical offer

Secondary School Leaving Diploma or Matura with at least 23 points overall.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

South Africa

Typical offer

National Senior Certificate with very good grades. 

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Spain

Typical offer

Spanish Título de Bachillerato (LOGSE) with an overall average result of at least 8.0

Additional requirements

Evidence of existing academic ability in Mathematics is essential (at least 8/10). 

Physics is desirable, but we will consider applicants on a case-by-case basis.

Sri Lanka

Typical offer

Sri Lankan A-levels.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Sweden

Typical offer

Fullstandigt Slutbetyg with good grades.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Switzerland

Typical offer

Federal Maturity Certificate.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

Turkey

Typical offer

Devlet Lise Diplomasi or Lise Bitirme is normally only suitable for Foundation Years, but very strong applicants may be considered for first year entry. Find out more about Foundation Years.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

USA

Typical offer

We look at your full profile taking into account everything you are studying. You must have your high school graduation diploma and we will be interested in your Grade 12 GPA. However, we will also want to see evidence of the external tests you have taken. Each application is looked at individually, but you should normally have one or two of the following:

  • APs (where we would expect at least three subject with 4/5 in each)
  • SAT Reasoning Tests (normally with a combined score of 1300) or ACT grades
  • and/or SAT Subject Tests (where generally we expect you to have scores of 600 or higher). 

We would normally require APs or SAT Subject Tests in areas relevant to your chosen degree course.

Subject-specific knowledge

Evidence of existing academic ability in both Mathematics and Physics is essential.

Please note

Our entry requirements are guidelines and we assess all applications on a case-by-case basis.

My country is not listed

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

English language requirements

IELTS (Academic)

6.5 overall, including at least 6.0 in each component

IELTS scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test.

If you are applying for degree-level study we can consider your IELTS test from any test centre, but if you require a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) for an English language or pre-sessional English course (not combined with a degree) the test must be taken at a UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)-approved IELTS test centre.

Find out more about IELTS.

Other English language requirements

Proficiency tests

Cambridge Advanced Certificate in English (CAE)

For tests taken before January 2015: Grade B or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CAE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Advanced.

Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE)

For tests taken before January 2015: grade C or above

For tests taken after January 2015: 176 overall, including at least 169 in each skill

We would normally expect the CPE test to have been taken within two years before the start of your course.

You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Cambridge English: Proficiency.

Pearson (PTE Academic)

62 overall, including at least 56 in all four skills.

PTE (Academic) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about Pearson (PTE Academic).

TOEFL (iBT)

88 overall, including at least 20 in Listening, 19 in Reading, 21 in Speaking, 23 in Writing.

TOEFL (iBT) scores are valid for two years from the test date. Your score must be valid when you begin your Sussex course. You cannot combine scores from more than one sitting of the test. Find out more about TOEFL (iBT).

The TOEFL Institution Code for the University of Sussex is 9166.

English language qualifications

AS/A-level (GCE)

Grade C or above in English Language.

Hong Kong Advanced Level Examination (HKALE)/ AS or A Level: grade C or above in Use of English

French Baccalaureat

A score of 12 or above in English.

GCE O-level

Grade C or above in English.

Brunei/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

Singapore/Cambridge GCE O-level in English: grades 1-6.

GCSE or IGCSE

Grade C or above in English as a First Language.

Grade B or above in English as a Second Language

German Abitur

A score of 12 or above in English.

Ghana Senior Secondary School Certificate

If awarded before 1993: grades 1-6 in English language.

If awarded between 1993 and 2005: grades A-D in English language.

Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education (HKDSE)

 Level 4, including at least 3 in each component in English Language.

Indian School Certificate (Standard XII)

The Indian School Certificate is accepted at the grades below when awarded by the following examination boards:

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – English Core only: 70%

Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) - English: 70% 

International Baccalaureate Diploma (IB)

English A or English B at grade 5 or above.

Malaysian Certificate of Education (SPM) 119/GCE O-level

If taken before the end of 2008: grades 1-5 in English Language.

If taken from 2009 onwards: grade C or above in English Language.

The qualification must be jointly awarded by the University of Cambridge Local Examinations Syndicate (UCLES).

West African Senior School Certificate

Grades 1-6 in English language when awarded by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO).

Country exceptions

Select to see the list of exempt English-speaking countries

If you are a national of one of the countries below, or if you have recently completed a qualification equivalent to a UK Bachelors degree or higher in one of these countries, you will normally meet our English requirements. Note that qualifications obtained by distance learning or awarded by studying outside these countries cannot be accepted for English language purposes.

You will normally be expected to have completed the qualification within two years before starting your course at Sussex. If the qualification was obtained earlier than this we would expect you to be able to demonstrate that you have maintained a good level of English, for example by living in an English-speaking country or working in an occupation that required you to use English regularly and to a high level.

Please note that this list is determined by the UK’s Home Office, not by the University of Sussex.

List of exempt countries

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • Bahamas
  • Barbados
  • Belize
  • Canada**
  • Dominica
  • Grenada
  • Guyana
  • Ireland
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • St Kitts and Nevis
  • St Lucia
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Trinidad and Tobago
  • United Kingdom
  • USA

** Canada: you must be a national of Canada; other nationals not on this list who have a degree from a Canadian institution will not normally be exempt from needing to provide evidence of English.

Admissions information for applicants

Transfers into Year 2

Yes. Find out more about transferring into Year 2 of this course. We don’t accept transfers into the third or final year.

If your qualifications aren’t listed or you have a question about entry requirements, email ug.enquiries@sussex.ac.uk.

Why choose this course?

  • Ranked in the top 15 in the UK (The Guardian University Guide 2018).
  • 92% for overall satisfaction (National Student Survey 2016).
  • All our courses are accredited by the Institute of Physics.

Course information

How will I study?

You gain solid foundations in the key areas of physics, complemented with mathematical methods in physics, real-world problem-solving, and data analysis and acquisition techniques.

You may also choose to explore astrophysics and theoretical physics.

You learn through lectures, workshops, problem classes and tutorials. You also learn experimental techniques in the laboratory.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules


Customise your course

Our courses are designed to broaden your horizons and give you the skills and experience necessary to have the sort of career that has an impact.

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

How will I study?

You continue to enhance your knowledge of the key areas of physics, with further study of mathematical methods in physics, problem-solving, and data analysis and acquisition techniques.

Your options allow you to gain a deeper understanding of astrophysics or theoretical physics.

Learning is through lectures, workshops, problem classes and tutorials, as well as lab work.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules


Customise your course

Our courses are designed to broaden your horizons and give you the skills and experience necessary to have the sort of career that has an impact.

Gain programming skills and apply them to areas such as digital media, business and interactive design. Find out about our Year in Computing

Study abroad (optional)

Apply to study abroad – you’ll develop an international perspective and gain an edge when it comes to your career. Find out where your course could take you.

Placement (optional)

Spending a year or term with a company is a great way to network and gain practical skills. When you leave Sussex, you'll benefit from already having the experience employers are looking for.

Recent Mathematical and Physical Sciences students have gone on placements at:

  • Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd
  • NATS Holdings
  • HEFCE.

Find out more about placements and internships.

“My research placement taught me new methods of study skills, teamwork skills, and it gave me a lot of insight into the topic.” Jussi KuusistoPhysics with Astrophysics MPhys

How will I study?

You study nuclear and particle physics, condensed-state physics and atomic physics.

You may choose to study particle physics, advanced condensed-state physics and advanced quantum mechanics.

You work on a final-year project.

Modules

These are the modules running in the academic year 2017. Modules running in 2018 may be subject to change.

Core modules

Options

Find out more about studying Physics at Sussex, including astrophysics, theoretical physics and particle physics

I try to understand how the first stars and galaxies formed in the early universe. To do this I use both observations, mostly taken from the Hubble Space Telescope, and super-computer simulations.”Dr Stephen Wilkins
Senior Lecturer in Astronomy

Fees

Fees are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018. Note that your fees, once they’re set, may be subject to an increase on an annual basis.

The UK Government has confirmed that if you’re an EU student applying for entry in September 2018, you'll pay the same fee rate as UK students for the duration of your course, even if the UK leaves the EU before the end of your course. You'll also continue to have access to student loans and grants. Find out more on the UK Government website.

Find out about typical living costs for studying at Sussex

Scholarships

Details of our scholarships are not yet set for entry in the academic year 2018.

Careers

Graduate destinations

100% of Physics with Astrophysics students were in work or further study six months after graduating. Recent Physics and Astronomy graduates have started jobs as:

  • instrumentation researcher and developer, Pall Life Sciences
  • software engineer, Thales
  • business technologies associate, Accenture.

(HESA EPI, Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education Survey 2015)

Your future career

We are a core part of the SEPnet (South East Physics Network) consortium, which gives us links to universities and industry across the region.

Our courses help you develop versatile skills. With careers fairs, forums and a dedicated careers officer we support your career development from day one.

Our graduates find employment in a diverse range of fields, including geophysics, aerospace, consulting, teaching, scientific Civil Service. Many of our graduates go on to postgraduate research and PhD study.

Working while you study

Our Careers and Employability Centre can help you find part-time work while you study. Find out more about career development and part-time work

Classical Mechanics

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

An introduction to mechanics and its applications, covering: Newton's Laws; particle dynamics; work and kinetic energy; potential energy and energy conservation; momentum, impulse and collisions; rocket propulsion; rigid-body rotation; torque and angular momentum; gyroscopes and precession; statics and equilibrium; fluid statics and dynamics; gravitation, satellite motion and Kepler's laws.

Introduction to Astrophysics

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module aims to explain the contents, dimensions and history of the Universe, primarily at a descriptive level. It applies basic physical laws to the study of the Universe, enabling simple calculations. This module also includes an introduction to special relativity, which is shared with the Introduction to Modern Physics module. This module covers:

  • A brief history of astronomy
  • The scale of the universe
  • Time and motion in the universe
  • Planets, asteroids and comets
  • Stars: their birth and death
  • The Milky Way and our place within it
  • Nebulae
  • Galaxies: types, distance, formation, structure
  • Cosmology: dynamics of the universe, the Big Bang, the cosmic microwave background
  • Relativity: Historical perspective
  • Inertial frames and transformations; Newton's laws in inertial frames
  • Michelson-Morley experiment – observed constancy of speed of light. Einstein's assumptions
  • Lorentz-Einstein transformations; Minkowski diagrams; Lorentz contraction; time dilation
  • Transformation of velocities – stellar aberration. Variation of mass, mass-energy equivalence
  • Lorentz transformations for momentum and energy.

Mathematical Methods for Physics 1

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

Topics covered include:

  1. Introduction to functions: functions and graphs;
  2. Classical functions: trigonometry, exponential and logarithmic functions, hyperbolic functions;
  3. Differentiation: standard derivatives, differentiation of composite functions;
  4. Curves and functions: stationary points, local/global minima/maxima; graph sketching;
  5. Integration: standard integrals, integration by parts and substitution, areas, volumes, averages, special integration techniques;
  6. Power series expansions: Taylor expansions, approximations, hyperbolic and trigonometric functions;
  7. Convergence of series: absolute convergence; integral test; ratio test
  8. Complex numbers: complex conjugates, complex plane, polar representation, complex algebra, exponential function, DeMoivre's Theorem;
  9. Vectors: working with vectors, scalar product of vectors, vector product of vectors;
  10. Determinants and matrices: definition and properties, matrices and matrix algebra, solutions of systems of linear equations.

The computer lab component of the module will introduce you to Maple.

Physics in Practice

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 1

This module covers:

  • Dimensions and units
  • Estimation of uncertainties: significant figures and decimal places; reading Vernier scales
  • Introduction to spreadsheets
  • Mean, standard deviation and standard error: weighted averages, and the uncertainty thereon
  • Error propagation: simple formulae covering addition, multiplication and powers; general formula for small error propagation
  • Histograms, and manipulation of distributions
  • The Gaussian distribution
  • Chi squared, and (straight) line fitting
  • Identifying and dealing with systematics
  • Assessing data quality
  • Circuit simulation
  • DC circuits: introduction, Ohm's Law, Non-Linear circuit elements, oscilloscopes
  • Capacitors: RC circuits, differentiator, integrator, low pass filter, high pass filter

Classical Physics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module is focused around three main areas:

Electromagnetism:
-Electric forces and fields in systems with static discrete electric charges and static observers.
-Continuous charge distributions, Gauss's law. Electric potential energy and electric potential. 
-Energy stored by the electric field. Motion of charged particles in static electric fields.
-Conductors and insulators in electric fields. Capacitance and capacitors. Energy storage in capacitors. Dielectrics. Drude's model of conduction. 
-Creation of magnetic fields from linear motion of charges (ie, a current) electron spin and orbital motion; motion perpendicular to an electric field. Force on a charged particle moving perpendicular to magnetic field.

Thermodynamics:
-Phases of matter; the zeroth law of thermodynamics; temperature and temperature scales
-Thermal expansion coefficients
-The ideal-gas law
-The kinetic theory of gases; the Maxwell speed distribution; mean free paths; transport properties of gases; the equipartition theorem
-Heat capacity; latent heat
-The first law of thermodynamics; internal energy of gases
-PV diagrams; work
-Adiabatic processes

Mathematical Methods for Physics 2

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

In this module, you cover:

Integration of scalar and vector fields
  • surface integrals of functions of two variables using Cartesian and polar coordinates
  • surface integrals of functions of three variables using Cartesian, spherical polar and cylindrical polar coordinates
  • volume integrals of functions of three variables using Cartesian, spherical polar and cylindrical polar coordinates
  • line integrals along two- and three-dimensional curves.
Differentiation
  • partial differentiation of functions of several variables
  • definition and interpretation of partial derivatives
  • partial derivatives of first and higher order.
Differentiation of scalar and vector fields
  • directional derivative
  • gradient, divergence and curl and their properties
  • theorems of Gauss, Stokes and their applications.

You are also introduced to Python in the computer lab component of this module.

Oscillations, Waves and Optics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module covers:

  • Simple harmonic motion
  • Forced oscillations and resonance
  • Mechanical waves
  • Properties of sound
  • Phasors
  • Coupled oscillators and normal modes
  • Geometrical optics to the level of simple optical systems
  • Huygens' principle, introduction to wave optics
  • Interference and diffraction at single and multiple apertures
  • Dispersion
  • Detectors
  • Optical cavities and laser action
  • Practical introduction to the use of telescopes.

Physics Year 1 Laboratory

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 1

This module introduces you to fundamental experiments in physics. You will do a series of classic experiments to build up basic experimental and analysis skills. The experience of preparing, performing and analysing experiments will also deepen the understanding of the fundamental physical concepts involved.

Electrodynamics

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This is a first module on electro/magnetostatics and electrodynamics in differential form with key applications.

Topics covered include:

  1. Mathematical Revision
  2. Electrostatics: equations for the E-field, potential, energy, basic boundary-value setups
  3. Electrostatics: dielectrics, displacement and free charge
  4. Magnetostatics: forces, equations for the B-field, vector potential, Biot-Savart, dipole field of current loops
  5. Magnetostatics: diamagnetism and paramagnetism, auxiliary field H, ferromagnetism
  6. Electrodynamics: Faraday's law, inductance and back emf, circuit applications, Maxwell-Ampere law, energy and Poynting's theorem
  7. Electromagnetic waves: wave equation, plane waves, polarization, waves in dielectrics, reflection at an interface, wave velocity/group velocity/dispersion
  8. Potentials and dipole radiation

Mathematical Methods for Physics 3

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module teaches mathematical techniques that are of use in physics, in particular relating to the solution of differential equations. It also aims to give experience of mathematical modelling of physical problems. The module includes:

  • Fourier series
  • Ordinary differential equations
  • Some linear algebra
  • Fourier and Laplace transform
  • Series solutions of differential equations
  • Partial differential equations.

Physics Year 2 Laboratory

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module aims to teach you how to perform experiments, make measurements, analyse data, and present conclusions in the form of a report. 
You will become familiar with a number of basic measurement techniques employed in experimental physics and with the instrumentation associated with these. Learn how to estimate the uncertainties in various measurement techniques and how to quote statistically significant uncertainties in derived quantities.
You will also be able to report clearly on the conduct of an experiment and on the conclusions drawn from the data obtained.

You will choose a selection from the following experiments:

  • Transmission lines
  • Doppler effect
  • Velocity of light
  • Hall effect
  • Stirling cycle heat engine
  • High-temperature superconductivity 
  • Mercury spectroscopy
  • Zeeman effect
  • Guitar experiment I (Fourier analysis)
  • Refractive index of gases
  • Analogue electronics

Scientific Computing

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 2

This module covers the revision of representation of numbers and basics of Python programming. You also study the application of numerical methods to model simple physical problems, involving:

  • solution of algebraic equations
  • interpolation
  • numerical integration and differentiation
  • numerical solution of ordinary differential equations
  • numerical solution of linear systems of equations
  • visualisation of data.

Quantum Mechanics 1

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Module topics include

  • Introduction to quantum mechanics, wave functions and the Schroedinger equation in 1D.
  • Statistical interpretation of quantum mechanics, probability density, expectation values, normalisation of the wave function.
  • Position and momentum, Heisenberg uncertainty relation.
  • Time-independent Schroedinger equation, stationary states, eigenstates and eigenvalues.
  • Bound states in a potential, infinite square well.
  • Completeness and orthogonality of eigenstates.
  • Free particle, probability current, wave packets, group and phase velocities, dispersion.
  • General potentials, bound and continuum states, continuity of the wave function and its first
  • derivative.
  • Bound states in a finite square well.
  • Left- and right-incident scattering of a finite square well, reflection and transmission probabilities.
  • Reflection and transmission at a finite square well.
  • Reflection and transmission at a square barrier, over-the-barrier reflection, tunnelling, resonant
  • tunnelling through multiple barriers.
  • Harmonic oscillator (analytic approach).
  • Quantum mechanics in 3D, degeneracy in the 3D isotropic harmonic oscillator.
  • Orbital angular momentum, commutators and simultaneous measurement.
  • Motion in a central potential, Schroedinger equation in spherical polar coordinates.
  • Schroedinger equation in a Coulomb potential.
  • H atom.
  • Spin, identical particles, spin-statistics theorem.
  • Helium, basics of atomic structure. 
  • Time-independent perturbation theory for non-degenerate bound states.
  • Applications of perturbation theory, fine structure in the H atom.
  • Schroedinger equation for a particle coupled to an electromagnetic field.
  • Summary and revision

Skills in Physics 2

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

The aims and objectives of the module are to develop and enhance the deployment of a range of skills and knowledge, which should have been acquired in Year 1, to elucidate real problems and/or phenomena. The idea is to improve your abilities to make use of information from appropriate basic modules to solve problems, and to wean you away from the notion that real problems can be solved with the knowledge from a single module.

Stars & Planets

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Module topics include:

  • Equations of stellar structure
  • Star formation
  • Stellar evolution and end points
  • Proto-planetary disks
  • Exoplanets
  • Binary systems

Thermal and Statistical Physics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 2

Topics covered include:

  • Review of kinetic theory of gases and first law of thermodynamics.
  • Basics of statistical mechanics. Microstates, entropy, second law.
  • Classical thermodynamics. Engines and refrigerators.
  • More statistical mechanics. Maxwell-Boltzmann, Bose-Einstein and Fermi-Dirac distributions.
  • Blackbody radiation.
  • Elements of phase transitions.

Atomic Physics

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module will cover the following topics:

  • Physics of the hydrogen atom
  • Relativistic hydrogen atom (fine structure, antimatter)
  • Hyperfine structure of hydrogen and the 21-cm line
  • Interaction with external fields (Zeeman Effect, Stark Effect)
  • Helium atom
  • Multi-electron atoms and the periodic system
  • Molecules and chemical binding
  • Molecular structure: vibration and rotation
  • Radiative processes, emission and absorption spectra

Condensed State Physics

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

Topics covered on this module include:

Classification of solids

  1. Types of solids; classification of elements and compounds by physical properties
  2. Types of bonding
  3. Basic band theory of metals, electrical insulators and semiconductors

Crystal structures

  1. Crystals; unit cells and lattice parameters
  2. Bravais lattices; crystallographic basis; crystal axes and planes
  3. Cubic and hexagonal structures
  4. Reciprocal lattice

Diffraction by crystals

  1. Physical processes; Braggs law; atomic and geometrical scattering factors
  2. Diffraction crystallography

Lattice vibrations

  1. Thermal properties of electrical insulators: specific heat and thermal conductivity
  2. Vibrations of monatomic and diatomic 1-D crystals; acoustic and optical modes
  3. Quantisation of lattice vibrations; phonons
  4. Einstein and Debye models for lattice specific heat

The free electron model

  1. Classical free electron gas
  2. Quantised free electron model
  3. Specific heat of the conduction electrons
  4. Electrical and thermal conductivity of metals
  5. AC conductivity and optical properties of metals

Dielectric and optical properties of insulators

  1. Dielectric constant and polarisability
  2. Sources of polarisability; dipolar dispersion.

Nuclear and Particle Physics

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module on nuclear and particle physics covers:

  • Chronology of discoveries.
  • Basic nuclear properties.
  • Nuclear forces.
  • Models of nuclear structure.
  • Magic numbers.
  • Nuclear reactions, nuclear decay and radioactivity, including their roles in nature.
  • The weak force.
  • Existence and properties of neutrinos.
  • Qualitative introduction to neutrino oscillations.
  • C, P and T symmetries.
  • Classification of elementary particles, and their reactions and decays.
  • Particle structure.
  • Qualitative introduction to Feynman diagrams.

Extragalactic Astronomy

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module covers:

  • Overview of observational cosmology – content of the Universe, incl. current evidence for Dark Matter and Dark Energy; evolution and eventual fate of the Universe; cosmic microwave background radiation; nucleosynthesis
  • Galaxy formation – linear perturbation theory; growth and collapse of spherical perturbations; hierarchical galaxy formation models
  • Galaxy structure and global properties – morphology; stellar populations; spectral energy distributions; galaxy scaling laws
  • Global properties of the interstellar medium
  • Statistical properties of the galaxy population – luminosity function; mass function; star-formation history of the Universe
  • How to detect astrophysical processes in distant galaxies using modern telescopes
  • Black holes and active galactic nuclei
  • Galaxy clusters and the intracluster medium; galaxy groups

Communicating STEM

  • 15 credits
  • Autumn Teaching, Year 3

This module aims to develop the skills and understanding required for explaining scientific concepts to a range of audiences, with a particular focus on school aged pupils (5-18). This module has been designed to encourage more Physics and Maths Undergraduates to think about a career in teaching following their University studies. It has received funding from the NCTL and is viewed by the NCTL as a good way to bridge the gap between University and a profession in teaching.

The module begins with an exploration of the features, and types of scientific explanations. This is then applied to the types of learner from primary and secondary school and to those who have special needs. The skills of good scientific explanations are then developed through engaging with common misconceptions, progression of scientific ideas and those concepts that are particularly troublesome to grasp. This will be underpinned by engaging with two key learning theories. 

The final sessions will bring these ideas together and develop knowledge and understanding of questioning, models and modelling of scientific concepts and processes to aid effective explanations.

BSc Final Year Project

  • 30 credits
  • Autumn & Spring Teaching, Year 3

Advanced Condensed State Physics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module covers the following topics:

  • Electronic Energy bands in Solids. Electrons in periodic potentials; Brillouin Zones; Bloch states. Nearly Free Electron (NFE) model. Tight-Binding Approximation (TBA) model. Band structure of selected metals, insulators and semiconductors. Optical Properties.
  • Electron Dynamics. Electrons and holes. Effective Mass. Mobilities. Magneto-transport.
  • Semiconductors. Classification; Energy Gaps. Donor and Acceptor doping. Equilibrium carrier statistics in intrinsic and doped materials. Temperature dependence of electrical and optical properties.
  • Semiconductor Devices. p-n junctions. Diodes, LEDs, Lasers, Transistors. Superlattices and 2DEG devices. 
  • Lattice Defects. Types of defects. Electronic and optical effects of defects in semiconductors and insulators.

Lasers and Photonics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module covers:

  • Light-matter interaction. 
  • Rate equations of lasers. 
  • Principles of Gaussian optics and optical cavities. 
  • Types of lasers and their applications.

Particle Physics

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module is a first introduction to basic concepts in Elementary Particle Physics. It presents an introductory discussion of leptons and quarks and their interactions in the standard model. Particular emphasis will be given to experimental methodologies and experimental results. A selection of topics covered in this course include: 

  • Cross-sections and decay rates 
  • Relativistic kinematics
  • Detectors and accelerators
  • Leptons
  • Quarks and hadrons 
  • Space-time symmetries
  • The quark model 
  • Electromagnetic interactions 
  • Strong interactions: QCD, jets and gluons 
  • Weak interactions and electro-weak unification
  • Discrete symmetries
  • Aselection of topics in physics beyond the standard model

Physics Methods in Finance

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

The module will cover topics including:

  • Efficient market hypothesis 
  • Random walk 
  • Levy stochastic processes and limit theorems
  • Scales in financial data
  • Stationarity and time correlation
  • Time correlation in financial time series
  • Stochastic models of price dynamics
  • Scaling and its breakdown
  • ARCH and GARCH processes
  • Financial markets and turbulence
  • Correlation and anti-correlation between stocks
  • Taxonomy of a stock portfolio
  • Options in idealised markets (to include Black & Scholes formula)
  • Options in real markets

Quantum Mechanics 2

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module on quantum mechanics employing Dirac notation and algebraic methods. Topics covered include:

  • Dirac's formulation of quantum mechanics - bras&kets, observables, algebraic treatment of harmonic oscillator, x&p representation, compatibility, uncertainty
  • Symmetries and conservation laws - generators of translations&rotations, parity, time evolution, Heisenberg picture
  • Angular momentum - algebraic treatment, spin, "addition" of angular momenta, explicit form of rotation operators
  • Approximation methods - time-independent perturbation theory: first and second orders, degeneracies; WKB approximation & tunneling
  • Interaction picture and time-dependent perturbation theory
  • Basics of field quantisation - creation and annihilation operators, EM transitions
  • Basic scattering theory
  • Mixed states and quantum measurement - density matrix, Bell's inequality
  • Elements of relativistic QM and antiparticles

Researching STEM

  • 15 credits
  • Spring Teaching, Year 3

This module aims to develop the skills and understanding required for explaining scientific concepts to a range of audiences, with a particular focus on school aged pupils (11-18). At the start of the module there will be a lecture and a seminar to introduce the project. Tutorials will follow to aid the student with their research project.

The module will involve time in an educational institution carrying out a minor research project based on an aspect of science communication. You will consider an area of interest, relating to communicating STEM, and carry out some literature-based research. You will then design and carry out a small research project. This is likely to be based on a small number of class observations in a chosen school, possibly with some intervention activities that you would evaluate based on your literature review.

Assessment is in the form of a written assignment, to include a literature review and evaluations of observations (from the educational institution) based on theory.

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