|UCAS code||Typical offer||Length|
|F346||AAA (See full entry requirements)||4 years full-time|
Theoretical Physics explores the world around us focusing on how mathematical and computational knowledge describes the structure of the field. Read more about Theoretical Physics at York.
This degree programme allows you to acquire an excellent all-round knowledge of physics, with a special focus on the theoretical aspects of the subject. It is suited to students who wish to develop their mathematical and/or computational skills within the overall context of physics. The content of the Theoretical Physics degree at York is a recognition of the modern skills required: it provides a balanced programme ranging from traditional mathematical physics methods to, at the other extreme, the simulation of large, complex physical systems on supercomputers. In the final year of the programme students will lead an individual theoretical research project supervised by one of our academics while taking appropriate masters-level optional modules.
“The course is challenging and requires work. But rising to the challenge is the great thing about being at university.”
Greg, Second Year Student
A flagship of the programme is the access to a range of powerful supercomputers. Through lecture courses and practical labs, you will learn substantial computational skills with the opportunity to learn parallel programming. The department owns a number of supercomputers (over 700 cores) which are used by students in areas of project work and for parts of specialist computational modules. There is also access to larger facilities within the University and beyond if required.
Our degree courses all share a common core. These core modules, common to all our programmes, provide a coherently structured and well balanced grounding in all the fundamental areas of Physics. It ensures that our degrees are accredited by the Institute of Physics, satisfying the academic component required for Chartered Physicist status. This core Physics grounding allows student to specialise further within the final years of your degree.
Our degree courses consist of core and optional modules. The first year emphasis is on core material which contains the essential physics and maths needed to consolidate your pre-university studies and build upon concepts and understanding for the second year.
The second year emphasis is to build upon concepts and understanding from the first year of study investigating areas such as quantum mechanics, electromagnetism and statistical mechanics, nuclear and particle physics and the physics of the solid state.
Optional Placement Year
Student can spend an additional year studying with our European or Industrial partners via our Year Abroad and Year in Industry schemes to further enhance and tailor your degree.
During the third year students will have the opportunity to study a range of specialist modules in addition to the core modules listed incorporating advanced level modules in more specialist fields. Masters students will complete advanced laboratory work including preparatory work for their research project in the final year.
The fourth year consists of a number of advanced option modules, providing students with the opportunity to study a range of specialist modules. Masters students will undertake a major research project conducted under the supervision of an academic members of staff with expertise in your research area of choice.
In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module. This covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.
This module will:
We regularly achieve high student satisfaction and maintained excellence in our teaching quality achieving the maximum of 24/24 in our most recent Teaching Quality Assurance assessment.
We use a variety of different teaching methods including lectures, laboratory work, tutorials, problem classes and workshops. In addition students will learn via various group and individual project work.
“Studying Physics at York is an experience like no other, the community here between not only students, but lecturers also is unrivalled.” Sammy, Second Year Student
Alongside this all students meet regularly with an academic supervisor who will offer guidance and support throughout your degree and help develop your physics problem solving skills. This fosters excellent staff-student rapport and ensures an extremely friendly and supportive atmosphere for you. Our regular supervision meetings, small group tutorials and our ‘open door’ policy for approaching our academic staff are distinctive in our teaching approach and enable students to share their insights and develop a deeper understand of their subject.
“The department’s open door policy is fantastic. If you ever get stuck on any aspect of anything, they are always there to help you.” Kyle, Fourth Year Student
We use a wide range of assessment formats during the degree to ensure that students develop valuable transferable skills. We balance various types of assessment to develop and test your different strengths. Our assessments include:
Our teaching is designed to prepare you for the assessment. You will also have tutorials and problem classes to help you revise and answer any question you might have.
We give students feedback on work completed in a variety of ways. You will receive both written and verbal feedback to help you improve and develop your work. In addition your will meet regularly with your academic supervisor who will offer guidance and support throughout your degree and help develop your physics problem solving skills.
We can make appropriate adjustments to assessment procedures for students with disabilities. See the University's disability support pages for further details.
Physics graduates are highly sought after by employers across a range of disciplines. A high proportion of graduates go on to careers that use their knowledge and expertise in physics. However as physics is so central in the span of scientific subjects physicists are readily employed in other disciplines such as computing, electronics, chemistry and mathematics.
The department is committed to developing and supporting our students' career development and employability which is embedded within our core teaching. This includes activities such as:
What do York Graduates do?
Over 80% of our graduates are in work or further study within six months of graduating earning an average salary of £25,000. For those who progress into further academic study 39% of our students have chosen to specialise in a particular field via a postgraduate qualification such as MSc in Fusion energy or a PhD.
Find out more
All applications to undergraduate degree courses at York are made via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). The application system opens mid-September with guides on how to apply through UCAS available online.
We welcome all enquiries from prospective undergraduates and are happy to answer any queries that you may have about our courses.
All applicants are required to complete an interview day with the department before their application is progressed to the offer stage. Our decision about whether to invite applicants to interview is based on information on the UCAS form, including your personal statement, reference, and academic grades or predictions. Upon completion of a successful academic interview an offer will be determined taking into account both feedback gathered at interview and information from your UCAS form.
Applications from mature students are welcomed and are considered on an individual basis.
AAA with a grade A in both Maths and Physics plus at least an A in a third A level subject (excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking)
The third A level may be in a wide range of acceptable subjects or alternatively two AS subjects may be accepted in place of the third A level.
In certain circumstances AS Maths at A grade may be considered instead of A level Maths for the BSc programme with students required to take the additional Maths Plus option in the first year of study.
Diploma with score of 36 points with Higher Level Maths and Physics at least grade 6
AAAAA (Highers) + AA (Advanced Highers) in Maths and Physics
AAAAAB with Physics and Maths at least grade A1
BTEC Extended Diploma at DDD plus A at A Level in Mathematics and Physics
85% overall with Physics and Maths at least 85%
Cambridge Pre-U Diploma
D3/D3/D3 with Maths and Physics at least grade D3
Access to Higher Education
An applicable Access to Higher Education Diploma at Level 3 with 30 credits at Distinction including Maths and Physics and 9 credits awarded Merit or higher. This must include 18 credits in Physics at Distinction and 9 credits in Mathematics at Distinction. Please contact us if you would like further clarification on specific entry requirements for Access courses.
Applicants whose first language is not English should be able to show evidence of their English language ability.
We accept the following English language qualifications:
For some European countries, the English language requirement may be fulfilled by achieving a satisfactory English grade in the relevant country's state or school examinations. Please contact us for information about the specific requirements for your own country.
Further detailed information is available on the University’s English Language Requirements.
If you have any enquiries concerning undergraduate admissions, please contact
Dr. Charles Barton:
More about York