Here are some of the more common enquiries we receive along with their answers. If you have a question which isn't answered here, please contact us to make an enquiry.
Click a question to reveal the answer.
Yes. There have been a number of new colleges built on the Heslington East campus over the last few years, and so the University is now able to guarantee accommodation for all undergraduate students in their first year at York. There will be a phased release of accommodation during August, with first choice going to those who make York their FIRM choice, and then INSURANCE, and finally CLEARING and TRANSFERS. However, there IS sufficient accommodation for everyone. See the accommodation website for more details.
After your place has been confirmed, normally following A-level results in August, you will be sent an email giving telling you how to request your desired college, room type and let duration using the on line accommodation application system. Things happen quite quickly, so it is a good idea to look at the college accommodation web sites beforehand so you know what you would like to apply for when the time comes.
There are various kinds of fully furnished and centrally heated accommodation available from the University. Most university accommodation is situated on or within a mile of campus and is conveniently located for the centre of York. More details can be found from the Accommodation Office.
Our typical offer is in the range AAA - AAB, with an A in Physics, A in Mathematics plus a suitable third subject - all at A-level.
A breakdown of other typical offers for different qualifications can be found here.
Each year in August we process the A-level results of all those who have made York Physics their FIRM choice - in fact, if you make York Physics your FIRM choice then we get your results several days before you do! During that time, we process the results and decide who has a place on which degree programme - this includes everyone who has made the offer, and IF we have any remaining space, those who are "near misses". If you have NOT made York Physics your firm choice then we cannot offer you that advantage!
If you have made FIRM acceptance of a place on one of our MPhys programme but have instead met the requirements for the BSc programme, then we will automatically consider you for a place on the BSc programme.
If any mitigating circumstances arise at any time after you make your intial application, you can upload appropriate documentation via the Applicant Portal and it will be taken into consideration when deciding your status.
Hence on A-level results day, you should always check your status on UCAS Track before panicing! This will tell you if you have been accepted by your FIRM or INSURANCE choices, but not your actual A-level grades.
If you find that you have not been accepted anywhere, you should check the main University of York page and see if there are still any places left in CLEARING and what sort of grades are being considered. If this is the case, you should contact the Admissions Tutor using the phone number on the Clearing website as soon as possible. As long as there are places available then the Admissions Tutor can be flexible in deciding who to admit.
If you have accepted our conditional offer of a place on the BSc programme and find that you have done better than expected and actually met the offer requirement for the MPhys programme, then we will automatically offer you a course transfer. This means that, should you accept the offer, you can start on the MPhys programme at the start of your first term, or if you wish, you can choose to stay with the BSc programme. It is also possible to transfer between BSc and MPhys courses at the end of the first and second year, subject to satisfactory performance.
We hope you have a smooth and trouble-free time whilst preparing for and taking your exams, but this is not always the case. There are a number of things that can go wrong, such as long-term illness of one of your teachers, or some medical condition that affects you or a close family member, or some other personal situation, etc. This is generally known as "mitigating circumstances" as it can affect your exam performance and result in you getting a lower grade than would otherwise be the case. If this happens, then you should let us know! You can upload appropriate documentation via your personal account on the Applicant Portal, or you can email the Admissions Tutor directly.
This information will then be taken into consideration when deciding whether or not to accept you onto the degree at results time.
The Department provides all 1st year students with a basic introduction to word processing, spreadsheets and e-mail.
There is also an extra-curricular learning programme called The Student IT Training programme
which is designed to help you acquire computer skills in, for example,
wordprocessing, electronic mail, using the Internet, and electronic
information retrieval. The Student IT Training programme can be
included as part of the York Award which is a structured programme for
skills and personal development. Languages for All (LFA) can also be
included within the York Award.
More information concerning computing and IT services can be found at the IT Services page.
The exact dates change from year to year - see here for the current schedule. The University runs a 3-term system with a 10 week Autumn, Spring and Summer term, with exams in January and May. It is currently considering the possibility of moving to a 2-term semester system as found in some other UK universities and in many international universities.
The University offers every student their own personalized on-line timetable, which you can either view in a web browser or link to an on-line calendar service on a smart phone, etc. This will be automatically updated whenever there are any changes. It usually goes live during Fresher's Week before the start of teaching. More information is on the student timetable page.
You can change between the different single honours degrees, e.g. from Theoretical Physics to Physics, typically within the first year.
You are generally allowed to change between a joint honours and a single honours degree within the first few weeks of the first term, e.g. Physics with Philosophy to Physics, or Theoretical Physics to Mathematics and Physics.
Any changes after this time are considered on an indivdual basis and would be at the discretion of the relevant board of studies.
You can also change between the 3-year BSc and the 4-year MPhys variants of each degree. This is subject to suitable academic performance and can be done at the end of year 1 and/or year 2. No changes are allowed after the end of year 2.
Yes. Some courses are supported by problem classes in which the whole class meets with a member of staff to look in detail at solutions to problems. In the first year we run a series of Maths Workshops that provide additional support for the first year Mathematics courses.
There is also a student-run support activity ' Physics Undergraduate Consultancy Service' or PUCS for short, which meets once a week and where 3rd and 4th year students assist 1st and 2nd year students.
Also, our academic staff are always happy to help with any problems you may be having with the course material.
Ultimately the Board of Studies in Physics is responsible for monitoring the progress of all students. However, at the beginning of your degree, you will be assigned a supervisor who will be a member of staff within the Department of Physics. Your supervisor will monitor your progress and discuss this with you at the beginning and end of each term or immediately after exam results come out. Each week problems are marked and returned giving the student very prompt feedback on perfomance and understanding.
We hope that you will develop a friendly relationship with your supervisor so that you feel free to confide any illnesses or problems that are affecting your academic performance.
The Board of Studies provides you with a transcript of your results at the beginning of each academic year.
We take students' views on the quality of our teaching and the content of our courses very seriously. At the end of each lecture course you are provided with a questionnaire that asks questions about both quality and content. The course lecturer and the Head of Department review these. Lecturers will often modify courses in the light of your comments and the effects of these measures are reviewed in the following year. Of course if you have a specific point that you wish to make then you are also free to mention it to the lecturer in person before the end of the course.
Alternatively you can ask one of the student representatives, elected by your year, to raise points in their meetings with staff. There are student representatives on the Board of Studies, the Staff-Student Committee and the Departmental Teaching Committee. In addition the student representatives meet the Year Tutors at least once a term.
At the moment, we do not offer a formal Year in Industry scheme. However, if a student makes a suitable arrangement on their own, then we can accommodate this with a 1-year gap in their studies. We are currently looking to formalize this arrangement in the near future.
Each year we offer a number of undergraduates the chance to do full-time
research for 6 - 10 weeks during the summer vacation. Some of these are
funded directly by the Department, others by the Nuffield
Foundation and EPSRC . In recent years we have had at
least 15 students doing summer projects with us. In
addition to the experience, you will gain a useful item to add to your
CV whilst the Department will benefit from your contribution.
Background reading is always useful, so here are some recommended general physics books:
"The New World of Mr Tompkins" by George Gamow and Russell Stannard (Cambridge University Press)
"How Things Work: The Physics of Everyday Life" by Louis A Bloomfield (Wiley)
and of course, magazines such as New Scientist, Physics Review and Physics World.
As a general 'preparing to study' guide we recommend:
"Studying Physics" by David Sands (Palgrave Study Guide)
and finally, the two recommended core texts for 1st year Physics are:
"Engineering Mathematics" by K A Stroud (Palgrave), and
"University Physics with Modern Physics" by H D Young and R A Freedman (Pearson)
NB Copies of all core texts are in the University Library and also for sale in the Blackwells Bookshop on campus.
We are committed to providing equal opportunites and welcome applications from everyone without regard to any disability - it is your academic ability that is key. Once you are here, the University provides a specialist disability support unit, which you can go to for an individual assessment and they will ensure that appropriate support is put in place for you according to your needs. This will be confidential to you, the Departmental Disability Advisor, your personal supervisor and selected other staff on a strict "need to know" basis only.
There are two main schemes, the first of which is available to all students at the University, while the second in available to Physics students only:
Yes. During the vacation, portering, catering, security, audio visual jobs, for example, are available to students to support the University's conference trade. In addition, Careers Service provide some opportunities for students who are looking for part-time, temporary and seasonal work in the local area.
Temporary and part-time work - Student home, The University of York
Look for work - Student home, The University of York
The University has recently built a brand new "Sports Village" on Heslington East campus which has many state of the art features, including 8-lane 25 m swimming pool, fitness suite, spa, etc. On the Heslington West campus there is also the Sports Centre which as well as having gyms, squash courts and indoor pitches, also has a running track and floodlit all-weather pitches.
There are also many sporting events, at all levels, organized by the York Sport Union.
Apart from attending frequent concerts in the Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall and Central Hall, students from any department can audition for the University Orchestra, the Jazz orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra (only by invitation after a University Orchestra audition), wind ensemble, and early music group.
For singers there is the Chamber Choir and University Choir, as well as Student Societies such as the Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and the Glee Singers. Non-Music Department students who are members of the student Music Society can practise in the practice rooms in Langwith College. Several other student societies have a musical focus such as Band Society, Concert Band Society, Concert Orchestra Society, Lunatic Fringe (alternative music), Music Society, Revelation Rock Gospel Choir, Jazz and Blues Society and Dance Society.
The ISA - International Students' Association (YUSU) is a student body which represents the specific interests of the increasing number of international students at York. All overseas students, undergraduate and postgraduate (including students from the EU), are automatically members of the ISA, which is jointly financed by the Students' Union and the Graduate Students' Association.
The ISA's functions are threefold: firstly, it aims to address problems - personal, social or administrative - which might be faced by students in a foreign land. Secondly, and more positively, it opens up opportunities for international and cultural exchange by organising social events, especially during the annual 'International Week' which culminates in Fiesta, a cultural and culinary tour of the world. Thirdly ,the ISA arranges trips around Britain and Europe to enable international students to visit some of the major tourist attractions.
The ISA Executive Committee is responsible for running the Association, and the Association is represented on a number of University committees. The ISA holds open meetings which all international students are welcome to attend. You are encouraged to get involved with the running of the ISA, either as a member of the Executive or in a more informal way.
Other support for International students can be found here: International students - Student home, The University of York
No, but we recommend it if you can, otherwise you will have to take the language courses as part of the LFA (Languages For All) programme as an extramural activity. In the particular case of Astrophysics students who wish to do a year in Europe, the language course will be taken in the LFA programme as you must take the Astrophysics electives as part of your course.
Yes. The University runs a number of student exchange schemes with partner universities around the world, including North America, Asia, Australia and other European countries. However, there are only a small number of places available at each partner university and so there is stiff competition from across the different York departments to be selected. Hence we cannot guarantee you a place, unlike the named 'Year Abroad' degree option.
The Student Union also runs various RAG events ("Raising and Giving") as do the different college JCRs, culminating in RAG Week in Spring Term each year.
The York Award is a certificated programme of transferable skills training and experiential learning, offered by the University of York in partnership with leading public, private and voluntary sector organisations.
If you have any questions which are not answered here, please feel free to contact the Admissions Tutor:
|Mail:||Dr Charles Barton
Department of Physics
University of York
|Phone:||+44 (0)1904 432241|
|Fax:||+44 (0)1904 432214|