BSc (Hons) Mathematics and Physics

UCAS code Typical offer Length
GF13 AAA (See full entry requirements) 3 years full-time
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Combined modules from both maths and physics allows specialist areas of each discipline to be studied to a high level. Read more about studying a Maths and Physics degree at York.

Course overview

Mathematics and Physics are natural subjects to combine in a degree programme. At York the Mathematics and Physics BA/BSc degree includes a good all-round coverage of physics, with an even greater emphasis on the study of fundamental mathematics than the Theoretical Physics degree programme. It emphasises the mathematical structure of physical theory.

"York has a nice relaxed atmosphere even while striving to achieve the best of your ability. The department is friendly and the work is engaging.”
Mike, Third Year Student

Approximately half the teaching comes from the Department of Mathematics, who provide modules in, for example, dynamical systems, fluid mechanics and nonlinear dynamics taught by mathematical physicists, as well as a rigorous training in underlying mathematical theory. The final-year research project may be taken in either department. 

Our degree programmes are offered as a four year Integrated Masters course (MPhys) or three year Bachelors course (BSc) and can be studied with an optional Year Abroad.

 Institute of Physics Logo
This course is accredited by the Institute of Physics.
Accredited degrees give a solid grounding in core physics and can lead to professional awards such as Chartered Physicist.

Course content

What you'll study

Physics Lab Demo

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.

First Year 

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.

Stage One Modules

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.

Stage Two Modules

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.

Third Year

Within the third year final year students will undertake a research project conducted under the supervision of an academic member of staff with expertise in your research area of choice. 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.

Stage Three Modules

Academic integrity module

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:

  • define academic integrity and academic misconduct;
  • explain why and when you should reference source material and other people's work;
  • provide interactive exercises to help you to assess whether you've understood the concepts;
  • provide answers to FAQs and links to useful resources.


How you'll be taught

The knowledge and skills we aim to help you obtain and develop in our Department are geared towards those required of a professional physicist. It is important that the professional physicist is able to approach problems logically, make sound convictions on how to go about investigations, manage time effectively and think independently while keeping an open mind.

One area of great concern to students and staff alike is the quality of the teaching provided. Our Department was awarded the maximum mark of 24 our of 24 for the teaching quality in the most recent Subject Review of all its degree programmes, performed by the Quality Assurance Agency.

Another important area, often overlooked, is communication of any conclusions and ideas regarding a given physical problem to a wide scientific community. Our Skills activities, in many cases integrated into Maths and Physics modules will help you develop these communication skills through presentations, posters, extended writing and laboratory reports.

Knowledge and understanding are rarely transferred instantaneously. The ideas which we as teachers present to you now were absorbed and clarified by us only after much reading, thought and discussion. Tutorial-based discussion and practicals for solving problems are therefore an important element of our teaching.


Lectures are the principal method of knowledge transfer (i.e. this is typically how you will meet topics for the first time) which guide you through the development of the various branches of the subject. 


In the first and second years, core physics modules are supported by tutorials in which small groups of between four to six students meet at regular intervals to discuss the material from lecture courses and problems. Tutorials have no fixed format however and discussion frequently ranges, and indeed is encouraged to go, beyond the immediate subject matter to wider implications and issues.


In the first and second years there are maths practical workshops to support the mathematics and its application to concurrent physics lecture material. These practicals comprise medium sized groups with structured material to work through and staff providing interactive support. These provide you with a great opportunity to tackle some problems and raise any issues you have with staff.

Problem classes

A key skill is the application of mathematics to problem solving in physics, and in the first and second years, in addition to the maths practical above, the mathematics modules also have many problem classes associated with the material covered in the lectures.

In the third and fourth years, several physics modules have problem classes associated with them. These are encouraged to be student led with opportunities to raise specific problems you have concerning the material and question an academic about the material, in addition to getting on with exercises designed to prepare you for examinations.


In the third and fourth years some teaching is done by seminars, with a particular overall theme. A group, of perhaps twelve students, meets with a member of staff to hear short talks by one or two members of the group on a particular aspect of the subject, and this is followed by discussions. The subjects are chosen to reflect contemporary issues, and maybe associated with your final year project, so that there is scope for debate on values, as well as on purely scientific matters.

One of the main purposes of the seminar is to help you practise and develop your skill in communication, an important ability in all contexts but particularly so in science and industry. The member of staff in charge of the seminar group advises beforehand on the preparation of the seminar, and makes constructive comments afterwards.


How you'll spend your time

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Lectures and seminars360 hours
300 hours
204 hours
Independent study840 hours
900 hours
996 hours


How you'll be assessed

Weekly Problem Question Submission

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:

  • Examinations
  • Extended Assignments
  • Weekly Problems
  • Formal Reports
  • Practical Laboratory Work
  • Presentations
  • Practical Research Methods

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.

Assessment Adjustments

We can make appropriate adjustments to assessment procedures for students with disabilities. See the University's disability support pages for further details.

Find out more

Percentage of the course assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3
Written exams82%85%57%
Practical exams0%0%3%


Careers and employability

Physics Student Graduation, Lake view

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:

  • Application Writing
  • Development of an Employability Plan and tutorial review sessions
  • Preparing your next career step workshops
  • Careers Fairs
  • Enhancing your employability and careers options workshops
  • Physics careers day
  • Career development activities
  • Interview training
  • Leadership and teamwork

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


How to apply

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.

Interview Days

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.

Mature students

Applications from mature students are welcomed and are considered on an individual basis.

Entry requirements

A levels

AAA in both Maths and Physics plus a third A-level.  This will include a pass for all practical examinations associated with an A-level course.

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. 

International Baccalaureate

Diploma with score of 36 points with Higher Level Maths and Physics at least grade 6

Scottish Highers / Advanced Highers

AAAAA (Highers) + AA (Advanced Highers) in Maths and Physics

Irish Leaving Certificate

AAAAAB with Physics and Maths at least grade A1


BTEC Extended Diploma at DDD plus A at A Level in Mathematics and Physics

European Baccalaureate

85% overall with Physics and Maths at least 85%

Other qualifications

Cambridge Pre-U Diploma

D3/D3/D3 with Maths and Physics at least grade D3

English Language Requirements

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:

  • IELTS: 6.0 overall (minimum of 6.0 in each section)
  • Pearson: 55 overall (minimum of 55 in each section)
  • GCSE/IGCSE English Language: grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English: grade C
  • Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English: grade A

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.

Any questions?

If you have any enquiries concerning undergraduate admissions, please contact

Admissions Tutor,
Dr. Charles Barton:

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