Guardian University Guide 2021
If you have potential but you're missing the appropriate qualifications then our foundation year course offers a route onto our physics degrees.
The course is aimed at:
After completing the foundation year, you'll transfer into the Year 1 of a physics degree of your choice. All our degree programmes are offered as three-year Bachelors (BSc) courses or four-year Integrated Masters (MPhys/MMath) courses. Many have the option to spend an additional year abroad or in industry:
Our Physics degree courses are accredited by the Institute of Physics (iop.org), guaranteeing the standard of our teaching and learning. Completing a physics degree will put you on track to becoming a Chartered Physicist.
Successfully complete your foundation year and get a place on a degree course
Bring your maths and physics knowledge up to A level standard in just one year
We limit course numbers to make sure we can give you close personal support
Our Foundation Year course is based on A level mathematics and physics material. You don't need any prior knowledge, but you will need to be prepared for a busy and demanding schedule.
We closely limit course numbers to ensure you have the best possible chance of successfully completing the foundation year. As a result we can offer small-group teaching with considerable personal support.
All of our physics degree courses have an optional, integrated year abroad, where you will study for a year at one of our partner institutions.
There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:
We also offer our courses with a year abroad.
The foundation year runs over three terms and includes modules which aim to provide the student with the relevant knowledge and skills to embark upon the first year of any of our physics courses. The taught modules broadly follow the mathematics and physics A-level syllabus, while the practical sessions provide useful experience of university laboratory work.
Core modules you will undertake are:
After successfully completing your Foundation Year, you'll transfer onto one of our undergraduate physics courses.
Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
The Department is a wonderful place to study. The academics are very friendly and approachable. The student intake is small compared to other universities so lecturers can get to know you on a first-name basis rather than you just being another nameless face in the crowd.Paul, Foundation Year student
The fees and funding figures below are for 2021/22 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year
|UK (home)||International and EU|
UK (home) or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK (home) or international student. Check your fee status
For more information about tuition fees, any reduced fees for study abroad and work placement years, scholarships, tuition fee loans, maintenance loans and living costs see undergraduate fees and funding.
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2021/22 throughout the year.
Foundation Year Bursary
UK and EU students on this course will receive a fee waiver which will reduce the cost of studying during the Foundation Year:
You can use our living costs guide to help plan your budget. It covers additional costs that are not included in your tuition fee such as expenses for accommodation and study materials.
“Students from all backgrounds achieve consistently outstanding outcomes”
The TEF Panel, Office for Students, June 2018
Our Gold Teaching Excellence Framework award demonstrates our commitment to the delivery of consistently outstanding teaching and learning for our students.
You’ll study and learn with academics who are active researchers, experts in their field and have a passion for their subjects. Our approach to teaching will provide you with the knowledge, opportunities, and support you need to grow and succeed in a global workplace. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.
Impact of coronavirus (COVID-19)
We hope to deliver this course as advertised for 2021/22 entry, but it’s unclear when we’ll be able to return to a normal timetable. For an idea of how this course might be affected, see our changes for 2020/21 entry.
We teach using a combination of lectures, example classes and tutorials, laboratory work, workshops, and private study.
You'll meet regularly with an academic supervisor who will offer guidance and support throughout your degree and help develop your problem-solving skills. This fosters excellent staff-student rapport and ensures an extremely friendly and supportive atmosphere for you.
Regular supervision meetings, small group tutorials and our open door policy allow you to share your insights and develop a deeper understanding.
In your first year, you can expect:
|Lectures||15 hours per week|
|Workshops||2 hours per week|
|Practicals||2-8 hours per week|
These figures are based on an average student in an average week. Your contact hours will vary throughout the year due to your module choices, non-compulsory classes, exam periods and changes to scheduled activities.
Outside your timetabled hours, you'll study independently. This may include preparation for classes, follow-up work, wider reading, practise completion of assessment tasks, or revision.
In the UK, full-time students are expected to spend 1,200 hours a year learning. That's about 40 hours of classes and independent study each week during term time. Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours you spend on independent study will be different to other students on your course.
You'll be based in the Department of Physics on Campus West. Most of your teaching will take place in the Department, with some classes elsewhere on Campus West.
Our beautiful green campus offers a student-friendly setting in which to live and study, within easy reach of the action in the city centre. It's easy to get around campus - everything is within walking or pedalling distance, or you can always use the fast and frequent bus service.
Most of your assessment will be by formal examination. You'll also be marked on regular problem exercises and laboratory work, coursework and formal report writing. We balance various types of assessment to develop and test your different strengths:
You'll get prompt, regular feedback to help you develop your skills.
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4|
The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.
Our graduates are sought by employers in a huge range of disciplines. The skills you will learn - analysis, mathematics, problem-solving - are relevant in industries from finance to software development. All of this is supported by the York-led White Rose Industrial Physics Academy; a dedicated resource to facilitate collaboration between students and industry. Alternatively, many of our graduates progress to postgraduate degrees at York and other leading universities.
We're committed to supporting our students' career development and employability - it's embedded in our core teaching. We organise activities from careers fairs to leadership building exercises to ensure you're prepared to enter the jobs market with a competitive edge.
Our graduates are working as:
|Other qualifications||We are eager to encourage applications from a wide range of backgrounds, so we consider every application individually. In order to help ensure that you have the potential to complete the degree course, we will look for evidence that you are capable of dealing with the foundation year workload. For example, you could have successfully completed three A levels, or have been in full-time employment for an extended period.|
|Other international qualifications||Equivalent qualifications from your country|
Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.
|Widening participation||If you successfully complete one of the following programmes, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer: Next Step York, Realising Opportunities. More about widening participation.|
|Contextual offers||If you have experience of local authority care or live in an area with low progression to university, you may be eligible for an alternative offer up to one A level grade (or equivalent) below our typical offer. More about contextual offers.|
|EPQ||We recognise the value of this qualification although it will not be included as a condition of entry. It may be taken into consideration when you receive your results.|
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
|IELTS||6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component|
|PTE Academic||61, with a minimum of 55 in each component|
|GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language)||Grade C|
|C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency||176, with a minimum of 169 in each component|
|TOEFL||87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component|
|Trinity ISE III||Merit in all components|
|Duolingo||110 overall, with a minimum of 100 in each component|
For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.
You may be eligible for one of our pre-sessional English language courses. These courses will provide you with the level of English needed to meet the conditions of your offer.
The length of course you need to take depends on your current English language test scores and how much you need to improve to reach our English language requirements.
After you've accepted your offer to study at York, we'll confirm which pre-sessional course you should apply to via You@York.
Get in touch if you have any questions
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