Guardian University Guide 2021
Physics is the study of the fundamental forces of the Universe, understanding the nature of waves and particles, and the structure of matter.
You will gain a thorough grounding in physics, scientific principles and methods. You'll investigate subjects like nanosystems, semiconductors, fusion plasmas, biophysics, and quantum computing.
You'll learn to analyse real-life problems, write scientific reports, communicate complex concepts, and design and perform experiments.
Work with world-renowned physicists with access to unique facilities like our Astrocampus and the York Plasma Institute. On graduation, you’ll possess key career skills demanded by employers across a huge range of sectors.
Our Physics courses are accredited by the Institute of Physics, guaranteeing the standard of our teaching and learning. Completing this degree will put you on track to becoming a Chartered Physicist.
Our industrial placements allow you to gain practical, real world experience, enhancing your degree and enabling you to make informed choices about your future career
Your final-year project gives you the chance to design and carry out an extended scientific investigation
This course will give you a grounding in fundamental physics and mathematics, alongside a range of advanced topics. Our core and optional modules will give you a broad base of knowledge, and opportunities to focus on the specialist subjects which excite your curiosity.
As you progress you'll hone your lab skills, designing experiments and solving problems. You'll gain experience working with sophisticated equipment and specialist software. You'll spend your third year in industry, putting your skills into practice, and gaining useful experience for your final year and beyond.
In your final year you'll form a team to design and carry out an original research project. You'll work under guidance from an academic supervisor to bring new knowledge and deeper understanding to an area such as quantum mechanics, nuclear physics, nanomaterials or lasers.
There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:
We also offer BSc Physics (with a year abroad).
Year 1 emphasises core material to consolidate your existing knowledge and prepare you for more advanced study. You'll study a range of key modules, and put your learning into practice in the lab throughout the year.
Choose one of the following Professional Skills modules. In these modules, you'll study with an eye to developing a range of abilities essential for high-level physics.
In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.
This module 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:
In Year 2 you'll deepen your understanding of fundamental laws, processes and techniques. Advanced laboratory work will enable you to plan and execute extended experiments. You'll learn to approach problems creatively and develop your skills of experimentation.
In your third year, you'll undertake a paid placement in industry. This is a chance to apply your physics knowledge, gain valuable work experience, and forge links which could prove useful to your future career.
Our dedicated placement team will help you find and apply for placements. A series of industrial visits and events will assist in your search. In recent years our students have had placements at leading companies and research organisations such as:
You will be assigned an industrial supervisor, who is an employee of the company, and an academic supervisor from the department; both will support and monitor your progress through your placement year.
Placements are led by the White Rose Industrial Physics Academy, who promote unique collaborations between York and our leading industrial partners.
You are responsible for securing your chosen placement. If you don't find a placement you will transfer to the standard BSc Physics pathway.
The final year introduces some advanced concepts, building on the expertise you've developed. Optional modules give you the chance to delve deeper into your favourite topic, or discover a new area of advanced physics.
You'll work on a group project to investigate a current problem in the field. You'll conduct original research to reach new conclusions and, at the highest levels, contribute to our understanding of physics.
The BSc Project gives you the chance to design and carry out an extended scientific investigation. You'll join a small group looking at a project which will require creativity and original thinking to tackle. Each project is supervised by a specific member of staff with relevant expertise, who can give advice and assistance.
Recent projects have included:
You'll be supported by a professional skills module, building on the expertise developed in Years 1 and 2. You'll work with a team to develop a talk and academic poster to be given at a conference at the end of the year.
Choose 60 credits from:
* - Cosmology cannot be taken with Galaxies and the Interstellar Medium and Cosmology
Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Every course at York has been designed to provide clear and ambitious learning outcomes. These learning outcomes give you an understanding of what you will be able to do at the end of the course. We develop each course by designing modules that grow your abilities towards the learning outcomes and help you to explain what you can offer to employers. Find out more about our approach to teaching and learning.
Assess and evaluate problems, providing solutions through the application of physics and mathematics knowledge and techniques.
Construct and execute a scientific investigation using the principles of physics in investigating a hypothesis, and interpret outcomes.
Communicate the integration and inter-relation of core physics, present sophisticated concepts and defend outcomes of physical studies succinctly in both written and oral formats to audiences in a logical way.
Interact and collaborate effectively within groups applying core physics themes and concepts to open-ended problems.
Use appropriate digital technologies in data handling and understand the wider applications of these techniques in quantitative science.
Discriminate between modern experimental and measurement methods and the limitations imposed by assessment of systematic and random errors in the experimental design and execution.
Articulate how a physics-trained individual and physics approaches can contribute to successful industrial, commercial and/or non-academic environments.
I love labs - I really enjoy using all the equipment, having a go at what we've been learning and doing something hands on. We got to have a go at cooling superconductors and using them to levitate magnets which was pretty cool! For me it's a far cry from anything I did at school or college!Emma, MPhys Physics
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|
You will need to cover transportation costs to/from any placement during a year in industry as well as living costs while on placement. You should be able to cover the majority of expenses with salary earned during the placement.
You will need to cover transportation costs to/from any placement during a year abroad. You may be eligible for extra loans and/or grants through your student loan provider dependent on your financial background.
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.
We offer £1,000 in each year of your degree if you achieve an A* or equivalent in Mathematics or Physics and select York as your firm choice when applying. This scholarship is renewable each year, subject to attaining full credits and an overall mark of 70 per cent or higher at your first attempt.
If you achieved an A* or equivalent in A level Mathematics or Physics and maintain an overall mark of 70% or higher Year 1 you'll be guaranteed a paid summer placement with one our research groups.
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.
Much of your teaching will be in the form of lectures based on our cutting-edge research. Twice a week you'll join four or five other students to discuss course material with a tutor. Discussions often range beyond the immediate subject matter to wider implications and issues.
You'll have regular meetings with a personal academic supervisor, who will guide your studies and keep an eye on your academic progress and general welfare.
In your first year, you can expect:
|Lectures||10 hours per week|
|Tutorials||0-1 hours per week|
|Problem classes||1-4 hours per week|
|Practicals||2-5 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.
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. Our open door policy means you can always approach your tutors if you want to discuss your work.
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4|
The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.
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, BSc Physics
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. 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. Thanks to this commitment to employability we have the 2nd highest score for graduates “career after 6 months” for physics departments in the 2019 Guardian University Guide.
Our graduates are working as:
AAB including A in Physics and Maths. This must include a pass in all practical components (where offered).
|Cambridge Pre-U||D3, D3, M2 including D3 in Physics and Maths|
|European Baccalaureate||80% overall, with 85% in Physics and Maths|
|International Baccalaureate||35 points overall, including 6 in Mathematics and Physics at Higher Level|
|Other qualifications||All other qualifications, including Scottish Highers and Irish Leaving Certificates, will be considered individually. If you don't have suitable qualifications in Maths and/or Physics, successfully completing a Foundation Year will guarantee a place on any of our undergraduate degrees: Physics (with a foundation year) (BSc) We welcome applications from mature students and students without standard qualifications. Please contact our admissions team to discuss your specific circumstances. You may also be interested in our part-time access course: Physics via OpenPlus|
|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 three A level grades (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 two A level grades (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|
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 IELTS 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
We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to premium.
Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.
Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.