Physics is the study of the fundamental forces of the Universe. It seeks to understand the nature of waves and particles, and the structure of matter.
You'll study conditions from the freezing vacuum of space to the blistering-hot core of a neutron star. You'll investigate subjects like nanosystems, semiconductors, fusion plasmas, biophysics, and quantum computing.
You'll gain a thorough grounding in fundamental physics, scientific principles and methods. You'll learn key skills for analysing problems, write scientific reports to industry standards, communicate complex concepts, and design and perform intricate experiments.
In your third year, you'll apply and develop your skills on a paid industrial placement. This gives you the chance to gain practical, real-world experience, enhancing your degree and your CV.
You'll work with world-renowned physicists using sophisticated equipment to probe the nature of existence and push the boundaries of research. Facilities like our astrocampus and the York Plasma Institute give you unprecedented opportunities to observe and experiment, helping you develop skills demanded by employers across a huge range of sectors.
Our courses are accredited by the Institute of Physics (iop.org), 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.
Spend a few weeks or a whole summer on a short course, volunteering programme, or career-related summer school with one of our international partners.
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.
Electromagnetism, Waves and Optics will ensure you have a firm grasp of the fundamentals of electric, magnetic and electromagnetic phenomena. You'll build on your existing knowledge and learn to describe and apply a range of foundational theories, concepts and laws. (20 credits)
Introduction to Thermal and Quantum Physics begins in Term 1, examining heat and kinetic theory, fluids and the solid state. In Term 2, you'll move on to quantum physics, discussing key experiments performed at the beginning of the 20th century. (20 credits)
Mathematics I introduces some of the fundamental maths you'll need for studying physics. You'll cover calculus, complex numbers, vectors, linear algebra and matrices. (20 credits)
Newtonian and Relativistic Mechanics covers foundational concepts in physics. You'll learn methods for calculating position, velocity, acceleration and other properties of motion. Then you'll expand on classical mechanics with an introduction to the ideas and concepts of Einstein's special theory of relativity. (20 credits)
Experimental Laboratory I builds on your experience from school and college to develop the core experimental competencies required of a physicist. You'll observe and perform experiments related to your other modules to reinforce your learning. You'll work with a group to investigate an open-ended problem - an opportunity to show initiative in your experimental work. (20 credits)
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.
Mapping the Universe considers the the Universe, our place within it, its constituent parts and the physical principles which govern them. You'll use the Cosmic Distance Scale to plot what's out there, and discover the techniques we use to measure it. (20 credits)
Human Uses of Energy explores the physics of energy production, energy consumption and climate change. (20 credits)
Mathematical Modelling illustrates the general principles in constructing mathematical models using simple examples. You'll use both familiar techniques and new skills to tackle real-world problems. (20 credits)
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.
Electromagnetism and Optics will explain how Maxwell unified electricity, magnetism and optics into electromagnetic theory. You'll also study Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffraction, and be introduced to laser physics. (20 credits)
Experimental Techniques with Professional Skills develops your technological and practical abilities crucial for working in an industrial or research environment. You'll investigate signal detection - analysing digital and analogue signals, assessing signal information, and applying new techniques to detect weak signals and discount noise. (20 credits)
Mathematics II introduces vector calculus, essential for interpreting electric, magnetic and gravitational fields. You'll learn to mathematically express the laws of Gauss, Ampere and Faraday, and study the properties of real and complex matrices and tensors. (20 credits)
Quantum Physics II covers atomic and subatomic quantum physics. You'll explore concepts of quantization, quantum states, and quantum interactions, and discuss atomic structure. (20 credits)
Thermodynamics and Solid State I introduces highly generalisable concepts with a wide range of applications. You'll consider the consequences of the four laws of thermodynamics and apply them to some simple systems. You'll also study crystalline solids, their structure, properties and behaviour. (20 credits)
Experimental Laboratory II builds on your knowledge from your first year lectures and lab work. You'll perform more sophisticated experiments, and develop your approach to data analysis and report writing. The module emphasises your use - and critical evaluation - of cutting edge computer-based instrumentation. (20 credits)
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.
Statistical Physics and Solid State II explores how statistical techniques can be applied to solve problems in thermodynamics and other branches of physics. The solid state element of this module expands on your second-year knowledge of crystalline solids. (20 credits)
BSc Project (40 credits)
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 three of the following modules:
Atomic Physics, Lasers and Modern Optics explains basic quantum mechanical treatments of atomic and molecular structure. You'll also study the interaction of light with atoms, and develop your understanding of the physics of lasers. (20 credits)
Galaxies and the Interstellar Medium and Cosmology investigates the properties both of galaxies and the universe as a whole. You'll review a range of observational tools, and trace the origins of the universe back to the Big Bang. (20 credits)
Introduction to Quantum Computing and Advanced Theoretical Techniques applies your knowledge of quantum mechanics to improving computer performances to levels unreachable by traditional models. You'll look at some of the mathematical techniques underlying quantum computing, and discover a range of mathematical tools for analysing more advanced theoretical scenarios. (20 credits)
Introduction to Plasma Science and Technology and Stellar Physics draws on ongoing research at York to illustrate and explain plasmas. You'll use the expertise you've been developing for the past two years to understand plasmas, and the cauldrons of our cosmos, stars. (20 credits)
Nanoscale and Magnetism will give you a working understanding of the physics and terminology of magnetism and magnetic materials, and introduce you to some of the state-of-the art techniques used in creating and characterising nanoscale materials. (20 credits)
Particle Physics and Relativity introduces some the principles and concepts of particle physics through study of some aspects of relativistic quantum mechanics. You'll go on to consider General Relativity, Einstein's theory of gravitation, which explains gravity as curvature of spacetime. (20 credits)
Quantum Physics III introduces advanced topics and techniques in quantum mechanics. You'll build on your earlier learning and make links with applications in nuclear physics and atomic structure. (20 credits)
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.
Apply to 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
UK/EU or international fees? The level of fee that you will be asked to pay depends on whether you're classed as a UK, EU or international student.
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 offer a number of scholarships to help cover tuition fees and living costs.
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 accommodation costs and estimated social costs.
“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 work with world‐leading academics who’ll challenge you to think independently and excel in all that you do. 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.
Much of your teaching will be in the form of lectures based on our cutting-edge research. These are supported by hands-on lab work and weekly mathematics problem classes in which you can apply and crystallise your learning. 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.
As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4|
|Lectures and seminars||396 hours||444 hours||0 hours||228 hours|
|Placement||0 hours||0 hours||1200 hours||0 hours|
The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.
The rest of your time on the course will be spent on independent study. This may include preparation for lectures and seminars, follow-up work, wider reading, practice completion of assessment tasks, or revision.
Everyone learns at a different rate, so the number of hours will vary from person to person. In UK higher education the expectation is that full-time students will spend 1200 hours a year learning.
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. 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. 96% of our graduates were employed or in further study 6 months after graduation (DLHE 2015/16).
Many of our graduates progress to postgraduate degrees at York and other leading universities. However, the skills you will learn - analysis, mathematics, problem-solving - are relevant in industries from finance to software development.
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. 91% of our graduates in employment are in graduate or professional level jobs, putting us in 2nd place in the Times Graduate Destination Indicator (DLHE, 2015/16).
Our graduates are working as:
AAB including A in Physics and Maths.
This must include a pass in all practical components (where offered).
Your third A level can be in a wide range of acceptable subjects. We do not accept General Studies or Critical Thinking.
We may consider AS Maths at A grade instead of A level Maths. In this case you'll attend additional maths classes in your first year of study.
|Cambridge Pre-U||D3 D3 M2 in 3 principal subjects including D3 in Physics and Maths|
|European Baccalaureate||80% overall, with 85% in Physics and Maths|
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:
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:
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.
To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).
If we're thinking about making you an offer, we'll invite you to an interview day. This gives us a chance to discuss your choice of course and get a better picture of you as an individual. You'll get a chance to look around the Department and University, attend a mini-lecture, take part in some hands-on activities, and talk to our academics and student ambassadors.
If you're applying from outside the UK we can arrange telephone interviews. Part of the interview takes place online, so you'll need to be able to connect to the internet while you are on the phone.
Get in touch if you have any questions
We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to deluxe.
Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.
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