Theoretical physics provides the tools for constructing the mathematical framework of the physical world.
On a foundation of advanced physics, you'll build your understanding of theoretical techniques. You'll use mathematical analysis and an array of computational methods to address complex problems. You'll learn key skills of analysis and research, write scientific reports to industry standards, and simulate huge physical systems using our supercomputers.
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.
Work with world-renowned physicists using sophisticated equipment to probe the nature of existence and push the boundaries of research. You will learn to utilise supercomputers like York's own Viking cluster, developing parallel code to model complex physical systems.
Our Physics 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 skills, designing computational studies and solving physical and mathematical 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 plasmas, gamma rays or electron detection.
There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:
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 develop your theoretical and computational skills in the lab throughout the year.
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. You'll learn to approach problems creatively and further develop your programming and analytical skills in our dedicated computational laboratories.
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 School; 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 Theoretical Physics pathway.
In your final year, you'll cover advanced concepts, building on the expertise you've developed. Option 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.
You will also study three option modules. In previous years, options have covered topics such as:
The options available to you will be confirmed later in the year. For further information please get in touch.
Our modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.
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.
|UK (home)||International and EU|
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.
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.
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 throughout the year.
Any student who enters stage 1 of any of our physics degrees having achieved an A* at A level (or equivalent) in Mathematics or Physics and achieves an overall Year Mark of 70 per cent or higher in stage 1 in their first attempt is guaranteed a Masterclass Research Placement.
In addition, a number of Masterclass places will be made available to students who did not qualify based on entry qualification, but who achieve an overall Year Mark of 70 per cent or higher in stage 1 in their first attempt and have demonstrated significant improvement in their abilities during their first year of study.
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.
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.
Much of your teaching will be in the form of lectures based on our cutting-edge research. You will regularly join other students for small group discussions of 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||9-12 hours per week|
|Seminars||0-1 hours per week|
|Problem classes||2-4 hours per week|
|Practicals||6-8 hours per week|
These figures are representative of a typical 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, practice 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 School of Physics, Engineering & Technology on Campus West. Most of your teaching will take place in the School, with some classes in the Department of Mathematics and 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. Our course structures are changing in September 2023. Find out more about how this course may be affected.
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.
Companies that York physics graduates have gone on to work for include: BAE Systems, E.ON, De Vere, The Home Office, Jaguar Land Rover, John Lewis, the Science and Technology Council, and Virgin Money.
Our graduates are working as:
AAB including A in both Physics and Mathematics. This must include a pass in all practical components (where offered).
|Cambridge Pre-U||D3, D3, M2 including D3 in Physics and Mathematics|
|European Baccalaureate||80% overall, with 85% in Physics and Mathematics|
|International Baccalaureate||35 points overall, including 6 in Mathematics (either Analysis and Approaches or Applications and Interpretations) and Physics at Higher Level|
|T levels||We are currently not accepting T Levels for this course unless additional A Level (or equivalent qualifications) in Mathematics and Physics have been taken.|
|International foundation programme||Foundation Certificate from our International Pathway College or an appropriate alternative.|
|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: Black Access Programme, Next Step York, Realising Opportunities, YESS, YorWay to York. 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 (Academic and Indicator)||6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component|
|C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency||176, with a minimum of 169 in each component|
|Duolingo||120, minimum 105 in each component|
|GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language)||Grade C / Grade 4|
|LanguageCert SELT||B2 with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component|
|LanguageCert International ESOL||B2 Communicator with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component|
|PTE Academic/PTE Academic Online||61, with a minimum of 55 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 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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