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BSc (Hons) Theoretical Physics with a Year Abroad

Explore phenomena which experimentation can't easily explain and broaden your horizons with a year abroad

Year of entry: 2019

UCAS code

F347

Institution code

Y50

Length

4 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAB (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2019 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2018/19)

International fees

£21,330 per year (2019/20)

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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.

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 supplement your theoretical work with observation and experimentation.

Gain unique global experiences spending a year at one of our partner universities. Boost your confidence by immersing yourself in a different culture and gain valuable language skills for your CV.

Accreditation

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.

IOP Institute of Physics

I like that you can choose your modules as it means your degree can be tailored to individual interest. We have fantastic resources and equipment available in the Department.
Melissa, BSc Theoretical Physics

Course content

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 Europe, experiencing new ways of teaching and learning and gaining valuable language skills.

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.

Study abroad

Summer abroad

A year spent studying abroad not enough? 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

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.

We'll help you prepare for your year abroad with an additional language module. You'll study a European language at an intermediate or advanced level, so you'll need at least a grade C in GCSE German, Italian or French.

Core modules

Academic integrity module

In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.

Year 2

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.

Core modules

Year 3

You'll spend your third year at one of our prestigious partner institutions. You'll return to York for your fourth year with a fresh perspective, and new ideas and skills which will be invaluable for your future development.

Year 4

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.

Core modules

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:

  • Simulation of plasma blobs
  • Geant Monte-Carlo simulations for the electrons detection system at ISOLDE(CERN)
  • Correlation in systems of interacting electrons
  • Probing the structure and dynamics of DNA
  • Optimisation of single photon x-ray diffraction signals
  • Developing pulse shape algorithms for radiation detectors
  • Magnetic properties of 2D nanoribbons
  • Superconducting flux qubits
  • Optical properties of materials in the extreme ultra-violet
  • Vortex beam production by nature inspired pattern

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.

Option modules

You will pick two of the following option modules:

Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.

Learning by design

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.

Students who complete this course will be able 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 of appropriate digital technologies in data handling and understand the wider applications of these techniques in quantitative science.

Integrate a range of analytical, computational methods and the appropriate methodology to construct models of physical phenomena.

Be inspired by and articulate the advantages of successfully studying in a non-UK academic environment and how this broadens your perspective and develops adaptability, flexibility, resilience and drive.

Fees and funding

The fees and funding figures below are based on data from 2018 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year.

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £21,330

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.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK/EU: further increases within the government fee cap will apply in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International: fees for international students are subject to annual increases. Increases are currently capped at 2% per annum.

More information

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.

Funding

We offer a number of scholarships to help cover tuition fees and living costs.

Home/EU students

International students

Physics Academic Excellence Scholarships

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.

Master Class Research Placements

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.

Living costs

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.

Teaching and assessment

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.

Teaching format

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.

Overall workload

As a guide, students on this course typically spend their time as follows:

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Lectures and seminars408 hours396 hours0 hours240 hours
Placement0 hours0 hours1200 hours0 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.

Teaching location

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 in the Department of Mathematics and elsewhere on Campus West.

About our campus

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.

Assessment and feedback

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:

  • Examinations
  • Extended assignments
  • Weekly problems
  • Formal reports
  • Practical laboratory work
  • Presentations
  • Practical research methods

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.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Written exams64%64%0%47%
Coursework34%35%100%49%
Practical exams2%1%0%4%

The figures above are based on data from 2016/17.

Studying Physics at York is an experience like no other. The community here between students and lecturers is unrivalled.
Sammy, Second Year student

Careers and skills

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.

Career opportunities

Our graduates are working as:

  • Accelerator Physicist, Science and Technology Council
  • Engineer, BAE Systems
  • Scientist, The Home Office
  • Financial Coordinator, De Vere
  • IT Analyst and Consultant, Virgin money
  • Teacher
  • Electrical Engineer, Jaguar Land Rover
  • Environmental Modeller, E.ON
  • Accountant, John Lewis

Transferable skills

  • Self-management
  • Communication skills
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Creativity and innovation
  • IT literacy
  • Mathematics

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
A levels

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.

GCSEs 4 (C) or above in French, German or Italian
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
International Baccalaureate 35 Points with higher level Maths and Physics at grade 6
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:

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:

English language

If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:

  • IELTS: 6.0, with a minimum of 5.5 in each component
  • Pearson: 55, with a minimum of 51 in each component
  • C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency: 169, with a minimum of 162 each component
  • TOEFL: 79 overall, with a minimum of 17 in Listening, 18 in Reading, 20 in Speaking, 17in Writing
  • Trinity ISE III: Pass in all components

For more information see our undergraduate English language requirements.

Applying

To apply to York, you will need to complete an online application via UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service).

Interview days

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.

International applicants

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.

Next steps

Contact us

Get in touch if you have any questions

Learn more

Department of Physics

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