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MMath/MPhys (Hons) Mathematics and Physics

The book of nature is written in the language of mathematics - Galileo Galilei

Year of entry: 2023/24

UCAS code

GFC3

Institution code

Y50

Length

4 years full-time

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£26,800 per year

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for 'learning resources' in Mathematics

of the Russell Group universities included in the 2022 National Student Survey

for 'assessment and feedback' and 'academic support' in Mathematics

of the Russell Group universities included in the 2022 National Student Survey

Mathematics and Physics are natural subjects to combine at university. Comprehending high-level physics requires a strong mathematical foundation. Mathematical models are developed to explain our observations of the physical world.

Our integrated programme gives you access to the combined expertise of staff working in both Physics and Mathematics. Our specialist teaching emphasises the mathematical structure of physical theory, providing a strong basis on which to build a comprehensive understanding of modern physics.

You'll work with dedicated staff, all of whom are engaged in current research and many are world leaders in their field. You will benefit from training in cutting-edge mathematical and theoretical physics techniques, and use these to probe the nature of physical reality and push the boundaries of research.

Accreditation

The MPhys degree is accredited by the Institute of Physics (iop.org) and the MMath by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (ima.org.uk), guaranteeing the standard of our teaching and learning. Completing this degree will put you on track to becoming a Chartered Physicist or Chartered Mathematician.

IOP Institute of Physics Institute of Mathematics and its Applications

Twice the expertise

Work with world-leading tutors and researchers in two highly-regarded academic fields.

Advanced investigation

Conduct original research to reach new conclusions, expanding our understanding of physics or mathematics.

Course content

Your studies will be split fairly evenly between Physics and Mathematics.

In mathematics you'll explore areas such as dynamical systems, nonlinear dynamics and fluid mechanics. These modules, taught by mathematical physicists will provide you with rigorous training in underlying theory, allowing for greater concentration on your fundamental mathematics.

As your studies progress, you will complete a thorough grounding in physical knowledge, scientific principles and methods. Core modules will give you a comprehensive understanding of fundamental physics, while optional modules in your third and fourth year allow you to investigate favourite topics in further depth.

Study abroad

There are opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:

Year 1

In your first year, you will study core modules which emphasise key material to consolidate your existing knowledge and prepare you for more advanced study.

Core modules

  • Classical Mechanics & Laboratories
  • Classical & Quantum Waves
  • Foundations & Calculus
  • Electromagnetism & Relativity
  • Mathematical Programming & Skills
  • Multivariable Calculus & Matrices

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.

Core modules

  • Thermodynamics & Electromagnetism
  • Classical Dynamics
  • Vector & Complex Calculus
  • Statistical & Solid State Physics
  • Quantum, Nuclear & Particle Physics
  • Quantum & Continuum Dynamics

Year 3

Year 3 introduces some 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 or mathematics.

Option modules

You will study six 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.

Year 4

The fourth year consists of a number of advanced option modules, providing you with the opportunity to specialise further. You'll apply the core knowledge you've developed over the previous years to topics aligned with our internationally-recognised research groups.

You'll undertake a major research project under the supervision of an academic member of staff with expertise in the area you choose to focus on. You'll conduct original research to reach new conclusions and, at the highest levels, contribute to our understanding of physics.

Core modules

  • MPhys Research Project & Skills or Extended Independent Project in Mathematics

You'll choose a project focusing either on maths or physics. Our students widely acknowledge the final project as one of the most satisfying and rewarding parts of the course. You'll undertake independent research to investigate a current problem in the field, or bring new perspectives to a familiar topic. You may need to design, build and evaluate equipment for a specific experimental purpose.

Recent projects have included:

  • Shape coexistence in thallium and bismuth isotopes studied by laser spectroscopy
  • Exploring Exotic Nuclear Shapes and Structures
  • Nuclear Instrumentation Solutions for Industry
  • Construction of a polarised TIRF microscope to probe membrane diffusion
  • Exotic nuclei studied with knockout and fragmentation reactions
  • Strain control of a magnonic crystal

You'll be supported by a professional skills module to hone your research techniques. You'll undertake a literature survey, write a review essay, develop a project plan and give oral and poster presentations in an end-of-year conference.

Option modules

You will also study four 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.

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:

Maths

  • Identify typical problems posed by the description of nature in mathematical terms and approach them in a systematic manner, using exact methods or approximations in a controlled manner, applying a wider range of theories and mathematically more sophisticated methods.
  • Investigate unseen problems by adapting and generalizing known strategies and techniques taking into account specific, defining circumstances and the empirical character of physical theories, leading to predictions within well-defined limitations.
  • Extract relevant information from the research literature and use it effectively to developing lines of reasoning, assess the pros and cons of a technique or hypothesis, or prove mathematical statements.
  • Engage convincingly in inductive and deductive mathematical reasoning while creatively balancing the rigour of mathematical argument with the more intuitive approach needed for its application in physics.
  • Work independently with confidence to further the understanding of current physical theories and/or mathematical research by undertaking complex tasks and raising relevant issues for discussion with peers.
  • Communicate the content of modern physical theories both in writing and orally, emphasising the interplay between mathematical formalism and natural phenomena organising and surveying known research in an original way.
  • Confidently adapt to the demands of working for an extended period in a foreign country, which may include working in another language and navigating another culture.

Physics

  • Identify typical problems posed by the description of nature in mathematical terms and approach them in a systematic manner, using exact methods or approximations in a controlled manner, applying a wider range of theories and mathematically more sophisticated methods.
  • Investigate unseen problems by adapting and generalizing known strategies and techniques taking into account specific, defining circumstances and the empirical character of physical theories, leading to predictions within well-defined limitations.
  • Extract relevant information from the research literature and use it effectively to developing lines of reasoning, assess the pros and cons of a technique or hypothesis, or prove mathematical statements.
  • Engage convincingly in inductive and deductive mathematical reasoning while creatively balancing the rigour of mathematical argument with the more intuitive approach needed for its application in physics.
  • Work independently with confidence to further the understanding of current physical theories and/or mathematical research by undertaking complex tasks and raising relevant issues for discussion with peers.
  • Communicate the content of modern physical theories both in writing and orally, emphasising the interplay between mathematical formalism and natural phenomena organising and surveying known research in an original way.
  • 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

Annual tuition fees

UK (home) International and EU
£9,250 £26,800

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.

Fees for subsequent years

  • UK (home) fees may increase within the government fee cap in subsequent academic years. We will notify you of any increase as soon as we can.
  • International fees are subject to increase in subsequent years in line with the prevailing Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation rate (up to a maximum of 10%).

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.

Additional costs

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.

Funding

We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2023/24 throughout the year.

Masterclass Research Placements

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.

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.

14th in the UK

for Mathematics (Complete University Guide 2023)

1st for 'academic support' for Physics

of the Russell Group universities included in the 2022 National Student Survey

Teaching and assessment

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.

Teaching format

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.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures10-11 hours per week
Seminars2 hours per week
Problem classes2 hours per week
Practicals2-6 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.

Teaching location

You'll be based in the School of Physics, Engineering & Technology on Campus West. Most of your teaching will take place within the School, 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.

Your MPhys or MMath project makes up a large proportion of mark for your final year. You'll be assessed on your lab work and dissertation, and face an oral examination: all great preparation for continuing your studies to PhD level.

We balance various types of assessment to develop and test your different strengths:

  • Examinations
  • Extended assignments
  • Weekly practice questions
  • Formal reports
  • Presentations

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.

For me one of the best things about York is its friendly and inclusive atmosphere. The Physics staff are really welcoming and supportive.
Emma, MPhys Physics

Read more on Emma's blog.

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. 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.

Career opportunities

Our graduates are working as:

  • accelerator physicist
  • engineer
  • scientist
  • financial coordinator
  • IT analyst and consultant
  • teacher
  • electrical engineer
  • environmental modeller
  • accountant

Transferable skills

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

Entry requirements

Typical offer
A levels

AAA including Physics and Mathematics. This must include a pass in all practical components (where offered).

Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, D3 including Physics and Mathematics
European Baccalaureate 85% overall, with 85% in Physics and Mathematics
International Baccalaureate 36 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

Alternative offers

Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.

Criteria Adjustment
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.

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:

Minimum requirement
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.

If you've not met our 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.

Applying

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

Applicants will be required to attend an interview prior to any offer being made.

Next steps

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