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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: 2020

UCAS code

GFC3

Institution code

Y50

Length

4 years full-time (plus optional placement year)

Typical offer

AAA (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2020 (term dates)

UK/EU fees

£9,250 per year (2020/21)

International fees

£22,080 per year (2020/21)

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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 the Departments of 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

Course content

Your studies will be split fairly evenly between the Departments of 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

Year 1 emphasises core material to consolidate your existing knowledge and prepare you for more advanced study.

Mathematics

Core modules

Physics

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.

Mathematics

Core modules

Physics

Core modules 

Year 3

Year 3 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 or mathematics.

Mathematics

Option modules

Choose 60 credits from:

Physics

Core modules
Option modules

Choose two from:

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.

MMath or MPhys project

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.

Mathematics

Option modules

Choose four mathematics modules from:

Physics

Option modules

If you take the MMath project, choose two physics modules;
if you take the MPhys project, choose one physics modules, from:

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:

  • 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 a original way.

Twice the expertise

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

Advanced investigation

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

Fees and funding

Annual tuition fees

UK/EU International
£9,250 £22,080

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.

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'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2020/21 throughout the year.

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.

Teaching Excellence Framework Gold Award

“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 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. 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.

Timetabled activities

In your first year, you can expect:

Lectures10-11 hours per week
Seminars1 hour per week
Tutorials1 hour per week
Problem classes2 hours per week
Practicals2-6 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, 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 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.

Your MPhys 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.

Percentage of the course typically assessed by coursework and exams

Year 1Year 2Year 3Year 4
Written exams82%85%73%66%
Coursework18%15%24%31%
Practical exams0%0%3%3%

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

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. 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 6 months after graduation (DLHE, 2015/16). Our commitment to employability places us in the top 5 physics departments for Graduate Prospects in the 2018 Times Good 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

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

We do not accept General Studies or Critical Thinking

Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, M2 including D3 in Physics and Maths
European Baccalaureate 85% overall, with 85% in Physics and Maths
International Baccalaureate 36 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: 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

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:

Qualification Minimum requirement
IELTS 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each component
PTE Academic 55, with a minimum of 51 in each component
GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language) Grade C
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, 17 in Writing
Trinity ISE III Pass 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 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.

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 Mathematics, Department of Physics

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