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MPhys (Hons) Physics with Astrophysics (with a year in industry)

The birthplace of industry's rising stars

Year of entry: 2020

UCAS code

F3F9

Institution code

Y50

Length

5 years full-time

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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Astrophysicists look to the skies to discover more about the nature of our Universe.

From the nuclear reactions that power our sun to the mysteries of dark matter, you'll study the great challenges of cosmology in topics aligned with our active research.

To explore the cosmos you'll need grounding in many disciplines of physics, from optics to electromagnetism, quantum physics to classical mechanics. You'll learn key skills for analysing real-life problems, write scientific reports to industry standards, communicate complex concepts, and solve mind-bending astronomical puzzles.

Spending a year on a paid industrial placement gives you the chance to gain real-world experience, enhancing your degree and 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

The course is better than I ever imagined! I get to study the entire Universe, from the smallest particle to the largest galaxies.
Mike, MPhys Physics with Astrophysics

Advanced investigation

Conduct original research to reach new conclusions, expanding our understanding of the Universe.

Course content

This course will build on your previous studies to prepare you for advanced research in industry or academia. 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.

Specialist modules allow you to pursue a broad understanding of modern astrophysics, including stars, galaxies and the exotic concepts of dark matter and dark energy.

In your final year you'll 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 radio astronomy, infrared spectroscopy or variable stars.

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. You'll study a range of key modules, and put your learning into practice in the lab throughout the year.

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. Advanced laboratory work will enable you to plan and execute extended experiments. You'll learn to approach problems creatively and develop your observational astronomy skills.

Core modules

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.

You'll complete advanced laboratory work which will include preparation for your research project in the final year.

Core modules

Option modules

You will choose two of the following option modules:

Year 4

In your fourth 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:

  • Kromek
  • Dyson
  • MM Microwave
  • BAE Systems
  • Jaguar Land Rover
  • Airbus
  • Selex ES
  • Institut Laue Langevin
  • Food & Environment Agency
  • MBDA Systems
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council
  • Thales

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 MPhys Physics with Astrophysics pathway.

Year 5

Your final 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 the Universe.

Core module

Our students widely acknowledge the MPhys 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:

  • Asteroseismology
  • Astrophysical methanol masers
  • Classifying stellar pulsations from space
  • Shell-Model study of exotic nuclei
  • Type-1a supernova explosions
  • Tuning the Stars to Beta Lep

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 pick three 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:

  • Apply independent learning strategies that incorporate core and advanced physics, mathematics and/or computational knowledge, techniques and understanding to synthesise and evaluate physical world problems.
  • Plan and execute extended or complex scientific investigation using the principles of physics in investigating a hypothesis, and interpret outcomes.
  • Work independently and within a research team and apply group-specific research methodologies, including objective analysis and constructive criticism of research level literature, to extended or complex open-ended problems.
  • Communicate succinctly to the general public and professional physicists through accurate and precise scientific record keeping, scientific report writing and presentations.
  • Select and apply sophisticated digital tools for in-depth scientific investigation and in wider societal applications.
  • Evaluate the use of mathematical, observational and/or experimental and/or computational techniques as applied in astrophysics within an extended line of investigation, assessing the limitations of the methodology.
  • Articulate how a physics-trained individual and physics approaches can contribute to successful industrial, commercial and/or non-academic environments.
It's a very rewarding course with plenty of opportunities to 'go your own way'. There is equipment for optical, solar and radio observations in the same place, so there's always something to do.
Dominic, BSc Physics with Astrophysics

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 hours per week
Tutorials0-1 hours per week
Problem classes2-4 hours per week
Practicals5-8 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
  • 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 4Year 5
Written exams64%67%0%69%46%
Coursework34%32%100%31%36%
Practical exams2%1%0%0%18%

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

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.

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
Working as an accelerator physicist I am involved with enabling the efficient, reliable and safe operation of the particle accelerators as well as understanding the underlying physics to help design upgrades and particle accelerators of the future.
Hayley, Physics with Astrophysics (2009), Accelerator Physicist, Science and Technology Facilities Council

Entry requirements

Qualification Typical offer
A levels

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

Cambridge Pre-U D3, D3, D3 including 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 6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 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

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