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Home>Study at York>Undergraduate>Courses 2023/24>Physics with Astrophysics (with a year abroad) (MPhys)

MPhys (Hons) Physics with Astrophysics (with a year abroad)

Get halfway to anywhere with a Masters-level qualification with an integrated year abroad

Year of entry: 2023/24

UCAS code

F3F8

Institution code

Y50

Length

5 years full-time

Typical offer

AAA (full entry requirements)

Start date

September 2023(semester dates)

UK (home) fees

£9,250 per year

International and EU fees

£26,800 per year

Meet us

Find out more about life at York, online and on campus.

Discover York

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 gain foundational understanding of fundamental physics, scientific principles and methods. 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.

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

Physics lab virtual tour

Take a virtual tour of one or our modern, dedicated laboratories showing a typical range of lab equipment and facilities that you'll use.

We have additional teaching resources on the second floor of the teaching tower. This more flexible laboratory space is used for activities such as our dedicated Foundation year laboratories, advanced 3rd year practicals and final year projects. It also houses our computational laboratories and one of our two dedicated student study spaces for undergraduate physicists.

Fantastic facilities

Access to our Astrocampus, Atomic and Nuclear Lab, and computational laboratories. Our undergraduate labs are filled with experiments covering the full breadth of taught topics.

1st in the Russell Group

for academic support in Physics according to the 2022 National Student Survey

5th in the UK

for our departmental research environment – the support we give to our researchers – according to the Times Higher Education’s ranking of the latest REF results (2021).

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

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.

We'll help you prepare for your year abroad with an additional language module where you'll study a European language to an intermediate or advanced level.

Core modules

  • Classical Mechanics & Laboratories
  • Classical & Quantum Waves
  • Mathematical, Computational & Professional Skills 1
  • Electromagnetism & Relativity
  • Mathematical, Computational & Professional Skills 2
  • Mapping the Universe & Laboratories

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

  • Thermodynamic & Electromagnetism
  • Mathematics, Professional Skills & Laboratories
  • Astrophysical Technologies & Space Science
  • Statistical & Solid State Physics
  • Quantum, Nuclear & Particle Physics
  • Advanced Mechanics, Astrophysical Laboratories & Skills

Year 3

Your third year 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.

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

Core modules

  • Advanced Astrophysical Laboratory
  • Stars & Galaxies

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.

Year 4

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

Our current partner universities

Year 5

In your final year, you'll study 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

  • MPhys Research Project & Skills

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 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.

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.
  • 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.

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

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 hours per week
Seminars0-1 hours per week
Problem classes2-4 hours per week
Practicals5-8 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.

Teaching location

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.

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.

Physics lab virtual tour

Take a virtual tour of one or our modern, dedicated laboratories showing a typical range of lab equipment and facilities that you'll use.

We have additional teaching resources on the second floor of the teaching tower. This more flexible laboratory space is used for activities such as our dedicated Foundation year laboratories, advanced 3rd year practicals and final year projects. It also houses our computational laboratories and one of our two dedicated student study spaces for undergraduate physicists.

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).

Next steps

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