Guardian University Guide 2021
Physics is the study of the fundamental forces of the Universe. It seeks to understand the nature of waves and particles, and the structure of matter.
You'll study conditions from the freezing vacuum of space to the blistering-hot core of a neutron star. You'll investigate subjects like nanosystems, semiconductors, fusion plasmas, biophysics, and quantum computing.
You'll develop advanced techniques for researching 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 design and perform intricate experiments.
You'll 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 observe and experiment, helping you develop skills essential for higher-level research.
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.
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.
Spend a year abroad and boost your confidence, independence and language skills
Conduct original research to reach new conclusions expanding our understanding of physics
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.
As you progress you'll hone your lab skills, designing experiments and solving problems. You'll gain experience working with sophisticated equipment and specialist software.
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 quantum mechanics, nuclear physics, nanomaterials or lasers.
There are other opportunities for you to spend time abroad during your course:
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.
Choose one of the following Professional Skills modules. In these modules, you'll study with an eye to developing a range of abilities essential for high-level physics.
In addition to the above you will also need to complete our online Academic Integrity module.
This module covers some of the essential skills and knowledge which will help you to study independently and produce work of a high academic standard which is vital for success at York.
This module will:
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 skills of experimentation.
Your third year 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.
Choose 60 credits from:
* - Cosmology cannot be taken with Galaxies and the Interstellar Medium and Cosmology
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.
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 physics.
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:
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.
Choose 60 credits from:
Please note, modules may change to reflect the latest academic thinking and expertise of our staff.
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.
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.
Use sophisticated experimental design measurement and/or analysis methods to evaluate a physics model or theory whilst appraising the accuracy, correctness and limitations of the approach.
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.
I love labs - I really enjoy using all the equipment, having a go at what we've been learning and doing something hands on. We got to have a go at cooling superconductors and using them to levitate magnets which was pretty cool! For me it's a far cry from anything I did at school or college!Emma, MPhys Physics
The fees and funding figures below are for 2021/22 entry. If you take a year abroad or year in industry you'll pay a reduced rate of fees for that year
|UK (home)||International and EU|
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
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.
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.
We'll confirm more funding opportunities for students joining us in 2021/22 throughout the year.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In your first year, you can expect:
|Lectures||10 hours per week|
|Tutorials||0-1 hours per week|
|Problem classes||1-4 hours per week|
|Practicals||2-5 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.
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.
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:
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.
I chose York because the Department is one of the best in the country, and along with the whole university carries a strong reputation for teaching and research.Tim, MPhys Physics
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.
Our graduates are working as:
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 overall, including 6 in Mathematics and Physics at Higher Level|
|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|
Meeting the following additional criteria may qualify you for an alternative offer.
|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: Next Step York, Realising Opportunities. 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.|
If English isn't your first language you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. We accept the following qualifications:
|IELTS||6.5, with a minimum of 6.0 in each component|
|PTE Academic||61, with a minimum of 55 in each component|
|GCSE/IGCSE/O level English Language (as a first or second language)||Grade C|
|C1 Advanced and C2 Proficiency||176, with a minimum of 169 in each component|
|TOEFL||87 overall, with a minimum of 21 in each component|
|Trinity ISE III||Merit in all components|
|Duolingo||110 overall, with a minimum of 100 in each component|
|LanguageCert International ESOL SELT||B2 Communicator High Pass with a minimum score of 33/50 in each component|
For more information see our undergraduate 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.
Get in touch if you have any questions
We offer a range of campus accommodation to suit you and your budget, from economy to premium.
Explore campus and city life and hear what our current students have to say about living here.
Lively, full of culture and beautiful, York is regularly voted one of the best places to live and visit in the UK.
Find out more about York. Chat to staff and students and take the tour, on campus or online.