Physics

BSc, 3-4 years

This is for you if... you wish to study the most fundamental of the sciences. Physics is concerned with the study of matter and energy on all scales from the sub-atomic to the size of the cosmological.

Course Description

As a physics student at Leicester you will acquire an appreciation of the scope and impact of modern physics and the use of mathematics, computing and experimentation to solve important real-world problems.

You will study the fundamental theories of physics, from classical dynamics, waves and fields, to relativity, atomic and particle physics. Through option courses and projects you will have the opportunity to explore the diverse areas of physics which the Department actively researches - such as planetary science, climate physics, nanotechnology, astrophysics, medical physics and space science.

All our Physics students study the same core of fundamental physics and maths, based on Institute of Physics (IOP) 'core of physics' material. This includes classical dynamics, waves and fields, electromagnetism, special relativity, thermodynamics, quantum and atomic physics. By choosing the Physics BSc you will have access to the widest range of specialist options in each year.

What's the difference?

  • Our three-year BSc degrees provide an excellent route to a very wide range of careers in industry and business.
  • Our four-year MPhys degrees are aimed at students considering a career or further training in scientific research.

Transfer between BSc and MPhys degrees is possible during your first and second years (subject to meeting the required end-of-year mark). It is also possible to transfer between different Physics degrees as long as you have taken the required number of options. Staff in the department will be available to offer help and advice.
Key Facts
Typical offer
AAB
UCAS code
F300
Start date
September 2017
Department
Physics and Astronomy
Contact

Admissions enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 5281
seadmissions@le.ac.uk

Course enquiries
+44 (0)116 252 3575
physug@le.ac.uk

Department of Physics and Astronomy website

View Key Information Sets

Why Leicester?

We are a top 5 Physics department [Source: Gaurdian league table 2016, 2017] and our degrees are accredited by the UK Institute of Physics (IOP).

We host a 500 core supercomputer for undergraduate use plus a 3618 core research machine. We also host part of DiRAC, the UK’s supercomputing facility for particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology.

We have an excellent staff-student ratio (among the best in the UK) [Source: Guardian league tables 2016, 2017] and we operate an open door policy. This means teaching staff make themselves available throughout the day for you to get the support you need.

In the Physics Challenge module, third year students work in teams to solve problems requiring imagination, estimation or approximation. Like many real-world problems, there are often no right answers but the teams compete to find and present the best answers.

Course Structure

Year 1

Year 1

Modules

  • Dynamics
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Laboratory Physics 1
  • Light and Matter
  • Mathematical Physics 1.1
  • Mathematical Physics 1.2
  • Waves and Quanta
  • Physics Speciality 1

Option module

Build your option module (Physics Speciality 1) from four short lecture courses which cover topics such as:

  • Digital Electronic Systems
  • Great Experiments
  • Modern Physics
  • Nanophysics
  • Observational Astronomy
  • Planetary Exploration 
  • Space Technology
  • The Sun and Stars
  • Terrestrial Planets

This is the same as the first year of the MPhys.

Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

Year 2

Year 2

Modules

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Electromagnetic Fields
  • Laboratory Physics 2
  • Mathematical Physics 2.1
  • Mathematical Physics 2.2
  • Scientific Inference 1
  • Physics Speciality Electives 2

Option module

Build your option module (Physics Speciality Electives 2) from four short lecture courses which cover topics such as:  

    • Evolution of Mechanics 
    • Fractals and Chaos
    • Galaxies and the Universe 
    • Jovian Planets and Moons
    • Planetary Remote Sensing 
    • Quantum Devices 
    • Science Communication 1
    • Spacecraft and Mission Design 
    • Stellar Structure 

    This is the same as the second year of the MPhys.

     

    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

    Year in Industry or Abroad (optional)

    Year in Industry or Abroad (optional)

    If you want to, you can spend your third year studying abroad at one of our partner institutions or working on an industrial placement (eligibility is dependent on your academic performance in Years 1 and 2). Alternatively, you can opt to continue studying at the University and complete your degree in three years.

    NB. A year spent abroad or on an industrial placement still incurs a tuition fee, but this is much lower than for a normal year at Leicester. See our Fees and Funding section for details.

    Year Abroad

    Studying abroad is not just for people who are interested in travelling and meeting new people. It is about acquiring life skills that are becoming increasingly significant for a wide range of jobs in our modern globalised society. Whether you go on to work in the private sector, the state sector, a non-governmental organisation or become self-employed you will find the experience invaluable. Find out more from our International Office.

    Our exchange programme with the University of Groningen is administered through the European Erasmus scheme, under which you may be eligible for an Erasmus grant if you comply with European Commission rules and regulations. If you are eligible for a loan from Student Finance you can apply for a travel grant from them.

    • For the latest information on the future of the Erasmus scheme at UK universities please see our Brexit microsite 

    We also have links with some universities outside Europe. There is no monthly grant when you attend one of these universities, however if you are receiving financial assistance from Student Finance your support will continue and you may also be eligible to apply for additional travel grants or scholarships.

    We have links with the following universities:

    Year in Industry

    An industrial placement is a fantastic opportunity to gain experience of a professional working environment, between your second and third years of study. By enhancing your degree with an industrial placement, you can make yourself a more attractive proposition to employers after you graduate.

    You'll benefit from real-world experience in a commercial setting, enabling you to make an easier transition from studying to working after you finish your degree. You'll gain invaluable insight into a potential career path, as well as strengthening your CV significantly in preparation for entering the graduate labour market. On top of all this, you'll be paid a salary for your placement, which gives you greater financial flexibility as well as offsetting the cost of the extra year.

    For further information, please visit the Industrial Placement pages on the College of Science and Engineering website.

    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

    Final Year

    Final Year

    Your final year will allow you to take more control of your learning as you select from an even wider pool of specialist options. Group and research project work will span an entire semester to give you the opportunity to delve further into subjects that intrigue you.

    Modules

    • Quantum Mechanics
    • Atoms and Nuclei
    • Radiation and Matter
    • Physics Challenge
    • Physics Speciality Electives 3
    • Workshops and Projects (incl. Skills Elective 1)
    • Skills Elective 2 (BSc only)

    Option module

    Build your option module (Physics Speciality Electives 3) from four short lecture courses which cover topics such as: 

    • Active Galaxies
    • Advanced Propulsion Systems
    • Climate Physics
    • Cosmology
    • Elementary Particles
    • Human Spaceflight
    • Life in the Universe
    • Magnetic Systems
    • Medical Physics
    • Physics in Education
    • Planetary Plasma Environments
    • Planetary Science  
    • Spaceflight Dynamics
    • Stellar Evolution

    Modules shown represent choices available to current students. The range of modules available and the content of any individual module may change in future years.

    Additional Information

    Accreditation

    All of our degrees are accredited by the Institute of Physics.

    An accredited degree not only gives you a solid grounding in core physics, it also sets you on a route towards Institute of Physics membership and the Chartered Physicist (CPhys) professional qualification. With an accredited BSc degree to your name, you will have partially fulfilled the educational requirements for CPhys status.

    Major/Minor Degrees

    Major/Minor degrees enable you to create your own degree. You can study a core area in depth (your major subject), while also exploring an additional area (your minor subject).

    Why not complement your Major with a subject that you enjoyed before, or which has vocational elements that can boost your career prospects? Alternatively, you may want to try something completely new that you’ve always been interested in, like a language.

    Find out more

    Teaching and Assessment

    You will be taught through a combination of lectures, small group tutorials, lab sessions, seminars, workshop classes and project work. Training in scientific computation and programming is built into each degree.

    A typical week for a first year physics student might consist of five hours of lectures, about two afternoons in the lab or computing workshops (six hours), about two hours of problem classes, four hours of workshops and one hour in a small group tutorial session. This is a total of about 20 hours of contact time. You will also spend several hours a week on private study.

    Assessment includes exams and course work (such as workshop and seminar problem classes). Lab work is primarily assessed in real time and project work is assessed through written reports and oral presentations.

    You will have regular meetings with your personal tutor to discuss progress in your studies. Your personal tutor will also provide a sympathetic ear for all matters of personal concern, whether they be academic, financial, housing, career or social issues.

    Entry Requirements

    • A/AS-levels: AAB including Physics and Maths
    • Access to HE Diploma: Pass diploma with 45 credits at level 3, including some credits in Physics and Maths at distinction.
    • International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma with 32 points, including at least 5 in both Physics and Maths at Higher Level
    • BTEC Nationals: Pass Diploma with DDM, plus subject requirements and B at A-level Maths

    Other national and international qualifications considered.

    If you do not meet the entry requirements for this course, you can apply for the International Foundation Year run by our dedicated International Study Centre. The ISC provides academic and English language support to help you progress to your chosen undergraduate degree at the University of Leicester. 

    Second year entry may be possible with suitable qualifications.

    Selection Process

    Applicants are not normally interviewed. If you receive an offer you will be invited to visit the department.

    English Language Requirements

    IELTS 6.0 or equivalent. If your first language is not English, you may need to provide evidence of your English language ability. If you do not yet meet our requirements, our English Language Teaching Unit (ELTU) offers a range of courses to help you to improve your English to the necessary standard.

    International Qualifications

    Find your country in this list to check equivalent qualifications, scholarships and additional requirements.

    Countries list

    Fees and Funding

    • Starting in 2017

      An inflationary increase (2.8% based on RPIX*) in tuition fees and student support loans have been announced by the Government for 2017. This is still subject to formal parliamentary approval however, if approved, fees for 2017/18 entry could rise to £9,250 in 2017/18.

      After 2017/18, the tuition fee you pay may increase annually in line with inflation (RPIX) and is subject to government regulations.

      (*RPIX is a measure of inflation in the UK, equivalent to all items in the Retail Price Index (RPI) excluding mortgage interest payments.)

      • Year Abroad: your fee will be £1,250 for that year.
      • Year in Industry: your fee will be 15% of the full-time tuition fee that applies in that year. 

      Find out more about scholarships and funding.

       

    • Starting in 2017

      • £18,855 per year

      Year Abroad: your fee will be £4,713.75 which is 25% of the full-time tuition fee.

      Year in Industry: your fee will be £2,828.25 which is 15% of the full-time tuition fee. 

    Career Opportunities

    In your third year you will have the option to do a ten-week group research project with one of our industrial partners such as Airbus Defence and Space, Jorin Ltd., Domino Printing or Weatherford International. You will gain invaluable project, budget and team management experience working in a professional environment on a real project. 

    You can gain first-hand experience of physics education through a final year mentoring scheme with physics teachers in local schools, working for half a day a week over one semester.

    We offer a small number of Summer Research Placements: six weeks of paid employment working with the research groups within the Department of Physics and Astronomy. These placements provide excellent experience if you want to go on to a career in academic or industrial research.

    Our dedicated Careers Tutor can provide information, advice and guidance on the graduate job application process.

    Careers

    Our Career Development Service is here to support you, with advice on interviews, CVs, work experience, volunteering and more. From Freshers’ Week to Graduation and beyond, they are here to help you reach your professional goals.

    Course Qualification Duration UCAS Code Availability
    Physics BSc 3 years full-time F300 Apply Now
    Physics with Year Abroad BSc 4 years full-time F300 Apply Now
    Physics with Year in Industry BSc 4 yesr full-time F300 Apply Now
    Course
    Physics
    Qualification
    BSc
    Duration
    3 years full-time
    UCAS Code
    F300
    Availability
    Course
    Physics with Year Abroad
    Qualification
    BSc
    Duration
    4 years full-time
    UCAS Code
    F300
    Availability
    Course
    Physics with Year in Industry
    Qualification
    BSc
    Duration
    4 yesr full-time
    UCAS Code
    F300
    Availability