Physics with Space Science

BSc, 3-4 years

This is for you if you are interested in the study of the Solar System, space astronomy, Earth observation and human spaceflight, together with associated technology such as rocket propulsion and spacecraft instrument design.

Course Description

  • As part of the University of Leicester’s commitment to being a leading academic institution, we regularly review and update our degrees and modules to ensure that they reflect the most up-to-date research, knowledge, ideas and teaching practices, as well as taking into account student feedback. We also have to take into account the availability of key teaching staff where this will impact on the delivery of the course.  As a result, if there are major changes to the course that you have applied for, we will contact you as soon as possible and will ensure that any disruption to your studies is minimised.

As a Physics with Space Science student 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, and develop specialised knowledge of 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 mechanics, waves and fields, electromagnetism, special relativity, thermodynamics, quantum and atomic physics.

By choosing the Physics with Space Science degree you will study these alongside specialist space science options and take part in research projects covering the major areas of space science research. We have one of the largest campus-based space research centres in Europe, and the space science and technology options that you will study are based on the research we do. This includes a strong involvement in the Bepi-Columbo mission to Mercury and detector design and development for satellites like the joint US-UK-Italian ‘Swift’, a remarkable observatory designed to study the most powerful explosions in the Universe.

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
F365
Start date
September 2018
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: Guardian league table 2016, 2017] and our degrees are accredited by the UK Institute of Physics (IOP).

We host a 4760 core supercomputer for undergraduate and research use. 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

Speciality module

Build your introductory speciality module by choosing 3 of the following units:

  • Introduction to Modern Physics covering elementary particles, the building blocks of the Universe and high energy experiments.
  • Introduction to Applied Physics covering great experiments and the historical significance of fundamental discoveries
  • Introduction to Astrophysics covering observational astronomy, the Sun and stars
  • Introduction to Space Science covering space technology and planetary exploration

To qualify for a degree in Physics with Astrophysics, one of these units must be Introduction to Space Science.

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

Option module

Build your intermediate option module by choosing 2 of the following units:

  • Intermediate Modern Physics covering the development of classical and quantum mechanics, fractals and chaos
  • Intermediate Applied Physics covering quantum devices and remote sensing
  • Intermediate Astrophysics covering stellar structure, galaxies and the Universe
  • Intermediate Space Science covering spacecraft and mission design, and jovian and terrestrial planets.

To qualify for a degree in Physics with Astrophysics, one of these units must be Intermediate Space Science.

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. 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. 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. 

Core modules

Option modules

Choose two option modules from:

  • Elementary particles, the Standard Model and Beyond
  • Applied and Medical Physics
  • Stellar Astrophysics
  • Quasars and Cosmology
  • The Space Environment (S)
  • Planetary Physics (S)

To qualify for a degree in Physics with Space Science, these units must be ones marked (S).


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


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 computing 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 laboratory or computing workshops (six hours), 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.

Independent learning

When not attending lectures, seminars or other timetabled sessions you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. Typically, this will involve reading journal articles and books, working on individual and group projects, undertaking research in the library, preparing coursework assignments and presentations, and preparing for exams. To help with your independent learning, you can access the Library and our social study spaces in halls of residence.

Overall workload

Typical workload hours for 1200 courses in 2016/17:

Year 1: 27% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

  • Teaching, learning and assessment: 324 hours
  • Independent learning: 876 hours

Year 2: 23% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

  • Teaching, learning and assessment: 276 hours
  • Independent learning: 924 hours

Optional year abroad: If you’re spending a year abroad, your contact hours will vary depending on the institution you’re studying at.

Final year: 18% of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity

  • Teaching, learning and assessment: 216 hours
  • Independent learning: 984 hours

While your actual contact hours may depend on the option modules you select, the following information gives an indication of how much time you will need to allocate to different activities for each year of your course.

Academic support

Our Student Learning Development Team provides help in the following areas:

  • study and exam skills
  • academic writing
  • presentations
  • dissertations
  • numerical data skills
  • referencing sources

Our AccessAbility Centre offers support and practical help for students with dyslexia or other specific learning difficulties, including physical, mental health or mobility difficulties, deafness, or visual impairment.

Teaching staff

You will be taught by an experienced teaching team whose expertise and knowledge are closely matched to the content of the modules on the course. PhD research students who have undertaken teacher training may also contribute to the teaching of seminars under the supervision of the module leader. Our teaching is informed by the research we do. You can learn more about our staff by visiting our staff profiles.

Research Stories

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 at distinction in Physics and Maths.
  • International Baccalaureate: Pass Diploma with 32 points, including 5 in 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

When considering your application, we will look for evidence that you will be able to fulfil the objectives of the course and achieve the standards required. We will take into account a range of factors including previous exam results.

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

    • £9,250 in your first year. 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. 

    Starting in 2018

    • TBC

    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. 

    Starting in 2018

    • TBC
    Find out more about scholarships and funding.

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 with Space Science BSc 3 years full-time F365 Apply Now
Physics with Space Science with Year Abroad BSc 4 years full-time F365 Apply Now
Physics with Space Science with Year in Industry BSc 4 years full-time F365 Apply Now
Course
Physics with Space Science
Qualification
BSc
Duration
3 years full-time
UCAS Code
F365
Availability
Course
Physics with Space Science with Year Abroad
Qualification
BSc
Duration
4 years full-time
UCAS Code
F365
Availability
Course
Physics with Space Science with Year in Industry
Qualification
BSc
Duration
4 years full-time
UCAS Code
F365
Availability

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