School of Physics and Astronomy

Studying Physics at Leicester

We create a challenging and supportive learning environment which will help you to make the most of your studies. We have an excellent staff/student ratio and we are able to offer a large number of small-group activities in addition to traditional lectures. This means you will benefit from working directly with our leading academics. Our open door policy means that teaching staff will be available to talk to, and you can get the support you need.

Physics at Leicester

Passionate about physics, Heidi used a wide range of equipment – from oscilloscopes to robot dogs.


Average teaching week

Your personal weekly timetable will change from week to week as the core lecture and laboratory modules progress, and it will depend on which options you are taking.

A typical teaching week in your first year consists of approximately 20 hours contact time including tutorials, seminars/problem classes, workshops, and experimental and group project work.

In addition, you will be expected to undertake approx. 15-20 hours of private study time (that includes homework, background reading, exam revision, preparing reports and presentations, etc.).

Innovative modules

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

In the Physics Special Topics module, our fourth year MPhys students write short research articles for the department’s own Journal of Physics Special Topics. This provides a crucial insight into the world of scientific publishing and peer review, as  well as experience in communicating the results of scientific research. The journal has generated a great deal of media exposure for our students. This innovative module was highly praised by the UK Institute of Physics.

Flexible options

Option modules will run through all years of your degree, allowing you to mix and match between option modules in a range of different areas of physics, each of which has been built on the basis of many years of world-leading research.

All of the different specialist degrees build on the same core physics modules and all are flexible. You can pick and choose option modules from different degree specialisms.

Project work

You will begin with small group project work as early as the first term in your first year. By your final year, you will be involved in original research projects.

For your 3rd/4th year we offer a wide range of projects, each led by members of the department in their particular research areas and current 'hot' topics.

Laboratory classes

Experimental work is an essential aspect of physics education and research, and laboratory training is an integral part of our degree programme. You will explore a range of experiments covering the main areas of physics in our dedicated teaching laboratories under the guidance of our expert research and teaching staff.


You'll be provided with a comprehensive Physics textbook containing all the material you will need for your first year core physics modules. We also supply Mathematics textbooks that contain all the material for the first and second year maths modules.

For the remaining years, we have been careful to choose books which are reasonably priced and good value. The University Library is well-stocked with multiple copies of these books. For specialised option modules there is usually no compulsory textbook, instead there may be a range of recommended resources which will include online material, as well as books.

Prior knowledge of Mathematics and Computer Programming


We do not expect students to begin with knowledge beyond that of A-level mathematics. We will give you lots of help in understanding the maths you have done already and introduce you to the new mathematical techniques you will need for your physics studies.

Our degrees train physicists not mathematicians. However, physics is a mathematical subject, and to do well you do need to be comfortable with maths. Degree-level Physics involves a much higher level of mathematical content than Physics at school (e.g. A level or IB). This is why our entry requirements include mathematics qualifications.

Computer programming

Computing is a vital component of both experimental and theoretical physics, and also a highly-transferable skill. Training in scientific computation and programming, using our dedicated computing facilities, is built into our degree programme.

We will supply all the teaching and practise necessary to master the scientific computer programming you will need for your degree studies, and for a career in physics and beyond.

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