BSc (Hons)

Applied Physics

Applied physics for the real world

F310UCAS code 3yrsfull time 1yrplacement option

Star Course Overview

Why take this course?

This degree is for those wanting a three-year physics course with the option of a fourth sandwich year in employment. An enthusiasm for understanding how fundamental physical theories can be harnessed to solve real world problems and to develop new materials and applications is essential. You should also be keen to develop strong mathematical and instrumentation skills that will enable enhance your possibilities in research or employment.

What will I experience?

On this course you can:

  • Visit relevant sites and organisations
  • Test in the field on a foreign study tour
  • Investigate real-world problems using our excellent facilities and analytical equipment

What opportunities might it lead to?

Designed to progressively encourage you towards independent life-long learning and to develop your research skills and interests, this degree could lead to further study or research.

Alternatively, physics graduates are highly regarded in many areas of industry, the civil service and other institutions.

Here are some routes our graduates have pursued:

  • PhD study in other prestigious universities

Graduate training schemes in various industrial sectors

  • defence communications
  • medical physics
  • electronics
  • energy
  • aerospace


There are opportunities to do paid summer internships, as well as work on a project over the summer and gain valuable work experience.

Charlotte Turner, BSc (Hons) Applied Physics student 2015

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Key Facts

UCAS Course Code:
3 years full time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
The UCAS tariff for 2017 entry has changed. See how this affects your tariff score A LEVELS
104 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 32 points from A level Mathematics, Physics, or Electronics. See full entry requirements

We accept UCAS points from other qualifications. See full details and English Language qualifications

UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students
2016/17 entry: full time: £9,000 p/a*
2017/18 entry: full time: £9,250 p/a*

International students
2016/17 entry: full time: £12,000 p/a**
2017/18 entry: full time: £14,400 p/a**

*Tuition fee may be subject to annual increase.
**Tuition fee is subject to annual increase.

View tuition fee terms and conditions
View additional course costs

+44 (0)23 9284 5566
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Programme specification


Mathematics and Physics

Find out what our students say about studying at Portsmouth, including:

  • The practical problem-solving approach based on real-world issues
  • Approachable lecturers who are doing current research
  • Relevant work placements to help build employability skills

Browse all courses in Mathematics and Physics

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Light bulb Structure & Teaching

Year one

Year one

Key subjects covered in the first year include mathematical physics and dynamics, computational physics, electricity and magnetism, space science and modern laboratory techniques and skills. Alongside this you’ll learn the relevant practical and problem-solving skills, such as computational techniques that will be an important tool throughout your course.

Core units you will study in this year include:

  • Space Science and Applications of Physics
  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Introduction to Computational Physics
  • Introduction to Laboratory and Field Physics
  • Introduction to Mathematical Physics 1
  • Introduction to Mathematical Physics 2

Year two

The second year establishes much of the core curriculum but also allows a choice of energy or astrophysics units.

Core units you will study in this year include:

  • Mathematical Physics
  • Introduction to Modern Physics and Astrophysics
  • Practical Laboratory and Field Physics
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
  • Waves and Optics

Options to choose from in this year include:

  • Energy Resources
  • Universe, Planetary Systems, Stars and Galaxies
  • Work-Based Learning
  • Computational Physics

Year three*

Part of the third year consists of a field or laboratory project that enables you to investigate and find a solution to a well-defined and often environmental problem. In addition, there are a variety of optional units to choose from.

Options to choose from in this year include:

  • Group Projects
  • Project
  • Modern Astrophysics
  • Quantum Mechanics with Applications in Quantum Information and Nanostructures
  • Particle Physics
  • Radiofrequency and Microwave Physics
  • Applied Physics Study Tour
  • Health Physics
  • Physics Industrial Placement

Physics Industrial Placement is optional year in employment which is not included in the classification credits. Students must take either Group Projects or Project.

*This course is also available as a 4-year sandwich (work placement)

Teaching and Assessment

You will be taught in a variety of ways, but our emphasis is always on active learning. We use a combination of lectures, practicals and fieldwork, seminars, workshops and projects, with comprehensive learning support from the academic staff.

How are you assessed?

There is a variety ways in which you are assessed. Here’s how:

  • coursework,
  • practical work (both laboratory and field based)
  • presentations
  • production of posters and portfolios
  • a research based final-year project
Dr Chris Dewdney

Tutor's view

Dr Chris Dewdney
Applied Physics

This course will provide you with a deep understanding of the fundamental laws of physics and their application in explaining the nature of the material world on all scales and in the ongoing development of modern innovative technologies.

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Monitor Facilities & Features

Specialist Software and Scientific Equipment

LabVIEW is used for digital data acquisition and instrument control and design. Matlab is used to develop programs for computational physics simulations and calculations. There is a range of advanced equipment with expert technical staff always available to assist you. Here are a few examples:

  • x-ray diffraction
  • x-ray fluorescence
  • electron and atomic force microscopes
  • various types of spectroscopy including ICPMS, GCMS and AAS


Our well-stocked student labs house a wide range of monitoring and analytical equipment for challenging practical work. Such equipment allows for the monitoring of weather conditions, pollutants, ionising and non-ionising radiation levels and many other parameters of interest.

University Library

Modern, comfortable and a great learning environment, our library offers a wealth of information including 400,000 books, DVDs, maps and thousands of online ejournals and newspapers. Many electronic resources are available anywhere, 24/7 and our friendly staff are always on hand to help.

Liam Rice, BSc (Hons) Applied Physics student

From the start you get to use equipment like Labview - the same computer programme used by CERN to run the Large Hadron Collider, among many other applications.

Liam Rice, BSc (Hons) Applied Physics student

Budgeting for your studies

There are extra costs associated with studying, which you will need to consider when planning your expenditure.

Recommended texts:
If you wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow from the University Library, the average price is £50-£60. You may be studying up to 6 units a year, each with a standard recommended text.

General costs:
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for costs of photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.

Final year project:
If your final year includes a major project, there could be cost for transport or accommodation related to your research activities. The amount will depend on the project you choose to develop.

Other costs to consider

The cost of travel or accommodation associated with compulsory fieldwork is included in the course fee. You will be expected to pay for meals and other subsistence costs associated with compulsory fieldwork.

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Mortarboard Careers & Opportunities

Career prospects

Where next?
Where next?

Many graduates go on to further study for MSc degrees or PhDs in a wide range of topics from photonics to astrophysics and cosmology. Recent graduates have also been employed in roles ranging from medical physics, scientific journalism, teaching and medical research. Many highly numerate physics graduates with modelling experience also go into a range of financial services.

Work experience

Employment boosting opportunites
Employment boosting opportunites

Taking a placement year in industry could be one of the best decisions you make as more often than not, it leads to further opportunities after graduation. SPEC, our Student Placement and Employability Centre, not only helps you to arrange your placement but acts as a source of information and guidance throughout the recruitment process and beyond. We help on everything related to employability skills as well as assisting you in gaining other types of work experience.

Career planning

Career planning
Career planning
6.04 minutes

To make sure you take the right steps on your career path, we’re here to give you help, support and advice throughout your study. Even after you’ve graduated, we continue to give you support for up to five years.

Employers tell us that they want graduates to be able to demonstrate certain skills when they come out of university. Our courses take account of this. We make sure we prepare you for employment through work-related learning, projects, placements and working in simulated environments that are designed to prepare you for the working world.

Roxana Waughman, BSc (Hons) Applied Physics student 2013

Once I finish my course I would like to carry on doing a Master’s in science, especially with the idea to carry on doing medical physics.

Roxana Waughman, BSc (Hons) Applied Physics student 2013

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