Applied physics for the real world
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
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
Request a prospectus
Come to our next Open Day
- UCAS Course Code:
- 3 years full time, 4 years sandwich with work placement
- 2018 ENTRY REQUIREMENTS
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
2017/18 entry: full time: £9,250 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.
+44 (0)23 9284 5566
- School of Earth and Environmental Sciences
- Programme specification
Structure & Teaching
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
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
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
- 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)
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.
The time you spend in teaching activities may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:
- Year one students: 36% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 64% studying independently and 0% on work placement
- Year two students: 31% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 69% studying independently and 0% on work placement
- Year three students: 18% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities, 82% studying independently and 0% on work placement
There is a variety ways in which you are assessed. Here’s how:
- practical work (both laboratory and field based)
- production of posters and portfolios
- a research based final-year project
The way you’re assessed may depend on the units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year were typically assessed as follows:
- Year one students: 28% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 72% by coursework
- Year two students: 55% by written exams, 0% by practical exams and 45% by coursework
- Year three students: 45% by written exams, 12% by practical exams and 43% by coursework
Dr Chris Dewdney
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Careers & Opportunities
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.
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.
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.
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