Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology BSc (Hons)
BSc Hons Physics Astrophysics and Cosmology
We’re learning more about our universe, but there’s still much more to discover. Join us in expanding our knowledge of astrophysics on this BSc (Hons) Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology degree course.
You’ll deepen your understanding of the fundamental laws of physics, and apply this knowledge to the structure and behaviour of some of the largest and smallest elements of existence.
As well as gaining knowledge and skills in physics, astrophysics and cosmology, you’ll develop a combination of mathematical and computational knowledge that's sought after by employers in many industries.
What you'll experience
On this course you’ll:
- Be taught by leading scientists from the University's Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG)
- Explore stars, galaxies, black holes and gravitational waves
- Use advanced equipment like SCIAMA, the University’s supercomputer
- Access the laboratories at Clanfield Observatory, which are equipped with various telescopes including a 24-inch reflector
- Go on visits to aerospace businesses like BAE Systems and Airbus Defence
- Study at a university where physics research was ranked in the top 10 nationally for quality of research outputs in the latest Government-backed REF (Research Excellence Framework)
Work experience and career planning
To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, our Careers and Employability service can help you find relevant work experience during your course. We can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary opportunities that will complement your studies.
You may be able to do a placement through the South East Physics Network (SEPnet) Bursary Scheme. This 8-week placement includes a £2000 bursary.
After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry.
Previous students have completed placements at destinations including:
- M-Solv UK
- Culham Science Centre
- Tesla Engineering Ltd
We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your aspirations. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.
Careers and opportunities
When you finish the course, our Careers and Employability service will help you find a job or identify further study and academic research opportunities.
Previous students on this course have gone on to further study, research and employment in areas such as:
- PhD and Master's study in cosmology, astrophysics, astronomy and theoretical physics
- the space systems and aerospace industry
- medical physics
- data analysis
After you leave the University, you can get help, advice and support for up to 5 years from our Careers and Employability service as you advance in your career.
- 104 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 32 points from A level Mathematics, Physics, or Electronics.
See the other qualifications we accept
- English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.
See alternative English language qualifications
Tuition fees (2019 start)
- UK/EU/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 (may be subject to annual increase)
- International students – £15,900 (subject to annual increase)
Additional course costs
These course-related costs aren’t included in the tuition fees. So you’ll need to budget for them when you plan your spending.
Our accommodation section shows your accommodation options and highlights how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.
You’ll study up to 6 units a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each unit.
You can borrow most of these from the Library. If you buy these, they may cost up to £60 each.
We recommend that you budget £75 a year for photocopying, memory sticks, DVDs and CDs, printing charges, binding and specialist printing.
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.
For compulsory fieldwork on this course, the cost of travel and accommodation is included in the course fee. You’ll need to pay for meals and other subsistence costs while completing fieldwork.
What you'll study
Each unit on this course is worth a certain number of credits.
In each year, you need to study units worth a total of 120 credits. For example, 4 units worth 20 credits and 1 unit worth 40 credits.
Core units in this year include:
- Introduction to Mathematical Physics
- Space Science and Applications of Physics
- An Introduction to Laboratory and Field Physics
- An Introduction to Computational Physics
- Electricity and Magnetism
There are no optional units in this year.
Core units in this year include:
- Solid State Physics and Detectors
- Modern Astrophysics 1
- Physical Cosmology
Optional units in this year currently include:
- Group Project
- Health Physics
- Introduction to General Relativity and Cosmology
- Introduction to Multiferroic Materials and their Applications
- Mathematical Methods for Physics
- Nanoscale Surface Physics
- Particle Physics
- Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Information
- Undergraduate Ambassador (for those interested in teaching)
We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.
Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional units may not run every year. If a unit doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative unit.
As well as support by faculty teaching staff and your personal tutor, you can use the University’s Academic Skills Unit (ASK).
ASK provides one-to-one support in areas such as:
- academic writing
- note taking
- time management
- critical thinking
- presentation skills
- working in groups
- revision, memory and exam techniques
Teaching methods on this course include:
- laboratory work
- problem-based learning exercises
- computational physics workshops
- external site visits
- project work
How you'll spend your time
Each academic year is divided into 2 teaching blocks and an assessment period:
- Autumn teaching block – September to December
- Spring teaching block – January to Easter
- Assessment period – Easter to June
Most teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. You may occasionally need to go to University and course events in the evenings and at weekends.
The time you spend in teaching activities such as lectures and seminars varies year on year and will depend on which optional units you select. As a guide, students on this course last year typically spent their time as follows:
- Year 1 students: 36% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities and 64% studying independently
- Year 2 students: 25% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities and 75% studying independently
- Year 3 students: 19% in lectures, seminars and similar learning activities and 81% studying independently
How you're assessed
You’ll be assessed through:
- laboratory reports
- individual or group presentations and posters
- coursework problem sheets
- computer modelling reports
- open and closed book examination
You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.
You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.
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 1 students: 28% by written exams and 72% by coursework
- Year 2 students: 47% by written exams, 4% by practical exams and 49% by coursework
- Year 3 students: 43% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 50% by coursework
Admissions terms and conditions
When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to our terms and conditions as well as the University’s policies, rules and regulations. You should read and consider these before you apply.
If you're from outside of the UK, you can apply for this course through UCAS (see the 'How to apply' section above for details). You can also apply directly to us or you can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.
To find out what to include in your application, head to the how to apply page of our international students section.
To start in 2019 you need to apply through UCAS. You’ll need:
- the UCAS course code – F301
- our institution code – P80
You can start your application now and submit it later if you want.
Not quite ready to apply?
Come to an Open Day to explore our course facilities, tour the campus and have a look around our halls of residence.
If you’re new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.