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Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology BSc (Hons) / MPhys (Hons)

On this course, deepen your understanding of the fundamental laws of physics and apply what you learn to the structure and behaviour of some of the largest and smallest elements of existence.

University of Portsmouth Connected Degree - 3 year course with 4th year placement

Key information

UCAS code:

F301 (BSc), F300 (MPhys)


This course is Accredited

Typical offer:

112-120 points (BSc) / 120-128 points (MPhys), from 2 or 3 A levels or equivalent, to include a relevant subject

See full entry requirements
Study mode and duration
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95% of the universe exists in a form we still don't understand. Explore stars, galaxies, black holes and gravitational waves – joining an international community looking for answers.

On this 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.

You'll be taught by and study alongside researchers from the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG) who play leading roles in major international projects, such as the European Space Agency Euclid satellite. You’ll graduate with mathematical and computational knowledge sought after by employers in many industries, from aerospace to finance.

BSc or MPhys?

You can study this course as a 3-year Bachelor's degree (BSc) or a 4-year integrated Master's degree (MPhys). The MPhys allows you to achieve a Master’s level degree with just one extra year of undergraduate study, further enhancing your career prospects.

Physics at the University of Portsmouth is ranked 6th of all UK universities and the top modern university for research quality

Research Excellence Framework (REF), 2021

Read more about our excellent research in Physics research

Course highlights

  • See physics theory in practice through visits and final year project to aerospace companies such as BAE Systems, Airbus Defence, QinetiQ and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
  • Access Hampshire Astronomical Group facilities at Clanfield Observatory, including various telescopes such as a 24-inch reflector, to observe the stars and galaxies and collect project data
  • Study alongside researchers from the University's physics research teams (and contribute to their work in your final project), whose research was ranked 6th in the UK for quality
  • Use advanced technical equipment with the help of expert technical staff, including x-ray diffraction, x-ray fluorescence, electron and atomic force microscopes, various types of spectroscopy and the SCIAMA supercomputer
  • Develop the professional skills and standards you need as a practicing physicist, through a major research project in your final year
  • Access large datasets produced by international-level sky surveys, including the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, when you take the MPhys degree course
01/12/21.Headshots..All Rights Reserved - Helen Yates- T: +44 (0)7790805960.Local copyright law applies to all print & online usage. Fees charged will comply with standard space rates and usage for that country, region or state.

The Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation really caught my interest. It is a privilege to study alongside world-leading researchers in my field of interest. The General Relativity module in the third year has blown my mind and now I look at the world from a completely different perspective. People call it magic, I call it physics.

Ekaterina Osipova, MPhys Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology


of graduates in work or further study 15 months after this course

(HESA Graduate Outcomes Survey 2018/19)


overall student satisfaction for our MPhys Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology course

(NSS, 2022)


This course is accredited by the Institute of Physics (IoP).

As a supporter of the Institute of Physics Project Juno, we're committed to addressing the under-representation of women in physics and gender equality in higher education and research.

Portrait image of Claudia Maraston

Claudia Maraston, Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Portsmouth, features in Research.com's ranked list of physicists from around the world.

Read more

Contact information


+44 (0) 23 9284 5566

Contact Admissions

Entry requirements

BSc (Hons) Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology degree entry requirements

Typical offers

  • UCAS points - 112-120 points from 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, to include a relevant subject. (calculate your UCAS points)
  • A levels - BBB-BBC, to include a relevant subject.
    Relevant subjects: Physics; Mathematics; Further Mathematics; Statistics; Electronics.
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM-DMM
  • International Baccalaureate - 29

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept at UCAS.

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be able to join this course after you successfully complete a foundation year.

MPhys (Hons) Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology Master’s degree entry requirements

Typical offers

  • UCAS points - 120-128 points from 2 or 3 A levels, or equivalent, to include a relevant subject. (calculate your UCAS points)
  • A levels - ABB-BBB<, to include a relevant subject.br /> Relevant subjects: Physics; Mathematics; Further Mathematics; Statistics; Electronics.
  • BTECs (Extended Diplomas) - DDM  
  • International Baccalaureate - 29-30

You may need to have studied specific subjects – find full entry requirements and other qualifications we accept at UCAS.

English language requirements

  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

See alternative English language qualifications

We also accept other standard English tests and qualifications, as long as they meet the minimum requirements of your course.

If you don't meet the English language requirements yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

We look at more than just your grades

While we consider your grades when making an offer, we also carefully look at your circumstances and other factors to assess your potential. These include whether you live and work in the region and your personal and family circumstances which we assess using established data.

Explore more about how we make your offer

Study Physics at the University of Portsmouth

Meet your staff, facilities and equipment

Get an introduction to Physics at Portsmouth from Professor Daniel Thomas, Head of the School of Mathematics and Physics. Explore our facilities and equipment and discover more about your final year project.

Professor Daniel Thomas:

What really fascinates me most about university education is that right at the interface between research and teaching, newly created knowledge and skills are passed on directly to you, to the next generation.

The University of Portsmouth gives us the right equipment and the right facilities to our physics students and to our physics staff to do exactly that.

Our physics students get to experience the laws of nature and physical concept first hand, to the lab modules in the first and second years. Cherie Morrison, our senior technician, will show you now a little bit of the experiments you are going to be doing in the first and the second year of your studies.

Cherie Morrison (Senior Technician):

This is the main physics room where we have our first and second year experiments. Behind me you can see the photoelectric effect, electron diffraction, hall effect.

We also have an experiment using LabView that will give you the skills that employers are looking for.

Here's the AFM that stands for atomic force microscopy. Here we can look at the topography of the surface. So that's what the surface looks like and how it has all these bumps and ridges but really, these features are only a few nanometres tall. You can see an image of my hair. My hair is only roughly 100 microns thick and this image is only 10 microns across. You can see all the scales, all the bumps and all the shapes on my hair.

Professor Daniel Thomas:

In our labs we've also got the MBE, which stands for Molecular Beam Epitexi and the plasma spluttering device. They are both high end cutting edge research devices that we use, in fact, for our research but we also use it for our teaching.

What we do with these devices is we are adding very thin films on surfaces and the thickness of this film is less than a nanometre. Think about it, less than a nanometre. It's just the size of an atom. So the device creates a vacuum less than deep space, 10 to the minus 10 million.

Doctor Samantha Penny:

This is our computer lab for our final year students to carry out their project work. So if you come and do an MPhys year with us, so you do the four year integrated master's degree, you get a chance to carry out a final year project. We have this lovely, dedicated computer room for you to do your project work in, so no competing with the other undergrads for your computer space.

In that project, you'll get to carry out all sorts of real research problems that real life astronomers or physicists are working on. So, for example, the kind of projects I'm offering this year, my students will be working with observational data sets from large cutting edge astronomical surveys.

They're going to be searching for supermassive black holes and galaxies. They're going to be working out why galaxies in really, really under dense, really sort of uncrowded regions of the universe, why they look different to galaxies in other parts of the universe as well.

And I'm also having a student who's going to look at how to communicate astronomy to anybody with a visual impairment. So a real range of projects you could get involved with if you come to Portsmouth. So we look forward to welcoming you to the University of Portsmouth and I think you'll really enjoy your time here studying with us.

Professor Daniel Thomas:

The offices of our physics staff are located in the Dennis Sciama building right next to the labs. The Dennis Sciama Building also hosts the well renowned Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation that is well known for its world leading research in astrophysics and cosmology. When you study physics with us, you get the opportunity to work on exciting research projects together with our staff from the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation in fields like astrophysics and cosmology.

Close to the Dennis Sciama Building and the labs is the Lion Gate Building, where we host the Technology and Learning Centre. That's a space for our physics students to meet, to learn or just to hang out. We also hold daily tutorials run by our mathematics and physics staff for our physics students so that they can ask any questions they may have about maths or physics.

We look forward to welcoming you at the University of Portsmouth to discover the magic of physics with us.

Facilities and specialist equipment

Male BAME scientist studying the Zeeman effect

Physics and Wave Synoptics Laboratories

Learn through supervised, practice-based experiments such as electron diffraction and speed of light measurement, and learn to use LabVIEW, the same software the European Organisation for Nuclear Research uses to run the Large Hadron Collider. The attached Wave Synoptics Lab is a space for you to study mechanical and electromagnetic waves.

Learn more

Female physics student in laboratory

Materials Coating Laboratory

Home to the LAB Line KJL plasma sputtering system, which is being used to investigate the physical properties of thin films coated onto flexible substrates with various roughness levels. Our lab is the official demo site for the Kurt J. Lesker Company.

Learn more

Students setting up lenses in optics lab

Quantum Optics Laboratory

Study the details of quantum theory, mechanics and optics, and conduct research experiments such as using quantum interference to measure distance. The lab hosts more than 30 microscopes and lasers, as well as a Mini Vibrating-sample Magnometer (VSM) used to shake material samples and measure their reactive movement to identify specific magnetic properties.

Learn more

Burnaby Building 2019

Nanomaterials Laboratory

Study Nanotechnology – the construction of materials as small as atoms and molecules – in this fully equipped lab. Equipment includes a Multi-Physics 3 Tesla cryogenic instrument, an aixACT TF Analyser 200 Piezoelectric Tester and a Coulter N4 Particle Sizer / Dynamic Light Scattering. 

Learn more

Student working at their computer

Specialist physics equipment and software

You'll get access to industry standard equipment, including our SCIAMA supercomputer that can complete a billion calculations per second and simulate vast regions of the Universe. You'll also get to use exciting technologies including Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE), Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) and Vibrating Sample Magnetometry (VSM).

Careers and opportunities

The UK government has an ambitious plan to double investment in the space economy by 2030 which means there's now high demand for skilled people to meet this growth. In fact, the sector is currently recruiting more graduates that before, and giving further training internally.

Physics and astronomy graduates are earning an average of £33,500 5 years after graduation, and you've got the potential to reach a salary in the range of £40,000 to £75,000 as a senior professional, professor or researcher.

The National Space Strategy looks to... support British companies to seize future opportunities, with the global space economy projected to grow from an estimated £270 billion in 2019 to £490 billion by 2030.

UK Government

Bold new strategy to fuel UK's world-class space sector (September 2021)

What jobs can you do with a physics, astrophysics and cosmology degree?

You could apply your skills and knowledge in areas such as:

  • cosmology
  • astrophysics
  • astronomy and theoretical physics
  • space systems and aerospace industry
  • education
  • scientific journalism
  • medical physics
  • finance
  • data analysis

After the course you could also continue your studies to a PhD or other postgraduate qualification. Discover our world-leading physics research and Arthur's journey to a PhD in Astrophysics and Cosmology.

Physics Graduate James Michie, Assistant Engineer

Meet University of Portsmouth physics graduate James Michie, now working as an Assistant Engineer. 

The universe is something that's always interested me.

It's always fascinated me.

I mean, the thing about my job is that I love problem-solving and using theoretical physics to find a practical solution.

The biggest sort of link between space and radar is more the processes to try and condense all the data and see the most out of the data and is obviously another application of all the physics I learnt.

I'm born and bred in Portsmouth, so at first I didn't actually plan on coming to Portsmouth.

I did actually want to go away from home.

I actually did a summer placement during my A Levels.

And when I met all the lecturers at the University and saw how passionate they were about actually teaching physics, I thought that's something that you weren't getting anywhere else.

So I thought, actually, this is where I'm going to get my best education and the most opportunities.

The lecturers were passionate about what they wanted to teach.

It's not just what they studied and what they research, but it was how they wanted to sort of teach the next generation.

The University of Portsmouth was critical to giving me the opportunity to work at BAE through the Industry Advisory Board, and if it wasn't for them inviting me along and introducing me to members of industry, then I wouldn't have had the opportunities I have today.

Working a lot within the outreach, especially with the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, that really sort of, I think, boosted my confidence from being quite an introverted person, not really able to talk to people, to all of a sudden, you have to talk to people, you have to try and teach a little bit of physics to schoolchildren, to parents.

I think that really improved my communication skills.

I think I would describe my time at university as being life-changing.

Compared to what I was before I came to university and how I am now, the way that I developed so much through, you know, not just the degree itself, but all the extracurricular sort of society events, that's really developed me to who I am now.

Female student at computer

Ongoing career support – up to 5 years after you graduate

Get experience while you study, with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities, and work experience.

Towards the end of your degree and for up to five years after graduation, you’ll receive one-to-one support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to help you find your perfect role.

The University of Portsmouth in Space

Staff from the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation, including lecturers from your course, explain their role in the UK’s ambitious plan to double investment in the space economy by 2030.

External Audio

Placement year (optional)

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, we can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary opportunities that will complement your studies.

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry. In your placement year, you can also set up a business on your own or in a group. We'll give you all the support you need to find a placement that prepares you for your career, and we'll continue to mentor you throughout your placement.

You could also choose to set up your own business, or take a voluntary placement.

Potential roles

Previous students have taken placement roles such as:

  • flight physics intern
  • medical and health physicists
  • data engineer
  • physics engineer in defense sector
  • industrial placement estimating
  • Vulcan laser beam diagnostics physicist
  • advanced laser technology and applications development scientist

Potential destinations

They've completed placements at organisations including:

  • MBDA Systems
  • BAE Systems
  • Airbus
  • Reaction Engines Ltd
  • STFC
  • QinetiQ

You may be able to do a summer placement through the South East Physics Network (SEPnet) Bursary Scheme. This 8-week placement includes a £2,500 bursary.

The opportunities granted to us at Portsmouth provide the backbone that inspires us to succeed. I am comforted to know that my career could go anywhere from here; there really are no limits to where a physicist can go.

Patrick Rennie, Physics Student

BSc (Hons) Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology

MPhys (Hons) Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology


Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

What you'll study

Core modules

You'll observe and analyse electric and magnetic circuits, recreate famous experimental setups, and calculate the behaviour of electromagnetic fields. On completion, you'll have a core foundation for ongoing physics study.

You'll develop career-building skills in applying these modern software packages to current mathematical problems, learning to implement algorithms, break problems into coded steps, visualise data, and further skills needed by companies employing mathematics and physics graduates.

You'll take on open-ended problems while learning to keep accurate records, allow for uncertainties and limitations, and assess limitations in your experimental procedures. With employability skills embedded in this module, you'll emerge with demonstrable skills in clear communication of science and professional laboratory practice.

By studying mathematics and mechanics in parallel, you'll learn how to model physics problems and get approximate solutions. As you study scenarios from rockets to running, you'll see how your growing mathematical toolkit can apply to diverse phenomena. You'll gain proficiency in key techniques like derivatives, integrals, and statistics, as you build critical thinking skills crucial for independent analysis.

Building on your learning in calculus, linear algebra and modeling, you'll tackle problems in mechanics, gravitation and periodic motion. With matrices, hyperbolic functions and multiple integrations, you'll emerge from this module able to use maths as the fundamental language of physics research.

In this module, you'll learn to recognise current and historical uses of physics in different fields - energy, astronomy, gravity, heat - and build on your learning through site visits, popular science articles and guest speakers. You'll also develop your ability to shift styles between public communication of science and a rigorous understanding of the underlying physics.

Core modules

You'll develop your understanding of physics at different scales, solve time-dependent and independent Schrödinger equations, and describe fundamental forces and Standard Model particle organization. When you complete this module, you'll be able to articulate modern ideas on the universe and the objects within it.

You'll solve issues in electromagnetism, special relativity and quantum mechanics, using mathematical and computational methods to analyse physical systems. When you complete this module, you'll have the confidence to questioning established principles and emerge as an independent, cross-disciplinary thinker.

You'll perform calculations based on both classical thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, analyse the links between them, and discuss the limits thermodynamics puts on transforming heat into work.

You'll explore wave harmonics, the Doppler effect and resonance on one hand, and demonstrate interference and diffraction with optical systems on the other. On completion, you'll be ready to apply physics concepts to real-world issues.

Optional modules

Through lab sessions, you'll develop sophisticated programming techniques and model complex systems using both deterministic and stochastic methods. Tackle engaging examples from astrophysics and applied physics, learning how to analyse problems, formulate mathematical models, implement numerical solutions and visualize data. By the end of the module, you'll have the computational skills to model real-world physics systems, optimize code, and clearly present scientific results - preparing you for advanced research or industry.

First, you'll master analytical mechanics using Lagrangian and Hamiltonian techniques, reducing complex systems into simpler, symmetric forms. Then you'll analyse chaotic dynamics with differential and difference equations. When you complete the module, you'll have developed lasting intuition and problem-solving agility, with a versatile toolkit of theory and techniques essential for any physics career.

Through problem-based learning projects and hands-on lab investigations, you'll research, design, test and critically evaluate approaches to real-world scenarios, suggested by industry partners. You'll assess and mitigate risks, follow safety standards responsibly, and compare theoretical models against experimental data. You'll also gain career-focused skills in scientific writing, teamwork, and the confidence to lead in creative physical solutions.

You'll investigate planetary motion, stars and galaxies through concepts including celestial coordinates, physical laws and gravity. As you model stellar properties and evolution, from atmospheres to remnants like black holes, you'll bring your analysis alive through interactive software, topical news and observing sessions.

Core modules

As you work through key concepts, such as nuclear processes, relativity and cosmology, you'll evaluate observational issues like the quest for dark matter. On completion, you'll have the critical thinking and intellectual curiosity to solve real problems modelling cosmic structures.

You'll absorb the robust evidence supporting the Big Bang model in this module, while evaluating alternatives. Building on your independent and creative thinking skills, you'll apply thermodynamics and gravitational collapse physics to problems around structure formation, dark matter and more.

In this module, you'll apply classical and quantum mechanics approaches to bonding energy and crystal structures, magnetics properties and phonons. You'll analyse semiconductor properties, evaluate solid-state detectors, and compare benefits of solid state detectors. and critically discuss their applications.

Optional modules

In this module, you'll analyse 4-dimensional spacetime from Special Relativity, gaining skills in tensor algebra and calculus. You'll derive and apply Einstein's equations yourself, modeling black holes or gravitational waves, as you develop your skills in independent thinking, curiosity, and clear communication.

You'll explore emerging smart materials that can respond to stimuli like temperature, pressure and magnetic fields. By learning about their unprecedented capabilities, you gain key skills for innovating sensors, devices and systems. On completion of this module, you'll have gained relevant skills for working in this growing field of multiferroic material technologies.

You'll investigate properties of objects at the nanometre scale using techniques like atomic force microscopy and scanning tunnelling microscopy, supported by relevant software. You'll also apply experimental data and elementary density functional theory to construct predictive models, and get familiar with the software used in cutting edge research.

You'll account for the quantum behaviour of light and matter, evaluating quantum phenomena and underlying physics, and solve problems using Dirac notation. When you complete the module, you'll have a secure grasp of the quantum physics that inform new technologies and new understanding of atomic, optical and nuclear physics.

Adapting to the school environment, you'll explore STEM themes with classes from Key Stage 3 to Sixth Form, before reflecting critically on teaching practices. Through this mentorship of mathematics and physics teachers, you'll get direct experience of STEM education, break down stereotypes of mathematics, and prove your ability to communicate difficult concepts.

You'll work together to search literature, compare ideas and ethically gather data to investigate your chosen research topic. Ultimately, you'll defend your team's findings, demonstrate personal contributions, and create a strong example of your teamworking skills for future careers.

You'll explore the physical principles powering cutting-edge diagnostic and therapeutic techniques - from particle therapy and nuclear medicine to MRI and CT imaging. As you review and evaluate literature about health innovation, you'll develop the critical thinking and intellectual curiosity to question established ideas and seize opportunities in this growing field.

In this module, you'll model physical systems through vectors, matrices, differential equations and more. As you develop independent and creative problem-solving skills, you'll learn to apply the universal principles that underpin theoretical physics and scientific modeling.

In this module, you'll absorb the Standard Model's key concepts, tackle problems applying quantum mechanics and relativity, and grasp particle accelerator and detector technologies. When you complete the module, you'll have solid skills to probe nature's elementary constituents and interactions.

You'll choose a research question to explore, involving theory, experimentation or computation, with supervisory support from your lecturers. You'll define and investigate your research question, picking up skills in project planning and management, as you search literature, creatively develop hypotheses, and ethically gather data. Once you've produced your analysis, you'll professionally document and defend your project in written reports and posters, communicating a complete vision from proposals to conclusions.

Using freely available modern datasets, you'll learn to select and apply appropriate statistical techniques, using methods such as principal components and clustering. You'll also demonstrate your ability to apply statistical learning techniques in programming languages like R or Python.

Core modules

In this student-led module, you'll design, manage and report a project applying modeling, observations or theory to tackle open questions. You'll synthesise and critically analyse technical data and relevant literature, as you hone your academic writing style for peer-reviewed standards. When you complete the module, you'll be ready to present and defend your research clearly as an autonomous thinker.

Optional modules

In this module, you'll absorb common algorithms, implementing them in computer models in contexts spanning advanced materials, astrophysics and cosmology contexts. Through your project work you'll assess models against observations, refine computational techniques, and suggest improvements to your models' limitations.

Develop integrated capabilities operating facilities like molecular beam epitaxy and plasma sputtering to create samples. Analyse with diffraction, spectroscopy, magnetometry and more, gaining intuitive insights on characterization. Then interpret rich data streams through modeling and simulation, validating theories and tackling open challenges around materials, nanotechnology and quantum systems. Our flexible research-led approach lets you pursue interests while learning to judiciously apply the power of experimental methods.

In this contemporary module, you'll tackle topics like black hole evaporation and early universe inflation with quantum field theory calculations. Developing your intellectual curiosity and analytical problem-solving skills, you'll emerge with versatile mathematical abilities to progress today's most exciting physics theories.

You'll study theoretical descriptions and mathematical models of stellar evolution, nuclear fusion, galaxy dynamics and more. Looking at topical news alongside scientific literature, you'll tackle current astronomical events, and learn how to transfer your knowledge to other systems and scenarios in the context spacetime's largest scales.

You'll handle real astronomical data as you learn about the telescopes and detectors that gathered the data you're using. You'll also apply contemporary statistical and computational methods, compare results to astrophysical models, and develop a deeper appreciation for the complexities of observing our Universe.

On this course, you can do an optional study abroad or work placement year between your 2nd and 3rd years, or after your third year, to get valuable experience working in industry.

We’ll help you secure a work placement that fits your situation and ambitions. You’ll get mentoring and support throughout the year.

Universe: Planetary System, Stars and Galaxies

Students, staff and partners from the Hampshire Astronomical Group explore what makes the Universe module special. 

Samantha Penny: This is part of a second year module called Universe: Planetary System, Stars and Galaxies. We get our maths and physics students together and see the science we're learning actually, in reality. 

Steve Broadbent: We've been in close partnership with the university for over 20 years now, and it offers the students an opportunity to use real equipment, which they don't get from lectures. 

Hannah Copley: It's really great that this is so near to the university that's such a great opportunity for us to take what we learn in lessons and actually practically do it for no extra cost. 

Samantha Penny: Portsmouth is a really built up, dense environment. There's lots of light pollution, but we only have to come a little way out and we've got some of the darkest skies in Hampshire right on our doorstep. 

Steve Broadbent: We've got five domes with various telescopes. The star attraction is a research grade 24-inch reflecting telescope. 

Hannah Copley: We study the universe, planets, stars, galaxies so that's definitely going to help in my end of year exams coming up. 

Ahmed Yahya: It's incredible to have these facilities in Portsmouth. It's an amazing opportunity that I am glad I didn't skip on. 

Samantha Penny: We combine the observatory visit with a visit to the nearby planetarium in Chichester, so the South Downs Planetarium. 

Sarah Brown: Tonight we've been looking at sunspots and all of the emissions from the sun, which has been epic. 

Samantha Penny: Despite being our closest star. I think there's so few people who actually have looked at the sun in detail, combining those lectures with trips to the observatory, seeing these things for themselves, I think really, really helps the students. 

Sarah Brown: I'm very glad I took this module because it's been really interesting. I've learned an awful lot. It's been a great experience. 

Hannah Copley: I think it's given me a big insight into after university the sort of things you can go into. 

Ahmed Yahya: It's amazing to see it with other people that have seen it so many times. The look in their eyes when you see it and start noticing things that they've seen a thousand times really made it something special. 

Changes to course content

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. If a module doesn't run, we'll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.


Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • laboratory work
  • problem-based learning exercises
  • computational physics workshops
  • external site visits
  • project work

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.


How you'll spend your time

One of the main differences between school or college and university is how much control you have over your learning.

We use a blended learning approach to teaching, which means you’ll take part in both face-to-face and online activities during your studies.  As well as attending your timetabled classes you'll study independently in your free time, supported by staff and our virtual learning environment, Moodle.

A typical week

We recommend you spend at least 35 hours a week studying for your Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology degree. In your first year, you’ll be in timetabled teaching activities such as lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical classes and workshops for about 17 hours a week. The rest of the time you’ll do independent study such as research, reading, coursework and project work, alone or in a group with others from your course. You'll probably do more independent study and have less scheduled teaching in following years, but this depends on which modules you choose.

Most timetabled teaching takes place during the day, Monday to Friday. Optional field trips may involve evening and weekend teaching or events. There’s usually no teaching on Wednesday afternoons.

Term dates

The academic year runs from September to June. There are breaks at Christmas and Easter.

See term dates

Supporting you

The amount of timetabled teaching you'll get on your degree might be less than what you're used to at school or college, but you'll also get support via video, phone and face-to-face from teaching and support staff to enhance your learning experience and help you succeed. You can build your personalised network of support from the following people and services:

Types of support

Your personal tutor helps you make the transition to independent study and gives you academic and personal support throughout your time at university.

As well as regular scheduled meetings with your personal tutor, they're also available at set times during the week if you want to chat with them about anything that can't wait until your next meeting.

You'll have help from a team of faculty learning support tutors. They can help you improve and develop your academic skills and support you in any area of your study in one-on-one and group sessions.

They can help you:

  • master the mathematics skills you need to excel on your course
  • understand engineering principles and how to apply them in any engineering discipline
  • solve computing problems relevant to your course
  • develop your knowledge of computer programming concepts and methods relevant to your course
  • understand and use assignment feedback

All our labs and practical spaces are staffed by qualified laboratory support staff. They’ll support you in scheduled lab sessions and can give you one-to-one help when you do practical research projects.

As well as support from faculty 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
  • referencing
  • working in groups
  • revision, memory and exam techniques

Our online Learning Well mini-course will help you plan for managing the challenges of learning and student life, so you can fulfil your potential and have a great student experience.

You can get personal, emotional and mental health support from our Student Wellbeing Service, in person and online. This includes 1–2–1 support as well as courses and workshops that help you better manage stress, anxiety or depression.

If you require extra support because of a disability or additional learning need our specialist team can help you.

They'll help you to

  • discuss and agree on reasonable adjustments
  • liaise with other University services and facilities, such as the library
  • access specialist study skills and strategies tutors, and assistive technology tutors, on a 1-to-1 basis or in groups
  • liaise with external services

Library staff are available in person or by email, phone, or online chat to help you make the most of the University’s library resources. You can also request one-to-one appointments and get support from a librarian who specialises in your subject area.

The library is open 24 hours a day, every day, in term time.

The Maths Cafe offers advice and assistance with mathematical skills in a friendly, informal environment. You can come to our daily drop-in sessions, develop your mathematics skills at a workshop or use our online resources.

If English isn't your first language, you can do one of our English language courses to improve your written and spoken English language skills before starting your degree. Once you're here, you can take part in our free In-Sessional English (ISE) programme to improve your English further.

Costs and funding

Tuition fees

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £9,250 per year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £9,250 a year (including Transition Scholarship – may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £19,200 per year (subject to annual increase)

Funding your studies

Find out how to fund your studies, including the scholarships and bursaries you could get. You can also find more about tuition fees and living costs, including what your tuition fees cover.

Applying from outside the UK? Find out about funding options for international students.

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.

Costs breakdown

Our accommodation section show your accommodation options and highlight how much it costs to live in Portsmouth.

You’ll study up to 6 modules a year. You may have to read several recommended books or textbooks for each module.

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.

If you take a placement year or study abroad year, tuition fees for that year are as follows:

  • UK/Channel Islands and Isle of Man students – £1,385 a year (may be subject to annual increase)
  • EU students – £1,385 a year, including Transition Scholarship (may be subject to annual increase)
  • International students – £2,875  a year (subject to annual increase)


How to apply

To start this course in 2024, apply through UCAS. You'll need:

  • the UCAS course code – F301 (BSc) or F300 (MPhys)
  • our institution code – P80

Apply now through UCAS (BSc)

Apply now through UCAS (MPhys)


If you'd prefer to apply directly, use our online application form:

You can also sign up to an Open Day to:

  • Tour our campus, facilities and halls of residence
  • Speak with lecturers and chat with our students 
  • Get information about where to live, how to fund your studies and which clubs and societies to join

If you're new to the application process, read our guide on applying for an undergraduate course.

Applying from outside the UK

As an international student you'll apply using the same process as UK students, but you’ll need to consider a few extra things. 

You can get an agent to help with your application. Check your country page for details of agents in your region.

Find out what additional information you need in our international students section

If you don't meet the English language requirements for this course yet, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.

Admissions terms and conditions

When you accept an offer to study at the University of Portsmouth, you also agree to abide by our Student Contract (which includes the University's relevant policies, rules and regulations). You should read and consider these before you apply.