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BSc (Honours) Natural Sciences: Physics pathway

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This degree is made up of 360 credits.

What you will study

There are two ways to start a qualification. You can begin your studies at Stage 1, or, if you haven’t studied for a long time, you can get started by studying an Access module as an additional preparatory stage of your chosen qualification. We know from experience that students who have completed an Access module do better in their subsequent modules, so it could be the vital first step you take to help you succeed in your future studies.

To find out the recommended Access module for this pathway, choose your country in the Fees section below.

Stage 1

You’ll begin your studies with the compulsory 60-credit introductory module Exploring science (S104)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-6,module,S104,,1. You’ll develop your study skills while engaging with a broad and absorbing introduction to a range of science subject areas including:

  • biology
  • chemistry
  • Earth sciences
  • environmental sciences
  • physics
  • astronomy and planetary science.

Using a blend of text and online study materials, this wide-ranging module investigates the major scientific issues affecting contemporary society. You’ll explore the fundamentals of modern science, and develop important scientific concepts and skills to give you a solid basis for higher level study.

You’ll be introduced to practical science through the compulsory 30-credit module Investigative and mathematical skills in science (S141)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-6,module,S141,,1. You’ll also study Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-6,module,MST124,,1 (30 credits) to cover the skills you need for the study of physics at Stage 2.

Stage 2

Physics is perhaps the most exciting intellectual adventure of our age. Discoveries being made now will change your life, and learning physics will change the way you think about the world. You’ll begin your studies with the 60-credit module The physical world (S207)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-6,module,S207,,1 learning about energy, the behaviour of light, radioactive decay and Universal processes, and exploring topics such as classical mechanics; thermal physics and fluids; forces, fields, waves and electromagnetism; optics; special relativity and quantum physics.

To complement this and to gain the mathematical skills you need for Stage 3 study, you’ll also take the 30-credit module Mathematical methods (MST224)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-6,module,MST224,,1.

Your final study at Stage 2, Practical science: physics and astronomy (SXP288)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-6,module,SXP288,,1 will develop the practical science skills you need to complement these modules.

Stage 3

Stage 3 begins with two 30-credit modules in core physics study. You will explore the electromagnetic fields and radiation that pervade the world around you, their encapsulation in Maxwell's equations, and how they explain dozens of interesting phenomena in Electromagnetism (SMT359)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-6,module,SMT359,,1, and the fundamental laws of modern physics – and how mathematics is used to state and apply them –  in The quantum world (SM358)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-6,module,SM358,,1

You then have the option to study either Astrophysics (S382)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-6,module,S382,,1 or The relativistic Universe (S383)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-6,module,S383,,1 (both 30 credits). Alternatively, you could choose one of two 30-credit mathematics modules: Waves, diffusion and variational principles (MS324)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-6,module,MS324,,1 or Mathematical methods and fluid mechanics (MST326)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-6,module,MST326,,1.

Your final study will be Science project course: radiation and matter (SXP390)undergraduate.qualification.pathways.Q64-6,module,SXP390,,1 (30 credits) where you’ll undertake individual investigations within a range of defined topics such as:

  • quantum entanglement
  • bioelectromagnetism
  • gravitational lensing
  • astrophysical jets
  • physics education.

Modules quoted in qualification descriptions are those that are currently available for study. As the structure of our qualifications is reviewed on a regular basis, the University is unable to guarantee that the same selection of modules will continue to be available in future years.

How long it takes

Typically it takes six years part-time study to complete this qualification, but you can take anything from three (full-time study equivalent) to 16 years. You can choose to vary the pace at which you study, although we recommend that you aim to study 60 credits a year as the Science curriculum is designed to be studied part-time. Some modules are best studied sequentially rather than simultaneously – particularly as you develop your study skills at Stages 1 and 2.


Where will you be resident whilst you study?

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