Physics and Astronomy


At a glance

  • Learn from academics who undertake internationally excellent research*
  • Study in a school that was ranked 3rd in the UK for its research*
  • Have the opportunity to study our unique MSci course, offering transferable skills that are highly regarded by employers and research institutions

* Research Excellence Framework, 2014.


What is Physics?

Perhaps the most fundamental of the sciences, physics interacts strongly with all the other science subjects and is particularly attractive to those of you who want to really find out how our world and universe work. Physics is a fascinating and rewarding subject that affords entry into a wide range of prestigious careers.  

How will I study?

Our degree structure provides great flexibility for choosing or changing between different courses. In addition to lectures and laboratory work, you will participate in tutorials and problem classes, which offer the opportunity to practise solving physics problems in a less formal environment. The teaching structure culminates in the final year of the MSci degree, where you will use your scientific skills for an original research project.

At the same time as learning exciting new concepts in physics and astronomy, all students will be tutored to develop highly valued skills in problem-solving. You will become proficient at using advanced mathematics to describe the universe and all it contains, from fundamental particle physics, through nonscience, our everyday world, all the way up to the structure of the universe.

The 'synoptic' aspects of our courses will help you understand how the diverse areas of physics fit together, and you will undertake small-group projects and short dissertations to develop scientific skills. One of the unique features of the course is the MSci project, which provides the option to undertake cutting-edge research projects or to act as consultants to industry.

BSc or MSci? 

A BSc degree will give you an excellent grounding in physics and prepare you for a wide range of careers. An MSci degree will teach you a broader range of high-level skills: in most courses, the final year of the course is different in that the emphasis will be on student-centred learning and assessment is by coursework rather than exams.



A significant number of our graduates remain in higher education, with many taking PhDs. Many embark on careers in financial services or information technology, or in industry, as engineers or scientific researchers. The remainder enter a wide array of careers ranging from meteorology to the media.

In 2017, 96.5% of undergraduates in the school who were available for employment had secured work or further study within six months of graduation. The average starting salary was £25,000 with the highest being £46,800.*

* Known destinations of full-time home undergraduates 2016/17. Salaries are calculated based on the median of those in full-time paid employment within the UK.

The University of Nottingham is consistently named as one of the most targeted universities by Britain’s leading graduate employers
(Ranked in the top ten in The Graduate Market in 2013-2017, High Fliers Research).

Inspiring research

Nottingham was ranked joint third out of 42 university physics departments in the recent national Research Excellence Framework (REF). This confirms the excellence of its research across a very broad spectrum of physics activity. The prominence of the school's research was underlined by the award of a Nobel Prize in 2003 to Sir Peter Mansfield for his work in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). You will be taught by the school's leading researchers and have the opportunity to get involved in their research activities.


Study abroad

'Physics with a European Language' allows you to spend a year at a university in Europe. For other students we have arranged an exchange programme with the University of Toronto, Canada, as well as other English speaking universities across the globe through Universitas 21. For MSci students, options also exist for shorter periods abroad, such as a research project in China or Brazil.

Further information can be found on our study abroad web pages.


Application and interview

Selected UCAS candidates will be invited for a comprehensive visit day where you will have the opportunity to visit the school, tour its excellent facilities and meet with academic staff and students. Candidates with non-standard entry qualifications, including those who have had a break in their education, may be invited for a more formal meeting with the school.  

Open days

Visit days for students offered a place are held between November and March. You are welcome to visit at other times – please see  
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