School of Physics & Astronomy

Levelling up: Physics

Students gather around a laptop to work

Levelling Up: Physics is a support programme for A-level students from groups currently under-represented in physics.

The programme is aimed at students who want to study physics and related subjects at university. It runs alongside students’ A-level studies and gives them access to a dedicated tutor and peer mentor from a university local to them.

Sixth-form students take part in regular, guided tutorials, mentoring sessions, guest lectures, and activities designed to make sure they are ready to apply for, and succeed, at university.

Key dates

Application deadline
29 January 2023

Online applicant Q&A session 
(Microsoft Teams call - watch the recording)


Online applicant Q&A session

We hosted a Microsoft Teams call for applicants to ask any questions about the course. 
This was hosted on 12 January 2023 5 - 6pm.

Watch the session recording

How does the programme work?

There are three main aspects of the programme:

  • Academic tuition and support to stretch and challenge students in their physics studies
  • Mentoring and support to develop the skills required to successfully apply for and succeed in higher education
  • Finding out more about the academic community at university so students know what to expect when they begin post-A-level study

Application criteria

To apply to participate in 'Levelling Up’ you must be:

  • In Year 12 (the first year of your A-level studies or equivalent)
  • Currently studying Physics at A-level (or equivalent)
  • Interested in pursuing physics or physics related subject at degree level
  • Attend a state-funded, non-fee-paying school

However, as places are limited, we may prioritise applicants meeting one or more of the following (please note, this list is in no particular order): 

  • You live in the local area to the University of Nottingham
  • Were eligible for free School Meals whilst you were at school or are in a household in receipt of a means-tested benefit or have a household income under £35,000
  • Live in a neighbourhood with a low rate of progression to higher education and / or a high level of socio-economic disadvantage (check if your postcode is eligible here)
  • Would be the first generation in your family to attend higher education
  • Are in, or have been in, local authority care
  • Have caring responsibilities for a member of your family
  • Are from a military family
  • Have a disability affecting your studies
  • Are from a Gypsy/Roma/Traveller community
  • Are a refugee
  • You identify as female
  • You are irreconcilably estranged from both parents/carers
  • You are a black, Asian or minority Ethnic student

Apply now

Academic tuition and support

Students receive high-quality materials and take part in a structured study programme consisting of self-study problems followed by a tutorial. Tutorials are informal and students discuss topics with a small group of other students, led by a tutor.

The programme runs across years 12 and 13 and covers a range of different topics designed to align with (but not replace) A-level courses. Students also discuss real-life applications of the science and links to research.


Mentoring and support

Participating students also take part in and are given:

  • Small group mentoring sessions, which provide opportunities to discuss university life and university applications in a supportive environment where they can address any concerns about their studies
  • Online guest lectures, given by renowned academics, in a range of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects to provide information about many different aspects and applications of a wide range of STEM careers
  • The opportunity to get to know and work with members of the university community including their mentors and guest lecturers

Successful applicants

Upon successful placement on the programme, students are allocated to:

  • An online tutorial group
  • A programme tutoring pair

Following an online introduction and face to face welcome session at the start of the programme, there will be a regular programme of activities. These vary slightly but will roughly follow the pattern:

  • In week one students might spend 30 to 90 minutes on self-study materials – such as problems, puzzles or background reading to prepare for their tutorial
  • In week two there will be a mentor session when the students can get together online as a group to talk about different topics related to university life and discuss any questions or concerns they might have
  • In week 3 there will be an online tutorial where students can discuss the self-study topic in more detail

It is therefore desirable that the student is able to commit an average of 1-1.5hrs per week to the programme.

Levelling Up partners are committed to safeguarding the welfare of young people. All the sessions are run according to the safeguarding policies and procedures in place at the University of Nottingham. As a minimum, online sessions are run by undergraduates, postgraduates and university staff who have current disclosure and barring service (DBS) certificates.



Levelling up starts in late February 2023 until the end of December 2023.  As a participant you would start in the spring term of year 12 and attend online sessions during the Spring, Summer and Autumn terms as you prepare to apply for university through UCAS.


Further important dates

Key dates
 Date Session
 10 February  Confirmation of place on the programme
 28 February (5-6pm)  Online welcome session
 8 March (4:30-6pm)  Face-to-face welcome event at University Park Campus (University of Nottingham)

Programme sessions (Spring – Summer 2023)

 Week beginning Session
13 March Independent work 1 
20 March (Thursday 6-7pm) Mentoring 1
27 March (Thursday 6-7pm) Tutorial 1
10  April Independent work 2 
17 April (Thursday 6-7pm) Mentoring 2
24 April (Thursday 6-7pm) Tutorial 2 
1 May  Independent work 3 
8 May (Thursday 6-7pm) Mentoring 3 
15 May (Thursday 6-7pm) Tutorial 3 
22 May Independent work 4 
5 June (Thursday 6-7pm) Guest lecture 
12 June (Thursday 6-7pm) Tutorial 4 
19 June  Independent work 5 
26 June (Thursday 6-7pm)  Mentoring 5 
1 July  Open day 
3 July (Thursday 6-7pm)  Tutorial 5 
10 July  Independent work 6 
17 July (Thursday 6-7pm)  Mentoring 6 
24 July (Thursday 6-7pm)  Tutorial 6 

The programme sessions for the Autumn term will be released closer to the time of the events.

Apply now

If you have any questions about the project, please contact us.

Levelling Up: Physics is run in association with the Institute of Physics.


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School of Physics and Astronomy

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham NG7 2RD

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