Teaching methods
- Computer labs
- Lectures
- Seminars
- Tutorials
- Workshops
- Problem classes
University Park Campus, Nottingham, UK
UK students, call us on 0330 041 5590 if you have Clearing queries.
International students, contact us through our enquiry form.
Qualification | Start Date | UCAS code | Duration | Fees |
---|---|---|---|---|
BSc Hons | September 2024 | F326 | 3 Years full-time | £9,250 per year |
Qualification | Start Date | UCAS code | Duration | Fees |
---|---|---|---|---|
BSc Hons | September 2024 | F326 | 3 Years full-time | £9,250 per year |
Institute of Physics
The Institute of Physics accredits bachelor and integrated masters degree programmes for the purposes of the professional award of Chartered Physicist. Chartered Physicist requires an IOP accredited degree followed by an appropriate period of experience during which professional skills are acquired.
An accredited bachelor degree partially fulfils the academic requirement for Chartered Physicist status. Further study to masters level, or equivalent work-based experience, is required to achieve Chartered Physicist.
Institute of Physics
The Institute of Physics accredits bachelor and integrated masters degree programmes for the purposes of the professional award of Chartered Physicist. Chartered Physicist requires an IOP accredited degree followed by an appropriate period of experience during which professional skills are acquired.
An accredited bachelor degree partially fulfils the academic requirement for Chartered Physicist status. Further study to masters level, or equivalent work-based experience, is required to achieve Chartered Physicist.
Internships
You may have the opportunity to undertake a paid summer research internship within the School of Physics and Astronomy.
Please be aware that study abroad, compulsory year abroad, optional placements/internships and integrated year in industry opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities or placement/industry hosts, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university’s control. Every effort will be made to update this information as quickly as possible should a change occur.
Internships
You may have the opportunity to undertake a paid summer research internship within the School of Physics and Astronomy.
Please be aware that study abroad, compulsory year abroad, optional placements/internships and integrated year in industry opportunities may change at any time for a number of reasons, including curriculum developments, changes to arrangements with partner universities or placement/industry hosts, travel restrictions or other circumstances outside of the university’s control. Every effort will be made to update this information as quickly as possible should a change occur.
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.
If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .
All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.
As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.
You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies. If you do these would cost around £40.
If you study abroad, you need to consider the travel and living costs associated with your country of choice. This may include visa costs and medical insurance.
Personal laptops are not compulsory as we have computer labs that are open 24 hours a day but you may want to consider one if you wish to work at home.
We offer a range of international undergraduate scholarships for high-achieving international scholars who can put their Nottingham degree to great use in their careers.
*For full details including fees for part-time students and reduced fees during your time studying abroad or on placement (where applicable), see our fees page.
If you are a student from the EU, EEA or Switzerland, you may be asked to complete a fee status questionnaire and your answers will be assessed using guidance issued by the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) .
All students will need at least one device to approve security access requests via Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA). We also recommend students have a suitable laptop to work both on and off-campus. For more information, please check the equipment advice.
As a student on this course, you should factor some additional costs into your budget, alongside your tuition fees and living expenses.
You should be able to access most of the books you’ll need through our libraries, though you may wish to purchase your own copies. If you do these would cost around £40.
If you study abroad, you need to consider the travel and living costs associated with your country of choice. This may include visa costs and medical insurance.
Personal laptops are not compulsory as we have computer labs that are open 24 hours a day but you may want to consider one if you wish to work at home.
Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £1,000 a year. Full details can be found on our financial support pages.
* A 'home' student is one who meets certain UK residence criteria. These are the same criteria as apply to eligibility for home funding from Student Finance.
About Physics at the University of Nottingham
We have a proud history of learning and innovation. Research undertaken within the School of Physics and Astronomy, by Professor Sir Peter Mansfield, was recognised with a 2003 Nobel Prize for the invention of Magnetic Resonance Imaging body scanners. This technology has already helped more than half a billion people worldwide. More recently, our use of quantum technologies to understand how the brain works is changing the way that neurological conditions are detected and treated.
Our research activities cover cutting-edge topics ranging from probing quantum mechanics at ultralow temperatures to understanding the largest structures in the Universe.
Our courses offer a wide range of optional modules, so you can explore new areas of physics and specialise in the ones that interest you the most. You can study topics as diverse as cosmology, nanoscience, and medical imaging and learn from experts in those fields. What’s more, there is flexibility to transfer between most physics courses after the first year.
Some of our teaching staff share their love of physics with budding scientists worldwide through the popular Sixty Symbols YouTube channel. Our unique, student centred MSci course offers innovative teaching methods, with few to no exams in the final year.
We encourage students to share their fascination with physics with the wider community through our outreach programme. This programme can help you further develop skills such as organisation, communication and team working. We also have an active student society, PhysSoc, which organises social events throughout the year. Our mentoring scheme gives new starters the opportunity to connect with more experienced physics students, helping you settle into university life.
Mathematical Physics BSc
Ever since Newton’s theories of motion and gravity, the fields of physics and mathematics have been interlinked. This accredited course is taught by the Schools of Mathematical Sciences, and Physics and Astronomy. It uses advanced mathematics to further your understanding of how our universe works. It offers a solid foundation in theoretical physics and associated mathematical topics. Optional modules such as Relativity, Differential Geometry, and Black Holes give you the opportunity to specialise in the areas that interest you the most.
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.
Mandatory
Year 1
From Newton to Einstein
Mandatory
Year 1
Quantitative Physics
Mandatory
Year 1
Core Mathematics
Mandatory
Year 1
Computing For Physical Science
Mandatory
Year 2
Thermal and Statistical Physics
Mandatory
Year 2
Complex Analysis
Mandatory
Year 2
Differential Equations
Mandatory
Year 2
Classical and Quantum Mechanics
Mandatory
Year 2
Thermal and Statistical Physics
Mandatory
Year 2
Vector Calculus and Electromagnetism
Mandatory
Year 2
Optics
Optional
Year 2
The Structure of Stars
Optional
Year 2
The Structure of Galaxies
Optional
Year 2
Molecular Biophysics
Optional
Year 2
Force and Function at the Nanoscale
Optional
Year 2
Complex Functions
Mandatory
Year 3
Introduction to Solid State Physics
Mandatory
Year 3
Atoms, Photons and Fundamental Particles
Mandatory
Year 3
Advanced Quantum Theory
Mandatory
Year 3
Physics Project
Optional
Year 3
Atmospheric and Planetary Physics
Optional
Year 3
Introduction to Cosmology
Optional
Year 3
Extreme Astrophysics
Optional
Year 3
Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos
Optional
Year 3
Semiconductor Physics
Optional
Year 3
Scientific Computing
Optional
Year 3
Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics
Optional
Year 3
Fluid Dynamics
Optional
Year 3
Techniques for Differential Equations
Optional
Year 3
Classical and Quantum Dynamics
Optional
Year 3
Relativity
Optional
Year 3
Project (Autumn)
The above is a sample of the typical modules we offer, but is not intended to be construed or relied on as a definitive list of what might be available in any given year. This content was last updated on Wednesday 4 October 2023. Due to timetabling availability, there may be restrictions on some module combinations.
How does the world really work?
We’ll take you from Newton’s mechanics, the pinnacle of the scientific revolution and the foundation of our understanding of modern physics, right through to our current understanding of physics with Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum mechanics.
This module will underpin your entire physics degree. It contains all the ideas and principles that form the basis of our modern world. As you’ll find out, some of these ideas are very strange indeed.
You’ll study:
This year-long module will train you in the mathematical modelling of physical processes. You’ll cover topics such as basic statistics and errors, dimensional analysis, curve sketching, orders of magnitude and estimates, and integrating problems in physics among others.
Calculus provides the basic, underpinning mathematics for much of modern technology, from the design of chemical reactors and high-speed trains to models for gene networks and space missions. The basic ideas that underpin calculus are functions and limits, and to study these rigorously you need to learn about the tools of mathematical analysis. In this module, in addition to differential equations and the calculus of functions of one or more variables and their differentiation, integration and analysis, you will learn the basics of logic and how to construct rigorous proofs.
Linear algebra underpins many areas of modern mathematics. The basic objects that you will study in this module are vectors, matrices and linear transformations. Topics covered include vector geometry, matrix algebra, vector spaces, linear systems of equations, eigenvalues and eigenvectors, and inner product spaces. The mathematical tools that you study in this module are fundamental to many mathematical, statistical, and computational models of the real world.
There is no area of modern mathematics that does not use computational methods to make progress on problems with which the human brain is unable to cope due to the volume of calculations required. Scientific computation underpins many technological developments in all sectors of the economy. You will learn how to write code for mathematical applications using Python. Python is a freely available, widely used computer language. No previous computing knowledge will be assumed.
You’ll receive training in basic computing techniques using Python, and will be introduced to their use in solving physical problems.
You’ll spend two hours in computer classes and a one hour lecture each week.
Macroscopic systems exhibit behaviour that often differs from that of their microscopic constituents. This module explores the relationship between the macro and micro worlds, and the complexity which emerges from the interplay of many interacting degrees of freedom.
You’ll study:
This course introduces the theory and applications of functions of a complex variable, using an approach oriented towards methods and applications. You will also learn about functions of complex variables and study topics including, analyticity, Laurent series, contour integrals and residue calculus and its applications.
This module introduces various analytical methods for the solution of ordinary and partial differential equations.
You will begin by studying asymptotic techniques, which can be used when the equations involve a small parameter, which is often the case. We will also study some aspects of dynamical systems theory, which has wide applicability to models of real world problems.
In this module you will learn how Newtonian mechanics can be developed into the more powerful formulations due to Lagrange and Hamilton and be introduced to the basic structure of quantum mechanics. The module provides the foundation for a wide range of more advanced modules in mathematical physics.
Macroscopic systems exhibit behaviour that often differs from that of their microscopic constituents. This module explores the relationship between the macro and micro worlds, and the complexity which emerges from the interplay of many interacting degrees of freedom.
You’ll study:
This module provides a grounding in the techniques of vector calculus and illustrates their use by developing the theory of electromagnetism and Maxwell’s equations. You will be introduced to the vector differentiation operations of gradient, divergence and curl, integration methods for scalar and vector quantities over paths, surfaces and volumes, and the relationship of these operations to each other via the integral theorems of Green, Stokes and Gauss. These concepts will be illustrated through examples drawn from the theory of electromagnetism
This is a core module targeted at year 2 Mathematical Physics students and Natural Sciences students on the Maths and Physics pathway. You’ll study the physics of light and Maxwell’s equations on electrodynamics.
This is a core module targeted at year 2 Mathematical Physics students and Natural Sciences students on the Maths and Physics pathway. You’ll study:
In this module you will learn how the same physics that works on Earth – gravity, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, optics, quantum physics, atomic and nuclear physics – is used to understand stars. You will explore the most important physical processes occurring in stars of different types. You will then use this knowledge to build mathematical models of stars and to understand their internal structure, their formation, evolution, and death.
You’ll study:
This module will develop your current understanding of the various large-scale physical processes that dictate the formation, evolution and structure of galaxies, from when the Universe was in its infancy to the present day.
You’ll explore a range of topics, starting with the fundamentals of observational techniques used by astronomers for understanding the structure of our own galaxy, the Milky Way. We will then look at the more sophisticated ways of unpicking the physics that drives the complexity we see throughout the population of galaxies in the Universe.
Specifically, in this module, you will study:
This module explores how physics-based techniques are used to gain insight into complex molecular systems of biological relevance. In studying the physics underpinning this area of research where chemistry, biology and physics all overlap, we will draw on principles derived from quantum mechanics and statistical physics to develop a better understanding of the biomolecular world.
Physics has made significant contributions in our efforts to understand the underlying molecular principles of life. For instance, physics plays an important role in the development of sophisticated methods that make it possible to measure the complex structure of biological molecules and their mutual interactions and dynamics. Two important groups of such biomolecules that will be discussed in the module are proteins and deoxynucleic acids (DNA).
Topics covered in this module include:
We will study some of the fundamental forces at the nanoscale and look at the role of key concepts such as entropy. We will also learn how we can visualise and measure the nanoscale structures that form.
The nanoscale world is very different from our regular experience. Thermal energy pushes and pulls everything towards a state of disorder whilst nanoscale forces allow for materials to resist this and stay together. We will study some of the fundamental forces at the nanoscale and look at the role of key concepts such as entropy. We will also learn how we can visualise and measure the nanoscale structures that form.
While the forces we will study operate over distances as small as 1 nanometre we will explore how these concepts are responsible for phenomena in our everyday world we often don’t even think about:
In this module you will learn about the theory and applications of functions of a complex variable using a method and applications approach. You will develop an understanding of the theory of complex functions and evaluate certain real integrals using your new skills.
Solid state physics underpins almost every technological development around us, from solar cells and LEDs to silicon chips and mobile phones.
The aim of this module is to introduce to you the fundamental topics in solid state physics. We start by looking at why atoms and molecules come together to form a crystal structure. We then follow the electronic structure of these through to interesting electronic, thermal and magnetic properties that we can harness to make devices.
You’ll study:
This module will introduce students to the physics of atoms, nuclei and the fundamental constituents of matter and their interactions. The module will also develop the quantum mechanical description of these.
Topics to be covered are:
In this module you will apply the quantum mechanics that you learned in Year 2 to more general problems. New topics will be introduced such as the quantum theory of the hydrogen atom and aspects of angular momentum such as spin.
You will carry out a project drawn from one of several areas of physics. The project may be experimental or theoretical in nature. Many of the projects reflect the research interests of members of academic staff. You’ll work in pairs and will be expected to produce a plan of work and to identify realistic goals for your project. Each pair has a project supervisor responsible for setting the project.
10 credits in the Autumn semester.
In this module you will explore the physics of planets and their atmospheres — a topic that is at the forefront of modern astrophysics and planetary science.
In the last few decades, the discovery of thousands of exoplanets beyond our Solar System has revolutionised the study of planets and their atmospheres.
Closer to home, understanding the physical processes at play in the Earth’s atmosphere remains vital for predicting weather and climate.
You’ll study:
Cosmology is the scientific study of the Universe as a whole. It aims to understand what the Universe is made of, and its evolution from the Big Bang until today (and into the future).
You’ll study:
This module explores the physical processes involved in the most extreme environments known in the Universe. Among the objects studied are neutron stars, black holes, supernova explosions, and active galactic nuclei.
How can complicated nonlinear mechanical, electrical and biological systems be understood? In this module you will develop your knowledge of classical mechanics of simple linear behaviour to include the behaviour of complex nonlinear dynamics. You’ll learn about the way in which nonlinear deterministic systems can exhibit essentially random behaviours, and approaches to understand and control them.
You’ll learn:
This module introduces you to the physics and applications of Semiconductors. Semiconductors are key materials of the current Information Age. They enabled most of the devices and technologies we use everyday, such as computers, internet, mobile phones. Semiconductors help us to mitigate global warming, data theft, end of the Moore’s law and other global challenges.
This module includes detailed overview of the Semiconductors past, present and future, and provides skills and knowledge essential for a future Semiconductor researcher or engineer.
You’ll study:
This module aims to provide you with the skills necessary to use computational methods in the solution of non-trivial problems in physics and astronomy. You’ll also sharpen your programming skills through a three hour computing class and one hour of lectures per week.
Particle physics has been hugely influential in both science and society, from the discovery of the electron to the detection of the Higgs boson. In this module you will be introduced to the mathematical tools required to understand our current description of the Standard Model of particle physics.
You’ll study:
You will extend your understanding of fluid flow by introducing the concept of viscosity and studying the fundamental governing equations for the motion of liquids and gases.
Methods for solution of these equations are introduced, including exact solutions and approximate solutions valid for thin layers. A further aim is to apply the theory to model fluid dynamical problems of physical relevance.
This course introduces various analytical methods for the solution of ordinary and partial differential equations, focussing on asymptotic techniques and dynamical systems theory. Students taking this course will build on their understanding of differential equations covered in Modelling with Differential Equations.
The module introduces and explores methods, concepts and paradigm models for classical and quantum mechanical dynamics. We explore how classical concepts enter quantum mechanics, and how they can be used to find approximate semi-classical solutions.
You will be introduced to Einstein’s theory of general and special relativity. The relativistic laws of mechanics will be described within a unified framework of space and time. You’ll learn how to compare other theories against this work and you’ll be able to explain exciting new phenomena that occur in relativity.
This course consists of a self-directed investigation of a project selected from a list of projects or, subject to prior approval of the School, from elsewhere. The project will be supervised by a member of staff and will be based on a substantial mathematical problem, an application of mathematics or investigation of an area of mathematics not previously studied. Further information will be provided to you on the Moodle page. The course includes training in the use of IT resources, the word-processing of mathematics and report writing.
For a typical core Physics module, the examination carries a weight of 80%, the remaining 20% usually being allocated for regular coursework and workshop assignments throughout the year. A typical core Mathematics module is assessed 60% by examination and 40% by regular coursework, computing assignments and small-scale group projects.
Typically in the first year, there are 10 lectures per week including problem sheets and directed reading. Some modules are supplemented by additional workshops where you will have the opportunity to put your learning into practice.
You will benefit from having both a maths and a physics tutor. You will take part in weekly small group tutorials (typically five students), where your tutor will provide support and guidance. These will alternate between maths and physics in the first year. Subsequent years will vary with the largest change being no more weekly tutorials.
Studying advanced physics will enable you to become more adaptable and better at problem solving. These are invaluable traits for any career. Our students go on to work in a variety of industries, including engineering, aerospace, IT, and finance, as well as academic research. Others use their training in communication skills to enter teaching or science communication careers.
Employers of our graduates include Accenture, BBC, EDF Energy, Jaguar Land Rover, and various NHS Trusts. Roles include Trainee Clinical Scientist, Medical Physicist, Systems Engineer, Data Analyst and Software Development Engineer.
86.40% of undergraduates from the Faculty of Science secured employment or further study within 15 months of graduation. The average annual salary for these graduates was £27,834.
HESA Graduate Outcomes (2017-2021 cohorts). The Graduate Outcomes % is calculated using The Guardian University Guide methodology. The average annual salary is based on graduates working full-time within the UK.
Studying for a degree at the University of Nottingham will provide you with the type of skills and experiences that will prove invaluable in any career, whichever direction you decide to take.
Throughout your time with us, our Careers and Employability Service can work with you to improve your employability skills even further; assisting with job or course applications, searching for appropriate work experience placements and hosting events to bring you closer to a wide range of prospective employers.
Have a look at our careers page for an overview of all the employability support and opportunities that we provide to current students.
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 2013-2020, High Fliers Research).
University Park Campus covers 300 acres, with green spaces, wildlife, period buildings and modern facilities. It is one of the UK's most beautiful and sustainable campuses, winning a national Green Flag award every year since 2003.
University Park Campus covers 300 acres, with green spaces, wildlife, period buildings and modern facilities. It is one of the UK's most beautiful and sustainable campuses, winning a national Green Flag award every year since 2003.
Faculty of Science
3 Years full-time
Qualification
BSc Hons
UCAS code
F350
Faculty of Science
4 Years full-time
Qualification
MSci Hons
UCAS code
F371
Faculty of Science
3 Years full-time
Qualification
BSc Hons
UCAS code
F346
Faculty of Science
4 Years full-time
Qualification
MSci Hons
UCAS code
F325
Faculty of Science
3 Years full-time
Qualification
BSc Hons
UCAS code
F300
If you’re looking for more information, please head to our help and support hub, where you can find frequently asked questions or details of how to make an enquiry.
If you’re looking for more information, please head to our help and support hub, where you can find frequently asked questions or details of how to make an enquiry.