## Overview

- Study in a school ranked 3rd in the UK for research*
- Gain a thorough background in the mathematical techniques and concepts used today
- Choose from a range of optional modules in year four

* Research Excellence Framework, 2014

## Entry requirements

**A levels:** A*AA-AAA, including A* in either maths or physics.

### English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

If you require additional support to take your language skills to the required level, you may be able to attend a presessional course at the Centre for English Language Education, which is accredited by the British Council for the teaching of English in the UK.

Students who successfully complete the presessional course to the required level can progress onto their chosen degree course without retaking IELTS or equivalent.

### Alternative qualifications

For details see alternative qualifications page.

### Flexible admissions policy

In recognition of our applicants’ varied experience and educational pathways, the University of Nottingham employs a flexible admissions policy. We may make some applicants an offer lower than advertised, depending on their personal and educational circumstances. Please see the University’s admissions policies and procedures for more information.

## Additional information

### Teaching methods and assessment

### Teaching methods and assessment

### Lectures

Group teaching sizes are small enough for us to know all of our students as individuals and the total class size is large enough to allow us to offer a wide range of modules. This means that you will be able to tailor your degree to your scientific interests.

Typically there are 10 lectures per week including problem sheets and directed reading. You will learn a modern programming language so that you can solve equations and model physical situations. The course structure ensures there are formative assessments throughout the year to help you to guide your studies and gain regular feedback on how you're getting on. If there is something you do not understand, you are always welcome to discuss it with a member of staff.

### Tutorials

You will take part in weekly small group tutorials (typically five students), where your tutor will provide support and guidance. The practical modules involve working between three and six hours per week in laboratories, where, in addition to traditional experimental techniques, we emphasise the importance of computer control and simulation throughout the course.

### Examinations and assignments

For a typical core module the examination carries a weight of 80%, the remaining 20% usually being allocated for regular coursework and workshop assignments throughout the year. Experimental and other practical work is continually assessed through laboratory notebooks and formal reports.

## Year one

In this year, you will gain a basic grounding in physics and mathematics, including mechanics special relativity, electromagnetism and quantum theory, mathematical modelling, calculus, linear mathematics and mathematical reasoning, along with an introduction to scientific computing.

### Typical modules

This module introduces students to a broad range of core mathematical concepts and techniques. It has three components.

- Mathematical reasoning (the language of mathematics, the need for rigour, and methods of proof).
- The computer package MATLAB and its applications.
- Elementary analysis.

You will begin by practising the basic concepts and methods of calculus including limits, functions, and continuity. In the second semester you will move onto more advanced usage of calculus. Topics will be based around the calculus of functions of several variables and include partial derivatives, chain rules, the vector operator grad, Lagrange multipliers and multiple integrals.

This module introduces you to the methods and practices of linear mathematics that you will need in subsequent modules on your course, such as complex numbers, vector algebra and matrix algebra. You will then expand your knowledge to include vector spaces, linear transformations and inner product spaces.

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.

You’ll receive training in basic computing techniques using MatLab, and will be introduced to their use in solving physical problems.

You’ll spend three to four hours in computer classes and a one hour lecture each week.

The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This prospectus may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.

## Year two

In this year, you will learn the core elements of the classic theories of physics: electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, thermal and statistical mechanics, and optics. In parallel, you will learn the mathematical language in which these theories are expressed, such as vector calculus amd Fourier analysis. You will also take one or two optional modules.

### Typical modules

This course explores the classical and quantum mechanical description of motion. The laws of classical mechanics are investigated both in their original formulation due to Newton and in the mathematically equivalent but more powerful formulations due to Lagrange and Hamilton. Applications are made to problems such as planetary motion, rigid body motion and vibrating systems. Quantum mechanics is developed in terms of a wave function obeying Schroedinger's equation, and the appropriate mathematical notions of Hermitian operators and probability densities are introduced. Applications include problems such as the harmonic oscillator and a particle in a three-dimensional central force field.

This course aims to give students a sound grounding in the application of both differential and integral calculus to vectors, and to apply vector calculus methods and separation of variables to the solution of partial differential equations. The module is an important pre-requisite for a wide range of other courses in Applied Mathematics.

Macroscopic systems exhibit behaviour that is quite different from that of their microscopic constituents studied in isolation. New physics emerges from the interplay of many interacting degrees of freedom. In this module you will learn about the important physical properties of matter and the two main approaches to their description. One, thermodynamics, treats macroscopically relevant degrees of freedom (temperature, pressure and so on) and find relations between these and the fundamental laws which govern them, independent of their microscopic structure. The other approach, statistical mechanics, links the macroscopically relevant properties to the microphysics by replacing the detailed microscopic dynamics with a statistical description. The common feature of both of these methods is the introduction of two macroscopic quantities, temperature and entropy, that have no microscopic meaning.

The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This prospectus may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.

## Year three

You will take core modules in advanced quantum theory, relativity, solid- state physics and elementary particles and carry out a project in the general area of mathematical physics. You choose from a range of optional modules and will also be given training in communication skills in preparation for the more student-centred approaches taken in some of the fourth-year modules.

### Typical modules

In this module you will apply the general theory you learnt in Introduction to Mathematical Physics 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.

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:

- Approximation techniques first order perturbation theory, degeneracies, second order perturbation theory, transition rates, time-dependent perturbation theory, Fermi's golden rule
- Particle Physics protons and neutrons, antiparticles, particle accelerators and scattering experiments, conservation laws, neutrinos, leptons, baryons and hadrons, the quark model and the strong interaction, weak interactions, standard model
- Introduction to atomic physics review of simple model of hydrogen atom, Fermi statistics and Pauli principle, aufbau principle, hydrogenic atoms, exchange, fine structure and hyperfine interactions, dipole interaction, selection rules and transition rates
- Lasers optical polarization and photons, optical cavities, population inversions, Bose statistics and stimulated emission, Einstein A and B coefficients
- Nuclear Physics Radioactivity, decay processes, alpha, beta and gamma emission, detectors, stability curves and binding energies, nuclear fission, fusion, liquid drop and shell models.

- Bonding nature of chemical bonds, thermodynamics of solid formation
- Crystal structures description of crystal structures, k-space, reciprocal lattice, Bragg diffraction, Brillouin zones
- Nearly-free electron model - Bloch's theorem, band gaps from electron Bragg scattering, effective masses
- Band theory Fermi surfaces, qualitative picture of transport, metals, insulators and semiconductors
- Semiconductors - doping, inhomogeneous semiconductors, basic description of pn junction
- Phonons normal modes of ionic lattice, quantization, Debye theory of heat capacities, acoustic and optical phonons
- Optical properties of solids absorption and reflection of light by metals, Brewster angle, dielectric constants, plasma oscillations
- Magnetism- Landau diamagnetism, paramagnetism, exchange interactions, Ferromagnetism, antiferromagnetism, neutron scattering, dipolar interactions and domain formation, magnetic technology

In this module you’ll have an introduction 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 new phenomena which occur in relativity.

You’ll carry out a project within the areas of chemical and molecular physics, which may be experimental or theoretical in nature.

Spending around two hours per week in lectures and tutorials, you’ll work in pairs to plan your project under the guidance of a project supervisor.

The above is a sample of the typical modules that we offer at the date of publication but is not intended to be construed and/or relied upon as a definitive list of the modules that will be available in any given year. This prospectus may be updated over the duration of the course, as modules may change due to developments in the curriculum or in the research interests of staff.

## Year four

In this year, you will take a number of options which may include topics such as black holes, quantum field theory, cosmology and astrophysics (subject to sufficient student numbers), as well as carrying out a substantial project in mathematical physics.

### Typical modules

## Optional modules

Below is a small sample of modules you will be able to choose from:

In this module you’ll systematically study black holes and their properties, including astrophysical processes, horizons and singularities. You’ll have an introduction to black hole radiation to give you an insight into problems of research interest. You’ll gain knowledge to help you begin research into general relativity. You’ll have four hours of lectures per week studying this module.

In this module you’ll be equipped with the tools and knowledge to extend your understanding of general relativity. You’ll explore more abstract and powerful concepts using examples of curved space-times such as Lie groups and manifolds among others. You’ll have three hours of lecture per week studying this module, which may be used as example or problem classes when required.

In this module you’ll develop your understanding of the ideas of general relativity to an advanced level. You’ll use scientific models applied to current research, including modified gravity models with extra dimensions, to assist your learning. You’ll have three hours of lectures for seven weeks of the semester while studying this module.

- Bose condensation review of Bose statistics, BEC, BEC in cold atomic gases.
- Superfluidity in Helium-4 quantum fluids, macroscopic wave functions, superfluidity, non-classical rotational inertia and vortices, phonon and roton excitations.
- Superconductivity conduction in metals, superconducting materials, zero-resistivity, Meissner effect, perfect diamagnetism, type I and type II behaviour, London theory.
- BCS theory of superconductivity.- electron-phonon interaction, Cooper pairs, BCS wave function, order parameter and microscopic origin of GL.
- Applications: squids, superconducting magnets etc.

In this year-long module you’ll be introduced to the study of the quantum dynamics of relativistic particles. You’ll learn about the quantum description of electrons, photons and other elementary particles leading to an understanding of the standard model of particle physics. You’ll have two hours per week of lectures studying this module.

## Careers

You will have a thorough grounding in the fundamental principles of physics and mathematics, and experience of the application of mathematical techniques to theoretical physics. A combination of intellectual rigour, numeracy and problem solving will prepare you for employment in areas ranging from research and development in industry to the financial sector.

### Professional accreditation

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 integrated masters degree fulfils the academic requirements for Chartered Physicist.

### Average starting salary and career progression

96.5% of undergraduates from the School of Physics and Astronomy secured work or further study within six months of graduation. £25,000 was the average starting salary, with the highest being £46,800.*

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

### Careers support and advice

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 2013-2019, High Fliers Research).

## Fees and funding

### Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Nottingham offers a wide range of bursaries and scholarships. These funds can provide you with an additional source of non-repayable financial help. For up to date information regarding tuition fees, visit our fees and finance pages.

### Home students*

Over one third of our UK students receive our means-tested core bursary, worth up to £2,000 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.

### International/EU students

Our International Baccalaureate Diploma Excellence Scholarship is available for select students paying overseas fees who achieve 38 points or above in the International Baccalaureate Diploma. We also offer a range of High Achiever Prizes for students from selected countries, schools and colleges to help with the cost of tuition fees. Find out more about scholarships, fees and finance for international students.

## Related courses

### Physics BSc

### Physics MSci

### Physics with Astronomy BSc

### Physics with European Language MSci

### Mathematical Physics BSc

### Physics and Philosophy BSc

### Physics with Medical Physics MSci

### Physics with Nanoscience MSci

### Physics with Theoretical Astrophysics MSci

### Physics with Astronomy MSci

### Physics with Theoretical Physics MSci

### Physics with European Language BSc

### Chemistry and Molecular Physics BSc

### Mathematics International Study BSc

### Mathematics BSc

### Physics with Medical Physics BSc

### Statistics BSc

### Chemistry and Molecular Physics MSci

### Physics with Nanoscience BSc

### Physics with Theoretical Physics BSc

### Physics with Theoretical Astrophysics BSc

**Disclaimer**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.