## Overview

Students have been coming to Nottingham to learn about physics since the University was founded in 1881. The first professor was Sir Ambrose Fleming, of left- and right-hand rule fame, who insisted that good teaching and high-quality original research were to have equal priority. We strive to maintain this balance. Be inspired and join our world.

- Gain a broad knowledge of physics with emphasis on theoretical aspects
- Take a series of specialised modules
- Develop key ideas and the main mathematical and computational techniques of theoretical physics

Our research-engaged teaching ensures you are taught by the brightest minds who are working at the forefront of developments. This course is based on the common core of physics modules, but with no practical work after the first year. You will explore a wide range of sophisticated theoretical techniques and applications of these mathematical techniques to physical problems.

## Entry requirements

**A levels:** A*AA-AAA, including physics and maths at A level

### English language requirements

IELTS 6.5 (no less than 6.0 in any element)

For details of other English language tests and qualifications we accept, please see our entry requirements page.

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 the 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

### 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.

### 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 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.

### Study abroad

Studying abroad gives you the opportunity to travel, experience another academic environment, make new friends and immerse yourself in another culture, as well developing career skills and a global outlook which will impress future employers.

The majority of University of Nottingham students have the opportunity to study abroad during their time at University. Explore your options.

## Year one

You will take the same core physics modules as in the BSc Physics programme, with the Frontiers in Physics module offering an introduction to an array of specialised topics. To fit in the extra theoretical components, laboratory work is only undertaken in the first year.

There are typically ten lectures per week covering all modules, plus a couple of 2-hour workshops. All students are additionally supported by a weekly tutorial covering the work studied in all modules.

### Core modules

You’ll study a selection of mathematical techniques that are used for analysing physical behaviour. Topics will include:

- complex numbers
- calculus of a single variable
- plane geometry
- differential equations
- calculus of several variables
- matrix algebra

You’ll spend around three hours per week in workshops and lectures studying this module.

In this module you will receive: an introduction to the basic techniques and equipment used in experimental physics; training in the analysis and interpretation of experimental data; opportunities to observe phenomena discussed in theory modules and training in the skills of record keeping and writing scientific reports.

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.

This module introduces you to major areas of physics beyond those encountered in the core modules, including those at the forefront of modern research. Particular focus is placed on introductions to astronomy, biophysics and nanoscience. Other topics include condensed matter physics, atomic and particle physics and the physics of the environment.

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

The core physics programme is the same as the BSc Physics course, but you will not have to undertake any laboratory work in this or the subsequent year. The time freed up is used to pursue more sophisticated modules in theoretical physics.

### Core modules

In this module you’ll be introduced to the mathematical language for discussing extreme problems. The formulations of mechanics due to Lagrange and Hamilton will be described and techniques for the solutions of the consequent equations of motion will be discussed. You’ll learn the underlying principles of dynamics and develop techniques for the solution of dynamical problems. You’ll have two hours per week of lectures studying this module.

This module will provide an introduction to the theory and elementary applications of quantum mechanics, a theory that is one of the key achievements of 20th-century physics.

Quantum mechanics is an elegant theoretical construct that is both beautiful and mysterious. Some of the predictions of quantum mechanics are wholly counter-intuitive and there are aspects of it that are not properly understood but it has been tested experimentally for over 50 years and, wherever predictions can be made, they agree with experiment.

Many physical systems support the propagation of waves, from the familiar waves on the surface of water to the electromagnetic waves that we perceive as light. The first half of the module will focus on optics: the study of light. Topics to be covered will include: geometrical optics; wave description of light; interference and diffraction; optical interferometry. The second half of the module will introduce more general methods for the discussion of wave propagation, and Fourier methods.

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.

In the module From Newton to Einstein, you learnt about the idea of a field a quantity which is defined at every point in space. In this module, the description of fields will be extended by introducing the mathematics of vector calculus.

The module will begin with an introduction to vector calculus, illustrated in the context of the flow of ideal (non-viscous) fluids.

The mathematics will then be used to provide a framework for describing, understanding and using the laws of electromagnetism. We discuss how electric and magnetic fields are related to each other and to electrical charges and electrical currents. The macroscopic description of electric fields inside dielectric materials and magnetic fields inside magnetizable materials will be described, including the boundary conditions that apply at material interfaces.

The last section of the module will discuss Maxwells equations of electrodynamics and how they lead to the vector wave equation for electromagnetic waves.

Theory Toolbox will enhance your knowledge of the principles of theoretical physics and your understanding of the analytical methods for the analysis of physical problems.

### Optional

You will develop your knowledge of the various physical processes occurring in stars of different types. You’ll use this knowledge to build both mathematical models and your qualitative physical understanding of stellar structure and evolution will be enhanced. You’ll have two hours per week of lectures studying this module.

This module will develop your current understanding of the various physical processes that dictate the formation, evolution and structure of galaxies. You’ll explore a number of topics including The Milky Way, The Dynamics of Galaxies, Active Galaxies and Galaxy Evolution among others. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures studying this module.

Radiation is a term which can cover many different phenomena and in the public eye radiation can often be seen as a danger. In this module you will learn how physicists can harness the health benefits of using radiation, as well as measuring and controlling levels of radiation in the environment. You’ll examine the biological effects of radiation and the principles which govern safe exposure limits. Around two hours per week will be spent in lectures supplemented by student-led workshop sessions.

You’ll be given an overview of how forces at the nanoscale are different to those observed in macroscopic systems and will consider how they can be exploited in nanometre-scale processes and devices.

You’ll focus on the physical basis and measurement of forces operating on the nanoscale, considering van der Waals, electrostatic, hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions.

You’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and workshops studying this module.

This module will explore the structure of molecules of biological importance and their mutual interactions and dynamics. Emphasis will be placed on the physical determination of molecular structure and intermolecular forces. Furthermore, techniques to study dynamics on the molecular level will be discussed.

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

In the final year, you will complete the core of physics, theoretical physics and astronomy, and also be able to apply the wide range of skills that you have learned to a theoretical astrophysics project.

### Core modules

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

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.

### Optional

You will develop your knowledge of the various physical processes occurring in stars of different types. You’ll use this knowledge to build both mathematical models and your qualitative physical understanding of stellar structure and evolution will be enhanced. You’ll have two hours per week of lectures studying this module.

This module will develop your current understanding of the various physical processes that dictate the formation, evolution and structure of galaxies. You’ll explore a number of topics including The Milky Way, The Dynamics of Galaxies, Active Galaxies and Galaxy Evolution among others. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures studying this module.

Radiation is a term which can cover many different phenomena and in the public eye radiation can often be seen as a danger. In this module you will learn how physicists can harness the health benefits of using radiation, as well as measuring and controlling levels of radiation in the environment. You’ll examine the biological effects of radiation and the principles which govern safe exposure limits. Around two hours per week will be spent in lectures supplemented by student-led workshop sessions.

You’ll be given an overview of how forces at the nanoscale are different to those observed in macroscopic systems and will consider how they can be exploited in nanometre-scale processes and devices.

You’ll focus on the physical basis and measurement of forces operating on the nanoscale, considering van der Waals, electrostatic, hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions.

You’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and workshops studying this module.

This module will explore the structure of molecules of biological importance and their mutual interactions and dynamics. Emphasis will be placed on the physical determination of molecular structure and intermolecular forces. Furthermore, techniques to study dynamics on the molecular level will be discussed.

Theory Toolbox will enhance your knowledge of the principles of theoretical physics and your understanding of the analytical methods for the analysis of physical problems.

In this module you’ll explore the theoretical aspect of atmospheric physics. Topics will include planetary atmosphere, troposphere, solar radiation and the Energy budget, radiation transfer and Photochemistry among others. You’ll have two hours of lectures per week studying this module.

To make models of extreme astrophysical sources and environments basedon physical theory.

To interpret observational data in the light of relevant physical theory.

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 behaviour because of sensitivity relating to initial conditions. You’ll have two hours per week of lectures 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.

You’ll extend and develop your knowledge of quantum theory with a particular emphasis on how quantum systems evolve over time. The module will focus on developing the mathematical formalism of quantum mechanics as well as introducing important physical models and calculational techniques.

- Introduction to Soft Matter
- Forces, energies and timescales in soft matter
- Liquids and glasses
- Phase transitions in soft matter (solid-liquid and liquid-liquid demixing)
- Polymeric materials
- Gelation
- Crystallisation in soft systems
- Liquid crystals
- Molecular order in soft systems
- Soft Nanotechnology

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.

This course is structured in two main parts. The first part focuses on the foundation of quantum mechanics and solid state physics needed to describe a low dimensional system. The module then moves on describing the physical principles of semiconductor junction and devices.

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.

The atmosphere at Nottingham is brilliant. The lecturers are very friendly and eager to help. I’ve really enjoyed my first year of study and can’t wait to dive into more theoretical physics. There’s so much on offer that you feel spoilt for choice.Matthew Laird, BSc Physics with Theoretical Physics

## Careers

Due to their training, physicists are adaptable and proficient at mathematics and problem solving. Employers see a physics graduate as someone who has demonstrated an ability to work through a demanding course of study and who has gained a wide variety of transferable technical skills.

You will have developed a wide variety of skills including the ability to process complex information, to analyse data, and to problem solve using advanced mathematical methods.

### 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

### Additional costs

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.

### Scholarships and bursaries

We offer a range of scholarships designed to assist you in settling in to your studies and meeting the financial requirements of your course. Some of these are means-tested but we also offer special scholarships that reward academic achievement.

One is offered on the basis of performance in the qualifying examinations for university entrance (eg A levels). A scholarship package is also offered to reward good performance in the qualifying (first) year examinations. This scheme includes special prizes that have been inaugurated in collaboration with our commercial partners. Full details of all scholarship prizes will be provided at the UCAS open days.

For more details about scholarships, please visit the School of Physics and Astronomy website.

### 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

**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.