## 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 the key ideas and 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. The fourth year allows you to undertake a major project in small groups based around topics drawn from leading theoretical physics research in the school.

**What's an MSci?**

MSci degrees are undergraduate-level courses which last for four years and have an integrated masters qualification. They are the equivalent to a bachelors degree plus** **a masters level qualification. These courses usually provide additional industry and/or research experience to enhance your future prospects. An MSci is excellent preparation for further study such as a PhD.

If you choose to study an MSci, your student loan will cover tuition fees and living costs for the additional year too (home/EU students only). If you are unsure on whether to choose an MSci or BSc, we recommend you choose the MSci to secure your funding. Transfer to the BSc is possible.

The entry requirements for our MSci degrees are the same as the BSc degrees.

## 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 please 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. 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 MSci Physics (F303) 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.

### 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 in F303, but you do 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 addition to the core physics modules, and modules on the BSc Physics with Theoretical Physics programme targeted at theoretical physicists, you will take the specialised modules that prepare you for the innovative way in which the final year in our MSci degree is taught. You will also undertake a project to develop your research skills in theoretical physics.

### Core modules

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.

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 will work in pairs and are 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

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.

- 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.

## Year four

The final year is taught in a completely different way. You will undertake a range of activities (mini projects, presentations and similar), which are synoptic in nature, interweaving the subjects learned in previous years to develop a broad understanding of physics. You will also carry out a major research project, either involving consultancy work in industry or collaboration within a research group at Nottingham or elsewhere.

### Typical molecules

In this year-long module you’ll aim to solve a theoretical or practical problem. You’ll spend semester one researching your chosen project and carry out your original research in semester two. You’ll have the opportunity to work with external parties such as an industrial laboratory, school or hospital if appropriate to your topic.

### Optional

This module provides an introduction to the modern theory of gravitation: Einstein's general theory of relativity. This module is based on a regular series of two one-hour lectures per week supplemented by a two-hour workshop once a fortnight.

This module will develop the modern theoretical description of phase transitions and critical phenomena and provide an introduction to the dynamics of non-equilibrium systems. Topics to be covered will include:

• ordered phases of matter;

• order parameters;

• scaling behaviour at critical points;

• mean-field approaches;

• finite-size scaling;

• stochastic processes;

• Langevin dynamics and the Fokker-Planck equation.

Applications, both within and beyond, condensed matter physics will be discussed.

This module provides a detailed presentation of advanced research topics in nanoscience. The module is divided into four main parts:

- Atoms and molecules at surfaces: the effect of adsorption on the electronic, vibrational, and geometric structure of molecules, investigating geometric and electronic structure of adsorbed molecules (photoelectron spectroscopy and x-ray absorption spectroscopy), investigating vibrational structure of molecules on surfaces (electron energy loss spectroscopy and vibrational structure in photoelectron spectroscopy).
- Introduction to numerical methods in nanoscience: density functional theory calculations of molecules on and off surfaces.
- Assembly and local probing of nanostructures: self- and directed-assembly at the nanoscale, advanced scanning probe microscopy (specialised variants, simultaneous STM/AFM, sub-molecular imaging), measuring atomic and molecular interactions at the single bond limit.
- Near-field optics and optical spectroscopy: advanced optical microscopy, vibrational properties of molecules and nanomaterials; optical spectroscopy techniques for molecular characterisation of nanomaterials (UV-vis, Raman spectroscopy), evanescent waves, plasmonics, near-field scanning probe optical microscopy.

This module introduces you to the key ideas behind modern approaches to our understanding of the role of inflation in the early and late universe, in particular through the formation of structure, the generation of anisotropies in the cosmic microwave background radiation, and the origin of dark energy. You’ll study through a series of staff lectures and student-led workshops.

This module will explain how the intrinsic spin of nuclei and electrons is exploited in magnetic resonance experiments. It will describe the classical and quantum pictures of the phenomenon of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and show why NMR forms such a powerful analytical tool, today. Basic electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) will also be described, along with the equipment used for NMR and EPR, and some applications of these techniques.

In this module you'll gain an appreciation of the broad societal impact of physics (and science in general). You'll be introduced to the politics surrounding science policy (on, e.g., global warming/renewable energy R&D) and research funding. You'll also explorre some of the key ideas in the philosophy of physics and science, particularly as they relate to public perception of scientific research.

This module will focus on solid state and related devices which exhibit quantum coherent effects. Topics to be covered will include; theory of quantum electrical circuits, superconducting resonators and Josephson junctions, flux and charge qbits, superconducting SETs,nanomechanical resonators, noise and decoherence,and quantum information processing.

This module will extend previous work in the areas of atomic and optical physics to cover modern topics in the area of quantum effects in light-matter interactions. Some basic material will be introduced in six staff-led seminars and you’ll have around two hours of lectures and student-led workshops each week.

The module will describe electronic transport phenomena in solid state systems. Topics to be covered will include:

• low-dimensional structures

• ballistic and diffusive transport

• quantum wires and dots

• carbon nanotubes and graphene

• coulomb blockade

• quantum Hall effects

• Anderson localization

• spin transport

• interference and decoherence

This module develops a range of modern astronomical techniques through student-centered approaches to topical research problems. You’ll cover a range of topics related to ongoing research in astronomy and astrophysics, and will encompass theoretical and observational approaches. This module is based on individual and group student-led activities involving the solution of topical problems including written reports and exercises, and a project.

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

### 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.

The Sir Peter Mansfield scholarship 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. Full details of all scholarship prizes will be provided at the UCAS open days.

For more details about scholarships, please see www.nottingham.ac.uk/physics

### 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.