Skip to content

BSc (Hons)

Physics

Student using scientific equipment
100%
Top
20
In the UK for Physics
in The Guardian University Guide 2020
  • UCAS code(s): F300 / 350K
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Location: Clifton Campus
  • Starting: September 2021
  • Course duration: 3 / 4 year(s)
  • Entry requirements: More information

From sub-atomic particles to distant galaxies, physics is the study of absolutely everything. This course is perfect for you if you have a keen interest in physics. You’ll study optics, semiconductors, mechanics, ionising radiation, thermal physics and many more topics, covering the fundamental concepts of undergraduate physics. You'll also study some of the fascinating specialist topics at the cutting edge of the field, pioneered by our expert staff. Alongside the theory, you'll spend a substantial amount of time doing practical work in our well-equipped laboratories. You can opt to take a one year work placement in industry, produce an individual project and go on field trips with our active Astronomy and Physics Society. This course is accredited by the Institute of Physics.

Why choose this course?

  • You’ll benefit from excellent teaching. We were awarded the title of Guardian University of the Year 2019, the Guardian University Award in the Course and Curriculum Design category for our innovative teaching (the SCALE-UP project), we’ve been awarded a gold rating in the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework, we were awarded the title of Modern University of the Year in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2018 and University of the Year in the Times Higher Education Awards 2017.
  • You’ll join satisfied students. We get consistently high satisfaction scores in the National Student Survey. In the most recent survey (2020) the overall satisfaction with our BSc Physics course was 100% - that’s joint first place in the UK.
  • You’ll learn in inspiring environments. We have a custom-built, on-campus observatory recognised by the International Astronomical Union, a radio telescope, a CT scanner, new microscopes, MRI scanners, a scanning tunneling microscope and an ionising radiation laboratory. This ensures that you get the practical experience you need to pursue a successful career.
  • You’ll study innovative accredited courses. Our pioneering courses and research are carried out in close collaboration with university and industry partners worldwide, giving our students skills and knowledge which are highly relevant to the needs of industry. Our undergraduate MSci and BSc physics courses are accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP) which will help you to achieve Chartered Physicist status sooner.
  • You’ll help to deliver research with impact. Our physics staff contribute to research activity in a number of areas including Superhydrophobic Surfaces, Medical Resonance Imaging, Art Conservation and Space Weather. Every year approximately ten of our students undertake paid summer placements in these research groups, giving them hands-on experience of cutting edge research groups. NTU has recently been awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for research – the highest national award achievable.
  • You’ll have the opportunity to get experience. Our courses offer the opportunity to apply for a placement in the UK or abroad, giving you the real-life experience employers are looking for. Recent year-long placements have taken place at CERN, E.ON, The Netherlands Forensic Institute and Diamond Light Source. There are paid summer placements in our research groups, where you get hands-on research experience.  Our students have also undertaken paid summer placements in local secondary schools and at British Antarctic Survey.
  • You’ll become more employable. We’ve got an excellent employability record - 97% of NTU graduates are employed or engaged in further study six months after leaving.

What our students say

“It’s a very applied course, As well as learning the background to the physics principles, you learn how to use physics to change the world.

“The staff are amazing! They care about how you’re doing on a personal level as well as academically.”

Elizabeth Dye, BSc (Hons) Physics

“The coursework and lab reports all set you up for a myriad of things in the workplace. I was hired specifically because of the skill sets taught in science degrees rather than the knowledge itself.”

Tom Moore, BSc (Hons) Physics Graduate

Second in the UK for Student Satisfaction in Physics (NSS 2020)

*

100% of our undergraduate students are satisfied with the quality of this course (National Student Survey 2020).

What you'll study

About the Physics Team

Our expert staff are constantly updating the way in which they teach Physics. Most of our staff conduct cutting-edge research and bring these inspirational results into their teaching. This ensures that what you learn is exciting, relevant and up-to-date.

Ed Breeds is a talented and cheerful lecturer, communicating topics in undergraduate physics in an entertaining and accessible manner. He spends most of his weekends telling the public all about physics at science festivals and events too!

Professor Haida Liang is an internationally recognised expert in advanced optical imaging and sensing for archaeology, art history and conservation, a field in which she applies her background training in astrophysics.

Dr Bill Neal has 30 years of teaching experience in UK universities. He knows all of our physics courses backwards and has an open door to dispense his good advice.

Dr Michael Newton is a Chartered Engineer and has more than 30 years of experience in the development of experimental equipment and instrumentation.

Dr David Fairhurst is an accomplished researcher in the behaviour of liquid droplets. He received the Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching in recognition of his inspirational teaching.

Dr Dan Brown, who teaches astronomy modules, is regularly interviewed on radio and TV for his astronomy work with schools and other outreach events.

Dr Nicolas Sawyer has a very student friendly approach to being Year One Tutor, along with expertise in optics and imaging.

Dr Martin Bencsik, who teaches and researches into MRI, studied for his PhD with the Nobel-prize winning Physicist Sir Peter Mansfield, co-inventor of MRI.

Visit our academic team pages to find out more about our approach to teaching, our partners and research interests.

Learn a new language

Alongside your study you also have the opportunity to learn a new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have. As part of this, we’re offering scholarships for up to 30 students to study a language module as part of their degree.

Learning a new language can:

  • enhance your communication skills
  • enrich your experience when travelling abroad
  • boost your career prospects.

Find out more about the University Language Programme.

  • Year One

    Concepts of Astronomy and Cosmology

    Get an introduction into astronomical objects and their nature, as well as using measurements of light and movement to determine the physical and dynamical characteristics of the solar system.

    Matter: Evidence for Quantisation

    Providing you with knowledge in elementary quantum ideas and nuclear physics, you will develop your ability to understand and apply mathematical techniques in a scientific manner.

    Ideas of Motion – From Galileo to Einstein

    Understand how force and motion are related, from the ideas of Galileo through to Newton’s laws of motion up to Einstein’s special theory of relativity.

    Introduction to Laboratory Software

    Learn basic concepts of program design, and gain the knowledge and skills to implement software solutions to scientific problems.

    Laboratory Instrumentation and Physics Skills

    This module provides an underpinning of essential professional, laboratory and IT skills, including physical principles of electronics-based measurement instruments.

    Mathematical Techniques

    This module provides the mathematical tools you need to support your studies in Physics, including the concepts of matrix and vector algebra, and their application to real examples in Physics.

  • Year Two

    Ionising Radiation and Non-invasive Imaging

    Learn about how different types of radiation interact; the beneficial and detrimental effects of Ionising Radiations (IR); and the principles of imaging techniques such as Ultrasonic and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).  This module includes a substantial number of experiments in our dedicated Ionising Radiation laboratory.

    Fundamental Forces

    Develop an understanding and appreciation of the principles, applications and relationships of the fundamental forces of nature: electromagnetism, gravity and strong and weak nuclear forces.

    The Quantum World

    Learn introductory quantum mechanics through the solution of the Schrodinger equation for model problems. This will reinforce your ability to deploy mathematical techniques.

    Optics and Semiconductors

    Study a range of topics concerned with geometrical and physical optics, and with the elucidation of the principles of operation of semiconductor devices through the application of solid state theory.

    Thermal and Environmental Physics

    Learn about the principles of thermal physics, including: heat transfer processes, thermal expansion of materials, behaviour of gases, atmospheric physics, the northern lights and the physics of climate change.

    Digital Techniques

    Learn about the concepts of digital electronics and digital data processing, including scientific image processing, the structure of a computer and its modes of communicating with other systems.

  • Year Three

    You have the option to undertake a one year work placements in industry. On successful completion you will gain an additional award – the Placement Diploma in Professional Practice.

  • Final year

    Condensed Matter

    Study macroscopic properties of matter, beginning with ideas of statistical mechanics and progressing to encompass the structure of matter, magnetic and transport properties.

    Project and Professional Skills

    You will spend at least one full day per week in the laboratory undertaking novel research, using modern equipment. You will learn the techniques required to formulate a research project, carry out a literature review, perform critical appraisal of published research and scientific presenting. Recent projects have included building a 3D printer, optimising MRI hardware and studying the chaotic behaviour of a dripping tap.

    Advanced Experimental Techniques

    You will gain an insight into a wide range of sophisticated experimental techniques through innovative interactive classroom sessions and in-depth practical work.

    Optional modules

    General Relativity 

    Study some of the most exciting topics at the forefront of physics. These include Einstein’s happiest thought, gravitational waves, the nature of curved space-time around black holes and the unfortunate consequences of anything that approaches too closely.

    Cosmology: Theory and Observation


    Delve into the wonders of theoretical cosmology in lectures, and practical astronomy in laboratory sessions. You will gain a broad knowledge of modern cosmology as well as practical training in astronomical imaging, data analysis, and explaining your research to your peers.

    Laboratory Interfaces and Control

    Learn about a range of standard computer interfaces that are encountered within the science laboratory and develop ideas of instrument control and signal processing.

    Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors

    This module will give you an insight into the physics that underpins the design and operation of a wide range of nuclear reactors. You will look at current issues in nuclear power generation, including safety, decommissioning, and public perceptions of nuclear power generation, and will learn the real facts and physics behind some famous accidents and near-misses that have taken place within the nuclear industry.  You will take a detailed look at the physics behind the fusion process, and at the technology required to bring this source of energy to fruition. You will study the neutron processes taking place within the core of a thermal fission reactor, culminating in a study of reactor kinetics – a quantitative approach to finding out how the neutron population changes over time when small changes are made to the core, including the role played by reactor poisons.  Studying this module will enable you to develop a base of knowledge and skills of value to the nuclear industry.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

100% of our BSc (Hons) Physics FT students are in work or further study within six months of finishing their degrees  (latest DLHE survey 2016-17)

How you’re taught

You will have around 18 hours per week of scheduled contact time with academic staff. This typically includes laboratory work, lectures and student centred activities. During the rest of your week you will be engaged in self-guided learning, and group or individual project work.

Most of our staff conduct cutting edge research and bring these inspirational results into their teaching. This ensures all our courses are exciting, relevant and up-to-date.

Assessment methods

Year 1 - coursework (23%), written (44%), and practical (33%)

Year 2 - coursework (13%), written (55%), and practical (32%)

Year 3 - coursework (40%), written (53%), and practical (7%)

A placement year may be taken between year 2 and year 3 of study

Contact hours

A full-time student on average can expect to spend 1200 hours a year learning which will typically be broken down as follows:

Year 1 - lectures/seminars/workshops (28%) and independent study (72%)

Year 2 - lectures/seminars/workshops (27%) and independent study (73%)

Year 3 - lectures/seminars/workshops (26%) and independent study (74%)

A placement year may be taken between year 2 and year 3 of study

Careers and employability

Your career development

This course prepares you for a wide range of career opportunities both inside and outside physics. It’ll help you to develop numerical, analytical and computational skills which are greatly respected by employers. You’ll also gain essential, transferable skills including report communication, team working and problem solving. Our graduates have gone on to work for companies and in roles such as:

  • Aerothermal engineer – Rolls Royce
  • Scientist training programme – NHS
  • Wind analyst – Prevailing Ltd
  • Technical writer – KA Testing Facility
  • Medical dosimetrist – NHS
  • Software test engineer – Nikon
  • Software architect – MHR
  • Technical Head of Digital Innovations - Uniper Technologies
  • Car configuration engineer – Jaguar Land Rover
  • Teacher/lecturer – School, college and university level
  • Applications engineer – Romax Technology
  • Technical safety manager - QinetiQ
  • Graduate physicist – Ultra Electronics Nuclear Control Systems
  • Public engagement of science officer – Science and Technology Facilities Council
  • Graduate quantity surveyor – Balfour Beatty
  • Project manager – Caterpillar Inc.

Many graduates also choose to undertake further study on one of our Masters-level courses or MPhil and PhD research degrees in areas including Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Quantum Computing and Detector Research.

Excellent placement opportunities

While studying for your degree, a placement is a valuable addition to your education. It gives you the chance to gain real life work experience, put your knowledge and skills into practice and impress your employer, which increases your chances of being offered a job at the end of your course.

Recently our students have taken placements at:

  • CERN
  • Netherlands Forensic Institute
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council
  • Merck Chemicals
  • Airbus
  • National Grid.

All BSc and MSci students have the option to apply for a one-year work placement. Once you’ve successfully completed your placement, you’ll receive an award of a Diploma in Professional Practice, a great addition to your CV.

We also offer shorter (usually eight week) paid placements in our research groups and in local secondary schools.  .

NTU is in the top 10 in the UK for teaching quality in Physics (The TImes and Sunday Times University Guide 2020)

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • 112 UCAS tariff points from up to four qualifications (two of which must be A-level equivalent including Physics and Mathematics grade B and C in any order); or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM including relevant mathematics and physics modules; and
  • GCSEs – English and Maths grade C / 4

Applicants without A-levels will have their qualifications assessed for subject compatibility. We also consider equivalent qualifications and combinations. Please see UCAS Course Search for more details.

If you don’t quite meet these entry criteria, then you may be interested in our BSc (Hons) Applied Physics.  If you exceed these entry criteria, then you may be interested in our MSci Physics.

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

What are we looking for?

  • 112 UCAS tariff points from up to four qualifications (two of which must be A-level equivalent including Physics and Mathematics grade B and C in any order); or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DMM including relevant mathematics and physics modules; and
  • GCSEs – English and Maths grade C / 4

Applicants without A-levels will have their qualifications assessed for subject compatibility. We also consider equivalent qualifications and combinations. Please see UCAS Course Search for more details.

If you don’t quite meet these entry criteria, then you may be interested in our BSc (Hons) Applied Physics.  If you exceed these entry criteria, then you may be interested in our MSci Physics.

NTU may admit a student with advanced standing beyond the beginning of a course, through an assessment of that student's prior learning, whether it is certificated or uncertificated. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available to these prospective students, such as recognising experiential learning or transferring to a similar course at another institution, otherwise known as credit transfer.

All prospective students who wish to apply via Recognition of Prior Learning should initially contact the central Admissions and Enquiries Team who will be able to support you through the process.

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our UG and PG degrees. If you’re not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

  • For a list of our language requirements please visit our English language page.
  • If you need to do a pre-sessional English language course to meet the English requirements please visit our pre-sessional English course page.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our International Team for advice.

How to apply

Ready to join us? Then apply as soon as you can. Just click the Apply button at the top of the page and follow the instructions for applying. Make sure you check the entry requirements above carefully before you do.

Writing your application and personal statement

Be honest, thorough and persuasive in your application. Remember, we can only make a decision based on what you tell us. So include all of your qualifications and grades, including resits or predicted grades.

Your personal statement is a really important part of your application. It’s your chance to convince us why we should offer you a place! You’ve got 4,000 characters to impress us. Make sure you use them to show how your skills and qualities are relevant to the course(s) you’re applying for. For more hints and tips, take a look at our page on how to write a good personal statement.

Keeping up-to-date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

You can get more information and advice about applying to NTU on our Your Application page. Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

You can apply directly to the University for an undergraduate course if you’re not applying to any other UK university in the same year. If you are applying to more than one UK university you must apply through UCAS.

Apply as early as you can so that you have time to prepare for your studies. If you need a visa to study here you need to plan this into your application.

  • For a step-by-step guide on making an application to the University please visit our how to apply page.
  • For advice on applying for a visa please visit our visa information page.
  • For advice on how to write a good personal statement please visit our personal statement page.

Keeping up-to-date

After you’ve applied, we’ll be sending you important emails throughout the application process so check your emails regularly, including your junk mail folder.

Good luck with your application!

Please read our notes on the University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

Fees and funding

Preparing for the financial side of student life is important, but there’s no need to feel anxious and confused about it. We hope that our fees and funding pages will answer all your questions.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service on telephone +44 (0)115 848 2494.

What do the course fees cover?

Your course fees cover the cost of studies, and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

Library books

Most study modules will recommend one or more core text books, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential text books, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

Field trips

All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Students will also be required to pay additional costs for printing, poster preparation and final dissertation copies in their final year - estimated costs approximately £20 - £30.

A deposit is required for laboratory lockers (approximately £5)

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University.

What do the course fees cover?

Your course fees cover the cost of studies, and include loads of great benefits, such as the use of our library, support from our expert Employability team, and free use of the IT equipment across our campuses.

Library books

Most study modules will recommend one or more core text books, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. Our libraries provide a good supply of essential text books, journals and materials (many of which you can access online) – meaning you may not need to purchase as many books as you might think! There may also be a supply of second-hand books available for purchase from previous year students.

Field trips

All essential field trip costs will be included in your course fees. There may be the opportunity to take part in optional field trips, which do incur additional costs.

Placements

If you're undertaking a placement year, you'll need to budget for accommodation and any travel costs you may incur whilst on placement. Many of our placement students do earn a salary whilst on placement which can help to cover these living costs.

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. For more details about costs for additional print and copying required over and above the annual allowance please see the Printing, photocopying and scanning information on the Library website.

Students will also be required to pay additional costs for printing, poster preparation and final dissertation copies in their final year - estimated costs approximately £20 - £30.

A deposit is required for laboratory lockers (approximately £5)

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418