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Physics and Mathematics BSc (Hons)

  • Level(s) of Study: Undergraduate
  • UCAS Code(s): FG31 (full-time); FG32 (sandwich)
  • Start Date(s): September 2023
  • Duration: Three years full-time or four years with placement
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Campus: Clifton Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information

Introduction:

This course provides a combination of benefits – helping develop the crucial lab skills you’ll require as a physicist, alongside a thorough understanding of the theories involved. When blended together with mathematics, the study of physics becomes a powerful tool - one that you can use to explore the biggest questions known to humanity.

In your first two years you’ll develop basic skills in both mathematics and physics. Core subjects focus on mathematical methods, numerical methods, mechanics and matter.

Then you have the freedom to decide your own journey and we’ll help you reach your final destination. By specialising in the direction of mathematics or physics in your final year, you can make your learning experience everything it needs to be.

Our Mathematics and Physics degrees are current and relevant to the needs of business. Our close links with industry means that, if you wish, you’ll have the opportunity to take up job placements with some of the world’s leading companies.

Foundation Year

We offer BSc (Hons) Physics and Mathematics (with foundation year) which you can apply for if you don't meet the entry criteria for this course. See our course page for foundation modules.

What you’ll study

In the modern world, many new employment opportunities demand multi-skilled graduates. Those with mathematical and physics skills are among the most sought-after in fields including industrial research and development, computing, business, finance and teaching.

You’ll use our outstanding laboratory facilities. In the last year we’ve spent £250,000 on new equipment for our teaching laboratories including telescopes, CCD cameras, ultrasound scanners, magnetic resonance spectrometers, high speed cameras, thermal imaging equipment and a high resolution 3D printer.

How will I learn?

We will provide lectures, practical laboratory sessions, seminars and two to four surgery sessions each week. The rest of your time is given to self-guided independent study (reading text books, lecture notes and exercises)..

Meet the Team

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. Find out more about the ULP.

Mathematical Methods

This module aims to consolidate and extend your previous knowledge of calculus and linear algebra, with emphasis on the underlying intuition of the techniques.

Introduction to Numerical Methods

Learn about important numerical methods for solving mathematical problems and develop computational skills using specialist mathematical software packages.

Vector Algebra and Calculus

Gain a basic knowledge of vector algebra and vector calculus and learn how to apply these techniques to physical situations.

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.

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.

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.

Differential Equations and Transform Methods

Extend your knowledge of calculus, differential equations and linear algebra, and gain an introduction to difference equations, the Eigen problem and transform methods.

Numerical Methods for Ordinary Differential Equations

You will further develop your computational and professional skills and enhance your knowledge of specialist numerical software
packages.

Advanced Calculus

Broaden your knowledge, understanding and skills in advanced higher calculus to topics including Fourier series, partial differential equations and complex analysis.

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.

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.

Optional year-long work placement.  If you are not taking a placement, you will progress directly to your final year in year three.

Core modules

Project in Mathematics (Mathematics students only)

The final year project gives you the opportunity to demonstrate and document your skills, knowledge and understanding of mathematics, and show your planning, organisation and problem solving abilities.

OR

Project and Professional Skills in Physics (Physics students only)

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.

Professional Mathematics Skills

Gain a broad view of the practical applications of Mathematics in the real world, especially in industrial contexts such as Finance, Physics and Engineering.

OR

Communicating Science and Technology

This module will be of interest to you if you are considering a career in teaching and / or want to develop your portfolio of transferable skills.

Choose two modules from:

Differential and Integral Equations

Apply your knowledge of advanced calculus and differential equations to the solution of differential and integral equations.

Linear Systems

You will continue your previous studies in the fields of linear algebra and differential and difference equations.

Numerical Analysis and Dynamical Systems

Develop your knowledge of numerical methods with an emphasis on numerical optimisation techniques, advanced methods for the numerical solution of ordinary differential equations and the application of methods to non-linear problems.

Partial Differential Equations

Partial differential equations are an important topic in both pure and applied mathematics.  This topic builds on the introduction given in Advanced Calculus to consider linear partial equations in non-trivial domains and to introduce methods of analysing nonlinear first order partial differential equations.

Choose two modules from:

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.

Advanced Quantum Mechanics and Quantum Computing

In this module you will cover some of the greatest intellectual achievements of physics including the explanation of the universe on the smallest length scale.

General Relativity

You will cover Einstein's greatest theory which describes the working of the large-scale universe including the curved space-time, black holes and gravitational waves.

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.

How you’re taught

You will have around 20 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.

Contact hours

Year 1 - lectures/seminars/workshops (30%) and independent study (70%)

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

Year 3 - lectures/seminars/workshops (24%) and independent study (76%)

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

Staff Profiles

Edward Breeds

Principal Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Edward Breeds - Principal Lecturer of Physics and Undergraduate Courses Manager

Fouzia Ouali

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Fouzia Ouali

Colin Wilmott

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Colin Wilmott

Christian Beardah

Head of Department

School of Science & Technology

Christian Beardah

How you’re assessed

Year 1 - coursework (23%), written (60%) and practical (17%)

Year 2 - coursework (20%), written (73%) and practical (7%)

Year 3 - coursework (36%), written (60%) and practical (4%)

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

Careers and employability

Your career development

You will develop numerical, analytical and computational skills which are greatly respected by employers, in addition to essential, transferable skills which include report communication skills, team working and problem solving. Our physics graduates have gone on to work for companies such as:

  • aerothermal engineer – Rolls Royce
  • wind analyst – Prevailing Ltd
  • technical writer – KA Testing Facility
  • medical dosimetrist – NHS
  • software test engineer – Nikon
  • car configuration engineer – Jaguar Land Rover
  • teacher – numerous schools
  • public engagement of science officer – Science and Technology Facilities Council
  • graduate quantity surveyor – Balfour Beatty
  • scientist training programme – NHS

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

NTU is one of the most employment-focused universities. Increasingly, employers want to recruit graduates who have real-world work experience. That’s why all of our courses, across every subject area, offer you a work experience opportunity. Our experts help build and support your future with a range of career programmes and events.

On this course, after your second year, you will have the opportunity to take a year's work placement (sandwich placement). This will give you the chance to gain vital experience and put your knowledge into practice. You're also twice as likely to secure a graduate job within six months if you take a work placement.

Our recent students have taken placements across a wide range of companies including DeVere Group, Cooper Parry and IBM. They secured varied roles such as Trainee Wealth Assistant, Business Analyst and Auditing Assistant.

You'll be supported and assessed throughout your placement year and will write a reflective report and diary at the end of your placement. When you successfully complete your placement, you will be eligible to receive an additional award of a Diploma in Professional Practice.

Find out more about work placements.

NTU Enterprise

You'll also have the opportunity to turn your ideas into a viable business with help from NTU Enterprise, NTU's purpose-built Centre for Entrepreneurship and Enterprise, a support centre to help students create, develop and grow their own businesses.

Campus and facilities

Physics teaching and research takes place in well-equipped lecture theatres and laboratories, supported by modern scientific, electronic and computing equipment including:

  • a custom-built teaching observatory recognised by the International Astronomical Union with a 20-inch and a 14-inch telescope and a 2.3m radio telescope
  • MRI facilities, including a 2.35 Tesla Bruker Biospec scanner, a Halbach MRI and a unilateral MRI scanner
  • a microscopy and imaging suite including electron microscopes, confocal and polarising microscopes, an atomic force microscope and a scanning tunnelling microscope
  • a state-of-the-art micro-fabrication laboratory for creating micro-mechanical and microfluidic devices
  • an excellent Ionising Radiation teaching laboratory and three X-ray CT scanners.

In the last year we have spent £250,000 on new equipment for our teaching laboratories including telescopes, CCD cameras, ultrasound scanners, magnetic resonance spectrometers, high speed cameras, thermal imaging equipment and a high resolution 3D printer. Our facilities and expertise ensure that our students get the practical experience that employers and researchers need.

Get Involved

Our student-run Astronomy and Physics Society organises social events and trips – all themed around hot Physics topics. Recently students have been searching for the Northern Lights in Iceland, visited the large hadron collider in CERN, and calculated the complex forces involved in roller coaster rides at Alton Towers.

Entry requirements

120 UCAS Tariff points

What are we looking for?

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

If you don't meet the entry requirements above you might be interested in our BSc (Hons) Physics and Mathematics (with foundation year).

Other qualifications and experience

We consider equivalent qualifications and combinations, please see UCAS course search for details and use our calculator to help you work out how many UCAS points your qualifications relate to.

We may also consider credits achieved at other universities and your work/life experience through an assessment of prior learning. This may be for year one entry, or beyond the beginning of a course where applicable, for example, into year 2. Our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy outlines the process and options available for this route.

Contextual offers

As well as assessing your application and qualifications, we use contextual data and information to make offers for this course. Depending on your circumstances, we may make you an offer up to two grades below the standard entry criteria. Find out how we assess your application.

Getting in touch

  • If you need any more help or information, please email our Admissions and Enquiries Team or call on +44 (0)115 848 4200.

What are we looking for?

  • 120 UCAS tariff points from up to four qualifications (two of which must be A-level equivalent including Mathematics and Physics grade B); or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – DDM 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 meet the entry requirements above you might be interested in our BSc (Hons) Physics and Mathematics (with foundation year).

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from all over the world – check yours here:

Undergraduate preparation courses (Foundation)

If you don’t yet meet our entry requirements, we offer Foundation courses through our partner Nottingham Trent International College (NTIC), based on our City Campus:

English language entry requirements

You can meet our language requirements by successfully completing our pre-sessional English course for an agreed length of time, or by submitting the required grade in one of our accepted English language tests, such as IELTS:

Advanced standing (starting your undergraduate degree in year 2 or 3)

You may be able to start your undergraduate course in year 2 or 3 based on what you have studied before.  This decision would be made in accordance with our Recognition of Prior Learning and Credit Transfer Policy.

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

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.

Additional Costs

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. Placement opportunities are available in the UK and overseas.  Travel grants and Erasmus funding may be available to help fund international travel costs.

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. 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 - £50. 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.

Other

Students will require a basic scientific calculator for use in examinations (e.g. Casio 83 or 85 series, approximately £15).

Tuition fees 

Tuition fees are payable for each year that you are at the University. The level of tuition fees for the second and subsequent years of your undergraduate course may increase in line with inflation and as specified by the UK government. See our fees for 2022 entry.

Scholarships

We offer scholarships of up to 50% of your tuition fee. You can apply for your scholarship when you have an offer to study at NTU.

Living costs

Get advice on the cost of living as an international student in Nottingham and how to budget:

Paying fees

Find out about advanced payments, instalment plan options and how to make payments securely to the University:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

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. Placement opportunities are available in the UK and overseas.  Travel grants and Erasmus funding may be available to help fund international travel costs.

Print and copy costs

The University allocates an annual printing and copying allowance of £20 depending on the course you are studying. 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 - £50. 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.

Other

Students will require a basic scientific calculator for use in examinations (e.g. Casio 83 or 85 series, approximately £15).

How to apply

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!

You can apply for this course through UCAS. If you are not applying to any other UK universities, you can apply directly to us on our NTU applicant portal.

Application advice

Apply early so that you have enough time to prepare – processing times for Student visas can vary, for example.  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.

Writing your personal statement

Be honest, thorough, and persuasive – we can only make a decision about your application based on what you tell us:

Would you like some advice on your study plans?

Our international teams are highly experienced in answering queries from students all over the world. We also have members of staff based in Vietnam, China, India and Nigeria and work with a worldwide network of education counsellors.

The University's commitment to delivering the educational services advertised.

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