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Physics (with foundation year) BSc (Hons)

  • Level(s) of Study: Undergraduate
  • UCAS Code(s): F314
  • Start Date(s): September 2023
  • Duration: Four years full-time
  • Study Mode(s): Full-time
  • Campus: Clifton Campus
  • Entry Requirements:
    More information

Introduction:

We believe in learning by doing – that’s why you’ll be building practical skills alongside an exploration of fundamental physics topics, such as the ideas of motion and mathematical techniques. During your foundation year we’ll build your physics skills and mathematics knowledge, and application of these concepts, so you are ready to move onto BSc (Hons) Physics in your second year.

We support you every step of the way to becoming a confident physics graduate. Part of that is giving you lots of hands-on experience through volunteering in our research labs, applying for a work placement and working on industry projects.

This course is perfect for you if you have a keen interest in physics. It really is the perfect blend of learning, both in the classroom and in the lab. We'll build your knowledge and theory whilst developing your hands-on skills in our well-equipped laboratories.

This course is an integrated foundation degree, where you'll progress onto our BSc (Hons) Physics course, once you successfully complete your foundation year. If your interests lie in other areas of physics, you can also transfer on to our BSc (Hons) Physics with Astrophysics or BSc (Hons) Physics with Nuclear Technology course after your foundation year.

  • Top 20 in the UK for teaching quality in Physics. (Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2023)
  • 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.

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.

Dr Ian Whittaker is our Undergraduate Physics Admissions Tutor. His passion is space science and has recently scooped two Outstanding Teaching Awards.

Dr 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 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.

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.

Foundation Science

In this module you’ll cover topics in Physics and Chemistry including exchange, transport and conservation of energy and inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. The aim of this module is to provide a sound scientific foundation for the study of engineering or mathematics at undergraduate degree level.

Foundation Engineering

This module includes basic electrical, electronic and mechanical engineering. Mechanics considers the consequences of applying forces to physical bodies; the electrical and electronics part of the module focuses on the scientific principles relevant to circuit theory, analogue electronics and components. Laboratory-based sessions will allow you to gain practical knowledge and experience.

Introductory Mathematics

This module provides an introduction to important mathematical ideas, including Algebraic rearrangement, Trigonometry, Vectors, Descriptive Statistics, Integration and Differentiation. You’ll gain an understanding of ideas that form the basis of later, more specialised, developments and you’ll be able to solve simple but realistic mathematical problems.

Intermediate Mathematics

This module aims to provide the link between Introductory Mathematics and degree level Mathematics. You’ll cover more complex topics such as the chain rule and integration by parts, the generalisation of vectors to matrices, the approximation of numerical series, logic and probability, complex numbers and mathematical proof.

Practical and Professional Skills

This module aims to provide a link between the theoretical modules on the course and their practical implementation. The professional skills aspect will help you with interpreting coursework requirements, exam and revision technique, note taking and referencing. The practical sessions will cover a variety of topics that require you to make use of the scientific principles and mathematical techniques that you’re learning in the other modules on the course.

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.

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.

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.

Advanced Quantum Mechanics & 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.

Don’t just take our word for it, hear from our students themselves

Student Profiles

Thomas Stocks

Physics with Astrophysics

Motorsport is the perfect place for anyone like me with a love of Physics and a desire to push to be the best.

Elizabeth Dye

The staff are amazing, they care about how you're doing on a personal level as well as academically.

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.

Get involved with our research

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.

Staff Profiles

Edward Breeds

Principal Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Edward Breeds - Principal Lecturer of Physics and Undergraduate Courses Manager

Ian Shuttleworth

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Martin Bencsik

Associate Professor

School of Science & Technology

Martin Bencsik

Fouzia Ouali

Senior Lecturer

School of Science & Technology

Fouzia Ouali

David Fairhurst

Associate Professor

School of Science & Technology

David Fairhurst, Associate Professor of Physics at Nottingham Trent University, Post Graduate Development Manager

Haida Liang

Distinguished Professor

School of Science & Technology

Haida Liang Heritage Science

Rob Morris

Professor

School of Science & Technology

Rob Morris

Demosthenes Koutsogeorgis

Associate Professor

School of Science & Technology

Demosthenes Koutsogeorgis expert in laser annealing of thin films

Careers and employability

Your career development

This course prepares you for a wide range of career opportunities both inside and outside physics. The course will develop your numerical, analytical, and computational skills, which employers highly value. Many of our physics graduates have gone on to work in high-tech industries, healthcare, research and development, teaching, business, management and finance.

Recent graduates have gone on to become graduate physicists, wind analysts, and aerothermal engineers in organisations such as the NHS,
Caterpillar and Balfour Beatty.

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.

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

You’ll be taught at our self-contained Clifton Campus which provides an ideal learning environment to complement your studies.

You’ll benefit from our well-equipped lecture theatres and laboratories which are supported by modern scientific, electronic and computing equipment, offering you innovative ways to learn and collaborate. You’ll have access to our state-of-the-art facilities to further your studies, these include:

  • 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.

Our facilities and expertise ensure that you get the practical experience that employers and researchers need. Recently, 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.

Get Involved

Joining our student-run Astronomy and Physics Society is a great way to meet fellow physics students and make new friends. They organise 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

  • 72 UCAS tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent
  • GCSEs – Maths grade B / 6, Physics / Double Science grade B / 6 and English C / 4

To find out what qualifications have tariff points, please use our tariff calculator.

Contextual offers

A lower offer may be made based on a range of factors, including your background (such as where you live and the school or college you attended), your experiences and individual circumstances (you may have been in care, for example). This is called a contextual offer and we get data from UCAS to make these decisions. NTU offers a student experience like no other and this approach helps us to find students who have the potential to succeed here but who may have faced barriers that make it more difficult to access university. Find out how we assess your application.


Other qualifications and experience

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.

Getting in touch

If you need more help or information, get in touch through our enquiry form

  • 72 UCAS tariff points from three A-levels or equivalent
  • GCSEs – Maths grade B / 6, Physics / Double Science grade B / 6 and English C / 4

International qualifications

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

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.

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)

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. As a guide 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.

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)

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!

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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