BSc (Hons)

Applied Physics

Student using scientific equipment
  • Level(s) of study: Undergraduate
  • Study mode(s): Full-time / Sandwich
  • Location: Clifton Campus
  • Starting: September 2019
  • Course duration: Three years full-time or four years with placement

Study the fundamental concepts at the cutting edge of physics, pioneered by our expert staff. This course has a focus on the applications of physics, and is ideal for students who have studied for a BTEC Extended Diploma in Applied Science or an Access to Higher Education Diploma. You can opt to take a one-year work placement in industry, produce an individual project, and join our active Astronomy and Physics Society to further your knowledge in this subject area.

Why choose this course?

  • You’ll benefit from excellent teaching. We’re consistently rated as one of the best universities for teaching in the UK. We’ve been awarded a gold rating in the government’s Teaching Excellence Framework and the rankings produced by the Times Higher Education put us 3rd in the UK. This shows that we’re committed to giving you the best learning experience possible.
  • You’ll join satisfied students. We get consistently high satisfaction scores in the National Student Survey. In the most recent survey (2017) the overall satisfaction with our Physics and Astronomy courses was 97%, putting us joint 4th 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. 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 placements have taken place at CERN, E.ON, The Netherlands Forensic Institute and Diamond Light Source. You can also apply for one of our summer research placements to gain hands-on research experience.
  • You’ll become more employable. We’ve got an excellent employability record - 96% of NTU graduates are employed or engaged in further study six months after leaving.

Top 5 in the UK for Student Satisfaction in Physics (NSS 2017)

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.

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 Christopher Castleton uses his own cluster of computers to simulate and study the properties of new materials for green technologies.

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

    Foundation Mathematics

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

    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.

    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.

    Scientific Programming for Industrial Applications

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

    Workshop

    Regular contact with staff in small-groups to support your progress across the whole range of Physics and Mathematics topics.

  • Year Two

    Matter: Evidence for Quantisation

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

    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.

    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.

    Nuclear Materials Science

    This module looks at the materials employed in nuclear reactors, including construction materials and fuels. Learn about the properties of materials employed in nuclear reactors and explore the issues associated with the production, use and disposal of nuclear fuels and wastes.

    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.

    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.

  • 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

    Advanced Experimental Techniques

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

    Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors

    Deepen your knowledge and understanding of neutron-related processes and phenomena, and gain an overview of the physics that underpins the design and operation of both fission and fusion reactors.

    Practical Electronics

    Study the practical application of electronics to sophisticated systems through innovative classroom sessions and in-depth practical work.

    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.

    Project and Professional Skills

    You’ll spend at least one full day per week in the laboratory undertaking novel research, using modern equipment. You’ll learn the techniques required to formulate a research project, carry out a literature review, perform critical appraisal of published research and scientific presenting.

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.

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:

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

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 local secondary schools.

NTU is rated 8th for the number of students on year-long work placements (2016/17)

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

  • 96 UCAS tariff points from up to four qualifications (two of which must be A-level equivalent, including Physics and Mathematics grade C); or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – MMM, 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.

What are we looking for?

  • 96 UCAS tariff points from up to four qualifications (two of which must be A-level equivalent, including Physics and Mathematics grade C); or
  • BTEC Extended Diploma – MMM, 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.

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.

Further information on how to apply

Need help with your application?
For admissions related enquiries please contact us:
Telephone: +44 (0)115 848 4200

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?

All mandatory costs for the course are covered in the course fee. In addition, most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary between courses and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. A good supply of these essential textbooks are available in the University libraries which students can easily borrow or access directly whilst studying in the library.

Students may choose to apply for a placement option during their course. If successful, students will be expected to pay for accommodation, travel and living costs whilst on placement.

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.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

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

What do the course fees cover?

All mandatory costs for the course are covered in the course fee. In addition, most study modules will recommend one or more core textbooks, which most students choose to purchase. Book costs vary between courses and further information is available in the University’s bookshop. A good supply of these essential textbooks are available in the University libraries which students can easily borrow or access directly whilst studying in the library.

Students may choose to apply for a placement option during their course. If successful, students will be expected to pay for accommodation, travel and living costs whilst on placement.

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.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Still need help?

Science and Technology course enquiries
+44 (0)115 848 8351