Undergraduate Study

BSc Physics - 2021 entry

Please note: The below is for 2021 entries. Click here for 2020 entries.
UCAS code F300
Duration 3 years
Entry year 2021
Contact

Web: Enquire online
Phone: +44 (0)1392 724061

Entry requirements

A level: AAA - AAB
IB: 36/666 - 34/665
BTEC: DDD

View full entry requirements

Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline Physics and Astronomy

Overview

  • Our programmes cover a wide range of topics, both applied and theoretical, directly developed from research taking place at Exeter
  • Learn within a supportive community characterised by genuine student-staff relationships and small tutorial groups, typically made up of five students
  • Option to combine your degree with a salaried research placement at companies such as Renishaw, the Home Office, and the Rutherford Appleton Laboratories
  • Opportunity to join a close-knit student society with great social events throughout the year
  • Benefit from access to advanced research facilities including clean-rooms, a helium liquefier, a water tank, amplified ultra-fast laser systems, and a suite of instruments for imaging biological materials

View 2020 Entry

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Open days and visiting us

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80% of graduates in graduate-level employment of further study within six months of graduating

Destination of Leavers from Higher Education Survey(DLHE) of 2016/17 undergraduates

90.9% overall student satisfaction

National Student Survey 2019

Extensive facilities in our dedicated building including clean-rooms, helium liquefier, water tanks, amplified ultra-fast laser systems, imaging suite, observatory and computer labs.

Accreditations

All our MPhys and Single Honours BSc degrees are accredited by the Institute of Physics. Accredited MPhys degrees fully satisfy the educational requirements of the Chartered Physicist (CPhys) professional qualification.

Entry requirements

Qualification Required grades Required subjects
A-Level AAA - AAB At least one grade A and a grade B in GCE AL Maths and Physics.
IB 36/666-34/665 At least one HL6 and one HL5 in IB Maths and Physics
BTEC DDD Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma will also require at least one grade A and a grade B in GCE AL Maths and Physics.
GCSE C or 4 English Language
Contextual Offer

A-Level: BBB
IB: 30
BTEC: DDM

Specific requirements must still be achieved, therefore where a grade A is required, offers will be ABC or ACC. Find out more about contextual offers.

International equivalences

View EU and international equivalences

NB General Studies is not included in any offer.

Course content

The modules we outline here provide examples of what you can expect to learn on this degree course based on recent academic teaching. The precise modules available to you in future years may vary depending on staff availability and research interests, new topics of study, timetabling and student demand.

In year one you will develop your understanding of physics and become familiar with a variety of basic mathematical tools. The concepts and phenomena you will meet are many and varied, but are united by the underlying principles of physics. In a typical week you will spend 15 hours in a formal teaching environment, and be expected to spend a further 20 hours in independent study. You will have four hours of lectures in physics, two in mathematics, one tutorial, six hours in the teaching laboratories and two hours in problem-solving classes.

Compulsory modules

Title Code
Introduction to Astrophysics  PHY1022
IT & Electronics  PHY1028

Mathematics 

PHY1025 and PHY1026

Practical Physics  PHY1027
Properties of Matter  PHY1024
Vector Mechanics  PHY1021
Waves and Optics  PHY1023

Year two provides a firm foundation of physics, and the principles that constitute the framework of the subject. The use of mathematics gives these principles a precise form and provides physicists with the ability to make detailed quantitative predictions. This year focuses on four main cornerstones of physics: condensed matter, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism and thermodynamics. These provide the core of most of physics and of our understanding of the evolution of our universe. The other modules in your second and subsequent years draw in part on your knowledge of this core.

Compulsory modules

Title

Code

Condensed Matter I   PHY2024
Electromagnetism I PHY2021

Maths with Physical Applications

PHY2025

Practical Physics II  PHY2026
Quantum Mechanics I   PHY2022
Thermal Physics  PHY2023
Choice of either:

Scientific Programming in Python (2035) or

Scientific Programming in C (2027)


PHY2035

PHY2027

Optional modules

Title

Code

Analytical & Chaotic Mechanics PHY2032
Elective*  
Lasers, Materials and Nanoscale Probes for Quantum Applications  PHY2034
Observing the Universe  PHY2030
The Physics of Living Systems  PHY2029

* An ‘elective’ is an unspecified module that allows you to broaden your education by taking a module from another discipline e.g., philosophy, or a foreign language

If you choose the 'with Professional Placement' or 'with Study Abroad' variant of this degree, your placement will take place in your third year. You will then take the modules listed below in your fourth year of study. See the course variants for further information.

The final year of the programme allows you to apply the core principles in a broad range of important areas, such as Nuclear and High-Energy Particle Physics and Statistical Physics, plus advanced electromagnetism, quantum physics and condensed matter physics. There are numerous options in theoretical physics for you to choose such as Quantum Many Body Theory, and Relativity and Cosmology. You can also choose to study technologically-important areas such as Quantum Optics and Photonics, and Physical Methods in Biology and Medicine, and active research areas such as Galaxies and High Energy Astrophysics, and Nanostructures and Graphene Science. (Options are dependent on the programme of study).

This year also involves substantial project work. You’ll undertake extended experiments utilising a suite of equipment that includes an atomic force microscope, an infra-red spectrometer, and our own observatory and radio telescope. You also have the opportunity to undertake team-based work tackling a real-world problem proposed by local business or industry.

Compulsory modules

Title

Code

Electromagnetism and Quantum Mechanics PHY3055
General Problems  PHY3053

Nuclear and High Energy Particle Physics 

PHY3052

Project(s) 

PHY3138 or PHY3147

Optional modules

Title

Code

Applying Physics (BSc Project) PHY3150
Energy and the Environment  PHY3067
Galaxies and High Energy Astrophysics PHY3066
Methods of Theoretical Physics PHY3062
Nanostructures & Graphene Physics  PHY3064
Principles of Theoretical Physics  PHY3068
 Soft Matter  PHY3071
Stars from Birth to Death  PHY3070
The Biophysics of Cells and Tissues PHY3061
Ultrafast Physics  PHY3069
Elective*  

* An ‘elective’ is an unspecified module that allows you to broaden your education by taking a module from another discipline e.g., philosophy, or a foreign language

Course variants

UCAS code: F313

We strongly encourage you to consider spending a year studying abroad as part of your degree, taking place in your third year. We have agreements with universities across the globe, giving you a huge range of amazing and exciting locations to choose between.

Your degree takes an extra year to complete, and your time abroad is recognised in your degree title, which will include the words ‘with Study Abroad’ for future employers to see.

Does it count towards my degree?

Yes, during your time abroad you’ll cover 120 credits, the same as you would if you were studying in Exeter.

How do I apply?

You can apply directly to this programme through UCAS using the code at the top of this page. It is also possible to transfer on to the 'with Study Abroad’ programme variant at the end of your first year of BSc Physics.

What else do I need to know?

Our Study Abroad degrees are specifically structured to retain full professional accreditation. This is achieved by assessing the work you complete while abroad and by taking a credit-rated language module appropriate to your chosen study destination prior to travelling.

Assessment of all overseas modules takes place in English but some host destinations occasionally require presentations and a synopsis of work in their language, so a good knowledge of that language is essential.

Once registered as studying with your overseas host university you will receive primary support from them with full access to the facilities they provide to all students. You are required to maintain contact with the overseas coordinator and Student Services at Exeter through your Exeter email account and of course you have continuing access to all our facilities via your iExeter account.

The marks awarded to you by your host institution are subject to a moderation process at Exeter that ensures uniformity and fairness.

UCAS code: F311

Experience of working in your chosen field is a real advantage when entering the graduate job market. It’s also a great way to try out different jobs and to make contacts within companies you’re interested in working for.

What is a professional placement?

A full year’s work placement, undertaken as part of your course, taken in your third year. Your degree takes an extra year to complete, and the words ‘with Professional Placement’ appear in your degree title for future employers to see. The placement takes place in your third year and usually lasts at least nine months.

Does it count towards my degree?

Yes, it’s worth 120 credits.

How does it affect my tuition fee?

During this year you will pay a reduced tuition fee. In 2016/17 the fee was £1,850 (or 20 per cent of the maximum fee for that year). Visit the Tuition Fees page for more information.

How do I apply?

You can apply for this programme through UCAS using the code at the top of this page, or transfer onto this option at the end of your first year in BSc Physics.

Preparation and support

We will help you to prepare for your work placement from early in your studies. You will also be invited to attend workshops offering guidance and support such as ‘Making the most of your placement’ and ‘How to use your placement as an individual project’.

Fees

Tuition fees for 2021 entry

UK and EU students: £9,250 per year
International students: £22,950 per year

Please note that the fees for students starting in 2021 have yet to be set. The fees provided above are the fees for students starting in 2020 and are for guidance only. We will post the fees for 2021 entry shortly.

Global Excellence Scholarships

Global Excellence Scholarships worth £5000+ are available for International fee paying students studying this course. If you’d like to find out more visit our funding database, or you can apply for this scholarship directly online.

Find out more about tuition fees and funding

Learning and teaching

Individual support 

We will fully support you as a student in a friendly environment: you will receive individual attention and feedback throughout your programme. Weekly tutorials form the core of our academic support, complementing all the modules and project work that you are taking. You will meet with your tutor (a professor or lecturer) in a small group with four or five others for one hour during every teaching week of your programme. These sessions are your opportunity to discuss any element of your academic studies. Assignments will also be set, discussed and marked – sometimes these will be on unfamiliar topics: we wish to encourage active discourse in physics as this is a good way of understanding the more subtle concepts and gaining confidence in your intuition. You will also have the opportunity to practice your oral presentation skills, and gain support with your professional development. In the final year of the MPhys programmes, your research-project supervisor is your tutor.  Throughout your time in Exeter, your tutor will also be your first point of call for pastoral support and will advise about the availability of University services including wellbeing, disability and financial help. 

Lectures, Seminars and Tutorial

Teaching is undertaken in a variety of ways, with lecturing the primary method. There are also weekly problem-solving classes in the first two years for both mathematics and physics modules. Physics at the University of Exeter is also actively engaged in introducing new methods of learning and teaching, including increasing use of interactive computer-based approaches to learning through our virtual learning environment where the details of all modules are stored in an easily navigable website.

Students can access detailed information about modules and learning outcomes, as well as sets of lecture slides/notes, example and problem-sheets, videos, and interact through activities such as the discussion forums. Video recordings of lectures are normally made available whenever possible to aid your revision.

A research and practice led teaching 

We believe that every student benefits from being part of a culture that is inspired by research and being taught by experts. Not only do we teach you about our pioneering research, we teach you how to undertake the research yourself.  Experimental skills are acquired in the laboratories and astronomical observatory, and here you are introduced to a wide range of apparatus and techniques. Training in theoretical techniques is provided by our methods and computational modules.  By the time you reach the start of your extended project work, you will have received the necessary preparation to undertake it with confidence in either experimental or theoretical topics, and these projects are tackled with great enthusiasm and energy.

Assessment 

Assessment in the first two years is a combination of continuous assessment and exams. About 65 per cent of the assessment in each of these years is by written examinations and short mid-term tests; the rest involves work for projects, laboratories, problems classes, and more. You must obtain a pass mark for your first year in order to proceed but your performance at this stage does not count towards your final degree classification.

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Your future

Employability skills are an integral part of the physics curriculum. The flexibility and adaptability of a well-trained physicist is appreciated by employers: they acknowledge the benefits of excellent problem solving skills, an educated scientific intuition, and the confidence to be able to grasp new concepts quickly.

Our degree programmes include:

  • A two-day employability and graduate development workshop in year one
  • A two-day communication skills course in year one
  • Annual personal development planning exercises
  • Training in the formulation and solution of problems
  • Substantial amounts of practical and project work, the results of which must be presented and defended in various formats (written reports, posters, oral presentations)
  • Working with others in projects and problem-solving classes
  • IT skills training
  • Mathematical skills training
  • An opportunity to take a commercial and industrial experience module

In addition, the purpose of the extended project work in both the BSc and MPhys programmes is for you to develop research skills. You will learn to present and scientifically defend your work and ideas in a variety of ways. The experience and skills developed not only form a valuable basis for a research career, but are also known to be highly valued by employers.

The most academically-able graduates are normally strongly encouraged to apply for a fully-funded PhD studentship in physics or astrophysics. Visit the Physics postgraduate research degrees page for details.

The largest proportion of our graduates enter science-based industries in positions involving research and development, production and management. Other careers include scientific work in government establishments (e.g., QinetiQ or Harwell Laboratories), hospital physics in the NHS, and technical management in broadcasting and the communications sector. Some work in high-tech start-up companies.

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