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Study information

Mathematics and Physics (2024)

1. Programme Title:

Mathematics and Physics

NQF Level:


2. Description of the Programme (as in the Business Approval Form)

Mathematics and physics have always been closely interconnected, with mathematics providing the language and tools for the development of physical theories, and physics providing the motivation or inspiration for many new discoveries in mathematics. Exeter is an exciting place to study mathematics and physics, with recent substantial investment in ultra-fast lasers, nano-fabrication, bio-imaging, lecture theatres, computing facilities, and also our own astronomical observatory and a supercomputer located in the Physics department.

3. Educational Aims of the Programme

The programme is intended to:

a) provide a high quality general education in mathematics and physics comprising a balanced core of key knowledge together with the opportunity to study a range of selected topics in more depth;

b) develop the analytical abilities of students so that they can identify and apply appropriate mathematical and/or physical techniques and methods to solve problems in a range of application areas;

c) develop in students appropriate subject-specific, core academic and personal and key skills in order to prepare them for a wide range of employment opportunities;

d) generate in students an enthusiasm for the subjects of mathematics and physics and to involve them in a demanding, interesting and intellectually stimulating learning experience reinforced by appropriate academic and pastoral tutorial support.

The educational aims of these programmes are informed by QAA the Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research, and Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics benchmarking statements.

4. Programme Structure


Your BSc Maths and Physics programme is a (3) year programme of study at National Qualification Framework (NQF) level (6) (as confirmed against the FHEQ). This programme is divided into (3) ‘Stages’. Each Stage is normally equivalent to an academic year.  The programme is also divided into units of study called ‘modules’ which are assigned a number of ‘credits’. The credit rating of a module is proportional to the total workload, with 1 credit being nominally equivalent to 10 hours of work.

Interim Awards

If you do not complete the programme you may be able to exit with a lower qualification. If you have achieved 120 credits, you may be awarded a Certificate of Higher Education, and if you achieve 240 credits, where at least 90 credits are at level 2 or above, you may be awarded a Diploma of Higher Education.


5. Programme Modules

The following tables describe the programme and constituent modules. Constituent modules may be updated, deleted or replaced as a consequence of the annual programme review of this programme. Details of the modules currently offered may be obtained from the College web site

You may take Option Modules as long as any necessary prerequisites have been satisfied, where the timetable allows and if you have not already taken the module in question or an equivalent module. Descriptions of the individual modules are given in full on the College web site


Stage 1

Code Title Credits Compulsory NonCondonable
MTH1001Mathematical Structures30YesYes
PHY1021Vector Mechanics15YesYes
PHY1023Waves and Optics15YesYes
PHY1024Properties of Matter15YesYes
PHY1025 Mathematics Skills15YesYes
PHY1026Mathematics for Physicists15YesYes
PHY1030Practical Physics and IT Skills15YesYes

Stage 2

Code Title Credits Compulsory NonCondonable
PHY2021Electromagnetism I15YesNo
PHY2022Quantum Mechanics I15YesNo
Select 30 Credits
MTH2008Real Analysis15NoNo
MTH2009Complex Analysis15NoNo
MTH2010Groups, Rings and Fields15NoNo
MTH2011Linear Algebra15NoNo
Select 30 credits: You must select either MTH modules or both PHY modules.
MTH2003Differential Equations15NoNo
MTH2004Vector Calculus and Applications15NoNo
MTH2008Real Analysis15NoNo
MTH2009Complex Analysis 15NoNo
MTH2010Groups, Rings and Fields15NoNo
MTH2011Linear Algebra15NoNo
PHY2025Mathematics with Physical Applications15NoNo
PHY2026Practical Physics II15NoNo
Select 15 credits:
PHY2023Thermal Physics15NoNo
PHY2024Condensed Matter I15NoNo
Select 15 credits: If you select PHY2034 from the option group below you must select PHY2024 from the option group above
PHY2023Thermal Physics15NoNo
PHY2024Condensed Matter I15NoNo
PHY2029The Physics of Living Systems15NoNo
PHY2030Observing the Universe15NoNo
PHY2032Analytical and Chaotic Dynamics15NoNo
PHY2034Lasers, Materials and Nanoscale Probes for Quantum Applications15NoNo
PHY2222Physics of Climate Change15NoNo

Stage 3

Code Title Credits Compulsory NonCondonable
PHY3055Electromagnetism and Quantum Mechanics15YesNo
PHY3052Nuclear and High Energy Physics15YesNo
PHY3147One-Semester Physics Project and Report15YesYes
Select between 45 and 60 credits:
MTH3001Theory of Weather and Climate15NoNo
MTH3006Mathematical Biology and Ecology15NoNo
MTH3004Number Theory15NoNo
MTH3007Fluid Dynamics15NoNo
MTH3008Partial Differential Equations15NoNo
MTH3011Nonlinear Systems and Control15NoNo
MTH3013Applied Differential Geometry15NoNo
MTH3019Mathematics: History and Culture15NoNo
MTH3022Graphs, Networks and Algorithms15NoNo
MTH3024Stochastic Processes15NoNo
MTH3030Mathematics of Climate Change15NoNo
MTH3038Galois Theory15NoNo
MTH3039Computational Nonlinear Dynamics15NoNo
MTH3040Topology and Metric Spaces15NoNo
MTH3042Integral Equations15NoNo
MTH3050Functional Analysis15NoNo
EMP3001Commercial and Industrial Experience15NoNo
MTH3***Mathematics option at level 315NoNo
Select between 15 to 30 credits:
PHY3062Methods of Theoretical Physics15NoNo
PHY3064Nanostructures and Graphene Science15NoNo
PHY3066Galaxies and High Energy Astrophysics15NoNo
PHY3068Principles of Theoretical Physics15NoNo
PHY3070Stars from Birth to Death15NoNo
PHY3220Fluid Dynamics in Physics and Astronomy15NoNo
PHY3222Energy, Materials and Sustainability15NoNo

6. Programme Outcomes Linked to Teaching, Learning & Assessment Methods

On successfully completing the programme you will be able to: Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs) will be accommodated & facilitated by the following learning & teaching and evidenced by the following assessment methods:

A Specialised Subject Skills & Knowledge


Mathematics programme

demonstrate competence in:

1) the terminology and conventions used in mathematics;
2) a range of fundamental concepts and techniques from calculus, vectors, analysis and algebra;
3) the breadth of topics that can be tackled by mathematics and the use of the key techniques in a range of applicable areas;
4) a selection of more specialist optional topics from various branches of mathematics;
5) the fundamentals of the use of modern technology in mathematics, for example computer algebra.

Physics programme

6) demonstrate knowledge and understanding of most fundamental physical laws and principles, and competence in the mathematical application of these principles to diverse areas of physics.
7) solve problems in physics using appropriate mathematical tools,  identify the relevant physical principles and make approximations necessary to obtain solutions.
8) use mathematical techniques and analysis to model physical behaviour.

Learning & Teaching Activities

Mathematics programme

Knowledge in (1-4) is primarily provided through formal lectures supported by regular problem sheets for students to tackle on their own. At Stage 1 lectures are reinforced by regular tutorial groups in which assistance with, and feedback on, problem sheets is given. At later Stages in the programme students work on set problems by themselves and to seek help when required using the office hours of staff. Applications of mathematics and statistics (3) are introduced in various Stage 2 modules and more advanced applications are introduced in Stage 3 options. Modules at Stage 3 encompass an extensive range of the applications of mathematics (4). Knowledge in (5) is provided through computer practical classes at Stage 1 and reinforced in calculus modules in Stage 1 and in some modules at later stages.

Physics programme

Material is introduced by lectures and directed reading/research. Students are given clear guidance in how to manage their learning and are expected to take progressively more responsibility for their own learning at each Stage. Understanding is developed and consolidated in problems classes and tutorials and by laboratory work and private study exercises, carried out individually and in pairs or groups. A mix of self-assessed and tutor-marked work provides rapid feedback. Project work is used to integrate material and make knowledge functional. A set of compulsory core modules cover the 'fundamental physical laws' in progressively greater depth at each Stage of the programme. These laws are applied in the options modules and projects at Stages 2 and 3. Mathematical skills are learned within dedicated modules and are applied and reinforced in the other 'physics' modules.

Assessment Methods

Mathematics programme

Most knowledge is tested through unseen formal examinations. Assessment of some optional modules involves essays, project reports or oral presentation.

Physics programme

Direct assessment is through a range of mid-semester tests (Stage 1 and 2 only), formal written examinations, and marked coursework in the form of problem sheets, laboratory reports, reports/essays based on directed reading and research. The Stage 3 project assessment is based on performance in laboratory work, oral presentations, planning ability, and a formal written report. Assessment criteria are published in the Physics Handbook.

B Academic Discipline Core Skills & Knowledge

Mathematics programme

1) think logically;
2) understand and construct mathematical proofs;
3) formulate, analyse and solve problems;
4) organise tasks into a structured form;
5) transfer appropriate knowledge and methods from one topic within the subject to another;
6) apply a range of mathematical ideas to unfamiliar problems and demonstrate good selection of choice in solution strategy;
7) demonstrate a capacity for critical evaluation of arguments and evidence;
8) present mathematical material clearly, logically and accurately, both in writing and orally.

Physics programme

9) apply knowledge and understanding of most fundamental physical laws and principles to diverse areas of physics.
10) solve problems in physics using appropriate analytical and practical methods and tools. Students should be able to identify the relevant physical principles and make approximations necessary to obtain solutions.
11) use mathematical techniques and analysis to model physical behaviour.

Learning & Teaching Activities

Mathematics programme

All these skills are an essential part of the understanding of mathematics, are embedded throughout core elements of the programme and are intrinsic to good performance in the programme. They are developed through formal lectures, tutorials, coursework, computer practicals, use of IT and private study. Skills (6-8) in particular are reinforced in optional modules involving directed reading, seminars or project work at Stage 3.

Physics programme

The 'Practical Physics' modules at Stages 1 (compulsory) and 2 (optional) provide a thorough training in the execution and critical analysis of an experimental investigation. These skills are developed further in the Stage 3 projects which require students to plan and execute experiments. They must also present and defend their conclusions.
Several optional modules offer specific training in computer programming and packages. Computing and IT modules are taught in the School's own computer rooms and a mix of lectures, and self-study packs supported by module instructors and demonstrators.

Assessment Methods

Mathematics programme

All these skills are tested indirectly in various core elements of the programme, with (5-8) contributing particularly to the more successful work. They are all assessed in part through written coursework and in part by unseen formal examinations. Skills (6-8) are directly assessed in some optional modules via oral presentation, essays or project reports.

Physics programme

Application of knowledge (9) and analytical skills are assessed within many modules through a range of formal written examinations, and marked coursework in the form of problem sheets, etc. Practical (10) and modelling skills (11) are primarily demonstrated in practical and project work however. The Stage 3 project assessment is based on performance in laboratory work, oral presentations, planning ability, a formal written report and a poster presentation. Assessment criteria are published in the Physics Handbook.

C Personal / Transferable / Employment Skills & Knowledge

Mathematics programme

1) use a range of IT software including standard and mathematical word-processing applications and computer algebra software;
2) communicate ideas effectively and clearly by appropriate means including oral presentation;
3) manage time effectively;
4) search and retrieve information from a variety of sources including libraries, databases and the web;
5) work as part of a team;
6) plan your career and personal development.

Physics programme

7) demonstrate ability in numerical manipulation and the ability to present and interpret information graphically.
9) communicate scientific information and in particular produce clear and accurate scientific reports.
10)  manage your own learning and make use of appropriate texts, research-based materials or other learning resources.

Learning & Teaching Activities

Mathematics programme

Skill (1) is developed from Stage 1 in a dedicated Physics module, and can be developed further in mathematics modules at Stages 2 and 3. Skills (1-2) are developed in various other core components of the programme e.g. oral presentations in Stage 1 tutorials, and the requirement for submission of word-processed coursework in some assignments in certain modules at Stages 1, 2 and 3. Skill (3) is intrinsic to successful completion of the programme. Skills (4) and (5) are developed through the requirement to complete at least one of certain specified modules at Stage 3, or a project. Skill (6) is reinforced through annual self-appraisals with personal tutors.

Physics programme

Initial training in scientific communication occurs during Stage 1 in the Practical Physics module and in tutorials. These skills are developed and used at progressively higher levels throughout the programme.
Students learn, with the guidance of tutors and module instructors, to take progressively more responsibility for managing their own learning at each stage of the programme.

Assessment Methods

Mathematics programme

Skills (1-3) are indirectly assessed as part of coursework in core modules and effective use of skills (1-4) will generally enhance performance throughout the programme. Skills (1-5) are more directly assessed at Stage 3 through the requirement to complete at least one of certain specified modules or a project.

Physics programme

Assessment of key skills is mostly through items of coursework: written and oral presentations, and through project work.

7. Programme Regulations


The programme consists of 360 credits with 120 credits taken at each stage. Normally not more than 75 credits would be allowed in any one term. In total, students normally take no more than 150 credits at level 1, and must take at least 90 credits at level 3.

The pass mark for award of credit in an individual module is 40%.


You can progress to the next stage (or in the final year, to proceed to the award of an honours degree) once at least 90 credits have been passed in a stage, and provided that an average of at least 40% has been achieved over the 120 credits of assessment for that stage.

Condonement is the process that allows you to pass a ‘stage’ should you fail to achieve the required number of credits in any stage. You are required to achieve 120 credits in each stage of the programme. You must have achieved an average mark of at least 40% across the 120 credits of assessment including the marks for any failed and condoned modules. You will not be allowed reassessment in the condoned credit.  Up to 30 credits of failure can be condoned in a stage. However, you must pass the modules marked with a 'Yes' in the 'non-condonable' column in the tables above. The pass mark for these modules is 40%.

Assessment and Awards

Assessment at stage one does not contribute to the summative classification of the award. The award will normally be based on the degree mark formed from the credit-weighted average marks for stages 2 and 3 combined in the ratio 1:2 respectively.



The marking of modules and the classification of awards broadly corresponds to the following percentage marks:

Class I    70% +                                                      

Class II   Division I 60-69%                                     

Class II   Division II 50-59%                                    

Class III  40-49%

Full details of assessment regulations for UG programmes can be found in the Teaching Quality Assurance Manual (TQA) on the University of Exeter website.  Generic marking criteria are also published here.

Please see the Teaching and Quality Assurance Manual for further guidance.

8. College Support for Students and Students' Learning

In accordance with University policy a system of personal tutors is in place for all students on this programme.  A University-wide statement on such provision is included in the University's TQA Manual.  As a student enrolled on this programme you will receive the personal and academic support of the Programme Coordinator and will have regular scheduled meetings with your Personal Tutor; you may request additional meetings as and when required. The role of personal tutors is to provide you with advice and support for the duration of the programme and extends to providing you with details of how to obtain support and guidance on personal difficulties such as accommodation, financial difficulties and sickness. You can also make an appointment to see individual teaching staff.

Information Technology (IT) Services provide a wide range of services throughout the Exeter campuses including open access computer rooms, some of which are available 24 hours, 7 days a week.  Help may be obtained through the Helpdesk, and most study bedrooms in halls and flats are linked to the University's campus network.

Additionally, the College has its own dedicated IT support staff, helpdesk and computer facilities which are linked to the wider network, but which also provide access to some specialised software packages.  Email is an important channel of communication between staff and students in the College and an extensive range of web-based information (see ) is maintained for the use of students, including a comprehensive and annually revised student handbook.

The Harrison Learning Resource Centre is generally open during building open hours. The Centre is available for quiet study, with four separate rooms that can be booked for meetings and group work. Amongst its facilities, the Learning Resource Centre has a number of desks, four meeting rooms with large LCD screens, and free use of a photocopier. Also available are core set texts from your module reading lists, and undergraduate and MSc projects from the past two years.

Online Module study resources provide materials for modules that you are registered for, in addition to some useful subject and IT resources. Generic study support resources, library and research skills, past exam papers, and the 'Academic Honesty and Plagiarism' module are also available through the student portal (

Student/Staff Liaison Committee enables students & staff to jointly participate in the management and review of the teaching and learning provision.


10. Admission Criteria

All applications are considered individually on merit. The University is committed to an equal opportunities policy with respect to gender, age, race, sexual orientation and/or disability when dealing with applications. It is also committed to widening access to higher education to students from a diverse range of backgrounds and experience.

Candidates must satisfy the general admissions requirements of the University of Exeter.

The specific entry requirement for this programme is GCE A-level passes, at an appropriate grade in Physics and either Mathematics, Pure Mathematics, or Further Mathematics; or an equivalent qualification such as IB Maths and Physics HL5.


11. Regulation of Assessment and Academic Standards

Each academic programme in the University is subject to an agreed College assessment and marking strategy, underpinned by institution-wide assessment procedures.

The security of assessment and academic standards is further supported through the appointment of External Examiners for each programme. External Examiners have access to draft papers, course work and examination scripts. They are required to attend the Board of Examiners and to provide an annual report. Annual External Examiner reports are monitored at both College and University level. Their responsibilities are described in the University's code of practice.  See the University's TQA Manual for details.

12. Indicators of Quality and Standards

This BSc Mathematics and Physics programme is recognised by the Institute of Physics (IOP) as meeting the educational requirements for Associate Membership of the Institute. It also provides a route to full Institute Membership following appropriate professional experience.

14 Awarding Institution University of Exeter
15 Lead College / Teaching Institution Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy
16 Partner College / Institution
17 Programme accredited/validated by Institute of Physics
18 Final Award(s) BSc (Hons)
19 UCAS Code (UG programmes) FG31
20 NQF Level of Final Awards(s): 6
21 Credit (CATS and ECTS) 360 credits (180 ECTS)
22 QAA Subject Benchmarking Group (UG and PGT programmes) Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research, Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics.
23 Origin Date February 27th 2024 Last Date of Revision: April 9th 2024