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Undergraduate Study

BSc Physics - 2025 entry

Please note: The below is for 2025 entries. Click here for 2024 entries.
UCAS code F300
Duration 3 years
Entry year 2025
Campus Streatham Campus
Discipline Physics and Astronomy

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

Typical offer

View full entry requirements

A-Level: AAA-ABB
IB: 36/666 – 32/655

Contextual offers

A-Level: ABB-ABC
IB: 32/655-28/554


  • 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
  • Our continuous skills development programme, designed with industry partners, will enable you to craft a digital portfolio and CV to showcase your skills to potential employers
  • 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

View 2024 Entry

Request a prospectus

Open days and visiting us

How to apply


Web: Enquire online

Phone: +44 (0)1392 72 72 72

Discover undergraduate Physics at the University of Exeter.

Top 10 in the UK for Physics and Astronomy

9th in the Guardian University Guide 2024 and 10th in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2024

Extensive facilities in our dedicated building including advanced research and teaching labs, observatory and computer labs

We are passionate about training new physicists and believe that is done best via a supportive and inclusive student-staff environment

94% of graduates in or due to start employment/further study 15 months after graduation

Based on full-time, first degree, UK-domiciled graduates, HESA Graduate Outcomes survey 2020/21


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 (typical offer)

Qualification Typical offer Required subjects
A-Level AAA - ABB A in Mathematics and B in Physics, or B in Mathematics and A in Physics.
Candidates may offer GCE A-Level Maths, Pure Maths or Further Maths.
IB 36/666 – 32/655 HL6 in Mathematics (Analysis and Approaches) and HL5 in Physics, or HL5 in Mathematics (Analysis and Approaches) and HL5 in Physics.
BTEC DDD-DDM Applicants studying a BTEC Extended Diploma are also required to achieve Grades A and B in A-Level Mathematics and Physics.
GCSE 4 or C Grade 4/C in GCSE English language
Access to HE 30 L3 credits at Distinction Grade and 15 L3 credits at Merit Grade - 24 L3 credits at Distinction Grade and 21 L3 credits at Merit Grade 15 L3 credits at Distinction Grade and 12 L3 credits at Merit Grade in acceptable Mathematics and Physics subject areas. An additional Maths Test may be required.
T-Level T-Levels not accepted N/A
Contextual Offer

A-Level: ABB-ABC
IB: 32/655-28/554

Specific subject requirements must still be achieved where stated above. Find out more about contextual offers.

Other accepted qualifications

View other accepted qualifications

English language requirements

International students need to show they have the required level of English language to study this course. The required test scores for this course fall under Profile B2. Please visit our English language requirements page to view the required test scores and equivalencies from your country.

NB General Studies is not included in any offer.

Grades advertised on each programme webpage are the typical level at which our offers are made and provide information on any specific subjects an applicant will need to have studied in order to be considered for a place on the programme. However, if we receive a large number of applications for the programme we may not be able to make an offer to all those who are predicted to achieve/have achieved grades which are in line with our typical offer. For more information on how applications are assessed and when decisions are released, please see: After you apply

Physics is our chance to touch the hidden beauty of the world and its mechanism, studying physics can be compared to reading detailed description of a painting written in the universal language – math.

I really enjoy my time in Exeter. University provides great facilities and study ambience, along with a huge support in building your future career. The course material itself is nicely structured and being taught by wonderful people. I really like group tutorials, where I get to practice my skills and learn from dedicated research scientists.

Apart from main studies, physics breakfasts are amazing opportunity to gather with professors, possible supervisors, students of all years of study and have a nice chat over the cup of coffee, everybody loves physics breakfasts! The campus is very green and peaceful, it’s easy to find a great spot to take a break in between hard work. I enjoy the area a lot! I want to advise future students to make the most of being in Devon; join societies, travel, meet interesting people, have fun and, of course, master your studies.

Read more from Aleksandr


studying BSc Physics and Astrophysics

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

PHY1021Vector Mechanics15
PHY1022Introduction to Astrophysics15
PHY1025Mathematics Skills15
PHY1027Practical Physics I15
PHY1023Waves and Optics15
PHY1024Properties of Matter15
PHY1026Mathematics for Physicists15

Optional modules

PHY1031Scientific Programming in Python15

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.

* 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

Compulsory modules

PHY2021Electromagnetism I15
PHY2022Quantum Mechanics I15
PHY2025Mathematics with Physical Applications15
PHY2026Practical Physics II15
PHY2023Thermal Physics15
PHY2024Condensed Matter I15

Optional modules

Choose 15 credits of List 2a options:
PHY2027Scientific Programming in C15
PHY2029The Physics of Living Systems15
PHY2032Analytical and Chaotic Dynamics15
Elective (Term 1)15
Choose 15 credits of List 2b options
PHY2030Observing the Universe15
PHY2037Nonlinear Optics and Imaging15
PHY2222Physics of Climate Change15
Elective (Term 2)15
PHY2038Employability and Placement Preparation0

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 physics, advanced electromagnetism, quantum physics and soft matter physics. You can also choose to study technologically-important areas such as quantum optics, biophysics and sustainability, and active research areas such as astrophysics, nanostructures and graphene science. (Options are dependent on the programme of study and subject to change).

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.

* 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

Compulsory modules

PHY3055Electromagnetism and Quantum Mechanics15
PHY3053General Problems15
PHY3052Nuclear and High Energy Physics15

Optional modules

Choose 30 credits of List 3a options:
PHY3061The Biophysics of Cells and Tissues 15
PHY3062Methods of Theoretical Physics15
PHY3064Nanostructures and Graphene Science 15
PHY3070Stars from Birth to Death15
Elective (Term 1)15
Choose 15 credits of List 3b options:
PHY3066Galaxies and High Energy Astrophysics15
PHY3068Principles of Theoretical Physics15
PHY3071Soft Matter15
PHY3220Fluid Dynamics in Physics and Astronomy15
PHY3222Energy, Materials and Sustainability15
Elective (Term 2)15
Choose 30 credits of List 3p options:
PHY3138Projects and Dissertations30
PHY3147One-Semester Physics Project and Report15
PHY3150Applying Physics (Group Project)15

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.

Destinations may vary and we encourage you to view our study abroad webpages for up to date information.

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.

How does it affect my tuition fee?

During this year you will pay a reduced tuition fee. In 2023/24 the fee was £1,385 (or 15 per cent of the maximum fee for that year). Visit the Tuition Fees page for more information.

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 2023/24 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’.


Tuition fees for 2024 entry

UK students: £9,250 per year
International students: £29,700 per year


The University of Exeter has many different scholarships available to support your education, including £5 million in scholarships for international students, such as our Global Excellence Scholarships*. Financial support is also available for students from disadvantaged backgrounds, lower income households and other under-represented groups to help them access, succeed and progress through higher education.

* Terms and conditions apply. See online for details.

Find out more about tuition fees and scholarships

Learning and teaching

Learning and teaching at Exeter is undertaken in a variety of ways, ranging from classic style lecturing, weekly problem-solving classes, computing practical sessions, and laboratory sessions

You will be fully supported during your jurney as a student in a variety of ways, in a friendly and relaxed environment. You will have weekly skills development sessions where you will have the chance to develop the transversal skills needed for you academic, personal and professional development. They will occur in a variety of settings, ranging from full lectures to small group seminars.

You will also have access to personal academic and pastoral mentoring, fully embedded within the structure of our department.

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 in Exeter is performed via a combination of exams and continuous assessments, including problem sets, reports, multimedia presentations, posters and vivas. You will be able to find a variety of modules with different approaches, ranging from 100% exam-based ones to 100% coursework ones.

Optional modules outside of this course

Each year, if you have optional modules available, you can take up to 30 credits in a subject outside of your course. This can increase your employability and widen your intellectual horizons.

Proficiency in a second subject

If you complete 60 credits of modules in one of the subjects below, you may have the words 'with proficiency in [e.g. Social Data Science]' added to your degree title when you graduate.

  • A Foreign Language
  • Law
  • Social Data Science
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Leadership

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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 continuous Skills Development programme that will lead to the creation of a professional portfolio
  • Extensive problem-solving skills training
  • Development of group working skills
  • Training in scientific communication
  • Scientific data analysis training.

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.

Career paths

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.

The broad-based skills acquired during your degree will give you an excellent grounding for a wide variety of careers, not only those related to Physics but also in wider fields. Examples of roles recent graduates are now working as include:

  • Academic Researcher
  • Actuary Astronomer
  • Chartered and Certified Accountant
  • Cyber Security Professional
  • Engineer
  • Financial Accounts Manager
  • IT Business Analyst and Systems Architect
  • Programmer
  • Software Developer
  • Teacher

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