|Discipline||Physics and Astronomy|
|Discipline||Physics and Astronomy|
|Discipline||Physics and Astronomy|
- Our programmes cover a wide range of topics, both applied and theoretical, directly developed from research taking place at Exeter
- Our MPhys degrees give you a great opportunity to specialise in a research theme in which we excel, from astrophysics and quantum physics, through to electromagnetic and acoustic materials and biomedical physics
- 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
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 clean-rooms, helium liquefier, advanced photonics facilities, amplified ultra-fast laser systems, imaging suite, observatory and computer labs.
We are passionate about training new physicists and believe that is done 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.
After I visited the department I instantly knew I want to study at Exeter. Physics has crafted me into a brilliant problem solver, every challenge I approach in life, I approach critically and thoroughly to seek reason behind my situation.
My year abroad in Sydney allowed me to interact with people from across the world and gave me insight into international work life.
Studied MPhys Physics with Australian Study at the University of Exeter
Entry requirements (typical offer)
|Qualification||Typical offer||Required subjects|
|A-Level||AAA-ABB||At least one grade A and a grade B in GCE A-level Maths and Physics. Candidates may offer GCE A-level Maths, Pure Maths or Further Maths.|
|IB||36/666 – 32/655||HL 6 and HL 5 in Mathematics (Analysis and Approaches) and Physics|
|BTEC||DDM-DMM||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|
Specific subject requirements must still be achieved where stated above. Find out more about contextual offers.
|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
I chose Exeter because of the fantastic astrophysics department, and the university is well connected in a great location with beaches and Dartmoor nearby.
I have particularly enjoyed the astrophysics modules, and love hearing about the fascinating research the academics do. I once found a lecturer quoted in a national newspaper discussing a recently discovered exoplanet!
Having access to such knowledgeable people is very inspiring, and they are always happy to help students.
I am excited to have been given the opportunity to do a summer project investigating stellar discs after the lecturer I approached enthusiastically agreed to let me do an internship with her.
The degree is well structured and gives a broad overview of physics, allowing students to specialise more in the later years in areas such as biophysics, quantum mechanics and astrophysics.
studying MPhys Physics with Astrophysics
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.
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.
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 and fifth years of study. Take a look at the course variants for further information.
The two final years of this programme allow 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).
The final years of the programme also involve substantial project work. As part of the MPhys programme, you will be ‘adopted’ into one of our research groups, working in a small group (typically three or four, but with individual roles), to undertake a project for at least one academic year. You will select your preferred project from a list of short research proposals freshly written by the academics each year. The projects are original and open-ended, i.e., they each focus on a previously unstudied piece of physics. You will meet with your supervisor (a professor or lecturer) once a week to discuss progress and future work. You are also encouraged to attend research seminars from visiting speakers, attend the weekly group meetings, and integrate and socialise with the PhD students and researchers.
* An ‘elective’ is an unspecified module that allows the student to broaden their education by taking a module from another discipline e.g., philosophy, or a foreign language.
UCAS code: F312
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 MPhys 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: F310
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. 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. The fee for 2021/22 is £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.
Learning and teaching
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 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.
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
- Social Data Science
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.
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 Astonomer
- Chartered and Certified Accountant
- Cyber Security Professional
- Financial Accounts Manager
- IT Business Analyst and Systems Architect
- Software Developer