F300 Physics BSc Undergraduate 2020
|Professional accreditation||Institute of Physics|
|Mode of study||Full Time|
|Typical Offers||A Level|
|Please also check Requirements and Admissions.|
|Contextual Offers||You may be eligible for an offer which is one or two grades lower than our standard entry requirements. Find out more.|
|More information||Still have questions?|
|Download||Download as a PDF|
Durham is one of the leading physics and astronomy departments in the UK, enrolling around 170 students each year. The dedication to our teaching and research consistently puts us high up in all the league tables. While studying here you will benefit from the buzz and creative environment of a large research department and join a dynamic and focused intellectual community. Our research ranges from fundamental elementary particle physics and cosmology to more applied topics in which we collaborate closely with industry.
We offer degrees in Physics, Physics and Astronomy, and Theoretical Physics, all of which are accredited by the Institute of Physics. Our course structures have been designed to provide flexibility in your final choice of degree course. The three-year BSc degree is aimed at those mainly interested in a degree in Physics as a preparation for a career, not necessarily in the Physics area.
Our four-year MPhys degrees will suit those looking for professional training, leading to research in physics or a physics-related career. The first year of the BSc and MPhys degree courses in Physics, Physics and Astronomy, and Theoretical Physics is identical and it is possible to select modules in your second year such that you need not make a firm choice of course until the end of the second year.
Foundations of Physics 1 is the main lecture module in the first year, and is complemented with a practical laboratory module, including an introduction to programming. Two mathematics modules are taken in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. There is a further module of choice, with Introduction to Astronomy proving to be very popular.
- Foundations of Physics 2A/2B
- Mathematical Methods in Physics
- Laboratory Skills and Electronics
Additional topics also include Theoretical Physics 2 (the transition from classical to quantum mechanics), Stars and Galaxies (an exploration of astrophysics), and Physics in Society.
At the end of the year, you need to decide your degree title, choosing between:
- BSc Physics (F300)
- MPhys Physics (F301)
- MPhys Physics and Astronomy (FF3N)
- MPhys Theoretical Physics (F344).
Besides core modules in Foundations of Physics 3A/3B and Physics Problem-solving (which includes a computing project), there is a wide choice of topics, for example in:
- Planets and Cosmology
- Theoretical Physics 3
- Maths Workshop
- Physics into Schools
- Team Project
- Laboratory Project
- BSc Project
- A module taken in another department (subject to approval).
A complete description of the current Physics modules being taught can be found at Physics modules 2017. Bear in mind that the details will change as we develop and update our course, but these pages provide a good guide to the range and breadth of the physics we teach.
We review course structures and core content (in light of e.g. external and student feedback) every year, and will publish finalised core requirements for 2020 entry from September 2019.
The experience of having lived independently abroad can be very rewarding in terms of employability and of personal development. For this reason, you are encouraged to apply during your degree for a year-long placement with one of the Physics Department's or the University's international partners, either in replacement of the third year of study within an MPhys degree or as an additional year of study. You may study in English at some of the partner universities, whereas at others foreign language skills are essential. You are fully supported by the Department both during the application process and during the year abroad.
Adding a supplementary international study placement to the BSc Physics degree or to an MPhys degree leads respectively to the degrees of BSc Physics with Year Abroad and MPhys Physics with Year Abroad. Adding a supplementary international work or training placement instead leads to the degrees of BSc Physics with Placement and MPhys Physics with Placement. Admissions to these degrees are through transfer from F300, F301, FF3N or F344 after Year 1.
You may be able to take a work placement. Find out more.
Learning and Teaching
Course Learning and Teaching
The course is mainly delivered through a mixture of lectures, laboratories, tutorials and workshops. The lectures will provide the means to give a concise, focused presentation of the relevant area of Physics. The lecture material will be explicitly linked to the contents of recommended textbooks for the module, thus making clear where you can begin your private study. When appropriate, the lectures will also be supported by the distribution of written material, or by information and relevant links on the University Virtual Learning Environment.
You will be able to obtain further help in your studies by approaching your lecturers, either after lectures or at other mutually convenient times (the Department has a policy of encouraging such enquiries). You will learn how to plan experiments and to interpret data quantitatively and systematically in the laboratory classes. Regular problem exercises will give you the chance to develop your theoretical understanding and problem-solving abilities. These problem exercises will form the basis for discussions in tutorial groups of typically six students in the first year. The tutorials will also provide an informal environment for you to raise issues of interest or difficulty.
The balance of these types of activities changes over the course of the degree, as you develop your knowledge, and your skills as an independent learner.
In the first year, you will typically attend 12 hours a week of lectures, one three-hour laboratory session per week, one one-hour physics tutorial each week and two one-hour mathematics tutorials. Outside timetabled contact hours, you are also expected to undertake your own independent study to prepare for your classes and broaden your subject knowledge.
A similar balance holds in the second year, although with a change from tutorials to module-specific workshops. In the workshops, typically three supervisors circulate among typically 50 students to provide support. By the end of the second year, you will have covered the vast majority of the material specified in the Institute of Physics ‘Core of Physics’, required for any accredited Physics degree, allowing you considerable flexibility in your choices for the remainder of your degree.
By the third year, you will have greatly extended your abilities as an independent learner. Although the contact time breakdown remains similar, there is considerable freedom in the way in which laboratory projects are carried out. There is also a possibility of doing a Team Project – open-ended research projects supplied by industrial partners, where you will be reporting back to the partner directly on your results.
Throughout the programme, you will also have access to an academic adviser who will provide you with academic support and guidance. Typically you will meet with your adviser three times a year, in addition, to which, all members of teaching staff are available to meet with students, either on a ‘drop-in’ basis or during regular ‘office hours’. There are also regular seminars run throughout the year by the student-led Physics society and Astronomy society.
Subject requirements, level and grade
A level offer – A*A*A Including Physics and Mathematics.
BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma/OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma – D*D*D and A levels as above.
IB Diploma score – 38 With 776 in higher level subjects, including Mathematics and Physics.
In addition to satisfying the University’s general entry requirements and the programme-specific entry requirements, please note:
- We welcome applications from those with other qualifications equivalent to our standard entry requirements and from mature students with non-standard qualifications or who may have had a break in their study.
- Entry requirements are the same for all four Physics programmes and transfer from the BSc programme to the MPhys programme is possible and is based upon first and second-year examinations
- We may request further information such as UMS marks and/or predicted grades if this information is not available on the UCAS application. This is to ensure that we have an equal amount of information for all applicants. If for some reason this cannot be supplied, the candidate’s application will not be disadvantaged
- If you are an international student who does not meet the requirements for direct entry to this degree, you may be eligible to take an International Foundation Year pathway programme at the Durham University International Study Centre.
- We are pleased to consider applications for deferred entry.
Science A levels
Applicants taking Science A levels that include a practical component will be required to take and pass this as a condition of entry. This applies only to applicants sitting A levels with an English examination board.
English Language requirements
Please check requirements for your subject and level of study.
How to apply
Information relevant to your country
Fees and Funding
Fees and Funding
Full Time Fees
|EU Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|Home Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|Island Student||£9,250.00 per year|
|International non-EU Student||£25,800.00 per year|
The tuition fees shown for home and EU students are for one complete academic year of full time study and are set according to the academic year of entry. Fees for subsequent years of your course may rise in line with an inflationary uplift as determined by the government.
The tuition fees shown for overseas students are for one complete academic year of full time study, are set according to the academic year of entry, and remain the same throughout the duration of the programme for that cohort (unless otherwise stated).
Please also check costs for colleges and accommodation.
Scholarships and funding
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