About the course

Explore the fundamental theories of physics and gain the skills to understand the world in terms of forces and particles in small or complex systems. During this fascinating course you’ll learn to comprehend everything from the streamlined shape of dolphins to the quantum encryption of messages. The course is informed by our internationally excellent and world- leading physics research, which covers areas such as the microphysics of air quality, atmospheric physics, light scattering, quantum optics and mathematical physics. You’ll also have the option of spending a year working in industry or at a research institution. Study abroad opportunities are available at universities in Europe, Australia and the USA.

Fact sheets 2019 Course fact sheet 1 BSc (Hons) Physics 2019 Course fact sheet 1 BSc (Hons) Physics
Programme specifications 2019 Programme specification 1 BSc Honours Physics and Astrophysics 2019 Programme specification 1 BSc Honours Physics and Astrophysics

Why choose this course?

  • Our degree lets you study the fundamental theories behind Physics and their application to modern-day research and technology. We will take you from the knowledge that you have gained in your school or college studies right the way to the most up-to-date developments.
  • During your second and third years you begin to specialise in experimental physics or more theoretical and mathematical concepts. You can choose from a range of options in your final year, including Nonlinear Systems, Rocket Performance and Propulsion, Physics of Stars, Nonlinear Systems, Partial Differential Equations, Dynamics and Geometry, Further Numerical Methods or Quantum Computing.
  • You will also carry out a final year investigative project in a cutting-edge area of Physics research. You will be closely supervised and guided by one of our experienced researchers in the Centre for Atmospheric & Instrumentation Research. Previous projects have included designing a calibration system for airborne ice sensors, modelling the behaviour of soliton waves in the oceans, and examining quantum dynamics using topological methods.
  • If you are continuing on our MPhys programme it is possible to extend your project into your MPhys year. We also have an innovative strand of industrial projects supported by the Institute of Physics that give you direct experience of working in industrial research.

Key staff

Dr James Collett
For academic queries
Find out more about Dr James Collett

Jason Stevens
For admissions queries
Find out more about Jason Stevens

Professional Accreditations

The BSc degree has had accreditation from the Institute of Physics (IoP) for a number of years.

What our physics
students say

As part of my studies at the University of Hertfordshire I opted to take a placement year at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory where I had to learn new skills on the job, working to precision, provide excellent customer service and liaising with other members of a multidisciplinary team. Most of the research at the laboratory was geared up towards laser-driven nuclear fusion, and I was able to work on one of the lasers; the Vulcan.

I have just graduated with first class honours in BSc Physics from the University of Hertfordshire and got accepted onto a graduate scheme with Frank Hirth PLC; a UK/US tax advisory firm in London. I keep the science ticking over in the background and plan on returning to it from a career perspective at some point in the future.

Daniel Johnson

BSc Physics

Course details

Careers

A physics degree opens up opportunities for careers in industry, teaching, telecommunications, computing and research. The analytical skills you’ll gain are also highly valued in a variety of non-scientific jobs, including finance, accounting and commerce. You’ll also be able to progress to postgraduate study.

Teaching methods

We take pride in our student-focused approach to teaching Physics. With one of the best student-staff ratios in the country we are able to put our focus on you as an individual and give you the support that you need to reach your full potential as a Physics graduate. Our graduates are in a wide range of careers, from scientific research to teaching and industry.

We use a variety of teaching methods during our Physics degrees, ranging from small-group tutorials, to lectures and practical classes. Our typical intake of students is around 50-60 in each year, which means that our class sizes are small enough so that your lecturers will know you by name. We place particular emphasis on transferable skills, employability and project work throughout the degree.

You will meet your personal tutor on a regular basis in small-group tutorials, which are a great way of reinforcing the material that you learn in lectures. We also offer a wide variety of support throughout your degree, from you lecturers, the School’s Maths Centre and peer support from our student proctor scheme.

Work Placement

All of our Physics degree programmes can be taken as a sandwich degree, with a professional placement year. We have a dedicated Placements Tutor in our School who, along with the University’s Careers & Placements Service, will help you find and set up your placement. Within the UK our students have worked at:

  • IBM
  • Microsoft
  • the Rutherford Appleton Labs
  • the Met Office and
  • the National Physical Laboratory.

Many of our graduates go on to work or postgraduate study at their placement hosts.

Study Abroad

This course offers you the opportunity to study abroad in the Sandwich Year through the University's study abroad
programme. Study abroad opportunities are available worldwide and in Europe under the Erasmus+ Programme. Past students have gone on research and study abroad placements to the US, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Switzerland and Singapore. Find out more about Study abroad opportunities.

Structure

  • Level 4
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    The Physical Universe 30 Credits Compulsory
    Mathematical Techniques 1 30 Credits Compulsory
    Special Relativity and Quantum Physics 30 Credits Compulsory
    Experimental Physics 15 Credits Compulsory
    Computational Modelling 15 Credits Compulsory
    Small Group Tutorial (Level 4) 0 Credits Compulsory
  • Level 5
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Mathematical Techniques 2 15 Credits Compulsory
    Programming 15 Credits Compulsory
    Electromagnetism 15 Credits Compulsory
    Optics and Lasers 15 Credits Compulsory
    Thermodynamics 15 Credits Compulsory
    Quantum Mechanics 15 Credits Compulsory
    Small Group Tutorial (Level 5) 0 Credits Compulsory
    Career Planning and Development 0 Credits Compulsory
    Professional Teaching Skills 15 Credits Optional
    Numerical Methods 15 Credits Optional
    Differential Equations 15 Credits Optional
    Physics of the Solar System 15 Credits Optional
    Extra-Solar Planets 15 Credits Optional
    Plasma Physics and Fusion Reactors 15 Credits Optional
    Motion and Tensors 15 Credits Optional
  • Level 6
    Module Credits Compulsory/optional
    Condensed States of Matter 15 Credits Compulsory
    The Physics of Elementary Particles 15 Credits Compulsory
    Physics Project and Investigative Skills 30 Credits Compulsory
    Geophysical Fluid Dynamics 15 Credits Compulsory
    Rocket Performance and Propulsion 15 Credits Optional
    Professional Placement 0 Credits Optional
    Space Dynamics 15 Credits Optional
    Year Abroad 0 Credits Optional
    Computational Physics 15 Credits Optional
    Partial Differential Equations 15 Credits Optional
    Further Numerical Methods 15 Credits Optional
    Nonlinear Systems 15 Credits Optional
    Placement with Study Abroad 0 Credits Optional
    Star Formation and Evolution 15 Credits Optional
    Foundations of Cosmology 15 Credits Optional
    The Physics of Astronomical Spectra 15 Credits Optional
    Quantum Optics and Information Theory 15 Credits Optional
    Applied Optics and Photonics 15 Credits Optional
    Lagrangian Dynamics 15 Credits Optional
  • Fees & funding

    Fees 2019

    UK/EU Students

    Full time
    • £9250 for the 2019/2020 academic year
    Part time
    • £1155 per 15 credits for the 2019/2020 academic year

    International Students

    Full time
    • £12350 for the 2019/2020 academic year
    Part time
    • £1540 per 15 credits for the 2019/2020 academic year

    Discounts are available for International students if payment is made in full at registration

    *Tuition fees are charged annually. The fees quoted above are for the specified year(s) only. Fees may be higher in future years, for both new and continuing students. Please see the University’s Fees and Finance Policy (and in particular the section headed “When tuition fees change”), for further information about when and by how much the University may increase its fees for future years.

    View detailed information about tuition fees

    Read more about additional fees in the course fact sheet

    Other financial support

    Find out more about other financial support available to UK and EU students

    Living costs / accommodation

    The University of Hertfordshire offers a great choice of student accommodation, on campus or nearby in the local area, to suit every student budget.

    View detailed information about our accommodation

    Entry requirements

    UCAS points A Level BTEC IB requirement
    112 BBC: Including a grade C or above in Mathematics and Physics. DMM: Applied Science as well as A Level Maths grade C. 112 points: Must include maths and physics at HL grade 4 or above.

    How to apply

    Course length
    • Full Time, 3 Years
    • Part Time, 6 Years
    • Sandwich, 4 Years
    Locations
    • University of Hertfordshire, Hatfield

    2019

    Start DateEnd DateLink
    23/09/201931/05/2020Apply online (Full Time)
    23/09/201931/05/2020Apply online (Part Time)
    23/09/201931/05/2020Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    23/09/201931/05/2020Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)

    2020

    Start DateEnd DateLink
    29/09/202024/05/2021Apply online (Full Time)
    29/09/202031/05/2021Apply online (Part Time)
    29/09/202024/05/2021Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    29/09/202024/05/2021Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)

    2021

    Start DateEnd DateLink
    29/09/202124/05/2022Apply online (Full Time)
    29/09/202131/05/2022Apply online (Part Time)
    29/09/202124/05/2022Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    29/09/202124/05/2022Apply online (Full Time/Sandwich)
    Optional Sandwich Placement or Study Abroad year
    We welcome applications from international and EU students