BSc Mathematical and Theoretical Physics

The information on this page relates to September 2016 entry. For 2017 information, including grade requirements, please check our prospectus.

BSc Mathematical and Theoretical Physics students in a practical session using the computers

In choosing to study the Mathematical and Theoretical Physics Degree (F340) at Aberystwyth University you will be taught by talented members of staff in two leading academic departments. 

You will develop your understanding of the more theoretical parts of Physics, replacing an experimental approach to physics with a solid grounding in Mathematics. This combination of Mathematics and Physics links to many spheres of interest, and students studying this diverse subject are very much in demand with employers.

Top 10 in the UK for student satisfaction in the subject area of Physics and Astronomy (NSS 2016)

Department of Physics: 95% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

92% of undergraduates who graduated from the Department of Physics in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

Department of Mathematics: 92% student satisfaction (NSS 2016)

94% of undergraduates from the Department of Mathematics who graduated in 2015 were in employment or further education six months after graduating (DLHE 2015)

Overview

In studying this degree programme in Mathematics and Physics you will divide your time equally between these two highly complementary academic disciplines in two departments which are making ground-breaking advances in research and innovation.

Why study Mathematics and Physics at Aberystwyth?

Mathematics and Physics have been taught at Aberystwyth since the foundation of the university in 1872, making the university the first in Wales to teach these subjects. Recent investment of several million pounds in teaching and research has ensured that we continue to innovate and provide a stimulating learning environment for a growing body of mathematics and physics students from all over the world.

Our Mathematics courses are accredited by the Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), the UK’s learned and professional society for mathematics and its applications. The IMA exists to support the advancement of mathematical knowledge and its applications and to promote and enhance mathematical culture in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, for the public good. Our Physics courses are accredited by the Institute of Physics (IoP), a leading scientific society which engages with policymakers and the general public to advance physics education, research and application, giving you a head start when you enter the competitive jobs market.

The Department of Mathematics maintained its position as one of the best departments in Wales in the most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF2014). The department returned almost 90% of our staff, the highest proportion of any Welsh mathematics department. Results show that 1 in 8 of our research outputs are world leading, and more than 60% are either world leading or internationally excellent. All of our research and the impact it has outside universities, was judged to be of international standard.

Our Physics lecturers are also researchers working at the cutting edge of their respective fields, so you can be confident that your learning experience will be informed by the latest specialist knowledge along with advanced instrumentation, modelling and techniques.

The Departments of Mathematics and Physics are at the forefront of Welsh-medium provision in these subjects at higher education level in Wales. Details of Welsh language modules in mathematics and physics may be obtained from the departments.

Our Staff

Department of Physics Lecturers are all qualified to PhD level and have a track record of research in their fields of specialisation.

Most lecturers in the Department of Mathematics are qualified to PhD level and are research active. Many have a postgraduate teaching qualification.

Course Content

Welsh medium modules available

Please note: The modules listed below are those currently intended for delivery during the next academic year and may be subject to change. They are included here to give an indication of how the course is structured.

Year 1 Core (110 Credits) Students must take the following core modules in Year 1:

Semester 1

Coordinate And Vector Geometry MA10110

Probability MA10310

Algebra MA10510

Calculus MA10610

Classical Dynamics MP14010

Classical Physics PH11010

Semester 2

Further Algebra And Calculus MA11010

Mathematical Analysis MA11110

Differential Equations MA11210

Statistics MA11310

Modern Physics PH14310

Year 1 Options Students take a further 10 credits from the following modules:

Semester 2

Career Planning And Skills Development MP12910

Laboratory Physics PH15510

Energy And The Environment PH19010

Year 1 Options Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 1

Ffiseg Glasurol FG11010

Geometreg Gyfesurynnol A Fectoraidd MT10110

Tebygoleg MT10310

Algebra MT10510

Calcwlws MT10610

Dynameg Glasurol MT14010

Semester 2

Ffiseg Labordy FG15510

Algebra A Chalcwlws Pellach MT11010

Dadansoddi Mathemategol MT11110

Hafaliadau Differol MT11210

Ystadegaeth MT11310

Cynllunio Gyrfa A Datblygu Sgiliau MT12910

Year 2 Core (110 Credits) Students must take the following core modules in Year 2:

Semester 1

Real Analysis MA20110

Introduction To Abstract Algebra MA20310

Distributions And Estimation MA26010

Mathematical Physics MP26020

Thermal Physics PH21510

Semester 2

Linear Algebra MA21410

Complex Analysis MA21510

Electricity And Magnetism PH22510

Quantum Mechanics 1 PH23720

Year 2 Options You must take 10 credits from the following 20 credits

Semester 2

Hydrodynamics 1 MA25610

Advanced Dynamics MA25710

Year 2 Options Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 1

Ffiseg Mathemategol FG26020

Dadansoddiad Real MT20110

Semester 2

Algebra Llinol MT21410

Year 3 Core (50 Credits) Students must take the following core modules in Year 3:

Semester 1

Group Theory MA30110

Norms And Differential Equations MA30210

Partial Differential Equations MA34110

Probability And Stochastic Processes MA37410

Semester 2

Probing Atoms And Molecules PH32710

Year 3 Options Students must choose a further 70 credits of Level 3 modules in Maths and/or Physics

Year 3 Options Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 1

Normau A Hafaliadau Differol MT30210

Hafaliadau Differol Rhannol MT34110

Employability

Career Prospects

Graduates in Mathematics and Physics are highly valued by employers for their skills in numeracy and problem-solving. Careers that relate directly to your degree subject include research science, university lecturing and secondary school teaching. A high proportion of Physics graduates progress to postgraduate study, and many pursue research careers in an academic or industrial environment. Other careers where this degree would be useful include engineering, scientific writing and publishing, operational research, business consultancy, medical physics, meteorology, computing, accounting and finance. The Mathematical and Theoretical Physics degree scheme is designed to cultivate transferable skills, including numeracy, problem-solving, reasoning, analysing data, organisational skills, teamwork and communication skills, to ensure that our graduates are attractive to employers in a wide range of fields.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in Mathematical and Theoretical Physics will equip you with a range of transferable skills which are highly valued by employers. These include:

• research and data analysis skills
• enhanced mathematical and computational skills
• effective problem-solving and creative thinking skills
• a thorough grounding in information technology skills
• the ability to work independently
• time-management and organisational skills, including the ability to meet deadlines
• the ability to express ideas and communicate information in a clear and structured manner, in both written and oral form
• self-motivation and self-reliance
• team-working, with the ability to discuss concepts in groups, accommodating different ideas and reaching agreement

Year in Employment scheme (YES)
The University operates a Year in Employment Scheme (YES), which offers you a fantastic opportunity to take a year out between your second and third year to work in an organisation in the UK or overseas. YES provides a very rewarding and worthwhile experience, both personally and professionally, and can help you to stand out from the crowd in a very competitive job market. The University’s Career Service will help you to explore your options and secure a suitable work placement.

GO Wales
GO Wales is administered by the University’s Career Service, working with local businesses to create paid work placements of a few weeks’ duration for students. It gives you the opportunity to gain valuable work experience which will enhance your CV and make you more attractive to potential employers.

Teaching, Learning and Assessment

What will you learn?

This course will develop your understanding of a wide range of theories and processes in Mathematics and Physics and will teach you to apply the techniques you have learnt in order to solve problems and explore research questions. You will develop your written and oral communication skills and your ability to work independently and as part of a group.

The first two years of the course consist predominantly of compulsory core modules covering a wide range of themes including abstract and linear algebra, calculus, differential equations, quantum mechanics, dynamics and thermal physics. At the end of your second year your tutors will discuss with you what your priorities and aspirations are and will advise you whether to continue studying for the BSc or to take a fourth year of study and gain the MMath qualification. If you decide to continue working towards the BSc, only half of your third-year modules will be core modules so you will be able to choose your remaining modules from the full range of level three Mathematics and Physics modules, allowing you to tailor the course to suit your interests.

How will you be taught?

This course will be taught predominantly through lectures but students will also attend example classes – in which you work through problems under the supervision of a lecturer – and small-group tutorials and workshops. These interactive learning environments allow you to check your understanding and receive feedback. Assessment methods will include exams, coursework and continuous assessment. You may choose to undertake an individual project in your final year, which requires you to carry out independent research on a problem of your choice and to disseminate the results through written and oral reports. This option is particularly relevant to students who intend to go on to further study and pursue a research career.

You will be assigned a personal tutor throughout your degree course, who will help you with any problems or queries, whether these are academic-related or personal issues. You should feel free to contact them at any time for help and advice.

You will also have the opportunity to complete a Personal Development Plan (PDP) at Aberystwyth. This is a structured process of self-appraisal, reflection, and planning, which will enable you to chart your personal, academic and professional development throughout your time at university. By recording your academic performance, and highlighting the skills you already have and those you will need for future employability, the PDP portfolio will equip you with the necessary tools to plan effectively, develop successful approaches to study, and consider your future career options and aspirations.

Student Views

Physics enhances everyday your understanding of the universe and everything we experience Passionate scientists inform you of their contributions to science at the forefront of physics. Your time is split between gaining hands-on laboratory experience using exciting equipment including lasers, oscilloscopes and spectrometers, and lectures that will inspire and interest you. Each module challenges your intelligence and allows you to gain knowledge that most people benefit from but do not know exists. Students achieve excellence, and stretch their minds. It requires time and effort but the skills and understanding you gains are second to none. Sarah Chandler

Key Information Set

Places available in Clearing

0800 121 40 80 (Freephone)

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Key Facts

UCAS Code: F340

Please note that the tariff below may not apply during Clearing. Contact us on 0800 121 40 80 or fill in the form above for more information.

Tariff Required: 280 - 320

Entry Requirements: Grade B in A level Mathematics and grade B in A level Physics for higher points offer. Grade A in A level Mathematics and grade B in A level Physics for lower points offer. GCSE: Grade C in English or Welsh. Grade C in Mathematics.

Course Length: 3 Years

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