BSc Physics

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

A BSc Physics student conducting research

Physics is one of the oldest academic disciplines, but one which makes significant contributions to modern society, with theoretical breakthroughs feeding into new sciences and fostering modern technologies. The concepts of physics form the basis of most scientific language and the subject finds its way into most modern science and technology, enhancing the scope for your future employment prospects. In choosing to study this four-year Physics Degree with Foundation Year at Aberystwyth University you will gain a firm grounding in core physical concepts whilst exploring the breadth of Physics through a range of exciting specialist modules in fundamental particles, relativity and solid-state physics, for example. The Physics Degree with Foundation Year is designed for those who may lack the adequate qualifications in Physics and Maths to immediately enter the three-year BSc Physics course. The foundation year will provide the grounding needed to continue onto the three-year degree scheme. This degree scheme is accredited by the Institute of Physics (IoP).

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)


This four-year degree scheme includes a foundation year and is offered to mature students who would like to study physics at undergraduate level, but who have not studied mathematics or physics at A level or are returning to study after a break. After completing the foundation year, you can continue your studies as single honours Physics or you have the option to transfer to any of our other physics degree schemes. 

Why study Physics at Aberystwyth?

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.

Physics has been taught at Aberystwyth since the foundation of the university in 1872, making the university the first in Wales to teach the subject. Despite our heritage we have continued to innovate ensuring that the degree schemes we offer will provide you with the best Physics degree you can possibly obtain.

Our 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. In the most recent Research Excellence Framework (2014) assessment the university was placed in the top 50 institutions for research power and intensity. It submitted 77% of eligible staff and 95% of the university's research was of an internationally recognised standard.

The Department offers a number of modules through the medium of Welsh. Further details are available from the Department.

Our Staff

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

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 (120 Credits) Students must take the following modules: You may choose a Welsh medium (FG or MT) alternative module (see below) instead of an English (PH, MP) module

Semester 1

Foundations Of Mathematics 1 MA02610

Introduction To Physical Forces PH01010

Introduction To The Physics Of Matter PH03010

Introduction To Laboratory Physics PH05700

Introduction To Mathematical Methods For Physicists 1 PH06020

Semester 2

Introduction To Oscillations And Waves PH02010

Introduction To Electricity And Magnetism PH02510

Introduction To Laboratory Physics PH05720

Introduction To Mathematical Methods For Physicists 2 PH06520

Energy And The Environment PH19010

Year 1 Options Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 1

Cyflwyniad I Ffiseg Labordy FG05700

Semester 2

Cyflwyniad I Ffiseg Labordy FG05720

Year 2 Core (100 Credits) Students must take the following modules: You may choose a Welsh medium (FG or MT) alternative module (see below) instead of an English (PH, MA, MP) module

Semester 1

Calculus MA10610

Classical Dynamics MP14010

Classical Physics PH11010

Introduction To Computational And Experimental Physics PH15700

Algebra And Differential Equations PH16210

Semester 2

Further Algebra And Calculus MA11010

Forces Of Nature PH11120

Modern Physics PH14310

Introduction To Computational And Experimental Physics PH15720

Year 2 Options Students should choose a further 20 credits from the following

Semester 1

Astronomy PH18010

Chaos, Communications And Consciousness PH19510

Semester 2

Energy And The Environment PH19010

Year 2 Options Welsh medium alternative modules:

Semester 1

Ffiseg Glasurol FG11010

Cyflwyniad I Ffiseg Arbrofol A Chyfrifiadurol FG15700

Algebra A Hafaliadau Differol FG16210

Calcwlws MT10610

Dynameg Glasurol MT14010

Semester 2

Grymoedd Natur FG11120

Cyflwyniad I Ffiseg Arbrofol A Chyfrifiadurol FG15720

Algebra A Chalcwlws Pellach MT11010

Year 3 Core (120 Credits) Students take the following core modules: You may choose a Welsh medium (FG) alternative module (see below) instead of an English (PH, MP) module

Semester 1

Mathematical Physics MP26020

Thermal Physics PH21510

Data Handling And Statistics PH24010

Instrumentation Systems PH24520

Semester 2

Optics PH22010

Electricity And Magnetism PH22510

Quantum Mechanics 1 PH23720

Experimental Physics PH25520

Year 3 Options Welsh medium alternative modules:

Semester 1

Ffiseg Mathemategol FG26020

Semester 2

Ffiseg Arbrofol FG25520

Final Year Core (110 Credits) Students take the following core modules: You may choose a Welsh medium (FG) alternative module (see below) instead of an English (PH) module, and take FG34410 instead of a specialist Physics module subject to approval by the Degree Scheme co-ordinator

Semester 1

Concepts In Condensed Matter Physics PH32410

Condensed Matter Structure Determination PH33510

Modern Optics And Photonics PH34510

Numerical Methods PH36010

Project (40 Credits) PH37500

Semester 2

Probing Atoms And Molecules PH32710

Semiconductor Technology PH33610

Materials Physics PH33810

Project (40 Credits) PH37540

Final Year Options Students must take a further Physics or Mathematcis Level 3 10 credit module subject to pre-requisites, timetabling and approval by the Degree Scheme co-ordinator

Final Year Options Welsh medium alternative modules

Semester 1

Prosiect (40 Credyd) FG37500

Semester 2

Prosiect (40 Credyd) FG37540


Career prospects

A degree in Physics will prepare you for such career destinations as medical physicist, scientific laboratory technician, radiation protection practitioner, and research scientist. Other career paths may include systems developer, product development scientist, technical author, or meteorologist. Further study at postgraduate level will open doors into research, lecturing and teaching.

Transferable Skills

Studying for a degree in 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
• 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 I learn?

In the first year, you will become acquainted with the essential topics for the study of physics at university level. Through a broad range of core modules you will be introduced to Newtonian physics, the physics of matter, oscillations and waves, and electricity and magnetism. You will also undertake practical laboratory experiments, and become familiar with the basic mathematical tools commonly used in physics. 

In the second year you will study classical and modern physics, underpinned by the core mathematical disciplines of algebra and calculus. You will be introduced to computational and experimental physics, quantum theory, dynamics, and the basic principles of gravitational and electrostatic fields. You will also be able to choose from a number of optional modules to suit your own interests.

In the third year you will explore thermal physics, quantum mechanics, experimental analogue electronics, data handling and statistics, instrumentation systems and experimental physics.

In the fourth year you will investigate semiconductor physics, electromagnetism, optronics, condensed matter, atoms and molecules and numerical methods. You will also undertake a special project of your own choosing under the guidance of your personal project supervisor.

How will I be taught?

You will be taught through a complementary set of teaching and learning methods and approaches, ranging from formal lectures, seminars and tutorials to workshops, practicals and individual and group-based project work. A strong emphasis is placed on project work which is linked to active research interests.

You will be assessed through a combination of coursework, presentations, lab reports, lab diaries and examinations.
You may also undertake a career planning module as part of your course, which will enhance your employability prospects and enable you to develop valuable transferable skills.

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.

Key Information Set

Places available in Clearing

0800 121 40 80 (Freephone)

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Key Facts

UCAS Code: F301

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:

Entry Requirements: Available to candidates without formal qualifications who have suitable background education, experience and motivation.

Course Length: 4 Years

Related Courses: