Physics with Planetary and Space Physics

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You are viewing this course for September start 2024

MPhys Physics with Planetary and Space Physics, at Aberystwyth University, provides you with a fundamental core of Physics alongside a detailed exploration of the Physics of the Solar System and an overview of Modern Astronomical Science.

The nucleus of mainstream Physics, alongside our supportive learning environment, ensures flexibility in further study or employment after graduation, and provides the necessary background for the specialist modules.

Course Overview

Why study Physics with Planetary and Space Physics at Aberystwyth?

  • On completion of this degree you will leave with accreditation by the IOP (Institute of Physics).
  • Physics has been taught at Aberystwyth since its foundation and it continues to be an innovative learning experience for all.
  • You will be taught by experts in their field.
  • You will have access to specialist astronomical equipment.
  • Our Researchers are involved in the current European Space Agency ExoMars 2020 Project.
  • The Department offers a number of modules through the medium of Welsh. Check out the module tab for further information.
Our Staff

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

Modules September start - 2024

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.


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Algebra and Differential Equations * PH16210 10
Calculus * MP10610 10
Dynamics, Waves and Heat * PH10020 20
Electricity, Magnetism and Matter * PH11120 20
Further Algebra and Calculus * MP11010 10
Laboratory Techniques for Experimental Physicists and Engineers (20 Credits) * PH15720 20
Modern Physics PH14310 10
Physics Career Planning and Skills Development * PH12910 10


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Astronomy PH18010 10
Communication and Technology PH19510 10
Energy and the Environment PH19010 10


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Electricity and Magnetism * PH22510 10
Mathematical Physics * PM26020 20
Numerical Techniques for Physicists PH26620 20
Optics PH22010 10
Practical Research Skills * PH25720 20
Principles of Quantum Mechanics PH23010 10
Stars and Planets PH28620 20
Thermodynamics PH21510 10


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Astrophysics I: Physics of the Sun PH39620 20
Concepts in Condensed Matter Physics PH32410 10
Particles, Quanta and Fields PH33020 20
Physics of Planetary Atmospheres PH38820 20
Project (40 Credits) PH37540 40


Module Name Module Code Credit Value
Advanced Quantum Physics PHM3010 10
Advanced Research Topics PHM7020 20
Advanced Skills in Physics * PHM6420 20
Electromagnetic Theory PHM2510 10
Major Project * PHM5860 60

* Also available partially or entirely through the medium of Welsh


What are my employability prospects after graduation?

Our graduates from this course have been successful in obtaining employment within the space industry.

Other graduates from the Physics department have discovered the following pathways:

  • medical physics
  • radiation protection
  • research science
  • systems development
  • product development
  • technical writing
  • meteorology

Employability is embedded across all of our teaching and ethics. We instil these skills to our students:

  • 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

What work experience opportunities exist whilst studying? 

Click here to find out about the various opportunities that our Aberystwyth University Careers team offer. 

Enhance your employability prospects with GO Wales and YES (Year in Employment Scheme) managed by our Careers department. 

Teaching & Learning

What will I learn?

The breakdown below will provide you with an illustration of what you may study during the four year degree scheme.

In your first year you may discover:

  • the main branches of classical and modern physics
  • the core mathematical disciplines of algebra and calculus
  • the computational and experimental physics
  • classical dynamics
  • the basic principles of gravitational and electrostatic fields

In your second year you may explore:

  • stars
  • planets
  • thermal physics
  • quantum mechanics
  • mathematical physics
  • data handling and statistics
  • optics
  • experimental physics

In your third year you may investigate:

  • space plasmas
  • planetary atmospheres
  • ionospheres and magnetospheres
  • the solar atmosphere and heliosphere
  • atoms, molecules and electromagnetism

You will also undertake a special project of your own choosing under the guidance of your personal project supervisor. 

In your fourth year you may study and undertake:

  • electromagnetic theory
  • quantum technology
  • modern physics and advanced numerical methods
  • an extended project which will normally relate to one of the research groups in the department under the supervision of the project supervisor
  • an intensive residential course, which includes sessions on planning a project, communication, self-management skills and structured group work on presenting and assessing projects.

You could also take part in the fantastic opportunity to study atmospheric, ionospheric and space physics in the Norwegian High Arctic. 

How will I be taught?

We teach our students through lectures, seminars, tutorials, workshops, practicals, individual and group-based project work.

We assess our students through coursework, presentations, lab reports, lab diaries and examinations. 

Further information:

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.

Student Testimonials

I love Physics with Planetary and Space Physics. The structure of the years is perfectly designed to give you a feel for all branches of physics rather than a more in-depth view of one particular branch. The modules themselves are pretty awesome, studying planetary atmospheres to the solar interior, from the structure of the atom all the way to the structure of the galaxies. Possibly the best thing is the opportunity to study at Svalbard, Norway and do some real research work with the equipment they have at their disposal. James Parker

It is really fascinating, as not only do you look at the cosmos but you also get down to the real nitty-gritty of what makes a solar system tick - the planets. Doing PSP gives you a great range of information from how the Sun works, to the possibility of life on other worlds and how we might discover them! All in all it's a pretty fantastic course - comparing the science of this world to that of others is real front-line exploration! Timothy Edward Andrew Powell

Typical Entry Requirements

UCAS Tariff 128 - 120

A Levels ABB-BBB with B in Physics and B in Mathematics

GCSE requirements (minimum grade C/4):
English or Welsh and Mathematics

BTEC National Diploma:
DDM-DMM with specified subject and B in A level Mathematics

International Baccalaureate:
32-30 points overall with 5 points in Physics and 5 points in Mathematics at Higher Level

European Baccalaureate:
75% overall with 7 Physics and Mathematics

English Language Requirements:
See our Undergraduate English Language Requirements for this course. Pre-sessional English Programmes are also available for students who do not meet our English Language Requirements.

Country Specific Entry Requirements:
International students whose qualification is not listed on this page, can check our Country Specific Entry Requirements for further information.

The University welcomes undergraduate applications from students studying the Access to Higher Education Diploma or T-level qualifications, provided that relevant subject content and learning outcomes are met. We are not able to accept Access to Higher Education Diplomas or T-levels as a general qualification for every undergraduate degree course.
Our inclusive admissions policy values breadth as well as depth of study. Applicants are selected on their own individual merits and offers can vary. If you would like to check the eligibility of your qualifications before submitting an application, please contact the Undergraduate Admissions Office for advice and guidance.

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