Undergraduate study - 2018 entry

BSc Theoretical Physics

UCAS code: F302

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Physics and Astronomy

College: Science and Engineering

Accreditation
Study abroad

Introducing BSc Theoretical Physics

This programme gives a good general knowledge of physics with an emphasis on theory, and on the formulation and solving of physics problems using mathematics and computing.

Accreditation

Accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP) for the purpose of partially meeting the educational requirement for Chartered Physicist.

Year 1

You will study compulsory courses in physics and mathematics.

Physics 1A is innovative in its use of technology and offers an interactive learning experience. Physics 1B introduces you to the fundamentals of quantum physics.

You will normally study Mathematics for Physics 1 and 2 which include mathematical and problem solving skills in the context of algebra and calculus, with increasing emphasis on physical applications. If you have an interest in more formal mathematics, these courses can be replaced by courses from the School of Mathematics.

You will be able to choose two further subjects from other academic areas.

Year 2

You will study modern physics and physics of fields and matter. Supporting mathematics courses will cover algebra, calculus, dynamics and vector calculus and you will be introduced to practical physics, including programming, data analysis and experimental techniques. Students will have the freedom to choose one or two courses from other academic areas.

Students entering the programme in Year 2 will take additional introductory courses in classical physics and mathematics.

Year 3

You will study thermodynamics, statistical mechanics, electromagnetism, optics and quantum mechanics.

We offer a supporting mathematics course covering Fourier analysis, probability and statistics, a computing course on numerical algorithms, and an introductory course to research methods.

Year 4

In this year there are compulsory courses covering relativity, nuclear and particle physics, and condensed matter physics. Students also take a number of specialist courses from a list available.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2017/18)

Our facilities

In Year 1, teaching is based in the Central Area and thereafter at the University's King's Buildings campus. During your first three years you will use the undergraduate laboratories and the University's libraries and computer facilities. From Year 2 you will also have access to the Computational Physics Laboratory.

In Year 4 (and 5) you will typically complete a placement within a research group, where you will be able to access the University's world-class research equipment and facilities.

Study abroad

You will have the opportunity to study abroad through the Erasmus programme or the University's international exchange programme.

Guaranteed study abroad funding for students required to complete a year abroad

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials and practicals, which fully exploit the latest teaching technology and help to develop your problem-solving skills.

From third year you will also complete group projects and undertake research projects under the supervision of one of the School’s academic or research staff members.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is by a combination of continuous assessment and examinations. Practical and computing courses have laboratory write-ups and checkpoint assessment.

Other courses are assessed by presentations, assessing each other’s work and writing critical reviews of scientific literature.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

To give you an idea of what to expect from this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme details (2018/19)

A wide range of employers recognise that physics graduates have advanced problem-solving skills and the ability to think logically and critically about complex situations. Add this to a high level of mathematical ability, computing and IT proficiency and communication skills in written, oral and online media, and graduates have opportunities in a diverse range of careers.

Our recent graduates have gone on into employment with a wide variety of organisations, including Google, the European Space Agency, the BBC and IBM. Physicists are sought after by a range of sectors, including engineering, manufacturing, energy, finance, medicine and space industries.

A number of our graduates undertake further study, including undertaking PhD research, completing a masters in a science or engineering subject, or undertaking a postgraduate diploma in education.

Typical offer

The typical offer is likely to be:

  • SQA Highers: AAAA.
  • A Levels: AAA.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL.

Minimum entry requirements

  • SQA Highers: AABB by end of S5 or AABBB/AAAB from S4-S6, with a minimum of BBB achieved in one year of S4-S6, to include Mathematics at Grade A and Physics. Sixth-year work in Mathematics is strongly recommended.
  • A Levels: ABB in one sitting, to include Mathematics at Grade A and Physics.
  • IB: 32 points overall and award of IB Diploma with 655 HL to include Mathematics at Grade 6 and Physics.

Find out more about entry requirements

International students

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

For direct entry to second year the minimum requirements must be exceeded, including the following:

  • SQA Advanced Highers: AAA to include Mathematics and Physics.
  • A Levels: A*AA in one sitting, to include Mathematics at A* and Physics.
  • IB: 38 points overall and award of IB Diploma with 665 HL to include Mathematics and Physics at Grade 6.
Other entry pathways

Entry to many degrees in Science & Engineering is possible via other qualifications (eg HNC/D, Access, SWAP).

You must provide evidence that your written and spoken English is at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component
  • TOEFL iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): Total 61 with at least 51 in each ""Communicative Skills"" section
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

About English language requirements

SQA and GCSE

For SQA and GCSE students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 Grade C
  • SQA Standard Grade 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C
  • GCSE Grade C or 4
  • IB Standard Level Grade 5

Key Information Sets (KIS) are part of a government initiative to enhance the information that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

KIS are available for most undergraduate programmes and are intended to make it easier for you to find information about the programmes you are interested in studying. It is one of many sources of information available that will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

You can also use this website to find more information on our programmes and the learning environment you will experience at the University of Edinburgh.

Please note that some programmes do not have data available and will not display a KIS.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BSc Theoretical Physics

Additional costs

None.

Funding

For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding

More information

How to apply

School: Physics and Astronomy

College: Science and Engineering