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The award
BSc (Hons)

How long you will study
3 years

Domestic course fees
find out

How you will study
full-time

Course starts
September

International course fees
find out

All study options

About Physics at The School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University

Study the fundamental concepts of an undergraduate Physics degree, as identified by the Institute of Physics (IOP), along with some of the fascinating specialist topics pioneered by our expert staff. You can opt to take a one year work placement in industry, produce an individual project and go on field trips with our active Astronomy and Physics Society to further your knowledge in this subject area.

Why choose this course?

  • We've got a great reputation. We're consistently rated as one of the best universities for teaching in the UK. We have been awarded a gold rating in the government's Teaching Excellence Framework and the rankings produced by the Times Higher Education put us 3rd in the UK.
    We get consistently high satisfaction scores in the National Student Survey. In the most recent survey (2017) the overall satisfaction with our Physics and Astronomy courses was 97%, putting us joint 4th in the UK.
  • We have inspiring learning environments. We have a custom-built, on-campus observatory recognised by the International Astronomical Union, a radio telescope, a CT scanner, new microscopes, MRI scanners, a scanning tunneling microscope and an ionising radiation laboratory.
  • We provide innovative accredited courses. Our pioneering courses and research are carried out in close collaboration with university and industry partners worldwide, giving our students skills and knowledge which are highly relevant to the needs of industry. Our undergraduate MSci and BSc physics courses are accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP).
  • We're delivering research with impact. Physics staff contribute to research activity in a number of areas including Superhydrophobic Surfaces, Medical Resonance Imaging, Art Conservation and Space Weather. NTU has recently been awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for research - the highest national award achievable. Every year approximately ten of our students undertake paid summer placements in our research groups, giving them hands-on experience of cutting edge research.
  • We're one of the top universities for offering placements. Our courses offer the opportunity to apply for a placement in the UK or abroad, giving you the real-life experience employers are looking for, including recent placements at CERN, E.ON, The Netherlands Forensic Institute and Diamond Light Source.
  • We've got an excellent employability record. Over 93% of NTU graduates are employed or engaged in further study six months after leaving.

What our students say

"My course has helped me to improve my research skills, which have so far helped me with my formal report, but will hopefully help me write research papers in future. This is important to me as I am hoping to continue into a Masters degree in antimatter and hopefully work in advanced energy.

"The tutors really support us with one on one sessions and an open door policy which means that if we do have questions (which we will), they are usually answered very quickly!

Pascal Jones, BSc (Hons) Physics

What you'll study

How will I learn?

You will have around 20 hours per week of scheduled contact time with academic staff. This typically includes laboratory work, lectures and student-centred activities. During the rest of your week you will be engaged in self-guided learning, and group or individual project work.

About the Physics Team

Our highly experienced staff are constantly updating and renewing the way in which they teach Physics. This ensures all our courses are up-to-date, forward-thinking and designed to meet the needs of an ever-changing, fast-paced technological world.

Professor Carl Brown

Carl is the inventor of low power liquid crystal e-paper displays that are used in many retail outlets. He shares this expertise on the Advanced Experimental Techniques module.

Dr Bill Neal

Bill has 30 years of teaching experience in UK universities. He knows all of our physics courses backwards and has an open door to dispense his good advice.

Dr Michael Newton

Michael is a Chartered Engineer and has more than 30 years of experience in the development of experimental equipment and instrumentation.

Professor Haida Liang

Haida is an internationally recognised expert in imaging in art conservation, a field in which she applies her background training in observational astrophysics.

Dr David Fairhurst

David is an accomplished researcher in the behaviour of liquid droplets. He received the Vice Chancellor's Award for Teaching in 2014 in recognition of his inspirational teaching.

Dr Dan Brown

Dan teaches astronomy modules, is regularly interviewed on radio and TV for his astronomy work with schools and other outreach events.

Dr Nicolas Sawyer

Nicolas has a very student-friendly approach to being Year One Tutor, along with expertise in optics and imaging.

Dr Martin Bencsik

Martin teaches and researches into MRI, studied for his PhD supervised by Nobel-prize winning Sir Peter Mansfield, co-inventor of MRI.

Visit our academic team pages to find out more about our approach to teaching, our partners and research interests.

Learn a new language

Alongside your study you also have the opportunity to learn a new language. The University Language Programme (ULP) is available to all students and gives you the option of learning a totally new language or improving the skills you already have. As part of this, we're offering scholarships for up to 30 students to study a language module as part of their degree.

Learning a new language can:

  • enhance your communication skills
  • enrich your experience when travelling abroad
  • boost your career prospects.

Find out more about the University Language Programme.

  • Year One

    Concepts of Astronomy and Cosmology

    Get an introduction into astronomical objects and their nature, as well as using measurements of light and movement to determine the physical and dynamical characteristics of the solar system.

    Matter: Evidence for Quantisation

    Providing you with knowledge in elementary quantum ideas and nuclear physics, you will develop your ability to understand and apply mathematical techniques in a scientific manner.

    Ideas of Motion - From Galileo to Einstein

    Understand how force and motion are related, from the ideas of Galileo through to Newton's laws of motion up to Einstein's special theory of relativity.

    Introduction to Laboratory Software

    Learn basic concepts of program design, and gain the knowledge and skills to implement software solutions to scientific problems.

    Laboratory Instrumentation and Physics Skills

    This module provides an underpinning of essential professional, laboratory and IT skills, including physical principles of electronics-based measurement instruments.

    Mathematical Techniques

    This module provides the mathematical tools you need to support your studies in Physics, including the concepts of matrix and vector algebra, and their application to real examples in Physics.

  • Year Two

    Ionising Radiation and Non-invasive Imaging

    Learn about how different types of radiation interact; the beneficial and detrimental effects of Ionising Radiations (IR); and the principles of imaging techniques such as Ultrasonic and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).  This module includes a substantial number of experiments in our dedicated Ionising Radiation laboratory.

    Fundamental Forces

    Develop an understanding and appreciation of the principles, applications and relationships of the fundamental forces of nature: electromagnetism, gravity and strong and weak nuclear forces.

    The Quantum World

    Learn introductory quantum mechanics through the solution of the Schrodinger equation for model problems. This will reinforce your ability to deploy mathematical techniques.

    Optics and Semiconductors

    Study a range of topics concerned with geometrical and physical optics, and with the elucidation of the principles of operation of semiconductor devices through the application of solid state theory.

    Thermal and Environmental Physics

    Learn about the principles of thermal physics, including: heat transfer processes, thermal expansion of materials, behaviour of gases, atmospheric physics, the northern lights and the physics of climate change.

    Digital Techniques

    Learn about the concepts of digital electronics and digital data processing, including scientific image processing, the structure of a computer and its modes of communicating with other systems.

  • Year Three

    You have the option to undertake a one year work placements in industry. On successful completion you will gain an additional award - the Placement Diploma in Professional Practice.

  • Final year

    Condensed Matter

    Study macroscopic properties of matter, beginning with ideas of statistical mechanics and progressing to encompass the structure of matter, magnetic and transport properties.

    Research Project

    You will spend at least one full day per week in the laboratory undertaking novel research, using modern equipment. You will learn the techniques required to formulate a research project, carry out a literature review, perform critical appraisal of published research and scientific presenting. Recent projects have included building a 3D printer, optimising MRI hardware and studying the chaotic behaviour of a dripping tap.

    Advanced Experimental Techniques

    You will gain an insight into a wide range of sophisticated experimental techniques through innovative interactive classroom sessions and in-depth practical work.

    Optional modules

    Advanced Modern Physics

    In this module you will be taught concepts at the cutting-edge of physics.  The content varies each year but may include Einstein's happiest thought, the nature of curved space-time around black holes and the unfortunate consequences of anything that approaches too closely, gravitational waves or advanced quantum mechanics.

    Cosmology: Theory and Observation

    Covering both observational cosmology and the theoretical background of cosmology, you'll gain a broad knowledge of modern cosmology through theoretical components and data analysis exercises.

    Laboratory Interfaces and Control

    Learn about a range of standard computer interfaces that are encountered within the science laboratory and develop ideas of instrument control and signal processing.

    Physics and Technology of Nuclear Reactors

    Deepen your knowledge and understanding of neutron-related processes and phenomena, and gain an overview of the physics that underpins the design and operation of both fission and fusion reactors.

Course specification

View the full course specification
Please note that course specifications may be subject to change

Careers and employability

Your career development

You will develop numerical, analytical and computational skills which are greatly respected by employers, in addition to essential, transferable skills which include report communication skills, team working and problem solving. Our physics graduates have gone on to work for companies and in roles such as:

  • scientist training programme - NHS
  • aerothermal engineer - Rolls Royce
  • wind analyst - Prevailing Ltd
  • applications engineer - Romax Technology
  • technical writer - KA Testing Facility
  • medical dosimetrist - NHS
  • software test engineer - Nikon
  • car configuration engineer - Jaguar Land Rover
  • inspections engineer - Total Access (UK) Ltd
  • teacher - numerous schools
  • public engagement of science officer - Science and Technology Facilities Council
  • graduate quantity surveyor - Balfour Beatty

Many graduates also choose to undertake further study on one of our Masters-level courses or MPhil and PhD research degrees in areas including Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Quantum Computing and Detector Research.

Excellent placement opportunities

While studying for your degree, a placement is a valuable addition to your education.  NTU is rated fourth in The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2016 for the number of students on year-long work placements. A placement may give you the chance to:

  • gain real life work experience
  • put knowledge and skills into practice
  • impress your employers - you could be offered a job at the end of your course.

Recently our students have taken placements at:

  • CERN
  • Netherlands Forensic Institute
  • Science and Technology Facilities Council
  • Merck Chemicals
  • Airbus
  • National Grid.

In addition we offer shorter (usually eight week) paid placements in local secondary schools.

Study options for this course

Notes about fees for this course

UK Fees

Once our 2018/19 fees have been set, they will be available on our fees and funding pages.

Getting in touch

For more advice and guidance, you can contact our Student Financial Support Service on telephone +44 (0)115 848 2494.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

International Fees

We offer prestigious scholarships to new international students holding offers to study at the University.

While we aim to keep any extra study costs to a minimum, please see our page on additional costs and optional extras to find out about any additional expenses you may incur on your course.

Entry requirements

What are we looking for?

Applicants without A-levels will have their qualifications assessed for subject compatibility. We also consider equivalent qualifications and combinations. Please see UCAS Course Search for more details.

International qualifications

We accept qualifications from schools, colleges and universities all over the world for entry onto our UG and PG degrees. If you're not sure how your international qualification matches our course requirements please visit our international qualifications page.

English language entry requirements

If English is not your first language you need to show us that your language skills are strong enough for intensive academic study. We usually ask for an IELTS test and we accept some alternative English language tests.

Help and support

If you have any questions about your qualifications or about making an application to the University please contact our International Team for advice.

Don't meet the entry requirements?

Consider a Foundation or Pathway course at The School of Science and Technology, Nottingham Trent University to prepare for your chosen course:

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