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BSc Physics with Theoretical Physics

Year of entry: 2021

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

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Overview

Degree awarded
BSc
Duration
3 years
Typical A-level offer
A*A*A (to include Physics and Maths). We require a pass in the Practical Assessment in science A levels.
Typical contextual A-level offer
WP+ Grades A*AA (to include Physics and Maths with A* in Physics or Maths). We would normally require a pass in the Practical Assessment in science A levels.
Find out more about contextual admissions.
Typical International Baccalaureate offer

38-37 points overall with 7,7,6 at Higher Level (to include Physics and Maths)

Changes to International Baccalaureate Diploma Mathematics Courses from September 2019, first examination 2021. We are aware of the planned changes to the IB Mathematics curriculum. IB students will be able to choose from: Mathematics: analysis and approaches and Mathematics: applications and interpretation from September 2019.

For this programme of study we will accept either Mathematics: analysis and approaches or Mathematics: applications and interpretation at HL, provided the required grade is achieved.

Full entry requirements

Number of places/applicants
For entry in September 2020 there were 330 places/1800 applicants.
How to apply
Apply through UCAS .

Course overview

Hologram
Hologram
  • Join a physics Department ranked in the top 15 in the world, consistently, since 2011 (the Academic Ranking of World Universities).
  • Develop at a Department ranked 1st in England for physics and astronomy (Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019), and associated with no fewer than 13 Nobel Prize winners.
  • Delve into the more mathematical and theoretical aspects of physics and enjoy plenty of flexibility in a broad undergraduate curriculum.
  • Be part of a Department with a consistently high record of student satisfaction, averaging 93% over ten years of the National Student Survey.

Open days

The University holds undergraduate open days regularly, giving you the opportunity to find out more about our courses, the support we offer, and our facilities. Attending an open day is a great way to find out what studying at Manchester is all about. Find out about our upcoming open days .

View the recent undergraduate virtual open week recorded sessions.

Fees

Tuition fees for home students commencing their studies in September 2021 will be £9,250 per annum. Tuition fees for international students will be £25,500 per annum. For general information please see the undergraduate finance pages.

Policy on additional costs

All students should normally be able to complete their programme of study without incurring additional study costs over and above the tuition fee for that programme. Any unavoidable additional compulsory costs totalling more than 1% of the annual home undergraduate fee per annum, regardless of whether the programme in question is undergraduate or postgraduate taught, will be made clear to you at the point of application. Further information can be found in the University's Policy on additional costs incurred by students on undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes (PDF document, 91KB).

Scholarships/sponsorships

The University of Manchester is committed to attracting and supporting the very best students. We have a focus on nurturing talent and ability and we want to make sure that you have the opportunity to study here, regardless of your financial circumstances.

For information about scholarships and bursaries please visit our undergraduate student finance pages and our Department funding pages .

Contact details

Department
Department of Physics & Astronomy
Contact name
Admissions Office
Telephone
+44 (0) 161 543 4021
Email
Website
https://www.physics.manchester.ac.uk/
School/Faculty overview

Our internationally-renowned expertise across the School of Natural Sciences informs research led teaching with strong collaboration across disciplines, unlocking new and exciting fields and translating science into reality.  Our multidisciplinary learning and research activities advance the boundaries of science for the wider benefit of society, inspiring students to promote positive change through educating future leaders in the true fundamentals of science. Find out more about Science and Engineering at Manchester .

Courses in related subject areas

Use the links below to view lists of courses in related subject areas.

Compare this course

Entry requirements

A-level

Grades A*A*A including Physics and Mathematics

Practical skills are a crucial part of science education and therefore there will be a requirement to pass the practical element of any science A Level taken.

Where applicants are applying for science and related degrees, this is likely to be made explicit in the offers you will receive.

AS-level

AS level results are not considered as part of the standard admissions process at The University of Manchester.

Unit grade information

The University of Manchester welcomes the provision of unit information where available.  Like all other information provided by applicants this may be taken into consideration when assessing your application.  Unit grades will not normally form part of an offer conditions.

GCSE

Applicants must demonstrate a broad general education including acceptable levels of Literacy and Numeracy, equivalent to at least Grade C or 4 in GCSE/iGCSE English Language and Mathematics. GCSE/iGCSE English Literature will not be accepted in lieu of GCSE/iGCSE English Language.

International Baccalaureate

38-37 points overall with 7,7,6 at Higher Level (to include Physics and Maths)

Changes to International Baccalaureate Diploma Mathematics Courses from September 2019, first examination 2021. We are aware of the planned changes to the IB Mathematics curriculum. IB students will be able to choose from: Mathematics: analysis and approaches and Mathematics: applications and interpretation from September 2019.

For this programme of study we will accept either Mathematics: analysis and approaches or Mathematics: applications and interpretation at HL, provided the required grade is achieved.

Other international entry requirements

We accept a range of qualifications from different countries. For these and general requirements including English language see Accepted entry qualifications from your country

Scottish requirements

Scottish Advanced Highers are normally required in one of the following combinations:

  • Three Advanced Highers with grades AAB (to include Physics and Maths)
  • Two Advanced Highers in Physics and Maths, Grades AA plus 2 additional Highers in other subjects with Grades AA

English Language and Mathematics not taken at Higher/Advanced Higher must have been achieved at SCQF level 5 (minimum National 5 grade C / Intermediate 2 grade C / Standard Grade Credit level grade 3).

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the department of Physics and Astronomy.

Welsh Baccalaureate

 We welcome and recognise the value of the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma/Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and usually requires two A Levels or equivalent in Maths and Physics  to be included within this We require minimum grade A from the Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma/Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the department of Physics and Astronomy.

European Baccalaureate

The Department of Physics and Astronomy welcomes applicants with the European Baccalaureate. Acceptable on its own or in combination with other qualifications, applications from students studying for this qualification are welcome and all applicants will be considered on an individual basis.

Following interview, we normally require: at least 85% overall with 9 in (Advanced Higher Level) Physics and Maths.

AQA Baccalaureate

The University recognises the benefits of the AQA Baccalaureate and the opportunities it provides for applicants to develop independent study and research skills.

In making offers, we will focus on the three A levels taken within the AQA Baccalaureate, two of which must be Physics and Maths.

Foundation year

We recognise a number of foundation programmes as suitable for entry to this undergraduate programme:

Applicants completing the INTO Manchester in partnership with The University of Manchester international foundation programme are required to achieve grades A*A*A to include Physics and Maths and a B grade in EAP.     INTO Manchester in partnership with The University of Manchester students will be invited to attend an interview.

Applicants completing the NCUK International Foundation year are required to achieve grades A*A*A to include Physics and Maths and a B grade in EAP.

Applicants studying other Foundation programmes should contact the academic department to check if their qualification is recognised for entry to this programme and for specific entry requirements.

Pearson BTEC qualifications

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma

We require D*D*D-DDD plus A Level Maths and Physics at grade A*/A.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma

We require D*D*-DD plus A Level Maths and Physics at grade A*/A.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Foundation Diploma

We require D*D*-DD plus A Level Maths and Physics at grade A*/A.

Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate

We require D*/D plus A Level Maths and Physics at grade A*/A.

OCR Cambridge Technical qualifications

OCR Cambridge Technical Extended Diploma

We require D*D*D-DDD plus A Level Maths and Physics at grade A*/A.

Cambridge Technical Diploma

We require D*D*-DD plus A Level Maths and Physics at grade A*/A.

Cambridge Technical Foundation Diploma

We require D*-D plus A Level Maths and Physics at grade A*/A.

Cambridge Technical Extended Certificate

We require D*/D plus A Level Maths and Physics at grade A*/A.

If you require further clarification about the acceptability of this qualification please contact the Department of Physics and Astronomy. 

Access to HE Diploma

Given that it is not possible to meet our published offer conditions within an Access course, we would not recommend an Access course as the best way of preparing for our courses. However, we would look very carefully at any applications from exceptional Access students who were on track to gain the AAA equivalent (45 credits at level 3 awarded at distinction). We would treat any such exceptional students on a case-by-case basis, looking very carefully at past academic history and the academic reference; promising candidates would be invited to interview to add supplementary information. A decision would be made about entry holistically on the basis of all information (including details of the course undertaken) and would usually be conditional on the above standard.

Cambridge Pre-U

We consider applicants offering Pre-U Principal Subjects, or a mix of Pre-U and A Level subjects, provided a minimum of three distinct subjects overall is taken (to include Physics and Maths).

Extended Project Qualification (EPQ)

The University recognises the benefits of the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) and the opportunities it provides for applicants to develop independent study and research skills. Although the Extended Project will not be included in the conditions of your offer, we strongly encourage you to provide information about the EPQ in your personal statement and at interview.

Core Maths

The University recognises the value of Level 3 Core Mathematics qualifications. Core Mathematics is not a compulsory element of post-16 study and as a result we will not normally include it in the conditions of any offer we make. Where a course requires applicants to have at least grade 6/B or higher in GCSE Mathematics we would be likely to consider a pass in Core Mathematics at a minimum grade C or B as an alternative way to fulfil this requirement. Core Mathematics will not be accepted in lieu of an A Level.

Home-schooled applicants

If you are a student who has followed a non-standard educational route, e.g. you have been educated at home; your application will be considered against the standard entry criteria of the course for which you are applying. You will be required to demonstrate that you meet the specified academic entry requirements of the course. We will also require a reference from somebody who knows you well enough, in an official capacity, to write about you and your suitability for higher education. If you are a home schooled student and would like further information or advice please contact the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Non-standard educational routes

Mature students are some of our most well-equipped learners, bringing skills and attributes gained from work, family and other life experiences.  Students come from a whole array of backgrounds, study every kind of course, undertake full-time and part-time learning and are motivated by career intentions as well as personal interest.  There is no such thing as a typical mature student at Manchester.  The application process is the same as for other prospective undergraduates.  If you require further clarification about the acceptability of the qualifications you hold please contact the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

Further information for mature students can be found here .

English language

All applicants to the University (from the UK and Overseas) are required to show evidence of English Language proficiency.  The minimum English Language requirement for this course is either:

  • GCSE/iGCSE English Language grade 4/C
  • IELTS 6.0 (with no less than 5.5 in each subtest)
  • An acceptable equivalent qualification.

Please note that if you hold English as a second language iGCSE qualification, we may also require you to offer one of our acceptable equivalent English Language qualifications or achieve a higher grade in your iGCSE than the one stated above. Please contact the the department of Physics and Astronomy for clarification.

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) requires that every student from outside the UK and the EU must show evidence of a minimum level of English Language in order to be granted a UK visa (Tier 4 visa) to study at undergraduate or postgraduate level. This level is often referred to as the 'B2 level'.

Additionally, our individual departments may ask for specific English Language proficiency levels that are necessary for their academic programmes. In most cases these requirements are likely to be higher than the B2 level. Further information about our English Language policy, including a list of some of the English Language qualifications we accept, can be found  here .

English language test validity

Some English Language test results are only valid for two years. Your English Language test report must be valid on the start date of the course.

Application and selection

How to apply

Apply through UCAS .

Advice to applicants

Our primary selection criteria are based on academic achievements and potential. The personal statement is not normally used to distinguish applicants as long as it is sensibly written and in good English. Applicants to this course can change to any of our Physics-based degree courses at any time up to the start of the academic year. 

Skills, knowledge, abilities, interests

We would be interested in any work experience, although we realise that this is very difficult to find in relevant areas.

Interview requirements

Promising applicants based in the UK and the EU will be invited to attend one of our UCAS visit days, to meet staff and current students, take part in an academic interview and find out what it's like to be a student here.

Due to the current situation, interviews will be held online.

Returning to education

We welcome applicants who are returning to education and are as flexible as possible when making offers. 

Overseas (non-UK) applicants

We are happy to consider applicants from overseas. We have no quota limitations for overseas applicants.

Deferrals

We will consider applicants who wish to defer on a case by case basis. We normally guarantee a place in the current year should the applicant's gap year plans change.

Policy for applicants who resit their qualifications

If you have re-sat individual modules to improve your grades, we will consider your application according to the standard selection process. If you are planning to re-sit the final Year 13 examinations, or have already done so, the University will consider your application, but we may require further information in order to make an informed judgment on your application.

Policy for applicants who take their examinations in more than one sitting

We are happy to consider applicants who are taking their examinations in different sittings.

Re-applications

If you applied in the previous year and your application was not successful you may apply again. Your application will be considered against the standard course entry criteria for that year of entry.  In your new application you should demonstrate how your application has improved.  We may draw upon all information from your previous applications or any previous registrations at the University as a student when assessing your suitability for your chosen course.If you are applying for a place for the same year of entry through UCAS Extra, you should provide additional evidence of your suitability for the course. If you are applying through clearing you are required to meet the clearing requirements. In both UCAS Extra and clearing the places will be subject to availability.

Transfers

We are happy to consider students who want to transfer from other courses within the University. Transfers from other institutions are considered on a case-by-case basis.

Course details

Course description

Lab work
Lab work
Physics tradition
Physics tradition

Explore the more mathematical and theoretical aspects of physics through our Physics with Theoretical Physics BSc course.

We will provide you with a solid grounding in all aspects of physics - both theoretical and experimental - with lectures and project work forming a significant portion of the theoretical physics component.

In the first two years you will study the topics of advanced mechanics, advanced mathematics and computational physics, while in the third year you will have the opportunity to study, in greater depth, the topics that are of particular interest to you. Examples include quantum theory, electrodynamics.

Our Department of Physics and Astronomy is renowned around the world, and our facilities are second to none. Working with leading academics, you will be well placed to progress along your physics journey from here.

Aims

  • You will delve deep into all aspects of physics - both theoretical and experimental.
  • We will teach you mostly via lecture courses and project work to help you really get to grips with theoretical physics.
  • You will have the opportunity to study the topics that interest you most in the third year of the course.

Special features

A range of study options

You can extend your degree by a year to undertake an integrated master's: at the beginning of your third year there is the possibility of transferring to the four-year MPhys course.

Outstanding reputation

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Manchester has an excellent international reputation, and a qualification from us can be your passport to a successful career anywhere in the world.

Teaching and learning

At Manchester you will be taught by academic staff who are leading experts in Physics and Astronomy, in a diverse and inclusive learning environment. Teaching and Learning will be delivered using a variety of methods, including: 

  • Lectures
  • Interactive sessions
  • Tutorial classes 
  • Laboratory work
  • Workshops
  • Examples classes
  • Project work
  • PASS sessions and peer mentoring

Some activities will be delivered face-to-face and others online, following a blended learning approach. In your own time, you will work on activities including directed reading, problem sheets, and lab or project reports.Each week, a first-year student will typically have 10 hours of lectures or interactive sessions, 2 hours of tutorials, and 5 hours of laboratory work. In addition, they should devote about 20 hours to self-directed study.

As you progress through the course an increasing emphasis will be placed on independent study. In third and fourth years, students should typically spend between 20 and 30 hours on this each week. Also, since the ability to apply your knowledge and skills is an important attribute of a graduate physicist, project work will be an important component of your final year. BSc students explore ideas from some topic of current interest and write a dissertation on it, and MPhys students will work on a substantial project with one of the research groups in physics or astronomy.

PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) and Peer Mentoring

We are proud of our innovative PASS (Peer Assisted Study Sessions) and Peer Mentoring scheme. The PASS scheme provides additional support to first-year students with study skills, learning strategies and problem solving, as well introducing them to other aspects of university life. Students in higher years can volunteer to mentor first-year students. Both groups of students find this an enriching experience.

More about blended learning  

Some of your activities will be synchronous, where you learn in live sessions with your lecturer and peers, and can interact as appropriate; this can help you to get support and to feel part of the community within the department. Other elements will be asynchronous, where you access materials such as video lectures, online discussion boards or documents in your own time (within a framework provided by your programme).

Coursework and assessment

The course is assessed by a variety of methods, each appropriate to the topic being assessed. These methods include written examinations, written reports and presentations on practical work and projects. You will also have opportunities to self-assess your progress using tutorial exercises.

Course unit details

You can find out more information about the course units included in your chosen degree programme  here

Course content for year 1

Course units for year 1

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Mathematics 1 PHYS10071 10 Mandatory
Dynamics PHYS10101 10 Mandatory
Quantum Physics and Relativity PHYS10121 10 Mandatory
Introduction to Astrophysics and Cosmology PHYS10191 10 Mandatory
Year 1 Lab Work (One Semester) PHYS10280 10 Mandatory
Vibrations & Waves PHYS10302 10 Mandatory
Electricity & Magnetism PHYS10342 10 Mandatory
Properties of Matter PHYS10352 10 Mandatory
Mathematics 2 PHYS10372 10 Mandatory
Random Processes in Physics PHYS10471 10 Mandatory
Advanced Dynamics PHYS10672 10 Mandatory
Macroeconomics 1 ECON10252 10 Optional
Physics of Energy Sources PHYS10622 10 Optional
Physics of the Solar System PHYS10692 10 Optional
Introduction to Data Science PHYS10792 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 15 course units for year 1

Course content for year 2

Course units for year 2

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Introduction to Quantum Mechanics PHYS20101 10 Mandatory
Electromagnetism PHYS20141 10 Mandatory
Introduction to Programming for Physicists PHYS20161 10 Mandatory
Mathematics of Waves and Fields PHYS20171 10 Mandatory
Fundamentals of Solid State Physics PHYS20252 10 Mandatory
Year 2 Lab Work (One Semester) PHYS20280 10 Mandatory
Wave Optics PHYS20312 10 Mandatory
Statistical Mechanics PHYS20352 10 Mandatory
Lagrangian Dynamics PHYS20401 10 Mandatory
Complex Variables and Vector Spaces PHYS20672 10 Mandatory
Theory Computing Project PHYS20872 10 Mandatory
Information visions: past, present and future HSTM20282 10 Optional
Fluid Mechanics MATH20502 10 Optional
Introduction to Financial Mathematics MATH20912 10 Optional
Entrepreneurial Skills MCEL10002 10 Optional
Physics of Energy Sources PHYS10622 10 Optional
Physics of the Solar System PHYS10692 10 Optional
Introduction to Data Science PHYS10792 10 Optional
Introduction to Photonics PHYS20612 10 Optional
Astrophysical Processes PHYS20692 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 20 course units for year 2

Course content for year 3

Course units for year 3

The course unit details given below are subject to change, and are the latest example of the curriculum available on this course of study.

TitleCodeCredit ratingMandatory/optional
Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics PHYS30121 10 Mandatory
Mathematical Fundamentals of Quantum Mechanics PHYS30201 10 Mandatory
Yr 3 Physics Laboratory (One block) PHYS30280 10 Mandatory
Mathematical Methods for Physics PHYS30672 10 Mandatory
BSc dissertation PHYS30880 10 Mandatory
Quantum Computing COMP39112 10 Optional
Comparative Planetology EART30232 10 Optional
Climate and Energy P607 EART30362 10 Optional
Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics EART39102 10 Optional
Information visions: past, present and future HSTM20282 10 Optional
The Nuclear Age: Global Nuclear Threats from Hiroshima to Today HSTM31212 10 Optional
Complex Analysis and Applications MATH34001 20 Optional
Viscous Fluid Flow MATH35001 10 Optional
Wave Motion MATH35012 10 Optional
Mathematical Modelling in Finance MATH39032 10 Optional
Tools and Techniques for Enterprise MCEL30001 10 Optional
Tools & Techniques for Enterprise MCEL30002 10 Optional
Advanced Technology Enterprise MCEL30012 10 Optional
Interdisciplinary Sustainable Development MCEL30022 10 Optional
Condensed Matter Physics PHYS30051 10 Optional
Electromagnetic Radiation PHYS30141 10 Optional
Cosmology PHYS30392 10 Optional
Electrodynamics (M) PHYS30441 10 Optional
Introduction to Non-linear Physics PHYS30471 10 Optional
Nuclear Fusion and Astrophysical Plasmas PHYS30511 10 Optional
Lasers and Photonics PHYS30611 10 Optional
Physics of Medical Imaging PHYS30632 10 Optional
Physics of Fluids PHYS30652 10 Optional
Stars and Stellar Evolution PHYS30692 10 Optional
Physics of Living Processes PHYS30732 10 Optional
Object-Oriented Programming in C++ PHYS30762 10 Optional
Exoplanets PHYS31692 10 Optional
Advanced Quantum Mechanics PHYS40202 10 Optional
Particle Physics PHYS40222 10 Optional
Nuclear Physics PHYS40322 10 Optional
Applied Nuclear Physics PHYS40422 10 Optional
Semiconductor Quantum Structures PHYS40712 10 Optional
Physics and Reality PHYS41702 10 Optional
Displaying 10 of 38 course units for year 3

Scholarships and bursaries

The University of Manchester is committed to attracting and supporting the very best students. We have a focus on nurturing talent and ability and we want to make sure that you have the opportunity to study here, regardless of your financial circumstances.

For information about scholarships and bursaries please visit our undergraduate student finance pages and our Department funding pages .

What our students say

Find out what it's like to study at Manchester by visiting the Department of Physics and Astronomy blog .

Facilities

Lab work
Lab work
Physics facilities
Physics facilities

Make the most of a fantastic array of facilities that rival those of leading Departments across the world. They include the world-famous Jodrell Bank Observatory and a new £10 million extension to our Schuster Laboratory.

The University of Manchester also offers extensive library and online services , helping you get the most out of your studies.

Disability support

Practical support and advice for current students and applicants is available from the Disability Advisory and Support Service. Email: dass@manchester.ac.uk

Careers

Career opportunities

Your BSc Physics with Theoretical Physics qualification from Manchester will open up a whole world of opportunity.

Because the course covers a wide range of physics and mathematics topics, you will be well placed to pursue research in experimental or theoretical physics, teaching or science-related jobs in industry or the Civil Service. 

Computing-related careers may also be suited to the highly developed mathematical and analytical techniques you will acquire through this course.

What's more, graduate with a degree from us and you'll be in demand among the top graduate employers (most targeted university in The Graduate Market in 2020 - High Fliers Research ).

Accrediting organisations

Institute of Physics.

Associated organisations

All undergraduate members of the Department are offered free membership of the Institute of Physics.