When we turn on a light or check the weather forecast, we are reaping the practical benefits of physics research. As well as exploring fundamental science, this BSc goes to the cutting edge of technologies that affect everyday life, equipping you with the tools and imagination to address tomorrow’s questions.
- Mathematics and Physics required.
- English Language and Mathematics at grade C. For UK-based students, a grade C or equivalent in a foreign language (other than Ancient Greek, Biblical Hebrew or Latin) is required. UCL provides opportunities to meet the foreign language requirement following enrolment, further details at: www.ucl.ac.uk/ug-reqs
- A total of 18 points in three higher level subjects including Mathematics and Physics at grade 6, with no score below 5.
UK applicants qualifications
For entry requirements with other UK qualifications accepted by UCL, choose your qualification from the list below:
Edexcel Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF), or Edexcel Level 3 BTEC National Diploma (NQF) with Distinction, Distinction, Distinction.
Pass in Access to HE Diploma with a minimum of 23 credits awarded with Distinction in the Level 3 units, the remainder of the credits in the Level 3 units awarded with Merit.
D3,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects, including Mathematics and Physics.
AAA at Advanced Highers (or AA at Advanced Higher and AAA at Higher), including Mathematics and Physics at Advanced Higher.
Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades AAA, including Mathematics and Physics.
In addition to A level and International Baccalaureate, UCL considers a wide range of international qualifications for entry to its undergraduate degree programmes.
Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates
The Undergraduate Preparatory Certificates (UPCs) are intensive one-year foundation courses for international students of high academic potential who are aiming to gain access to undergraduate degree programmes at UCL and other top UK universities.
Typical UPC students will be high achievers in a twelve-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.
For more information see our website: UCL Undergraduate Preparatory Certificate.
English language requirements
If your education has not been conducted in the English language, you will be expected to demonstrate evidence of an adequate level of English proficiency. Information about the evidence required, acceptable qualifications and test providers can be found on our English language requirements page.
The English language level for this programme is: Standard
A variety of English language programmes are offered at the UCL Centre for Languages & International Education.
- A science degree from UCL is a strong asset across the whole range of careers where basic scientific skills are required, from accountancy to astrophysics, and computing to cryogenics.
- The programme is accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP) and includes the very latest developments and discoveries in the field, based on our highly rated research.
- Collaborative links with both industry and international research laboratories provide insight into the practical application of your studies.
- A wide range of optional modules are available, including modules from other University of London colleges, which allows for individual preferences and specialisations within your degree.
This programme is accredited by the Institute of Physics. Holders of accredited degrees can follow a route to Institute of Physics membership and the Chartered Physicist (CPhys) professional qualification. Graduates of accredited Integrated Master's (MPhys or MSci) degrees have fulfilled the educational requirements for CPhys status, while graduates of accredited Bachelor's (BSc) degrees have partially fulfilled these requirements.
Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014
The Research Excellence Framework, or REF, is the system for assessing the quality of research in UK higher education institutions. The 2014 REF was carried out by the UK's higher education funding bodies, and the results used to allocate research funding from 2015/16.
The following REF score was awarded to the department: Physics and Astronomy.
- 90% rated 4* (world-leading) or 3* (internationally excellent)
Learn more about the scope of UCL's research, and browse case studies, on our Research Impact website.
In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 0.5 or 1.0 credits, adding up to a total of 4.0 credits for the year. Modules are assessed in the academic year in which they are taken. The balance of compulsory and optional modules varies from programme to programme and year to year. A 1.0 credit is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).
Core modules in the first year provide a firm foundation in quantum and classical physics, underpinned by mathematics and a practical skills course which includes computing skills training.
The second year includes core modules in quantum physics and its application to atoms and molecules, in statistical thermodynamics and in electromagnetic theory, along with further mathematics. The quantum and condensed matter elements of the core are completed in the third year.
The second and third years also include practical laboratory and project modules, and optional modules to develop further and enhance knowledge of a range of physics topics.
This programme is offered both as a three-year BSc and a four-year MSci, with common structures and subjects for the first two years. However, the additional fourth year of the MSci programme allows for a greater depth of study and we recommend you apply for an MSci initially, as this keeps more options open.
An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.
Mathematical Methods I
Mathematical Methods II
Physics of the Universe
Practical Skills 1C
Practical Skills 1P
Waves, Optics and Acoustics
All first year modules are compulsory.
Atomic and Molecular Physics
Electricity and Magnetism
Mathematical Methods III
Practical Physics 2A
Practical Physics 2B
One optional module from the following:
Mathematics for Physics and Astronomy
Physics of the Solar System
Nuclear and Particle Physics
Solid State Physics
Experimental Physics (0.5 credits)
Physics Project (1.0 credits)
You will select your remaining 0.5 or 1.0 credits from a wide range of Physics options. Options may include:
Energy and Climate
Lasers and Modern Optics
Materials and Nanomaterials
Physics of Oceans, Ice Sheets and Climate (1.0 credits)
Physics of the Earth
Scientific Computing Using Object Oriented Languages
Theory of Dynamical Systems
Teaching is undertaken through lectures, laboratory (and as appropriate, observatory) practical sessions, and supervised problem-solving tutorials. These tutorials are designed to deal with lecture-based questions, enlarge on topics addressed in lectures, and allow clarification and in-depth discussion of new concepts.
Assessment will normally involve end-of-year examinations, and an element of assessed coursework. For practical work you will be continuously assessed.
Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Physics BSc.
Your scientific training will equip you with an understanding of mathematics, and of physical principles and techniques, as well as transferable skills in analysis, rational argument and innovative problem solving. Surveys by the IOP indicate that physicists' versatility is welcomed by a wider range of professions than any other subject.
Around half our graduates choose to pursue further study for an MSc or PhD. A PhD opens up the possibility of an academic or research career in a university or research institute. Alternatively, like many of our graduates, you may consider employment in research, design, development, computing, finance, marketing and teaching, among others.
First career destinations of recent graduates (2012-2014) of Physics programmes at UCL include:
- Research Engineer, A*STAR Institute of Microelectronics, Singapore
- Risk Analyst, UBS
- Full-time student, MSc in Nanotechnology at UCL
- Full-time student, PhD in High Energy Physics at UCL
- Associate Auditor, Deloitte
*Data taken from the 'Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education' survey undertaken by HESA looking at the destinations of UK and EU students in the 2012-2014 graduating cohorts six months after graduation.
UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers, UCL Advances and other entrepreneur societies here: Careers and skills.
“When it came down to choosing a university, I saw that UCL was in the heart of London, one of the busiest and most vibrant cities in the world, and the Physics Department heads the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider, which means there are exciting research opportunities.”Harapan Santoso Ong - Physics BSc (2014)
“Mathematics and Physics is a degree programme that not many universities offer. With a keen interest in both fields, I strongly benefited from the exposure of cross department classes, which ultimately nurtured my passion in the subject and led me to pursue postgraduate research. The faculty at UCL is very friendly. The professors and support staff really care about your progress and continue to support you long after graduation.”Lu Heng Sunny Yu - Mathematics and Physics BSc (2013)
“There are numerous opportunities for students to network within their field or in closely related fields. There are email invitations to career networking events, special talks set up by the department with former students who have gone into industry or healthcare. Summer research internships are common and easy to set.”Gibril Kallon - Physics with Medical Physics BSc (2013)
Fees and funding
The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2016/17 academic year.
- UK/EU students
- £9,000 (2016/17)
- Overseas students
- £22,380 (2016/17)
Fees for students entering UCL in September 2017 (i.e. for the 2017/2018 academic year) will be set in the summer of 2016 and published on the UCL Current Students website. Fees advertised by UCL are for the first year of the programme. UK/EU undergraduate fees are capped, but fees for other students may be subject to increase in future years of study by between 3-5%.
Various funding options are available, including student loans, scholarships and bursaries. UK students whose household income falls below a certain level may also be eligible for a non-repayable bursary or for certain scholarships. Please see the Fees and funding pages for more details.
The Scholarships and Funding website lists scholarships and funding schemes available to UCL students. These may be open to all students, or restricted to specific nationalities, regions or academic department.
Application and next steps
In addition to the subjects and grades specified in the qualifying examinations, we are also looking for evidence of self-motivation and an enthusiastic interest in the subject. This may be demonstrated through paid or voluntary work experience, academic project work, or your interests and hobbies beyond the school curriculum.
How to apply
Application for admission should be made through UCAS (the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service). Applicants currently at school or college will be provided with advice on the process; however, applicants who have left school or who are based outside the United Kingdom may obtain information directly from UCAS.
Application deadline: 15 January 2017
Your application will be carefully assessed based on your UCAS form and reference. If you are made an offer and based in the UK within a reasonable travelling distance of UCL, you will be invited to a compulsory applicant open day. This will include presentations, a tour of facilities and an opportunity to meet current students and staff members.
If you are based outside the UK, or not within reasonable travelling distance of UCL, open day attendance is optional and a telephone discussion with the admissions tutor will be available upon request.
For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students