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Theoretical Physics BSc

This three-year programme offers a variant of the advanced study offered in the Physics BSc. You will develop specialised knowledge of the theoretical structure of the core topics in physics. The programme is likely to appeal to you if you have a strong interest and ability in mathematics.

Key Information

Programme starts

September 2020
UCAS code
F340
Duration
Full-time: 3 years
Accreditation
Institute of Physics
Application deadline
15 January 2020
Location
London, Bloomsbury

Entry requirements

A Levels

Grades
A*AA
Subjects
A*A in Mathematics and Physics required, any order. Further Mathematics is preferred as a third subject.
GCSEs
English Language and Mathematics at grade C or 5. For UK-based students, a grade C or 5 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

Contextual offer

Grades
A*AB (more about contextual offers)
Subjects
A*A in Mathematics and Physics required, any order. Further Mathematics is preferred as a third subject.

IB Diploma

Points
39
Subjects
A total of 19 points in three higher level subjects including grade 7, 6 in Mathematics and Physics, in any order, with no score below 5.

Contextual offer

Points
38 (more about contextual offers)
Subjects
A total of 18 points in three higher level subjects including grade 7, 6 in Mathematics and Physics, in any order, 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:

Equivalent qualification

Not acceptable for entrance to this programme.

not accepted for this course

D2,D3,D3 in three Cambridge Pre-U Principal Subjects, including D2,D3 in any order in Mathematics and Physics. Further Mathematics is preferred as a third subject.

A1,A,A at Advanced Highers (or A1,A at Advanced Higher and A,A,A at Higher), including A1,A in any order in Mathematics and Physics at Advanced Higher. Further Mathematics is preferred as a third subject.

Successful completion of the WBQ Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate plus 2 GCE A-Levels at grades A*AA, including A*A in any order in Mathematics and Physics. It would be preferred to achieve the grades in A levels, including Further Mathematics as the third subject.

International applications

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

UCL 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 12-year school system which does not meet the standard required for direct entry to UCL.

For more information see: www.ucl.ac.uk/upc.

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.

Degree benefits

  • 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.

Accreditation

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.

Degree structure

In each year of your degree you will take a number of individual modules, normally valued at 15 or 30 credits, adding up to a total of 120 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 30-credit module is considered equivalent to 15 credits in the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS).

Compulsory modules in the first year provide a firm foundation in quantum and classical physics, underpinned by mathematics and a practical skills module which includes computing skills training. You will also take a module in practical mathematics.

The second year includes compulsory 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 Theoretical Physics degree does include practical work including computing and mathematics.

The third year also includes 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.

Modules

An indicative guide to the structure of this programme, year by year.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Year 1: All first year modules are compulsory – 120 credits at Level 4 in total

PHAS0004 Atoms, Stars and the Universe (Level 4) 15 credits
PHAS0005 Waves, Optics and Acoustics (Level 4) 15 credits
PHAS0006 Thermal Physics and the Properties of Matter (level 4) 15 credits
PHAS0007 Practical Physics and Computing 1 (Level 4) 15 credits
PHAS0002 Mathematical Methods I (Level 4) 15 credits
PHAS0009 Mathematical Methods II  (Level 4) 15 credits
PHAS0010 Classical Mechanics (Level 4) 15 credits
PHAS0012 Computing for Mathematical Physics (Level 4) 15 credits
PHAS0017 Developing Effective Communications 1 (non-credit, but will appear in student’s transcript)

Optional modules

All first-year modules are compulsory.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Year 2: All second year modules are compulsory – 120 credits at Level 5 in total

PHAS0021 Electricity and Magnetism (Level 5) 15 credits
PHAS0022 Quantum Physics (Level 5) 15 credits
PHAS0023 Atomic & Molecular Physics (Level 5) 15 credits
PHAS0024 Statistical Physics of Matter (Level 5) 15 credits
PHAS0026 Mathematical Methods for Theoretical Physics (Level 5) 15 credits
PHAS0030 Further Practical Mathematics and Computing (Level 5) 15 credits
PHAS0025 Mathematical Methods III (Level 5) 15 credits
MATH0043 Mathematics for Physics and Astronomy (Level 5) 15 credits
PHAS0035 Developing Effective Communications 2 (non-credit, but will appear in student’s transcript)

Optional modules

All second-year modules are compulsory.

Core or compulsory module(s)

Year 3: 120 credits in total (at least 90 credits at Level 6)
Compulsory Modules (75 credits)

PHAS0038 Electromagnetic Theory (Level 6) 15 credits
PHAS0040 Nuclear and Particle Physics (Level 6) 15 credits
PHAS0041 Solid State Physics (Level 6) 15 credits
PHAS0042 Quantum Mechanics (Level 6) 15 credits
PHAS0052 Physics Group Project (Level 6) 15 credits

Optional modules

You will select 45 credits in total from options that may include the following (choices must be approved by your Programme Tutor)

GEOL0022 Physics of Oceans, Ice Sheets and Climate (Level 6) 15 credits
PHAS0037 Physical Cosmology (Level 6) 15 credits
MATH0025 Mathematics for General Relativity (Level 6) 15 credits
PHAS0039 Physics Education (IoE) (Level 6) 15 credits
PHAS0049 Theory of Dynamical Systems (Level 6) 15 credits
PHAS0050 Energy and Climate (Level 6) 15 credits
PHAS0053 Lasers and Modern Optics (Level 6) 15 credits
PHAS0048 Project (Level 6) 30 credits


Your learning

Teaching is delivered 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

Assessment will normally involve end-of-year examinations, and an element of assessed coursework. Practical work you will be continuously assessed.

Detailed course descriptions are available on the department website: Theoretical Physics BSc.

Careers

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 Institute of Physics 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.

UCL is commited to helping you get the best start after graduation. Read more about how UCL Careers and UCL Innovation and Enterprise can help you find employment or learn about entrepreneurship.

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

The fees indicated are for undergraduate entry in the 2019/20 academic year. The UK/EU fees shown are for the first year of the programme at UCL only. Fees for future years may be subject to an inflationary increase. The Overseas fees shown are the fees that will be charged to 2019/20 entrants for each year of study on the programme, unless otherwise indicated below.

UK/EU students
£9,250 (2019/20)
Overseas students
£26,740 (2019/20)

Full details of UCL's tuition fees, tuition fee policy and potential increases to fees can be found on the UCL Students website.

Additional costs

You will require the approved model of calculator for use in exams.  For details please see the Exams and Assessment page of the UCL website.

There are some optional activities in which you may like to participate that incur an additional cost, for example membership of the Student Physics Society, or the department's annual weekend away at Cumberland Lodge.

If you are concerned by potential additional costs on t

Funding

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.

Additional costs

You will require the approved model of calculator for use in exams.  For details please see the Exams and Assessment page of the UCL website.

There are some optional activities in which you may like to participate that incur an additional cost, for example membership of the Student Physics Society, or the department's annual weekend away at Cumberland Lodge.

If you are concerned by potential additional costs on t

Departmental scholarships

Funding opportunities relevant to the department may appear in this section when they are available. Please check carefully or confirm with the programme contact to ensure they apply to this degree programme.

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

Your application

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 2020



Selection

Your application will be carefully assessed based on your UCAS form and reference. If you are made an offer, you will be invited to a Physics Offer Holder's Day. This will include presentations, a tour of facilities and an opportunity to meet current students and staff members. Attendance is strongly recommended as we cannot provide private tours of the department at the moment.

Some Physics Offer Holder's Days will be partially livestreamed for overseas applicants.

For further information on UCL's selection process see: Selection of students.