Please read our student and staff community guidance on COVID-19
Skip to main content Skip to navigation

The Physics Courses

These course handbooks describe the programmes of the 3 year BSc and the 4 year MPhys undergraduate courses in Physics. They should be read in conjunction with the general information that is relevant to all courses based in the Physics Department. Any query concerning your degree course should be directed to your personal tutor or the Senior Tutor.


The physics degree is designed as a broad and flexible education. The department offers the modules that a practising physicist would normally be expected to have studied, so that those who already have in mind a career in research or industrial physics are well catered for. At the same time the flexibility of the course allows the many students, who want a broader education, to combine the physics modules which interest them most with modules from other disciplines.


The following are our aims for the physics degrees:

  • To provide a stimulating education in physics
  • To provide a learning environment which helps students to achieve their academic potential
  • To help students develop intellectual and transferable skills
  • To leave students well-prepared for the next step in their professional lives


When you graduate, you should

  • Developed your understanding of the fundamental principles of physics and of how these can explain physical phenomena;
  • Have obtained a working knowledge of the mathematical techniques used in physics;
  • Have developed your ability to carry out experimental investigations and to report the results appropriately;
  • Have developed your analytical, problem-solving, self-study, communication and independent working skills. You will also have had opportunities to develop organisational, modern language and other skills;
  • Be able, with appropriate supervision, to undertake project work and to communicate the results clearly in writing;
  • Have acquired skills in IT and have had the opportunity through your choice of options and other activities to develop these further.

If you graduate with an MPhys, you should also

  • Be aware of some current research interests in physics;
  • Have a good understanding of a broad range of topics in physics;
  • Be prepared for postgraduate study in physics.

BSc or MPhys

There is a choice between a three year (BSc) and four year (BScMPhys) variant of the degree. The four year course was designed a number of years ago to bridge a gap which had developed between the traditional British three year degree and degrees awarded in other European countries which tended to last four or five years. The three year degree is seen increasingly as part of a general rounded education, which should leave students numerate, articulate and employable. The four year degree should appeal most to those who wish to work as scientists in industry and those who are thinking of a career in research.

The four year degree course covers the main areas of physics and its applications. As in the three year degree course, students can study a broad spectrum of modules. Opting for the four year degree allows students more time to explore the implications of what they have already learnt. This is the idea behind the project and group work in the third and fourth year.

The Intercalated Year

Students who wish to spend some time gaining experience abroad, or in UK industry/research, can register for the Intercalated Year Scheme in which you spend your third year away from Warwick and take a total of four years to complete your degree programme.

The year will be spent in supervised research placement, either in Industry, Commerce, a Research Institute, a Higher Education Research Laboratory, or in the case of a year abroad could alternatively involve attending modules at an overseas university. This will give you valuable experience before continuing with the third year of the BSc Physics degree, and the words with intercalated year' will appear on your degree certificate. You must submit a satisfactory report of the intercalated year on your return to the Department, failing which you will revert to the Physics BSc degree course. The report will not, however, contribute to final degree credit.

In general, if you are interested in following this scheme, please see read the Study Abroad webpages. It will be necessary for you to make your own arrangements and submit an outline proposal to the Physics Department for approval. If we consider that the proposed programme abroad meets our requirements, then permission for an intercalated year will be granted. If you are thinking about this possibility, please discuss this with your tutor in the first instance. The Intercalated Year is NOT a possibility for MPhys students.

[ Top of Document ]