This course is closed
for Clearing 2021
This course is closed for Clearing 2021
If you would like to study at Warwick, there are other courses available for 2022 entry.
Bachelor of Science (BSc)
3 years full-time
27 September 2021
Department of Study
Department of Physics
Location of Study
University of Warwick
Developing your skills in analytical thinking, data analysis, logical thinking and practical computing – all highly valued by employers – this degree will provide you with a broad education in both subjects.
Developing your skills in analytical thinking, data analysis, logical thinking and practical computing – all highly valued by employers – this degree will provide you with a broad education in both subjects. In your first two years, you will concentrate on Physics modules, with the addition of a second-year Business module. For your final year, you’ll transfer completely to WBS (Warwick Business School), where you’ll develop a critical understanding of how organisations work, how they are managed, and how they interact with local, national and international environments. You may, for example, take modules covering markets, marketing and strategy, finance, and entrepreneurship. There is flexibility to switch into or out of the Physics and Business Studies stream onto one of our other courses at any time within your first two years.
In the first two years, you will concentrate on physics modules with the addition of an appropriate business module in the second year. Your final year in WBS is designed to develop a critical understanding of how organisations work, how they are managed, and how they interact with local, national and international environments. You may, for example, take modules covering markets, marketing and strategy and understanding organisational behaviour. There is flexibility to switch into or out of this stream at any time in your first two years.
You should expect to attend around 12 lectures a week and spend 7 hours on supervised practical (mainly laboratory and computing) work. For each 1 hour lecture, you should expect to put in a further 1-2 hours of private study.
Lecture size will naturally vary from module to module. The first year core modules may have up to 350 students in a session, whilst the more specialist modules in the later years will have fewer than 100. The core modules in the first year are supported by weekly classes, at which you and your fellow students meet in small groups with a member of the research staff or a postgraduate student. Tutorials with your personal tutor is normally with a group of 5 students.
How will I be assessed?
Assessment is via end-of-year examinations, which make up about 70% of the year’s mark. Laboratory and project work, computing, and coursework associated with core modules, are assessed by final reports and oral presentations.
The weighting for each year's contribution to your final mark is 10:30:60 for the BSc courses.
We support student mobility through study abroad programmes. BSc students have the opportunity to apply for an intercalated year abroad at one of our partner universities.
The Study Abroad Team based in the Office for Global Engagement offers support for these activities. The Department's Study Abroad Co-ordinator can provide more specific information and assistance.
All students can apply for research vacation projects - small research projects supervised by a member of academic staff. BSc students can register for the Intercalated Year Scheme, which involves spending a year in scientific employment or UK industry between their second and final year.
General entry requirements
- A*AA to include A in Mathematics (or Further Mathematics) and Physics
- 38 to include 6 in Higher Level Mathematics (‘Analysis and Approaches’ only) and Physics
- We welcome applications from students taking a BTEC qualification alongside A level Maths and Physics
- We may consider a BTEC qualification in a relevant Science/Engineering subject alongside A level Maths only on an individual basis
We welcome applications from students with other internationally recognised qualifications.
Contextual data and differential offers
Warwick may make differential offers to students in a number of circumstances. These include students participating in the Realising Opportunities programme, or who meet two of the contextual data criteria. Differential offers will be one or two grades below Warwick’s standard offer (to a minimum of BBB).
Warwick International Foundation Programme (IFP)
All students who successfully complete the Warwick IFP and apply to Warwick through UCAS will receive a guaranteed conditional offer for a related undergraduate programme (selected courses only).
Taking a gap year
Applications for deferred entry welcomed.
We do not typically interview applicants. Offers are made based on your UCAS form which includes predicted and actual grades, your personal statement and school reference.
This module begins by showing you how classical physics is unable to explain some of the properties of light, electrons and atoms. (Theories in physics, which make no reference to quantum theory, are usually called classical theories.) You will then deal with some of the key contributions to the development of quantum physics including those of: Planck, who first suggested that the energy in a light wave comes in discrete units or 'quanta'; Einstein, whose theory of the photoelectric effect implied a 'duality' between particles and waves; Bohr, who suggested a theory of the atom that assumed that not only energy, but also angular momentum, was quantised; and Schrödinger who wrote down the first wave-equations to describe matter.
The Physics Laboratory continues your introduction to experimental science and includes an introduction to computer simulations as a form of experimental science. It aids the transition from guided laboratory work with constrained experiments, to more open experimental investigations. It includes experiments such as scanning tunnelling microscopy, optical pumping and quantised conductance. You are assessed on the reports you submit, written in the form of scientific papers using your own results.
Electricity and Magnetism
You will largely be concerned with the great developments in electricity and magnetism, which took place during the nineteenth century. The origins and properties of electric and magnetic fields in free space, and in materials, are tested in some detail and all the basic levels up to, but not including, Maxwell's equations are considered. In addition, the module deals with both dc and ac circuit theory including the use of complex impedance. You will be introduced to the properties of electrostatic and magnetic fields, and their interaction with dielectrics, conductors and magnetic materials.
Electronic instrumentation is widely used in virtually all areas of experimental physics. Whilst it is not essential for all experimental physicists to know, for example, how to make a low noise amplifier, it is extremely useful for them to have some knowledge of electronics. This workshop introduce some of the basic electronics which are used regularly by physicists.
You will look at dimensional analysis, matter and waves. Often the qualitative features of systems can be understood (at least partially) by thinking about which quantities in a problem are allowed to depend on each other on dimensional grounds. Thermodynamics is the study of heat transfers and how they can lead to useful work. Even though the results are universal, the simplest way to introduce this topic to you is via the ideal gas, whose properties are discussed and derived in some detail. You will also cover waves. Waves are time-dependent variations about some time-independent (often equilibrium) state. You will revise the relation between the wavelength, frequency and velocity and the definition of the amplitude and phase of a wave.
Key Skills for Physics
This module develops experimental skills in a range of areas and includes the design and testing of a functional electronic circuit, The module also introduces the concepts involved in controlling an experiment using a microcomputer. The module explores information retrieval and evaluation, and the oral and written presentation of scientific material.
Classical Mechanics and Special Relativity
You will study Newtonian mechanics emphasizing the conservation laws inherent in the theory. These have a wider domain of applicability than classical mechanics (for example they also apply in quantum mechanics). You will also look at the classical mechanics of oscillations and of rotating bodies. It then explains why the failure to find the ether was such an important experimental result and how Einstein constructed his theory of special relativity. You will cover some of the consequences of the theory for classical mechanics and some of the predictions it makes, including: the relation between mass and energy, length-contraction, time-dilation and the twin paradox.
Mathematics for Physicists
All scientists use mathematics to state the basic laws and to analyse quantitatively and rigorously their consequences. The module introduces you to concepts and techniques which will be assumed by future modules. These include: complex numbers, functions of a continuous real variable, integration, functions of more than one variable and multiple integration. You will revise relevant parts of the A-level syllabus, to cover the mathematical knowledge to undertake first year physics modules, and to prepare you for mathematics and physics modules in subsequent years.
Physics Programming Workshop
You will be introduced to the Python programming language in this module. It is quick to learn and encourages good programming style. Python is an interpreted language, which makes it flexible and easy to share. It allows easy interfacing with modules, which have been compiled from C or Fortran sources. It is widely used throughout physics and there are many downloadable free-to-user codes available. You will also look at the visualisation of data. You will be introduced to scientific programming with the help of the Python programming language, a language widely used by physicists.
Quantum Mechanics and its Applications
In the first part of this module you will use ideas, introduced in the first year module, to explore atomic structure. You will discuss the time-independent and the time-dependent Schrödinger equations for spherically symmetric and harmonic potentials, angular momentum and hydrogenic atoms. The second half of the module looks at many-particle systems and aspects of the Standard Model of particle physics. It introduces the quantum mechanics of free fermions and discusses how it accounts for the conductivity and heat capacity of metals and the state of electrons in white dwarf stars.
Electromagnetic Theory and Optics
You will develop the ideas of first year electricity and magnetism into Maxwell's theory of electromagnetism. Maxwell's equations pulled the various laws of electricity and magnetism (Faraday's law, Ampere's law, Lenz's law, Gauss's law) into one unified and elegant theory. The module shows you that Maxwell's equations in free space have time-dependent solutions, which turn out to be the familiar electromagnetic waves (light, radio waves, X-rays, etc.), and studies their behaviour at material boundaries (Fresnel Equations). You will also cover the basics of optical instruments and light sources.
Thermal Physics II
Any macroscopic object we meet contains a large number of particles, each of which moves according to the laws of mechanics (which can be classical or quantum). Yet, we can often ignore the details of this microscopic motion and use a few average quantities such as temperature and pressure to describe and predict the behaviour of the object. Why we can do this, when we can do this and how to do it are the subject of this module. The most important idea in the field is due to Boltzmann, who identified the connection between entropy and disorder. The module shows you how the structure of equilibrium thermodynamics follows from Boltzmann's definition of the entropy and shows you how, in principle, any observable equilibrium quantity can be computed.
This module develops experimental skills in a range of areas and includes the design and testing of a functional electronic circuit. The module also introduces the concepts involved in controlling an experiment using a microcomputer. The module explores information retrieval and evaluation, and the oral and written presentation of scientific material.
Mathematical Methods of Physicists III
You will study the calculus of variations and complex variables. The calculus of variations is concerned with the minimisation of integrals over sets of differentiable functions. Such integrals crop up in many contexts. For example, the ground state wavefunction of a quantum system minimises the expectation value of the energy. The classical equations of motion for both particles and fields can often be obtained by minimising what is called the action functional (which may be familiar if you took Hamiltonian Mechanics). Requiring functions of complex variables to be analytic (differentiable with respect to their complex argument in some domain) turns out to constrain such functions very strongly. As the module shows: only the constant function is differentiable everywhere, analytic functions are actually equal to their Taylor series and not just approximated by them, a function that is once differentiable is differentiable infinitely many times. Complex differentiable functions are clean, they are fun and they are important in physics. For example, response functions like the dielectric response function are analytic functions with the domain, in which the function is analytic, being related to causality.
Appropriate Business module
In the third year you will select from an extensive list of WBS modules. Some may be linked to prerequisite modules. For example, if you would like to study International Marketing, generally you will need to have also chosen the Marketing module earlier in the year.
Examples of optional modules/options for current students:
- Introduction to Astronomy
- Computer Programming
- The Solar System
- Introduction to Secondary School Teaching (Physics)
- Modern Foreign Language
- Supply Chain Management
- Business Data Analytics
- Accounting in Context
- Design in Business
- Understanding Enterprise
- Principles of Finance
Additional course costs
There may be costs associated with other items or services such as academic texts, course notes, and trips associated with your course. Students who choose to complete a work placement or study abroad will pay reduced tuition fees for their third year.
We believe there should be no barrier to talent. That's why we are committed to offering a scholarship that makes it easier for gifted, ambitious international learners to pursue their academic interests at one of the UK's most prestigious universities. This new scheme will offer international fee-paying students 250 tuition fee discounts ranging from full fees to awards of £13,000 to £2,000 for the full duration of your Undergraduate degree course.
Graduates from this course have gone on to work for employers including:
- Deloitte Digital
- Brunei Shell Petroleum
- British Red Cross
- EDF Energy
- Civil Service
- Deutsche Bank
They have pursued roles such as:
- Physical scientists
- Finance and investment analysts
- Programmers and software development professionals
- Graphic designers
Helping you find the right career
Our department has a dedicated professionally qualified Senior Careers Consultant. They offer impartial advice and guidance together with workshops and events throughout the year. Previous examples of workshops and events include:
- Career options with a Physics Degree
- Careers in Science
- Warwick careers fairs throughout the year
- Physics Alumni Evening
- Careers and Employer networking event for Physics students
“I studied the MPhys course at Warwick and ended up extending my final year project into a PhD.
I’m now a Patent Attorney for Withers & Rogers LLP. Broadly speaking, my role is to help inventors secure effective legal protection for new and innovative technology. In a typical day, I work on multiples cases across a crazy range of technology - from jet engines to software, satellites to artificial heart valves.
My interest in this area came about during my PhD, whilst I worked with Warwick Ventures to patent a novel semiconductor device.
It was Warwick that first exposed me to the eclectic mix of science and technology that allows me to work in such a varied and dynamic environment.”
MPhys Physics graduate
About the information on this page
This information is applicable for 2021 entry. Given the interval between the publication of courses and enrolment, some of the information may change. It is important to check our website before you apply. Please read our terms and conditions to find out more.