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Physics with Music BSc

UCAS code F3W3
Year of entry 2017
View 2018 entry »
Course Length
3 years full time
Department Physics »
Music »

Choose Physics with Music at Royal Holloway, University of London and you'll combine two of the subjects you love across three years of study. You’ll develop a wide range of skills including mathematics, experimental skills, computing, communication, composition and historical musicology, all while maximising your graduate employability with a desirable honours degree. 

You'll study in one of the University of London's major centres for physics teaching and research, with research strengths including Quantum physics, condensed matter and particle physics informing our teaching. Physics is studied as the major subject, and you'll learn the mathematical, conceptual and experimental skills expected of a graduate physicist.

This degree is run jointly with the Department of Music, where our expert academics have worked hard to build excellent industry connections. You'll learn about music composition, theory and analysis, together with historical musicology, and issues that shape contemporary music, including politics, urban development, gender and globalisation.

You'll graduate with excellent employability prospects across a range of sectors, with employers valuing graduates with the diverse skillset offered by this degree.

  • Study across two renowned departments, including the Department of Music – ranked 3rd in the UK for research (the Research Excellence Framework 2014).
  • We place a strong emphasis on small group teaching – a close-knit, friendly and supportive environment with high staff-student ratio and an open door policy.
  • Make use of Royal Holloway's excellent performance and rehearsal spaces, including Windsor Auditorium, the Boilerhouse Theatre, the Picture Gallery and the College Chapel.
  • Deepen your appreciation and understanding of the role of Physics in Music
  • Develop a blend of theoretical and creative skills across the disciplines of Physics and Music.

Core modules

Year 1

Physics: Mathematics for Scientists 1

In this module you will develop an understanding of how to solve problems involving one variable (either real or complex) and differentiate and integrate simple functions. You will learn how to use vector algebra and geometry and how to use the common probability distributions.

Physics: Mathematics for Scientists 2

In this module you will develop an understanding of how to solve problems involving more than one variable. You will learn how to use matrices and solves eingenvalue problems, and how to manipulate vector differential operators, including gradient, divergence and curl. You will also consider their physical significance and the theorems of Gauss and Stokes.

Physics: Scientific Skills 1

In this module you will develop an understanding of good practices in the laboratory. You will keep a notebook, recording experimental work as you do it. You will set up an experiment from a script, and carry out and record measurements. You will learn how to analyse data and plot graphs using a computer package, and present results and conclusions including error estimations from your experiments.

Physics: Classical Mechanics

In this module you will develop an understanding of how to apply the techques and formulae of mathematical analysis, in particular the use of vectors and calculus, to solve problems in classical mechanics. You will look at statics, dynamics and kinematics as applied to linear and rigidy bodies. You will also examine the various techniques of physical analysis to solve problems, such as force diagrams and conservation principles.

Physics: Fields and Waves

In this module you will develop an understanding of how electric and magnetic fields are generated from static charges and constant currents flowing through wires. You will derive the properties of capacitors and inductors from first principles, and you will learn how to analyse simple circuits. You will use complex numbers to describe damped harmonic oscillations, and the motion of transverse and longitudinal waves.

Physics: Classical Matter

In this module you will develop an understanding of the macroscopic properties of the various states of matter, looking at elementary ideas such as ideal gases, internal energy and heat capacity. Using classical models of thermodynamics, you will examine gases, liquids, solids, and the transitions between these states, considering phase equilibrium, the van der Waals equation and the liquefaction of gases. You will also examine other states of matter, including polymers, colloids, liquid crystals and plasmas.

Physics: Physics of the Universe

In this module you will develop an understanding of the building blocks of fundamental physics. You will look at Einstein’s special theory of relativity, considering time-dilation and length contraction, the basics of quantum mechanics, for example wave-particle duality, and the Schrödinger equation. You will also examine concepts in astrophysics such as the Big Bang theory and how the Universe came to be the way we observe it today.

Year 2

Physics: Mathematical Methods

In this module you will develop an understanding of the mathematical representation of physical problems, and the physical interpretation of mathematical equations. You will look at ordinary differential equations, including linear equations with constant coefficients, homogeneous and inhomogeneous equations, exact differentials, sines and cosines, Legendre poynomials, Bessel's equation, and the Sturm-Liouville theorem. You will examine partial differential equations, considering Cartesian and polar coordinates, and become familiar with integral transforms, the Gamma function, and the Dirac delta function.

Physics: Scientific Computing Skills

In this module you will develop an understanding of how computers are used in modern science for data analysis and visualisation. You will be introduced to the intuitive programming language, Python, and looking at the basics of numerical calculation. You will examine the usage of arrays and matrices, how to plot and visualise data, how to evaluate simple and complex expressions, how to sample using the Monte Carlo methods, and how to solve linear equations.

Physics: Quantum Mechanics

In this module you will develop an understanding of quantum mechanics and its role in and atomic, nuclear, particle and condensed matter physics. You will look at the wave nature of matter and the probabilistic nature of microscopic phenomena. You will learn how to use the key equation of quantum mechanics to describe fundamental phenomena, such as energy quantisation and quantum tunnelling. You will examine the principles of quantum mechanics, their physical consequences, and applications, considering the nature of harmonic oscillator systems and hydrogen atoms.

Physics: Atomic and Nuclear Physics

In this module, you will develop an understanding of how the quantum mechanics of matter and light can be used to explain atomic and nuclear phenomena. You will look at the various quantum effects involved in the physics of electrons in atoms, and protons and neutrons in the nuclei. You will examine the atomic spectra, radioactive decay, nuclear reactions, the interaction of radiation with mater, as well as experimental techniques. You will also consider the applications of quantum effects, from modern spectroscopy techniques to the detection of radioactivity.

Physics: Classical and Statistical Thermodynamics

In this module you will develop an understanding of themal physics and elementary quantum mechanics. You will look at the thermodynamic properties of an ideal gas, examining the solutions of Schrödinger’s equation for particles in a box, and phenomena such as negative temperature, superfluidity and superconductivity. You will also consider the thermodynamic equilibrium process, entropy in thermo-dynamics, and black-body radiation.

Physics: The Solid State

In this module you will develop an understanding of the physical properties of solids. You will look at their structure and symmetry, concepts of dislocation and plastic deformation, and the electrical characteristics of metals, alloys and semiconductors. You will examine methods of probing solids and x-ray diffraction, and the thermal properties of phonons. You will also consider the quantum theory of solids, including energy bands and the Bloch thorem, as well as exploring fermiology, intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors, and magnetism.

Year 3

Physics: Optics

In this module you develop an understanding of the properties of light, starting from Maxwell’s equations. You will look at optical phenomena such as refraction, diffraction and interference, and how they are exploited in modern applications, from virtual reality headsets to the detection of gravitational waves. You will also examine masers and lasers, and their usage in optical imaging and image processing.

Physics: Electromagnetism

 

Physics: Experimental or Theoretical Project

In this module you will plan and execute an extended experimental or theoretical investigation in physics, electronics or astrophysics. You will work with a member of academic staff, who will provide advice and support. You will produce a wrttien report and give an oral presentation, where you will discuss your findings.

Optional modules

In addition to these mandatory course units there are a number of optional course units available during your degree studies. The following is a selection of optional course units that are likely to be available. Please note that although the College will keep changes to a minimum, new units may be offered or existing units may be withdrawn, for example, in response to a change in staff. Applicants will be informed if any significant changes need to be made.

Year 1

Music: Theory and Analysis

Music: Practical Musicianship

Music: Creative Composition Techniques

Music: Practical Composition Skills

Music: Very Short History of Music

Music: Introduction to Historical Musicology

Music: Introduction to World Music

Music: Contemporary Debates in Music

Music: Solo Performance

Music: Creative Ensemble Performance

Year 2

Music: Studies in Music Analysis

Music: Studies in Composition

Music: Studies in Music History

Music: Studies in Ethnomusicology

Music: Studies in Music, Media and Technology

Music: Practical Performance

Music: Solo Performance

Music: Ensemble Performance

Music: Composition Portfolio

Music: Ensemble Performance in World Music - Andean Band

Music: Choral Conducting

Music: Baroque Performance Practice

Music: Composing with Technology

Music: Composing with Technology

Music: Sounds and Cultures in East Asia

Music: Introduction to Jazz

Music: Popular Music and Musicians in Post-War Britain and North America

Music: Orchestral Conducting

Music: Orchestral Performance

Music: Practical Ethics

Music: Wagner's Ring

Music: Issues in Sound, Music and the Moving Image

Music: Sibelius and Music of Northern Europe

Music: Music in the City

Music: Music, Environment and Ecology

Music: Music, Power and Politics

Music: Ideas of German Music from Mozart to Henze

Music: Silent Film Performance

Music: Music and Gender

Music: Debussy and French Musical Aesthetics

Year 3

Mathematics: Non-Linear Phenomena and Chaos

 

Physics: Energy

 

Physics: Advanced Classical Physics

 

Physics: Further Mathematical Methods

 

Physics: C++ and Object Oriented Programming

 

Physics: Experimental Design

 

Physics: Quantum Theory

 

Physics: Particle Physics

 

Physics: Metals and Semiconductors

 

Physics: Superconductivity and Magnetism

 

Physics: Frontiers of Metrology

 

Physics: General Relativity and Cosmology

 

Physics: Particle Astrophysics

 

Music: Studies in Music Analysis

Music: Studies in Composition

Music: Studies in Music History

Music: Studies in Ethnomusicology

Music: Studies in Music, Media and Technology

Music: Practical Performance

Music: Solo Performance

Music: Ensemble Performance

Music: Composition Portfolio

Music: Ensemble Performance in World Music - Andean Band

Music: Choral Conducting

Music: Baroque Performance Practice

Music: Composing with Technology

Music: Composing with Technology

Music: Sounds and Cultures in East Asia

Music: Introduction to Jazz

Music: Popular Music and Musicians in Post-War Britain and North America

Music: Orchestral Conducting

Music: Orchestral Performance

Music: Practical Ethics

Music: Wagner's Ring

Music: Issues in Sound, Music and the Moving Image

Music: Sibelius and Music of Northern Europe

Music: Music in the City

Music: Music, Environment and Ecology

Music: Music, Power and Politics

Music: Ideas of German Music from Mozart to Henze

Music: Silent Film Performance

Music: Music and Gender

Music: Debussy and French Musical Aesthetics

Music: Practical Performance 2

Music: Composing with Technology 2

Music: Special Study - Dissertation

Music: Special Study - Theory and Analysis

Music: Special Study - Performance

Music: Special Study - Composition

The course has a modular structure, whereby students take 24 course units at the rate of eight per year. Some course units are compulsory while others are elective thereby offering flexibility and choice.  

Teaching in the Physics department takes place in lectures, seminars, laboratory practical classes and problem-solving sessions. Outside class-time students participate in group projects and guided independent study and have access to the college’s comprehensive e-learning facility, ‘Moodle’ where there is a variety of resources available for students.

Physics assessment is usually by two-hour examination at the end of the year. Coursework and in-class tests also contribute to the assessment of many course units. Experimental work is generally assessed by written reports or oral presentation. A minimum of six of the eight course units must be passed with a minimum score of 40 per cent each year.

Teaching in the Music department is through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, and instrumental/vocal lessons. You will also have the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of musical activities supported by the department, including performances by orchestras, choirs and other ensembles. Private study and preparation are essential parts of every course, and you will have access to many online resources through Moodle. When you start with us, you are assigned a Personal Advisor to support you academically and personally.

Music assessment is carried out by a combination of examinations, which take place in the summer term, along with written papers, extended essays, assessed coursework, and a portfolio of practical work.

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels

AAA-AAB

Offer will depend on the potential of the applicant, based on achieved and predicted grades, personal statements and references.

Required/preferred subjects Required subjects: Mathematics, Physics and A in Music, plus a Pass in the practical element of all Science A levels taken. Pass in ABRSM Music Theory grade 8 is acceptable in place of A level Music.
Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate

6,6,6 at Higher Level in Maths, Physics and Music with a minimum of 32 points overall

BTEC Extended Diploma

Not normally accepted

BTEC National Extended Diploma

Not normally accepted

 
BTEC National Extended Certificate

Not normally accepted

Welsh Baccalaureate

Requirements are as for A-levels where one non-subject-specified A-level can be replaced by the same grade in the Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.

Scottish Advanced Highers

AAA in Maths, Physics and Music in Advanced Highers, in combination with Highers at the published level

Scottish Highers

AAAAB in Highers, in combination with Advanced Highers at the published level

Irish Leaving Certificate

H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 including H2 in Maths, H2 in Physics and H2 in Music.

Access to Higher Education Diploma

Pass with 45 level 3 credits with Distinctions in Maths and Physics modules and Merit in all others PLUS Music Theory Grade 8 or A level Music

Other UK qualifications

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International and EU entry requirements

Please select your country from the drop-down list below

English language
requirements

IELTS 6.5 overall and minimum of 5.5 in each subscore.  For equivalencies please see here

For more information about entry requirements for your country please visit our International pages. For international students who do not meet the direct entry requirements, we offer an International Foundation Year, run by Study Group at the Royal Holloway International Study Centre. Upon successful completion, students can progress on to selected undergraduate degree programmes at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Study Physics with Music at Royal Holloway, University of London and you'll graduate with excellent industry contacts, insider knowledge of music networks in London and specific practical skills in performance, composition and production. You'll earn a highly desirable honours degree offering excellent employability prospects across a range of sectors, and gain a diverse skillset to take into your future career. 

Our recent graduates have gone on to enjoy a wide range of careers, including roles as musicians, composers and performing arts teachers, technicians, publishers, managers, lawyers and policy-makers. Follow in their footsteps and you'll gain transferable skills including communication, teamwork, time management, commercial awareness and critical thinking.

  • 80% of Royal Holloway graduates are in work or further education within six months of graduating. 
  • Graduate with a highly desirable joint honours degree from the renowned departments of Physics and Music.
  • Gain a diverse transferrable skillset, including communication, teamwork, composition, time management and critical thinking. 

Home and EU students tuition fee per year 2017/18*: £9,250

International students tuition fee per year 2017/18**: £15,600

How do I pay for it? Find out more.

*Tuition fees for UK and EU nationals starting a degree in the academic year 2017/18 will be £9,250 for that year. This amount is subject to the UK Parliament approving a change to fee and loan regulations that has been proposed by the UK Government. In the future, should the proposed changes to fee and loan regulations allow it, Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for UK and EU nationals annually. If relevant UK legislation continues to permit it, Royal Holloway will maintain parity between the tuition fees charged to UK and EU students for the duration of their degree studies.

**Royal Holloway reserves the right to increase tuition fees for international fee paying students annually. Tuition fees are unlikely to rise more than 5 per cent each year. For further information on tuition fees please see Royal Holloway’s Terms & Conditions.

***These estimated costs relate to studying this particular degree programme at Royal Holloway. Costs, such as accommodation, food, books and other learning materials and printing etc., have not been included.

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