A joint degree allows you to study in depth two complementary subjects that inspire you. Best of all, you’ll have the opportunity to develop a wider range of skills and your employability, when you graduate, will be boosted – according to graduate destination surveys.
Our students often say their enthusiasm to study Physics stems from wanting to learn more about the Higgs particle, dark matter, nanotechnology or just a wide-ranging curiosity about how things really work. Whatever your reasons, our Physics department aims to inform and excite in the study of Physics, the most fundamental of the sciences.
As one of the most respected centres for Physics teaching and research in the UK, this degree covers the core material that a graduate physicist would be expected to know, including quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, statistical physics and thermodynamics, Einstein’s relativistic physics and the study of the fundamental structure of matter and the universe. You’ll also develop the mathematical, experimental and conceptual knowledge and skills.
This degree programme gives you the opportunity to combine your studies with Philosophy, which comprises 25% of the course and introduces you to key elements of philosophy such as ancient philosophy and reason, argument and persuasion. If you have a curious and inquisitive mind and are looking for a subject that teaches you how to think clearly and question perceptively, one that will sharpen your analytical skills and critical thinking then Philosophy is ideal for you. Philosophy, as an addition to your studies, will help you develop and express reasoned arguments, to use logical processing and critical analysis to defend your position and debate opposing opinions, skills that not only enhance your academic abilities but your employability too.
- 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.
- We enjoy a strong track record of high student satisfaction in the annual National Student Survey.
- We’ve been awarded IOP Juno Champion and Athena SWAN silver awards for best practice in equality, promoting women in science and welcoming large cohorts of female students.
- We have close ties with, and conduct research at major international laboratories such as CERN, ISIS and Diamond, plus collaborations with other major institutions around the world.
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: 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.
The core module in Philosophy is:
Epistemology and Metaphysics
This module aims to introduce you to some of the key problems that have preoccupied contemporary philosophers. You will look at logical questions relating to the structure of arguments, epistemological questions about the sources and limits of knowledge, and metaphysical questions exploring the relationship between minds and bodies and the possibility of human freedom.
Physics: Field 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: 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: 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.
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: Atomic and Nuclear Physics
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.
Physics: Electromagnetic Theory
The core modules in Philosophy are:
Introduction to European Philosophy 1 - From Kant to Hegel
This module introduces you to aspects of key texts by eighteenth and nineteenth century philosophers Immanuel Kant and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, which form the foundation of the major debates in both European, and some Anglo-American philosophy. You will explore major issues concerning epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics, and different approaches to these issues, which will be central to the rest of your philosophical and other studies in the humanities and social sciences.
Mind and World
This module examines some of the major metaphysical and epistemological problems that arise when attempting to understand how the mind and language interact with and in the world. It centres on attempts to conceptualise, solve, or avoid mind-body related problems in the analytic tradition and aims to contrast these with phenomenological and existential investigations of related problems.
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.
Optional modules in Philosophy include:
Introduction to Logic
This module aims to introduce you to the formal study of arguments through the two basic systems of modern logic: sentential or propositional logic and predicate logic. As well as showing you how to present and analyse arguments formally, you will look at the implications and uses of logical analysis by considering Bertrand Russell’s formalist solution to the problem of definite descriptions, before discussing the broader significance of findings in logic to philosophical inquiry.
Mind and Conciousness
What is the relationship between the mind and the brain? Is the mind inside the brain? Are we any more than highly sophisticated computers? What is consciousness? This module aims to introduce these and related questions, which are central to modern philosophical debates about the nature of mind and consciousness.
Introduction to Aesthetics and Morals
This module aims to provide you with a broad understanding of many of the central problems and debates within moral philosophy and aesthetics. These include questions relating to both metaphysical and ethical relativism, the different ways we might understand our moral commitments within the world, how the individual is related to society, and the value and nature of the work of art. The module presents you with approaches from the history of philosophy, from the Anglo-American tradition, and from recent European philosophy.
Only core modules are taken
Mathematics: Non-Linear Phenomena and Chaos
Physics: Advanced Classical Physics
Physics: Further Mathematical Methods
Physics: C++ and Object Oriented Programming
Physics: Experimental Design
Physics: Particle Physics
Physics: Metals and Semiconductors
Physics: Superconductivity and Magnetism
Physics: Frontiers of Metrology
Physics: General Relativity and Cosmology
Physics: Particle Astrophysics
Optional modules in Philosophy and related subjects include:
The Philosophy of Aristotle
The Good Life in Ancient Philosophy 2
Stoics, Epicureans and Sceptics
Philosophy Under the Roman Empire
Moral Problems in Politics
Nietzsche and Foucault
Philosophy of Psychology
The Philosophy of Religion
Husserl to Heidegger
Critical Theory and Hermen
The Self and Others
The Varieties of Scepticism
Choosing to include philosophy in your studies at Royal Holloway not only prepares you well for postgraduate study it also equips you with the skills and qualities that employers are looking for. Philosophy degrees are well-regarded by employers because they give you the capacity to think through issues and problems in a logical and consistent way and to develop critical and transferable skills which can be applied in almost any area of employment from computing to the arts.
So, by choosing to study this intellectually demanding discipline you will develop a broad range of highly prized transferable skills, such as the ability to communicate views and present arguments clearly and coherently, to critically digest, analyse and summarise complex ideas, effective time management, organisation and research skills and problem-solving skills.
A degree in Physics is one of the most sought after and respected qualifications available. Graduate employment levels for Physicists are amongst the highest of any subject.
The training in logical thinking, the ability to analyse a problem from first principles in an abstract, logical and coherent way, and to define a problem and then solve it, are critically important skills. These skills go well beyond your specific knowledge of physical phenomena they’re the reason why Physics graduates go on to excel in all types of employment, including those only loosely related to Physics, like management and finance, as well as scientific, technical, engineering and teaching careers. In this way, a degree in Physics helps keep your future employment options both bright and open.
- According to the Institute of Physics, in the UK alone Physics-based industry employs more than 1.79 million people, while UK graduates in Physics earn more than those in most other disciplines.
- 80% of our Physics graduates are in full time employment or further study within six months of graduation.
- We offer paid summer internships so you can get invaluable work experience and work closely with our research teams.