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Theoretical Physics BSc

UCAS code F340
Year of entry 2017
  View 2018 entry »
Course Length 3 years full time
Department Physics »

 

One of the best-known theories in science, Einstein’s theory of relativity, came from the ‘mere’ observation that Clerk-Maxwell’s theory of electromagnetism and the Galilean relativity were incompatible. Beyond this and since the development of quantum mechanics, theoretical physics has played an important part in constantly questioning what we know, by putting forward deeper and usually more mathematical expressions of understanding and explanation.

On our three-year Theoretical Physics BSc, you will cover all the core material that a graduate physicist would be expected to know, but there will be more emphasis on developing what you will have learned during A Level Mathematics and Further Mathematics, to allow a deeper conceptual understanding of classical and modern physics. This emphasis on theoretical concepts and foundations could help give you a deeper appreciation of the beauty and surprises of Physics.

Because of the theoretical nature of this course, you’ll spend less time in the laboratory in later years, with options from more theoretical areas, such as Quantum Theory, Further Mathematical Methods, Stellar Astrophysics, General Relativity & Cosmology and Non-Linear & Chaotic Systems to provide an emphasis on advanced theoretical topics in Physics.

We’re based at the heart of the campus, where you’ll have access to laboratories, technical help, academic staff and, on the roof of the department, our astronomical dome, dedicated to undergraduate study. In Egham Surrey, we’re well away from the light pollution of the big city so our telescopes can give you the best observational astronomy in the University of London. Beyond the specialist equipment, we also have video-conferencing facilities that allow people to take part in seminars and lectures at other institutions.

  • 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 also 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. 
  • This course is fully accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP)

Core modules

Year 1

Mathematics For Scientists 1

 

Mathematics For Scientists 2

 

Scientific Skills 1

 

Scientific Skills 2

 

Classical Mechanics

 

Fields and Waves

 

Classical Matter

 

Physics of the Universe

 

Year 2

Mathematical Methods

 

Scientific Computing Skills

 

Quantum Mechanics

 

Optics

 

Electromagnetism

 

Atomic and Nuclear Physics

 

Classical and Statistical Thermodynamics

 

The Solid State

 

Year 3

Experimental or Theoretical Project

 

Advanced Classical Physics

 

Further Mathematical Methods

 

Quantum Theory

 

General Relativity and Cosmology

 

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

Only core modules are taken

Year 2

Only core modules are taken

Year 3

Planetary Geology and Geophysics

 

Non-Linear Phenomena and Chaos

 

Particle Detectors and Accelerators

 

Astronomy

 

Energy

 

C++ and Object Oriented Programming

 

Experimental Design

 

Particle Physics

 

Metals and Semiconductors

 

Superconductivity and Magnetism

 

Frontiers of Metrology

 

Stellar Astrophysics

 

Particle Astrophysics

 

As teachers, we want to introduce, explain, challenge and excite students on the course.

A year’s worth of study is normally broken down into eight modules, each of a nominal 150 hours of study. Physics combines experimental skills with conceptual thinking and mathematical analysis, each demanding its own teaching and assessment techniques. So these modules can take a variety of forms, including small group tutorials, problem classes, lectures, laboratory and computing assignments, teamwork, and one-to-one teaching in our laboratories.

For lecture course units, you’ll normally be assessed by a 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. You have to pass a minimum of six of the eight course units, with a minimum score of 40 per cent each year. 

You’ll be taught the most up-to-date and exciting physics by internationally recognised experts in their fields – all who are still involved in research and bring their working knowledge to the course. Our teaching consistently scores high satisfaction ratings in the annual National Student Survey.

Our close-knit, small-group teaching structure helps create a friendly environment, with an open-door policy, so students feel comfortable coming to us for advice and support. 

Typical offers

Typical offers
A-levels  AAA-AAB
Required/preferred subjects  

Required subjects: Mathematics and Physics, plus a Pass in the practical element of any Science A levels being taken

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

 At least five GCSEs at grade A*-C including English and Mathematics

All applications will be subject to a selection interview, providing that minimum academic requirements are met.

Other UK Qualifications
International Baccalaureate  6,6,5 at Higher Level including 6 in Maths and Physics, with a minimum of 32 points overall
BTEC Extended Diploma  Not normally accepted
BTEC National Diploma  Not normally accepted
BTEC Subsidiary Diploma  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 A in Maths and A in Physics at Advanced Higher, in combination with Highers at the published level.
Scottish Highers AAABB in Highers, in combination with Advanced Highers at the published level. 
Irish Leaving Certificate

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

Access to Higher Education Diploma Pass with 45 level 3 credits with Distinctions in Maths and Physics modules and Merit in all others. 

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.

A degree in Physics is one of the most sought after and respected qualifications available.

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.

  • 80% of our graduates go into full time employment or further study within six months of graduating.
  • 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.
  • We offer paid summer internships so you can get invaluable work experience and work closely with our research teams. 

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

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

Other essential costs***: £55

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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