The University of Southampton

F300 BSc Physics (3 years)

Study the fundamentals of matter, time and space and explore the physical theories that help us understand our universe. This degree is the ideal choice if you want to pursue your passion for physics and gain a profound understanding of the discipline in three years. With a robust qualification that is highly respected by employers, and advanced analytical, mathematical and computing skills, you’ll be sought after in almost any profession. If you decide you’d like to continue your education, there’s the option of switching to our four-year MPhys Physics degree - or you could take a masters in another discipline to achieve your career goals.

How to applyFind out how to apply for this course

Introducing your degree

We're ranked 6th in the UK for physics by the Guardian University Guide 2019.

The BSc Physics degree is a chance to expand your intellectual horizons, understand the theories that underpin the universe, and put concepts to the test through practical work in the lab. You’ll immerse yourself in fascinating topics such as quantum mechanics, special relativity and the evolution of galaxies. You could also choose to study general relativity – we are one of only a few UK universities to offer this as part of an undergraduate physics degree.

You’ll receive a professional physics training of the highest standard, studying the same curriculum as MPhys Physics students in your first two years. The flexible course structure allows you to follow your interests by choosing from a wide range of optional modules in every year of study.

Shafiq Bin Rasulan
My highlight was my internship with Professor Tim Freegarde in his laboratory. I was doing raman interferometry where we used lasers to actually hold onto small particles. It really helped me as an experimental physicist.
Shafiq Bin Rasulan, BSc Physics, 2017


What is this?(More Information)This information is based on historical data and may have been aggregated. It is also subject to theUniversity's disclaimer notice.

From nanoscience to the evolution of the universe, this degree encompasses core physical theories, the mathematical tools necessary to model real-world problems, and the lab skills that are essential for practical experimentation.

Through weekly small-group tutorials in the first year we’ll make sure you’re well supported as you make the transition to degree-level study. Hands-on practical work is integral to the programme; from year one you’ll undertake mini-projects in the lab, and you’ll also learn skills such as basic electronics and coding.  

First-year core modules include an introduction to special relativity and the foundational theories of quantum physics and electromagnetism. You’ll build up more advanced knowledge as you progress through the degree, applying your learning in areas such as atomic physics and particle physics.

Optional modules in each year allow you to pursue your interests. For example, you could:

  • explore photonics – the theory and practical application of light, optics and lasers – through experiments in our laser labs
  • find out more about astronomy and learn how to measure the physical qualities of objects in space
  • study coding and data analysis in more depth, benefiting from the expertise of the University’s Electronics and Computer Science department – one of the best in the country

In the third year you’ll demonstrate your research skills by working with another student on a major experimental, theoretical or computer-based project. Past projects have covered the spectrum of physics, from making nanoparticles, to public engagement in science, to the fundamental theory of the light-matter interaction.

View the 2018/19 programme specification document for this course

View the 2019/20 programme specification document for this course

State-of-the-art teaching laboratories

You’ll conduct experiments using the state-of-the-art equipment in our teaching laboratories, with expert technicians on hand to offer any extra support you need. Our specialist facilities include:  

  • two observatories on the roof of the Physics and Astronomy building, with high-spec telescopes
  • a photonics lab with the latest laser equipment
  • one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers
  • a £120m clean room for fabrication at the atomic level – one of the best of its kind in Europe

You’ll also benefit from a specialist library and dedicated study spaces in our recently refurbished Physics and Astronomy foyer.

A top-five research department

Study with us and you’ll gain a degree from one of the top five Russell Group departments for physics and astronomy research (REF 2014). Our research reputation is built on a track record of discovery and real-world impact – for example, Southampton physicists were instrumental in the development of erbium-doped amplifiers that make today’s internet possible. We remain on the frontline of new developments – recently our scientists were involved in detecting gravitational waves and light from the collision of two neutron stars for the first time.

Because we’re a research-active department you’ll hear about the latest advances as soon as they happen – often before they are published and reported in the media – and we regularly update our modules to reflect new findings. 


Our BSc Physics is accredited by the Institute of Physics.

Programme Structure

On this physics degree you’ll have the freedom to select from a wide range of optional modules in every year of study, enabling you to explore specialist areas of physics that spark your interest or study core topics at a more advanced level.

You can also broaden your education by choosing from a range of innovative cross-disciplinary modules on topics outside physics. You could study a language or dip into subjects such as business, music, or earth sciences. If you’d like to pursue another discipline in more depth, taking a ‘Minor’ subject alongside physics is another option.

Because our BSc and MPhys Physics programmes share the same modules in years one and two, there’s also some flexibility to move between courses up until the end of the second year.

To Apply

All undergraduate applications for Physics and Astronomy should be made online through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Find out how to apply and get further details about UCAS' website, phone and contact details.

Key Facts

We're ranked 6th in the UK for physics (Guardian University Guide 2019)

Top 3 for Overall Student Satisfaction in the Russell Group in the National Student Survey for the last four years (not all Russell Group universities are returned in the National Student Survey every year).

100% of BSc Physics students agreed that the course is intellectually stimulating (National Student Survey, 2018)

100 per cent of our Physics and Astronomy research has been rated world leading or internationally excellent for its impact on society (REF 2014)

Practical work is integral to the programme; you'll conduct your experiments in state-of-the-art laboratories

Our degrees open the door to a range of jobs – our graduates go into careers in areas as diverse as broadcasting, business, teaching, research and medical physics

Study general relativity – we're one of only a few UK universities to offer this as an undergraduate module

Studying BSc Physics at Southampton

Entry Requirements

Typical entry requirements

A Levels:
A Level

AAB, including AA in Mathematics and Physics


GCSE Mathematics and English at grade C or above

Alternative Qualifications:

We welcome applications from candidates offering qualifications other than A and AS levels (including BTEC, European Baccalaureate, International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate and Scottish Highers). You will be expected to attain an equivalent standard to an A level applicant.

Foundation Year:

If you want to study for a degree in Engineering, Physics, Mathematics, or Geophysics but you did not choose mathematics and physics at A level, our Foundation Year may be of interest to you. The Engineering/Physics/Maths/Geophysics Foundation Year is a one-year full-time course integrated with a further three or four-year degree course. Find out more about the Foundation Year.

International applicants:

We welcome applications from international students. Visit our international site for more information about our international student community, support and how to apply.

Mature applicants:

We welcome applications from mature students. If you will be over 21 at the start of your proposed degree programme, you are eligible for exemption from our normal entry requirements. However, you will be required to provide evidence of having completed recent study (eg Access, Return to Study, Open University foundation courses) and of your capacity to pursue the course.

Selection process:

We select students on the basis of a UCAS application and an invitation to visit the department.


Career Opportunities

Whether you are interested in a physics-related career or aim to work in a completely different field, a BSc Physics degree from a highly regarded Russell Group department will impress recruiters in a wide range of exciting and challenging professions.

Alongside your scientific training you’ll develop transferable skills such as computation and coding, complex problem solving, statistical analysis, and presentation and project management skills. In addition, employers in any sector will recognise that, as a physics graduate, you’ll have an inquiring mind, the ability to grasp complicated ideas, and an appetite for a challenge.

If you don’t already have a career path in mind, we’ll support you in investigating the options. During year two you’ll have access to a programme of physics-focused career sessions, timetabled to fit in with your studies, which include application and interview workshops as well as talks from visiting professionals. We can also help you find a paid summer placement to give you valuable hands-on experience and the chance to make industry contacts.

Our graduates work in the private and public sectors, in government, defence, finance, business, and industry. In addition, around a third of Physics and Astronomy students continue their studies at PhD level.

Here are some of the roles Physics and Astronomy graduates have secured:

  • astrophysicist
  • acoustician
  • air traffic controller
  • bioinformatics specialist
  • data analyst
  • government science policy officer
  • medical physicist 
  • satellite engineer
  • science communicator
  • software engineer
  • statistician
  • systems analyst
  • weather forecaster
  • web developer


Learning & Assessment

You’ll learn from academics who take their teaching as seriously as their research. Keen to share their passion for physics with you, they bring a high level of professionalism to your education.

Find out more about our commitment to professionalism in teaching.

We combine traditional teaching and learning methods with tried-and-tested innovations to improve your learning experience. Using live-commenting technology you can ask a question from your seat in the lecture hall and get a response during the session. Or if you need a bit of extra help, you can watch a tutor explain a tricky derivation or theory via an online video tutorial.

This is a challenging degree, but our approachable academics are on hand to help if you need it. When you arrive you’ll be allocated a personal academic tutor who is there to support you throughout your studies. Or you can bring physics queries to our weekly drop-in sessions with postgraduate students – if they can’t help straight away, they will get back to you with an answer.

Breakdown of study time and assessment

Proportion of time spent in scheduled learning, teaching and independent study
Learning, teaching and assessment stage123
Scheduled learning & teaching study39%30%22%
Independent study61%70%78%
Placement study0%0%0%
Proportion of assessment by method
Learning, teaching and assessment stage123
Written exam assessment44%69%77%
Practical exam assessment23%8%0%
Coursework assessment33%23%23%

Fees & funding

Tuition fees

Course fees for 2017/18 full-time UK and EU undergraduate students are typically £9,250 per year. Tuition fees for international students differ between each course. Most part-time courses cost 50% of the full-time fee.

View the full list of course fees


Scholarships, bursaries or grants may be available to support you through your course. Funding opportunities available to you are linked to your subject area and/or your country of origin. These can be from the University of Southampton or other sources.

Explore funding opportunities

Costs associated with this course

Communicating and Teaching and The Undergraduate Ambassadors Scheme (PHYS3019)
Please note that students are required to pay for their travel costs to and from the schools they work with during the module.  However travel costs will be reimbursed on production of travel receipts.

There will also be further costs for the following, not purchasable from the University:

Approved CalculatorsCandidates may use calculators in the examination room only as specified by the University and as permitted by the rubric of individual examination papers. The University approved models are Casio FX-570 and Casio FX-85GT Plus. These may be purchased from any source and no longer need to carry the University logo.
StationeryYou will be expected to provide your own day-to-day stationery items, e.g. pens, pencils, notebooks, etc). Any specialist stationery items will be specified under the Additional Costs tab of the relevant module profile.
TextbooksWhere a module specifies core texts these should generally be available on the reserve list in the library. However due to demand, students may prefer to buy their own copies. These can be purchased from any source.

Some modules suggest reading texts as optional background reading. The library may hold copies of such texts, or alternatively you may wish to purchase your own copies. Although not essential reading, you may benefit from the additional reading materials for the module.
Printing and Photocopying CostsIn the majority of cases, coursework such as essays; projects; dissertations is likely to be submitted on line. However, there are some items where it is not possible to submit on line and students will be asked to provide a printed copy. A list of the University printing costs can be found here:

In some cases you’ll be able to choose modules (which may have different costs associated with that module) which will change the overall cost of a programme to you. Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at


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