Physics studies how our Universe works, from the smallest atomic nucleus to the largest galaxy. It includes areas such as quantum theory, relativity and particle physics, and lies at the heart of most modern technology - for example the computer and the laser. Our BSc degree is aimed at students who wish to continue their exploration of physics beyond school, and apply their knowledge to our physics-based world of the 21st century. The coming world of holographic displays and quantum cryptography requires the physics taught here.
Physics Degree highlights
Physics at Queen's was ranked 3rd in the country for research intensity in United Kingdom's most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise as published by the Times Higher Education.
- Students undertaking the Physics with Extended studies in Europe degree will spend a year studying physics in a University on mainland Europe.
- You will have partially fulfilled the requirements to obtain the status of Chartered Physicist (CPhys) with the Institute of Physics.
- Graduate employers include: BT; Seagate; Allstate; NYSE; Andor; Civil Service
World Class Facilities
- You will be taught in our new state-of-the-art teaching centre, containing specialist laboratory equipment and computer facilities.
Internationally Renowned Experts
- All of our faculty staff are research scientists in their own right; in the 2014 REF peer-review exercise, 88% of our research was judged as internationally excellent or world-leading, and QUB Physics was 3rd in the UK for research intensity.
- You can join the Physics and Mathematics Society (PAMSOC) which organises events and trips throughout the year. You can also take advantage of the many events held within the Northern Ireland Science Festival each February, which School staff and postgraduate students heavily support.
- Our students rated overall satisfaction in our undergraduate physics degrees at 91% in the 2017 National Student Survey; above the average for UK Universities.
Lisa Carlin (BSc Physics)
Students are encouraged to apply for summer or extended placements with local companies. Employers who specifically seek our Physics students for placements include Seagate and General Electric. Some MSci projects are undertaken in collaboration with outside organisations, including local companies, the NHS, and national and international facilities.
Physics graduates earn 14 per cent more on average than other graduates (HESA 2014). They have a significantly lower unemployment rate on qualification and over a lifetime, only graduates in medicine or law earn more than those with a physics degree (Institute of Physics Careers Survey 2012).
Physics-related jobs are available in research, development, and general production in many high technology and related industries. These include medicine, biotechnology, electronics, optics, aerospace, computation and nuclear technology. Physics graduates are also sought after for many other jobs, such as business consultancy, finance, business, insurance, taxation and accountancy, where their problem-solving skills and numeracy are highly valued. In Northern Ireland alone in 2015, there were almost 59,000 jobs in physics based industries (Institute of Physics Report 2017).
About half of our students go on to further study after graduation. Some physics graduates take up careers in education, while a number are accepted for a PhD programme in Physics, which can enhance employment prospects or provide a path to a research physicist position. Most of the rest of our graduates move rapidly into full-time employment, most in careers that require a degree.
Employment after the Course
As part of the assessment within our modules, students will have to prepare reports, give presentations and work together within small groups. Students will become experienced in using spreadsheet and word processing software to analyse and communicate their findings. Additionally, basic computer programming is taught to allow computational modelling of physical phenomena, which can then be applied to many non-scientific areas of commerce and industry. The problem-solving and communication skills that are essential to scientific study are also recognised as important attributes for many other careers.
Additional Awards Gained
Students will have partially fulfilled the requirements to obtain the status of Chartered Physicist (CPhys) with the Institute of Physics.
Prizes and Awards
Top performing students are eligible for a number of prizes within the School.
Degree plus award for extra-curricular skills
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.