The School of Physical Sciences is a dynamic multidisciplinary department, achieving national and international excellence in chemistry, forensic science and physics. We offer a broad training in physics, and provide an ideal preparation for a wide range of careers in the manufacturing and service industries as well as education, the media and the financial sector.
As a foundation year student, you are a full member of the University and can take part in all student activities.Our degree programme
This programme is for students who have studied science subjects but who do not have the grades they need for direct entry on to our Physics BSc. It is also suitable for those who are returning to study following a period in work where they may have gained relevant experience but do not have traditional academic qualifications.
In your foundation year, you study mathematics, physics, electronics and computing, and take part in practical classes. On successful completion of your foundation year, you will have reached a standard above A level and so be fully equipped to tackle the BSc degree course.
In the first year of the BSc, you get to grips with the broad knowledge base on which physical science is built, including electricity and light, mathematics, mechanics, thermodynamics and matter. You also develop your experimental, statistical and analytical skills.
Your second year covers a broad range of subjects including medical physics, quantum physics, atomic and nuclear physics, electromagnetism and optics, and mathematical techniques.
In your final year, the combination of specialist modules and an attachment to one of our research teams opens avenues for even deeper exploration: for example, in space probe instrumentation, fibre optics, the atomic-scale structure of a new engineering material, or neutron scattering work.Year in industry
It is possible to add a placement year to the degree programme and gain valuable work experience. For more details, see Physics with a Year in Industry.Year abroad
In your third year of the BSc you could also opt to study abroad at one of our partner universities. For more details, see Physics with a Year Abroad.
You have access to first-class research facilities in new laboratories. These are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, including a full characterisation suite for materials, including:
- three powder diffractometers
- a single crystal diffractometer
- x-ray fluorescence
- instruments to measure magnetic and transport properties
- a Raman spectrometer
- scanning electron microscopes
- optical coherence tomography imaging equipment
- optical spectrum analysers
- two-stage light gas gun for impact studies
- on-campus Beacon Observatory.
The University is a member of the South East Physics Network (SEPnet), which offers a competitive programme of summer internships to Stage 2 and 3 undergraduates.Extra activities
The School of Physical Sciences is home to an international scientific community of forensic science, chemistry, physics and astronomy students. Numerous formal and informal opportunities for discussion make it easy to participate in the academic life of the School. All students have an academic adviser and we also run a peer mentoring scheme.
You are encouraged to participate in conferences and professional events to build up your knowledge of the science community and enhance your professional development. The School also works collaboratively with business partners, which allows you to see how our research influences current practice.
You can also take part in:
- the School’s Physical Sciences Colloquia, a popular series of talks given by internal and external experts on relevant and current topics
- the student-run Physics and Space Societies, which organise talks with top industry professionals, practical demonstrations and social events
The School of Physical Sciences also has links with:
- the Home Office
- optical laboratories
- local health authorities
- aerospace/defence industries
- software and engineering companies