Our flexible curriculum allows you to move between our programmes in the earlier years, which will ensure you find the right programme for you at Kent. We’re a welcoming and supportive school with a lively student community. The student-run Physics, Space and Amateur Rocketry societies organise talks, practical demonstrations and social events.
This programme is fully accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP).
Reasons to study Physics at Kent
Study a wide range of modules and build your degree around your interests. Our lecturers are both innovative teachers and active researchers working at the cutting-edge of research across a range of fields including quantum materials and applied optics. Open up a world of opportunities by gaining transferable skills, such as problem solving, independent investigative skills, communication and analytical skills. Focus on your future with expert careers advice and the opportunity to complete a professional placement. Build the connections that matter thanks to our links with optical laboratories, local health authorities, aerospace/defence industries and software and engineering companies. You’ll have access to our teaching and research facilities including state-of-the-art laboratories, high performance computers and protein mass spectrometers. Benefit from our membership to the South East Physics Network (SEPnet), which offers a competitive programme of summer internships, career focused events, advice and a wider physics community. Our dedicated foundation year makes our course accessible to those without a science background.
What you'll learn
In your first year, the focus is on the fundamentals of electricity and light, mathematics, mechanics, and thermodynamics alongside experimental, computational, statistical and analytical skills. These skills are developed further in your second year.
By the third year, you will be attached to one of the research teams which will open avenues for even deep exploration into a topic of your choice.
You can also tailor your degree to suit you with a professional placement year or an integrated Masters (MPhys) where you’ll work with one of our cutting-edge research groups and gain an edge in the job market. Choose the ‘year abroad’ version of the programme to broaden your horizons by studying at another institution for your third year.
If you do not have the grades or scientific background for direct entry, you can take the Physics Foundation Year. Upon successful completion of this year, you are able to to move onto any of our Physics, Physics with Astrophysics, or Astronomy, Space Science and Astrophysics degrees.
Teaching is by lectures, practical classes, tutorials and workshops. You have an average of nine one-hour lectures, one or two days of practical or project work and a number of workshops each week. The practical modules include specific study skills in Physics and general communication skills.
Assessment is by written examinations at the end of each year and by continuous assessment of practical classes and other written assignments. Your final degree result is made up of a combined mark from the Stage 2 and 3 assessments with maximum weight applied to the final stage.
Knowledge and understanding
You gain knowledge and understanding in physical laws and principles, as well as their applications. The areas covered include:
- Classical and quantum mechanics.
- Statistical physics and thermodynamics.
- Wave phenomena and the properties of matter.
- Nuclear and particle physics.
- Condensed matter physics.
- Plasmas and fluids.
You gain intellectual skills in how to:
- Identify relevant principles and laws when dealing with problems and make approximations necessary to obtain solutions.
- Solve problems in physics using appropriate mathematical tools.
- Execute an experiment or investigation, analyse the results and draw valid conclusions.
- Evaluate the level of uncertainty in experimental results and compare the results to expected outcomes, theoretical predictions or published data in order to evaluate their significance.
- Use mathematical techniques and analysis to model physical phenomena.
You gain subject-specific skills in:
- The use of communications and IT packages for the retrieval of information and analysis of data.
- How to present and interpret information graphically.
- The ability to communicate scientific information, in particular to produce clear and accurate scientific reports.
- The use of laboratory apparatus and techniques, including aspects of health and safety.
- The systematic and reliable recording of experimental data.
- An ability to make use of appropriate texts, research-based materials or other learning resources as part of managing your own learning.
You gain transferable skills in:
- Problem-solving skills, including problems with well-defined solutions and those that are open-ended. Also, the ability to formulate problems in precise terms, identify key issues and have the confidence to try different approaches.
- Independent investigative skills including the use of textbooks, other literature, databases and interaction with colleagues.
- Communication skills when dealing with surprising ideas and difficult concepts, including listening carefully, reading demanding texts and presenting complex information in a clear and concise manner.
- Analytical skills including the ability to manipulate precise and intricate ideas, construct logical arguments, use technical language correctly and pay attention to detail.
- Personal skills including the ability to work independently, use initiative, organise your time to meet deadlines and interact constructively with other people.
The programme aims to:
- Foster an enthusiasm for physics by exploring the ways in which it is core to our understanding of nature and fundamental to many other scientific disciplines.
- Enhance an appreciation of the application of physics in different contexts.
- Involve students in a stimulating and satisfying experience of learning within a research-led environment.
- Motivate and support a wide range of students in their endeavours to realise their academic potential.
- Provide students with a balanced foundation of physics knowledge and practical skills and an understanding of scientific methodology.
- Enable students to undertake and report on an experimental and/or theoretical investigation.
- Develop in students a range of transferable skills of general value.
- Enable students to apply their skills and understanding to the solution of theoretical and practical problems.
- Provide students with a knowledge base that allows them to progress into more specialised areas of physics, or into multi-disciplinary areas involving physical principles.
- Generate in students an appreciation of the importance of physics in the industrial, economic, environmental and social contexts.