- A level requirements: ABB
- UCAS code: F3F5
- Study mode: Full-time
- Length: 3 years
The BSc (Hons) Physics with Astronomy is taught jointly by world-leading academics from the University of Liverpool and Liverpool John Moores University. The three-year Physics and Astronomy degree gives students a wide appreciation of the varied astronomical phenomena in the physical Universe.
From the formation, evolution and deaths of stars (involving planetary systems, nucleosynthesis and supernovae) through structure of galaxies to the evolution of the Universe itself, the degree structure introduces the physics involved in the cosmos.
Anyone who is curious about the fundamental laws of nature will enjoy Physics. It is one of the few disciplines that really challenge our view of the world. For example, in relativity we find that space and time are entangled and that clocks run slowly under the influence of a gravitational field. When we examine the world on a microscopic scale, we are in the realm of quantum mechanics, where the predictions, such as wave-particle duality, even seem strange to the physicists who study its foundations.
The three-year Physics and Astronomy degree will equip students with skills relevant for jobs in a wide range of careers, from education, research, finance and the city to industry.
The two-metre aperture Liverpool Telescope located in the Canaries, which is the largest robotically controlled telescope in the world, will provide you with unique access to observations from a major research facility when you undertake a research project in your final year.
There are opportunities to work alongside our internationally renowned academics at projects at the LHC at CERN and in many international and national research centres in the USA, Canada, Japan, Korea and many European countries.
Our flexible programmes allow students to transfer up to the end of year two between any of the physics programmes.
This programme is accredited by the Institute of Physics, which means it satisfies the academic requirements for Chartered Physicist status.
Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.
The first year starts with a one-week project to familiarise you with the staff and other students. There will be two Maths modules in each of the first two years; these are designed to provide the Mathematical skills required by Physics students.
The module provides an overview of Newtonian mechanics, continuing on from A-level courses. This includes: Newton’s laws of motion in linear and rotational circumstances, gravitation and Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. The theory of Relativity is then introduced, starting from a historical context, through Einstein’s postulates, leading to the Lorentz transformations.
Einstein said in 1949 that "Thermodynamics is the only physical theory of universal content which I am convinced, within the areas of applicability of its basic concepts, will never be overthrown." In this module, different aspects of thermal physics are addressed: (i) classical thermodynamics which deals with macroscopic properties, such as pressure, volume and temperature – the underlying microscopic physics is not included; (ii) kinetic theory of gases describes the properties of gases in terms of probability distributions associated with the motions of individual molecules; and (iii) statistical mechanics which starts from a microscopic description and then employs statistical methods to derive macroscopic properties. The laws of thermodynamics are introduced and applied.
Waves lie at the heart of physics, being phenomena associated with quantum wave mechanics, electromagnetic fields, communication, lasers and, spectacularly, gravitational waves. The course is divided into several major sections. The first, can be viewed as a pre-wave study of oscillations. This teaches the basics of oscillatory systems which form the backbone of an understanding of waves. The second, deals with waves in abstract; solution of the wave equation and the principles of superposition. Finally, we look at examples of wave phenomena. These are the first introduction to what will be covered in the remainder of your degree.
This module illustrates how a series of fascinating experiments, some of which physics students will carry out in their laboratory courses, led to the realisation that Newtonian mechanics does not provide an accurate description of physical reality. As is described in the module, this failure was first seen in interactions at the atomic scale and was first seen in experiments involving atoms and electrons. The module shows how Newton’s ideas were replaced by Quantum mechanics, which has been critical to explaining phenomena ranging from the photo-electric effect to the fluctuations in the energy of the Cosmic Microwave Background. The module also explains how this revolution in physicist’s thinking paved the way for developments such as the laser.
The "Introduction to computational physics" (Phys105) module is designed to introduce physics students to the use of computational techniques appropriate to the solution of physical problems. No previous computing experience is assumed. During the course of the module, students are guided through a series of structured exercises which introduce them to the Python programming language and help them acquire a range of skills including: plotting data in a variety of ways; simple Monte Carlo techniques; algorithm development; and basic symbolic manipulations. The exercises are based around the content of the first year physics modules, both encouraging students to recognise the relevance of computing to their physics studies and enabling them to develop a deeper understanding of aspects of their first year course.
This module teaches the laboratory side of physics to complement the taught material from lectures and to introduce key concepts of experimental physics.
This module aims to provide all students with a common foundation in mathematics, necessary for studying the physical sciences and maths courses in later semesters. All topics will begin "from the ground up" by revising ideas which may be familiar from A-level before building on these concepts. In particular, the basic principles of differentiation and integration will be practised, before extending to functions of more than one variable.
This module introduces some of the mathematical techniques used in physics. For example, matrices, differential equations, vector calculus and series are discussed. The ideas are first presented in lectures and then the put into practice in problems classes, with support from demonstrators and the module lecturer. When you have finished this module, you should: Be able to manipulate matrices and use matrix methods to solve simultaneous linear equations. Be familiar with methods for solving first and second order differential equations in one variable. Have a basic knowledge of vector algebra. Have a basic understanding of series, in particular of Fourier series and transforms.
Astronomy is the study of Universe – applying a broad range of physics (and indeed chemistry and even biology) to both understand the cosmos and our place in it, andit and improve our understanding of the underlying physics. In this module you will be introduced to the constituents of the Uuniverse – from our Solar System, through stars, exoplanets and galaxies, to the evolution of spacetime -– and study some of the observational techniques used to answer outstanding questions about the cosmos.
In year two you will broaden your understanding of physics and astronomy, with modules designed to ensure you have mastered the full range of physics concepts
The study of classical electromagnetism, one of the fundamental physical theories. Several simple and idealised systems will be studied in detail, developing an understanding of the principles underpinning several applications, and setting the foundations for the understanding of more complex systems. Mathematical methods shall be developed and exercised for the study of physical systems.
Condensed matter physics (CMP) is the study of the structure and behaviour of matter that makes up most of the things that surround us in our daily lives, including the screen on which you are reading this material. It is not the study of the very small (particle and nuclear physics) or the very large (astrophysics and cosmology) but of the things in between. CMP is concerned with the “condensed” phases of real materials that arise from electromagnetic forces between the constituent atoms, and at its heart is the necessity to understand the behaviour of these phases by using physical laws that include quantum mechanics, electromagnetism and statistical mechanics. Understanding such behaviour leads to the design of novel materials for advanced technological devices that address the challenges that face modern civilization, such as climate change.
The course aims to introduce 2nd year students to the concepts and formalism of quantum mechanics. The Schrodinger equation is used to describe the physics of quantum systems in bound states (infinite and finite well potentials, harmonic oscillator, hydrogen atoms, multi-electron atoms) or scattering (potential steps and barriers). Basis of atomic spectroscopy are also introduced.
Introduction to nuclear and particle physics
The "Computational Physics" (PHYS205) module is designed to further develop the computing skills Liverpool Physics students have acquired in their first year of study (in the "Introduction to Computational Physics module, PHYS105). The Python programming techniques covered in PHYS105 are first summarised and revised, then students apply these to a range of physics-based problems which they tackle by analysing data, carrying out small Monte Carlo simulations and using graphing and data presentation methods as appropriate. In the second section of the course, students work in small groups, each of which is given a project to tackle. The groups must first understand the problem they have been given and work out how they can use their computing skills to solve it. They must also manage their work, ensuring that together they develop the algorithms and code they need in the time available. Finally, each group presents their work to their peers and writes a report on their project.
Teaches and explores the fundamental aspects of Practical Optical Astronomy. Predominantly lab based, the module includes a full primer on how to plan and carry out telescopic observations, photometric and spectroscopic techniques, and the analysis of the resultant data.
This module extends the previous treatment of vector calculus and linear algebra (vectors and matrices). It provides essential mathematical tools for electrodynamics and quantum mechanics.
Why are some stars faint, while others are millions of times brighter than the Sun? Why do some stars appear blue, while others appear red? Why do some stars suddenly explode, while others slowly fizzle out on timescales longer than the age of the Universe? These questions can be answered once we understand the theory of the physics of stellar structure, and how stars of different masses change in appearance as they evolve.
The third year comprises a mix of core modules and many optional modules in physics. You’ll undertake a research project with a member of staff.
This module concerns the study of quantum mechanics and its application to atomic systems. The description of simple systems will be covered before extending to real systems. Perturbation theory will be used to determine the detailed physical effects seen in atomic systems.
This module provides a detailed overview of the practicalities of observational astronomy across the entire electromagnetic spectrum.
The module builds on first and second year modules on electricity, magnetism and waves to show how a wide variety of physical phenomena can be explained in terms of the properties of electromagnetic radiation. The module will also explore how these properties follow from the relationships between electric and magnetic fields (and their interactions with matter) expressed by Maxwell’s equations, and how electromagnetism fits into the theory of Special Relativity.
This module covers the physics and observational techniques of the field of Galactic Astrophysics
The course covers the concepts required to connect special relativity, Newtonian gravity, general relativity, and the cosmological metrics and dynamical equations. The main part of the course is focussed on cosmology, which is study of the content of the universe, structure on the largest scales, and its dynamical evolution. This is covered from both a theoretical and observational perspective.
The problem to understand blackbody radiation opened the door to modern physics. In this module an understanding of thermodynamics is developed from a quantum mechanical and statistical description of the three fundamental gases: The Maxwell-Boltzmann ideal gas in the classical limit, and the Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein gases in the quantum limits for fermions and bosons, respectively. A statistical understanding of thermodynamic quantities will be developed together with a method of deriving thermodynamic potentials from the properties of the quantum system. Applications are shown in solid state physics and the Planck blackbody radiation spectrum.
This module involves the student engaging in a detailed final year project undertaken individually. The project work is typically based in one of the research groups within the Department of Physics. There is also the option to pursue individual projects in cooperation with an industrial partner. The student will be planning, managing and accomplishing an extended investigation of a physics-based or physics-related problem under the supervision of one or more academic staff members. In case of an industry-based project, there are two supervisors required, one academic and one from industry. BSc projects may be experimental, observational, computational or theoretical. The output of the project will be written up in a project report and presented in the form of a talk. Industry-based projects can be related to any in-house developments but not to an actual product release. The programme is to develop graduates to acquire skills in: development of solving new complex tasks; initiative and creativity; communication and cooperation with others; project organisation and self management. Quantitative scientific skills will be emphasized so as to make graduates of the course gain a wider experience of report writing displaying high standards of composition and production.
Computational methods are at the heart of many modern physics experiments and mastering these techniques is invaluable also beyond fundamental research. In this module we introduce students to object-oriented concepts of a modern programming language (Python) and employ this to model experiments. A combination of Monte Carlo methods (based on random trials) and deterministic methods to solve differential equations are used. Students will then apply their knowledge in a small-group project connected to the state-of-the-art research done in the department. The project topics are taken from different areas of particle, nuclear or accelerator physics and range from analyses situated at the Large Hadron Collider to medical applications of proton beams.
This c ourse aims at providing students with a basic knowledge of the principles of radiation transport, the interaction of photons and matter, the computation of stellar atmosphere models, the application of radiation transport methods to expanding atmospheres such as stellar winds and Supernova envelopes. We also look at how stellar winds are created and at the properties of Supernovae.
This course considers the application of physics to the study of planets, with a focus on the application of fundamental physical principles rather than providing detailed planetary descriptions. The first four weeks address the planets of our solar system, including what constraint is provided on their physics from studies of our own planet, Earth. We consider particularly insights from observations of orbits, gravitational field, rotation, thermal properties and magnetic field, with brief coverage of formation,composition, and seismology. The focus is on application of basic physical principles rather than detailed observational descriptions, and on methods that might (eventually) be of use in the study of exoplanets. The final two weeks considers exoplanets specifically, particularly the methods of their detection,and our current understanding of planetary systems in general.
The physics internship module is designed to give students the experience of working in a STEM related working environment or setting that is different from any project work that they undertake in the Department of Physics. It should provide an insight into how students may apply skills and experiences later in their career; whether working abroad or in any other non-UoL, off-campus scientific or secondary school setting.
Condensed Matter Physics (CMP) is the largest subfield of physics with practical applications that has changed our everyday life such as semiconductor devices, magnetic recording disks, Magnetic resonance imaging. It deals with the study of the structure and physical properties of large collection of atoms that compose materials, which are found in nature or synthesized in laboratory. This particular module aims to advance and extend the concepts on solids introduced in Year 1 and Year 2 modules. Especially, it focuses on the atomic structure and behaviour of electrons in crystalline materials, which are essential for understanding of physical phenomena in complex systems.
Producing sufficient energy to meet the demands of an expanding and increasingly power-hungry society, whilst striving not to exacerbate the impacts of climate change, is a significant challenge. This module looks at the key physical concepts which underpin a range of energy generation sources, from traditional fossil fuel fired turbine generation to photovoltaic solar cells. This builds on prior knowledge of thermodynamics, fluid behaviour and semiconductors to show how these concepts can be practically applied to power generation and storage systems.
This module gives an introduction to nuclear physics. Starting from the bulk properties of atomic nuclei different modes of radioactivity are discussed, before a closer look at the nucleon-nucleon interaction leads to the development of the shell model. Collective models of the nucleus leading to a quantitative understanding of rotational and vibrational excitations are developed. Finally, electromagnetic decays between excited states are introduced as spectroscopic tools to probe and understand nuclear structure.
This module focuses on nuclear reactors as a source of energy for use by society. After reviewing the underlying physics principles, the design and operation and nuclear fission reactors is introduced. The possibility of energy from nuclear fusion is then discussed, with the present status and outlook given.
Introduction to Particle Physics. To build on the second year module involving Nuclear and Particle Physics. To develop an understanding of the modern view of particles, of their interactions and the Standard Model.
Preparation and characterisation of a range of materials of scientific and technological importance.
This module develops the physics concepts describing semiconductors in sufficient details for the purpose of understanding the construction and operation of common semiconductor devices.
The magnetic properties of solids are exploited extensively in a wide range of technologies, from hard disk drives, to sensors, to magnetic resonance imaging, and the development of magnetic materials is a multi-billion pound industry. Fundamentally, magnetism in condensed matter also represents one of the best examples of quantum mechanics in action, even at room temperature and on a macroscopically observable scale. In this module we will explore how the interactions between electrons in solids can result in the magnetic moment, and how this relates to the quantum mechanical property of spin. We will use these tools to probe the complicated processes that allow spontaneous magnetism to exist within certain select materials, and their implications for future technologies and our theoretical understanding of the nature of solids.
Our research-led teaching ensures you are taught the latest advances in cutting-edge physics research. Lectures introduce and provide the details of the various areas of physics and related subjects. You will be working in tutorials and problem-solving workshops, which are another crucial element in the learning process, where you put your knowledge into practice. They help you to develop a working knowledge and understanding of physics. All of the lecturers also perform world class research and use this to enhance their teaching.
Most work takes place in small groups with a tutor or in a larger class where staff provide help as needed. Practical work is an integral part of the programmes, and ranges from training in basic laboratory skills in the first two years to a research project in the third or fourth year. You will undertake an extended project on a research topic with a member of staff who will mentor you. By the end of the degree you will be well prepared to tackle problems in any area and present yourself and your work both in writing and in person. In the first two years students take maths modules which provide the support all students need to understand the physics topics.
The main modes of assessment are coursework and examination. Depending on the modules taken you may encounter project work, presentations (individual or group), and specific tests or tasks focused on solidifying learning outcomes.
We have a distinctive approach to education, the Liverpool Curriculum Framework, which focuses on research-connected teaching, active learning, and authentic assessment to ensure our students graduate as digitally fluent and confident global citizens.
Studying with us means you can tailor your degree to suit you. Here's what is available on this course.
The School of Physical Sciences is one of the UK’s leading physics departments, with a history of discovery that goes back over 130 years, producing three Nobel Laureates. The schoo is internationally renowned for its work in particle physics, nuclear physics, condensed matter physics and accelerator physics. As a student, you’ll be immersed in a research environment from the start. Teaching takes place in our £23 million Central Teaching Laboratories, which have transformed the way in which physical sciences are taught.
Find out a little bit more about Physics at Liverpool from Professor Carsten Welsch, Head of the Physics Department.
Physics gives you a chance to explain how the world works – from the really small atomic scale to the really large. I've really enjoyed the practicals. I've really been able to get to grips with handling the equipment and the scientific methods – and it’s good to be able to apply the things you've learnt in lectures when you’re hands on in the lab. I feel like I've learnt enough, and developed a lot of skills to be able to apply them in later life. I'm glad I came to the University of Liverpool.
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Physicists are trained to solve a range of problems, meaning your degree opens up a wide range of careers. Physics graduates are among those earning the highest starting salaries in the UK and graduates have excellent opportunities for careers in research, industry, computing, teaching, business and finance.
The knowledge, skills and experience that our you’ll develop during your degree are in demand by employers. Graduates have gone on to explore careers in areas as diverse as:
The Department of Physics attracts considerable research income, creating excellent opportunities to progress to a research degree, particularly in the fields of condensed matter physics, nuclear physics, particle physics, nanoscience and energy.
At Liverpool, our goal is to support you to build your intellectual, social, and cultural capital so that you graduate as a socially-conscious global citizen who is prepared for future success. We achieve this by:
Hear what graduates say about their career progression and life after university.
Your tuition fees, funding your studies, and other costs to consider.
|UK fees (applies to Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland)|
|Full-time place, per year||£9,250|
|Year abroad fee||£1,385|
|Full-time place, per year||£26,100|
|Year abroad fee||£13,050|
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching and assessment, operating facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support. Learn more about tuition fees, funding and student finance.
We understand that budgeting for your time at university is important, and we want to make sure you understand any course-related costs that are not covered by your tuition fee. This could include buying a laptop, books, or stationery.
Find out more about the additional study costs that may apply to this course.
We offer a range of scholarships and bursaries to help cover tuition fees and help with living expenses while at university.
The qualifications and exam results you'll need to apply for this course.
My qualifications are from: United Kingdom.
Applicants with the Extended Project Qualification (EPQ) are eligible for a reduction in grade requirements. For this course, the offer is BBB with A in the EPQ.
You may automatically qualify for reduced entry requirements through our contextual offers scheme.
If you don't meet the entry requirements, you may be able to complete a foundation year which would allow you to progress to this course.
Available foundation years:
|GCSE||4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics|
For applicants from England: For science A levels that include the separately graded practical endorsement, a "Pass" is required.
|BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma||
Applications considered alongside A levels. Please contact the University for further information.
33 points that must include 6 points each from Physics and Mathematics at Higher level.
|Irish Leaving Certificate||H1, H2, H2, H2, H3, H3 including Physics and Mathematics at H2 or above.|
|Scottish Higher/Advanced Higher||
Advanced Highers accepted at grades ABB including Physics and Mathematics.
|Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced||Accepted at grade B, including Mathematics and Physics A Levels at AB.|
|Access||45 Level 3 credits in graded units in a relevant Diploma,including 30 at Distinction and a further 15 with at least Merit. GCSE grades 4/C in English and 4/C in Mathematics also required. 15 Distinctions are required in each of Mathematics and Physics.|
Many countries have a different education system to that of the UK, meaning your qualifications may not meet our entry requirements. Completing your Foundation Certificate, such as that offered by the University of Liverpool International College, means you're guaranteed a place on your chosen course.
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