- A level requirements: ABB
- UCAS code: F390
- Study mode: Full-time
- Length: 3 years
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Study Physics with Nuclear Science at Liverpool and ensure you’re fully equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary for a successful career in nuclear-related industries. In addition to core physics, you’ll also study mathematics, computing and experimental physics.
You will explore and apply fundamental principles that underpin modern physics, from electrodynamics and semiconductors to the startling conclusions of relativity and quantum mechanics, alongside the study of selected topics in the field of nuclear science.
Our network of academic advisors and open-door policy ensures a friendly and supportive learning environment.
Take your university experience even further on a paid year-long industry placement, or spend a year abroad at a partner university or our China campus.
Throughout your course, you will discover links with many parts of the growing nuclear industry, including those involved with decommissioning and homeland security. Staff from these institutions will be involved in project work undertaken.
This course is accredited by the Institute of Physics.
Discover what you'll learn, what you'll study, and how you'll be taught and assessed.
Your first year starts with a one-week project to familiarise you with the staff and other students.
There will be two Maths modules in the first year, and one in the second year, 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.
This module introduces underlying principles of nuclear science. The first three weeks will give an introduction to the structure of nuclei, their relative stability, how they decay and properties of different types of radiation. In the second half of the course, after studying nuclear reactions, we will look at various practical applications of nuclear science and the design of nuclear power stations in particular.
In year two, you will broaden your understanding of Physics, with modules designed to ensure that you have mastered the full range of Physics concepts ahead of your final year.
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.
The module "Practical Physics II" covers experimental techniques in broad range of physics phenomena which include measurements of fundamental constants, optics, nuclear physics and electronics. The experimental techniques and analysis methods are appropriate for Year 2 courses. Successful students will achieve improved practical skills and experience a detailed understanding of the fundamental physics behind the experiments, increased confidence in setting up and calibrating equipment, familiarity with IT package for calculating, displaying and presenting results, enhanced ability to plan, execute and report the results of an investigation, the skills to assemble, test and debug electronic circuits involving the use of both passive and active electronic components, the skills to write scientific papers
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.
This module provides an introduction to applications of accelerators and radioisotopes in medical imaging and tumour therapy. Concepts are developed from a simple physics perspective to provide an insight into the principles and practices of these modern medical applications. The lectures are complemented by workshops in which students can work collaboratively on problems to solve set problems. Experimental demonstrations to reinforce concepts also take place in the workshops. As well as being of interest to students considering careers in medical physics or nuclear-related industries, this module should also appeal to those curious to see how physics can be applied in a multidisciplinary approach to other areas of science.
Your third year comprises a mix of core modules and many optional modules in Physics. You will undertake a research project with a member of staff and one of our partner companies on an aspect of Nuclear Physics.
• To give further training in laboratory techniques, in the use of computer packages for modelling and analysis, and in the use of modern instruments
• To develop the students’ independent judgement in performing radiation physics experiments
• To encourage students to research aspects of physics complementary to material met in lectures and tutorials
• To consolidate the students ability to produce good quality work against realistic deadlines.
• To introduce the students to writing professional scientific reports in advance of final-year projects.
Individual projects in Nuclear Physics.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Preparation and characterisation of a range of materials of scientific and technological importance.
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.
This module develops the physics concepts describing semiconductors in sufficient details for the purpose of understanding the construction and operation of common semiconductor devices.
Statistical Methods in Physics Analysis: Understanding Statistics and its application to data analysis
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.
In this module, students will develop an understanding of the principles of radiotherapy and treatment planning. Topics include interaction of radiation with biological matter, radiation transport, biological modelling, beam modelling, medical imaging, electron transport and treatment planning.
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.
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.
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.
You will attend lectures, as well as working in tutorials and problem-solving workshops. Practical work is carried out in our award-winning Central Teaching Laboratories, starting with basic skills and progressing to a research project. Your course will be delivered by the Department of Physics.
Find out a little bit more about Physics at Liverpool from Professor Carsten Welsch, Head of the Physics Department.
From arrival to alumni, we’re with you all the way:
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.
A physics degree is a great starting point for a physics related career, engineering and computing careers.
Physicists are trained to solve a wide range of problems. That’s why graduates have gone on to explore careers in such diverse areas such as:
Hear what graduates say about their career progression and life after university.
Your tuition fees, how to pay, 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, assessment, operating University facilities such as libraries, IT equipment, and access to academic and personal support.
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.
ABB including Physics and Mathematics at A level.
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:
T levels are not currently accepted.
|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.
Last updated 18 August 2023 / / Programme terms and conditions /