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Physics with Particle Physics

F392 BSc (Hons) 3 years


Physics is essential to our understanding of how the universe works: from the behaviour of fundamental particles to the movement of the stars and planets. Understanding what the universe is made from and how particles interact is the goal of particle physics research. We can design, build and analyse data from leading experiments worldwide to help achieve this understanding. The observation of the Higgs boson, the search for new physics at CERN, and the research into Neutrinos deep underground in Japan and Canada are just some examples of the exciting research undertaken by physicists at Queen Mary.

The BSc in Physics with Particle Physics will deepen your understanding of particle physics and give you the opportunity to undertake a research project which could include working on experimental results from the ATLAS experiment at CERN to the T2K neutrino experiment sited in Japan.

For example you will gain:

  • Fundamental knowledge of the Standard Model of particle physics and ideas that go beyond the Standard Model.
  • An understanding of detector techniques such as those used at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN.
  • Statistical knowledge of data analysis in particle physics
  • Knowledge of concepts of computer programming in modern science with the option to take advanced scientific programming
  • The ability to apply quantum mechanical principles to the sub-atomic and sub-nuclear physics.

Why study Physics with Particle Physics at Queen Mary?

In the National Student Survey 2014, 94 per cent of our students were satisfied with the course and their experience at Queen Mary. You will learn in a research-rich environment benefiting from the work done by our world-leading researchers as they incorporate their work into their teaching. Our areas of research strength are broad, and include particle physics, astronomy, condensed matter and materials physics and theoretical physics, allowing you to gain a degree with a wide knowledge of physics or the opportunity to specialise in a particular area. All our degrees are accredited by the Institute of Physics. A variety of options to study abroad are open to you and you can apply to spend a semester or one full year abroad. We have links with universities around the world, including Europe, America and Asia.

Our undergraduate laboratories are equipped with everything required to investigate the physics learned about in lectures. Facilities include spacious general-purpose work stations, two optics rooms and four specialist vibration-free surfaces for sensitive experiments. There is a wide selection of scientific equipment that students use as part of their laboratory sessions including interferometers, oscilloscopes, lasers, muon detectors, spectroscopy equipment and X-ray equipment. Furthermore there is an array of equipment available in research laboratories to students undertaking project work. The teaching laboratories are open access with two members of staff offering technical support and advice during normal working hours.

You will be able to undertake a research project in your final year under the supervision of an academic in the Particle Physics Research Centre (PPRC). PPRC conducts experimental particle physics research at the complimentary so called 'energy frontier' e.g. the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN and the 'intensity frontier' e.g. with neutrino beams. Some members of the PPRC are involved in the ATLAS experiment at the LHC studying top quarks, the Higgs Boson and proton structure and preparing for future upgrades to the parts of the detector we helped build. Other members are working on neutrino oscillations at the T2K experiment in Japan and searching for neutrinoless double beta decay at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory (SNO) in Canada. We are also preparing for new initiatives such as the SuperB experiment in Italy and future neutrino experiments. We are heavily involved in Grid computing that allows analysis of the huge amounts of data from these experiments.

We will support you in your search for a career. We offer paid summer internships to the most able students which gives students the chance to work alongside academics on research projects. There are also a wide variety of employer internships available to students through the SEPnet scheme.

Working alongside the Careers team and the Institute of Physics, we provide careers information and advice, including support in CV writing and interview skills. We also organise careers events on campus, inviting prospective employers to explain what they look for in graduate employees and recent graduates to describe their experiences of the world of work.

For more information, see careers.


Year 1
Compulsory modules:

  • Scientific Measurement
  • Waves and Oscillations
  • From Newton to Einstein
  • Mathematical Techniques 1
  • Mathematical Techniques 2
  • Electric and Magnetic Fields
  • Quantum Physics
  • Introduction to C++ Programming
Year 2
Compulsory modules:
  • Thermal and Kinetic Physics
  • Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics
  • Condensed Matter A
  • Electromagnetic Waves and Optics
  • Quantum Mechanics A
  • Physics Laboratory

Two options from other modules including:

  • Physical Dynamics
  • Stars
  • Physics of Energy and the Environment
  • Mathematical Techniques 3
  • Planetary Systems
  • Our Universe

Year 3
Compulsory modules:

  • Extended Independent Project
  • Synoptic Physics
  • Elementary Particle Physics
  • Radiation Detectors
  • Quantum Mechanics B
  • Statistical Data Analysis
  • Statistical Physics

One option from other modules including:

  • Fluid Dynamics
  • Physical Cosmology
  • Statistical Data Analysis
  • Physics of Galaxies
  • Condensed Matter B
  • Mathematical Techniques 4
  • Quantum Mechanics and Symmetry
  • Group Projects for Physicists

Entry requirements


Typical tariff or grades required: AAB-ABB (340-320 points); Applicants should aim to achieve grade A at A-level in Physics and Mathematics. If you do not perform as well in one subject and do better in others, then that is acceptable, providing you gain the minimum number of points required for the degree programme.

Additional requirements and excluded subjects: General Studies should not be included in the points tariff.

International Baccalaureate:

Subjects and grades: Acceptable on its own and combined with other qualifications.

Subjects and grades required: BSc programmes: 30-34 points overall with 6 in both Higher Level Physics and Higher Level Mathematics. MSci programmes: 34 points overall with 6 in both HL Physics and HL Mathematics.

Vocational and other qualifications:

The College accepts a wide range of qualifications such as; Access and Foundation programmes, vocational awards, Irish Leaving Certificate, Scottish Highers and other Baccalaureates. Please visit our further information page below.

Further information on our entry requirements.

Admission is based on academic merit and on the proven ability of the applicant to achieve success on their chosen programme of study. Every application to Queen Mary is considered on its individual merits with personal statement and reference taken into consideration. 

Information for applicants from outside the United Kingdom, including English language qualifications

Further info

Admission is based on academic merit and on the proven ability of the applicant to achieve success on their chosen programme of study. Every application to Queen Mary is considered on its individual merits with personal statement and reference taken into consideration. 

Information for applicants from outside the United Kingdom, including English language qualifications

Information on these activities and to find out more on studying Physics at Queen Mary.

You can also keep up to date with us on Facebook and Twitter.

For further information you can also call the Enquiries Hotline (UK callers only) on Freephone
0800 376 1800.

International students should contact the Admissions Office:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 5511

Learning and teaching

Learning and Teaching:

In your first year you will have approximately 18 hours of direct contact hours per week. This will consist of a combination of lectures, tutorials and laboratory sessions. Most modules have three hours a week of lectures and at least one hour a week of tutorials. Laboratory sessions are usually longer and taught for 15-20 hours per week in blocks of three hours.

Lectures consist of a member of academic staff delivering a formal lecture on a given topic. Tutorials (also known as exercise classes) are designed to support the lectures and provide students with an opportunity to work through examples and problems.

Laboratory sessions are used to develop your experimental skills and also support report writing and error estimation (both important skills for physicists).

In your final year you will undertake a research project that will involve working closely with a member of academic staff on a specified research topic. This could include laboratory or technical work (such as building a muon detector) or could focus on mathematical theoretical models.

Independent study

At university you will also be expected to undertake a large amount of independent study. In Physics we expect students to undertake at least two hours of independent study for each hour of teaching in your first year. In later years you will be expected to do a lot more, especially for the final year projects. Your individual study time could be spent preparing for, or following up on formal study sessions; reading; assessing data from experiments; completing lab reports; and revising for examinations.

The direction of your individual study will be guided by the formal study and laboratory sessions you attend, along with your reading and assignments. However, we expect you to demonstrate an active role in your own learning by reading widely and expanding your own knowledge, understanding and critical ability. Independent study will foster in you the ability to identify your own learning needs and determine which areas you need to focus on to become proficient in your subject area. This is an important transferable skill and will help to prepare you for the transition to working life.


Modules are assessed depending on the nature of the work being carried out. For example, if the module involves practical work only, the assessment will be based on laboratory reports alone. For the non-practical modules you will have various combinations of assessment including weekly coursework, termly assignments and an end-of-year examination.

Further information regarding assessment for specific modules.

Fees and finance

Tuition fees

Fees are charged at a Home/EU rate for UK and EU nationals, and an overseas rate for International students - find out more about how your tuition fee status is assessed.

You can either take out a Tuition Fee Loan (see Funding section below) to pay your fees or, if you are paying them yourself, you can pay in instalments.

Tuition fees for a year abroad or placement year on a full time undergraduate course will be a proportion of the full fee for the year in which you commence your time abroad or placement.

For information on field trip and other course related costs which are not included in your tuition fee, please contact the relevant Department/School.

See more general information about fees.

Tel: +44 (0)20 7882 7676


Queen Mary has a substantial package of scholarships and bursaries which will benefit around 50 per cent of our undergraduate student body.

Scholarships and Bursaries available at Queen Mary for Home/EU Students

There are a number of scholarships and bursaries available each year for home students. Visit our Bursaries and Scholarships page for more information.

Visit our Advice and Counselling website for more information about financial support.

Scholarships available at Queen Mary for International Students

There are a number of Scholarships available each year for International Students including bursaries and scholarships in a range of subject areas.

Find out more about international scholarships.

Some International students may also be eligible for a fee reduction.

Loans and Grants available to help with tuition fees and living costs

Student Finance England administers all grant and loans for your studies if you normally live in England.

If you live in WalesScotland or Northern Ireland you have an equivalent Student Finance department for your region.

Through Student Finance England, you can apply for (figures relate to programmes starting from September 2016):

  • A Tuition Fee Loan of up to £9,000 to pay all or part of your fees
  • A Maintenance Loan of up to £10,702 to help pay your living costs like rent, food and travel
  • Extra grants if you have a disability or you have children or an adult dependant
  • You might get a grant to cover some travel expenses if you normally live in England but study away from home. If you’re a medical or dental student you might also qualify for help with the costs of attending clinical placements in the UK.

Visit Student Finance Information to find out more about:

  • How to apply for student finance
  • What eligibility rules apply, including if you already have a degree or previous higher education study
  • What the income thresholds are and how much you might personally get for each element of Student Finance
  • What to do if you have problems getting your Student Finance

Other financial help on offer at Queen Mary

We offer one to one specialist support on all financial and welfare issues through our Advice and Counselling Service, which you can access as soon as you have applied for a place at Queen Mary.

Our Advice and Counselling Service also has lots of Student Advice Guides on all aspects of finance including:

  • Additional sources of funding
  • Planning your budget and cutting costs
  • Part-time and vacation work
  • Money for lone parents

For more information visit the Advice and Counselling service website, or call +44 (0)20 7882 8717.

Graduate Employment

Graduates from Queen Mary’s School of Physics and Astronomy go on to work in a wide variety of careers.  Some apply their degree knowledge directly, entering careers such as lecturer or science communicator, whilst others transfer skills gained during study into areas such as finance, IT or the army. 

The national 2011 destination survey confirmed that 85.7% of graduates from the School of Physics and Astronomy were in employment and/or study six months after graduation with 91.7% already working/studying at graduate level. The School’s graduates have a strong earning power, with a median salary of £24,000. 

The broad range of skills gained through this course, coupled with multiple opportunities for extra-curricular activities and work experience, has enabled students to move into careers such as:

Software Engineer   Avande
Interest Rates Structurer Morgan Stanley
Science CommunicatorRoyal Observatory
Campaign AnalystFinancial Times
Information Systems OfficerKent County Council
Maths LecturerKing’s College London
Resident TutorWycombe Abbey School
Officer Cadet The British Army
Project Manager  Whitemore High School 

Throughout the course, students have access to a bespoke careers programme, to prepare them for internships and graduate level work. This programme includes workshops on job hunting and job applications as well as employer events to facilitate networks and help students to explore their options. 

Recent careers events in the School of Physics and Astronomy include a trip to CERN, academic career planning workshops and one-to-one coaching for internship applications.

Opportunities for work experience are substantial given Queen Mary’s location between Canary Wharf, the City and the Olympic Village. Students are encouraged to build their work experience throughout their period of study, through, for example, our QM Projects work experience scheme, QM Temps job agency, Experience Works events and QMSU Provide volunteering services. Over 800 vacancies are available to browse on the QM JobOnline vacancy site.

Queen Mary's extensive campus also provides over 1200 on-campus job and volunteer opportunities ranging from Science Ambassador to E-learning Assistant and from Society President to Student Mentor.

Read more about our careers programmes and range of work experience opportunities on the QM Careers pages.


Name: Rui Fan
Studying: BSc Physics

“The course is well structured but flexible. You can choose non-physics related modules, and it covers a lot of areas young physicists might be interested in. The professors are enthusiastic and you will find that a lot of them, if not all, will be involved in extensive research in their field of expertise.

“Queen Mary is always concerned about students’ welfare, and people are assigned to you (academic advisors, student support officer, physics careers officer, etc) to make sure you’re happy. In general, the University, has excellent teaching facilities: projectors and microphones and speakers in every lecture venue, and the physics department has lots of up-to-date facilities available for each experiment, as well as over 35 computers in the main laboratory alone.

“The most interesting part of the course was that, apart from the subjects you would expect (maths, quantum physics, astrophysics), we were also able to play around with basic computer programming using Wolfram Mathematica as part of the Mathematics Techniques II module. As someone who has never been involved in programming, I found this fascinating, and I cannot wait to learn more about C++, which can be selected as a module in the second year.”


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