Theoretical Physics

Entry Year: 2019

2 study options

Theoretical Physics BSc (Hons)

Key information

Degree
BSc (Hons)
Duration
3 years
Start
September 2019
UCAS code
F340
Institution code
Q50
Typical A-Level offer
Grades ABB at A-Level. This must include grade A or above in at least one of Mathematics and Physics. Both subjects are required. Excludes General Studies.
Full entry requirements
UK/EU fees
£9,250
International fees
£20,850
Funding information
Paying your fees

Theoretical Physics MSci (Hons)

Key information

Degree
MSci (Hons)
Duration
4 years
Start
September 2019
UCAS code
F323
Institution code
Q50
Typical A-Level offer
Grades AAB at A-Level. This must include grade A or above in both A-Level Mathematics and Physics. Excludes General Studies.
Full entry requirements
UK/EU fees
£9,250
International fees
£20,850
Funding information
Paying your fees
Theoretical Physics
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Overview

Theoretical physics uses mathematics and its applications to figure out how nature works: rationalising, explaining and predicting natural phenomena.

Choose this programme to specialise in the theoretical and mathematical aspects of physics, with less emphasis on experimental work. You’ll take core modules leading to a knowledge of advanced mathematics, quantum theory and special and general relativity, essential for describing the physics of particles and gravity.

Taking your studies further, you’ll choose from option modules dealing with exciting phenomena ranging from elementary particles to models of the universe as a whole. You’ll also have access to modules reflecting the School’s full range of expertise across physics and astronomy.

The advanced numerical, problem solving and research skills you'll develop are highly valued across academia, industrial research and the corporate sector.

Your programme includes modules taught by staff from the School’s prestigious Centre for Research in String Theory, one of the foremost research groups in string theory in the world.

In your final year, you’ll undertake an independent research project, supervised by one of the School’s theoretical physicists.

Professional recognition

This programme is accredited by the Institute of Physics

Undergraduate Open Days

Saturday 5 October 2019

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Structure

You can complete your Theoretical Physics degree in three or four years.

Year 1

Compulsory

  • Classical Physics
  • Electric and Magnetic Fields
  • Mathematical Techniques 1
  • Mathematical Techniques 2
  • Modern Physics
  • Professional Skills for Scientists (including introduction to programming)
  • Scientific Measurement

Choose one from

  • Introduction to Energy and Environmental Physics
  • Our Universe

Please note that all modules are subject to change.

Year 2

Compulsory

  • Communication Skills for Scientists
  • Condensed Matter A
  • Electromagnetic Waves and Optics
  • Mathematical Techniques 3
  • Physical Dynamics
  • Quantum Mechanics A
  • Thermodynamics

Choose two from

  • Complex Variables
  • Introduction to Scientific Computing
  • Nuclear Physics and Astrophysics
  • Our universe (MSci only)
  • Physical Dynamics
  • Physics Laboratory
  • Planetary Systems
  • Stars

Please note that all modules are subject to change.

Year 3

Compulsory

  • Extended Independent Project (BSc only)
  • Mathematical Techniques 4 (MSci only)
  • Physics Review Project (MSci only)
  • Quantum Mechanics and Symmetry
  • Quantum Mechanics B
  • Spacetime and Gravity
  • Statistical Physics
  • Synoptic Physics (study only)

Choose two from

  • Condensed Matter B
  • Elementary Particle Physics
  • Fluid Dynamics
  • Group Projects for Physicists
  • Mathematical Techniques 4 (BSc only)
  • Physical Cosmology
  • Radiation Detectors
  • Statistical Data Analysis
  • The Physics of Galaxies

Please note that all modules are subject to change.

Year 4

MSci only

Compulsory

  • Advanced Quantum Field Theory
  • Physics Investigative Project
  • Physics Research Project
  • Relativistic Waves and Quantum Fields

Choose one from

Modules offered at Queen Mary

  • Advanced Cosmology
  • Astrophysical Plasmas
  • Collider Physics
  • Cosmology
  • Differential Geometry in Theoretical Physics
  • Electromagnetic Radiation in Astrophysics
  • Electronic Structure Methods
  • Extrasolar Planets and Astrophysical Disks
  • Functional Methods in Quantum Field Theory
  • Phase Transitions
  • Relativity and Gravitation
  • Solar System
  • Stellar Structure and Evolution
  • Supersymmetric Methods in Theoretical Physics
  • The Galaxy

Modules currently offered at other University of London institutions are subject to change at short notice.

Modules offered at King's College London

  • Advanced Condensed Matter 
  • Advanced Photonics 
  • Cellular Biophysics 
  • Dark Matter and Dark Energy 
  • Dynamical Analysis of Complex Systems 
  • Elements of Statistical Learning 
  • Environmental Remote Sensing 
  • Equilibrium Analysis of Complex Systems 
  • Lie Groups and Algebras 
  • Mathematical Biology 
  • Mathematical Methods for Theoretical Physics 
  • Modelling Quantum Many Body-Systems 
  • Standard Model Physics and Beyond 
  • String Theory and Branes 
  • Supersymmetry 
  • Theoretical Treatment of Nano-Systems 
  • Theory of Complex Networks 

Modules offered at Royal Holloway

  • Computer Simulation in Condensed Matter 
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance 
  • Particle Accelerator Physics 
  • Physics at the Nanoscale 
  • Quantum Electronics and Nanostructure 
  • Statistical Data Analysis 
  • Statistical Mechanics 
  • Superfluids, Condensates and Superconductors 

Modules offered at University College London

  • Advanced Physics Cosmology 
  • Advanced Quantum Theory 
  • Advanced Topics in Statistical Mechanics 
  • Atom and Photon Physics 
  • Galaxy Dynamics, Formation and Evolution 
  • Molecular Biophysics 
  • Molecular Physics 
  • Order and Excitations in Condensed Matter 
  • Particle Physics
  • Planetary Atmospheres 
  • Quantum Computation and Communication 
  • Solar Physics 
  • Space Plasma and Magnetospheric Physics

Please note that all modules are subject to change.

Study options

Apply for this degree with any of the following options. Take care to use the correct UCAS code - it may not be possible to change your selection later.

Integrated foundation year

Students who do not meet their UCAS Conditional offer may be considered for the 4 year degree (foundation year plus the 3 year degree). Students who already hold a Conditional offer from Queen Mary will be automatically considered for the 4 year offer.  Queen Mary will also consider students who have not met their Conditional offer from another university, via UCAS Clearing.  The UCAS Tariff (points) required for admission to the 4 year degree is usually confirmed immediately prior to UCAS Clearing.

Students who have studied A Levels, the IB Diploma and US Advanced Placements will have to apply via UCAS Clearing for the 4 year degree.

International students with Year 12 or a completed international high school certificate/diploma qualify for the one year foundation programme commonly known as the ISEFP.

The foundation programme offers a range of transferable skills and an opportunity to improve on your knowledge content for relevant Maths and Science subjects.

You will enrol for a BSc Physics with Foundation which will offer progression to a range of degrees in the Physics Department.  At the end of the foundation programme, students will be required to meet the progression requirements for the degree of their choice.  

MSci

Specialise further by applying for our intercollegiate Theoretical Physics MSci, which shares fourth-year modules with other prestigious University of London institutions, including King’s College, University College London and Royal Holloway.

Additional Costs

If you choose to take intercollegiate 4th year modules at other London institutions, you’ll need to pay Tube and rail fares to attend classes.

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Testimonial

Studying physics gives you so many valuable skills. I recently got on to one of the placements organised by the School and my analysis and problem-solving skills came in really useful. I was working in a data science company, which was really interesting. The placement went so well I even got offered a job for when I graduate!

Teaching

Teaching and learning

You’ll learn through a combination of lectures, laboratory sessions and tutorial classes. Your total  teaching time will be around 20 hours per week, but you are expected to spend time on independent study and coursework or lab reports. Overall, you should be spending 30-40 hours on your studies each week.

Assessment

Assessment depends 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. For non-practical modules you may be assessed by weekly coursework, termly assignments and an end-of-year examination.

Resources and facilities

The School offers excellent on-campus resources to aid your studies, including:

  • teaching laboratories
  • a rooftop observatory
  • a dedicated study space for physics students
  • professional research facilities for use in final-year projects.

Entry requirements

Theoretical Physics - BSc (Hons)

A-LevelGrades ABB at A-Level. This must include grade A or above in at least one of Mathematics and Physics. Both subjects are required. Excludes General Studies.
IBInternational Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum of 32 points overall, including 6,5,5 from three Higher Level subjects. This must include 6 in Higher Level Mathematics or Physics, with both subjects being taken at Higher Level.
BTECSee our detailed subject and grade requirements
GCSEMinimum five GCSE passes including English and Maths at grade C or 4.
Contextualised admissionsWe consider every application on its individual merits and will take into consideration your individual educational experiences and context. More information on how academic schools and programmes use this information as part of the admissions process, can be found on our contextualised admissions pages.

Theoretical Physics - MSci (Hons)

This programme requires ATAS clearance. Students who are not EEA or Swiss nationals may require ATAS clearance to undertake this course. The CAH3 code for this course is CAH07-01-01. Further information on ATAS can be found on our Advice and Counselling webpages.

A-LevelGrades AAB at A-Level. This must include grade A or above in both A-Level Mathematics and Physics. Excludes General Studies.
IBInternational Baccalaureate Diploma with a minimum of 34 points overall, including 6,6,5 from three Higher Level subjects. This must include a minimum of 6 in both Higher Level Mathematics, and Higher Level Physics.
BTECBTEC qualifications are not considered for entry to this programme.
GCSEMinimum five GCSE passes including English and Maths at grade C or 4.
Contextualised admissionsWe consider every application on its individual merits and will take into consideration your individual educational experiences and context. More information on how academic schools and programmes use this information as part of the admissions process, can be found on our contextualised admissions pages.

Non-UK students

We accept a wide range of European and international qualifications in addition to A-levels, the International Baccalaureate and BTEC qualifications. Please visit International Admissions for full details.

If your qualifications are not accepted for direct entry onto this degree, consider applying for a foundation programme.

English language

Find out more about our English language entry requirements, including the types of test we accept and the scores needed for entry to the programme.

You may also be able to meet the English language requirement for your programme by joining a summer pre-sessional programme before starting your degree.

Further information

See our general undergraduate entry requirements.

Funding

Loans and grants

UK students accepted onto this course are eligible to apply for tuition fee and maintenance loans from Student Finance England or other government bodies.

Scholarships and bursaries

Queen Mary offers a generous package of scholarships and bursaries, which currently benefits around 50 per cent of our undergraduates.

Scholarships are available for home, EU and international students. Specific funding is also available for students from the local area. International students may be eligible for a fee reduction. We offer means-tested funding, as well as subject-specific funding for many degrees.

Find out what scholarships and bursaries are available to you.

Support from Queen Mary

We offer 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.

Take a look at our Student Advice Guides which cover ways to finance your degree, including:

  • additional sources of funding
  • planning your budget and cutting costs
  • part-time and vacation work
  • money for lone parents.

Careers

Many graduates continue their studies with a PhD or MSc, often as a precursor to a career in research.

Skills developed by studying theoretical physics – such as numeracy, independent research expertise and problem-solving – are also highly transferable into other sectors, including energy, business, marketing, engineering, technology, IT and finance.

Recent graduates of the school of Physics and Astronomy have been hired by:

  • Bluefin Solutions
  • Dunn and Bradstreet
  • ESI Media
  • Medical Physics – NHS
  • Open Symmetry (management consulting)
  • University of Oxford.

Career support

You’ll have opportunities to build valuable work experience and transferable skills through our specialist careers and employability support. We run dedicated internship schemes for students of physics and astronomy, weekly advice sessions and events such as software bootcamps and problem-solving workshops.

The Queen Mary careers team can also offer:

  • specialist advice on choosing a career path
  • support with finding work experience, internships and graduate jobs
  • feedback on CVs, cover letters and application forms
  • interview coaching.

Learn more about career support and development at Queen Mary.

Unistats data for these courses

  • Theoretical Physics - BSc (Hons)

  • Theoretical Physics - MSci (Hons)

About the School

The School of Physics and Astronomy combines the academic rigour of a Russell Group institution with a friendly and supportive atmosphere. We are highly rated in the National Student Survey (NSS), coming top in London for overall student satisfaction for the past four years.

We run a busy schedule of research seminars, and a successful peer mentoring scheme. The PsiStar physics society is extremely active and has around 200 members.

You’ll be taught by academics who work on high-profile international collaborations, including experiments at CERN and the recently completed NASA and European Space Agency Cassini mission to Saturn.

We’re proud to have played a role in some of the most exciting discoveries of the past 100 years, including Rutherford’s discovery of the atomic nucleus, discovery of the W, Z and Higgs bosons and the first ‘superstring revolution’.  Most recently, Queen Mary astronomer Dr Guillem Anglada-Escudé led a team of scientists to discover the closest exoplanet to Earth, Proxima b.

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