Physics is the experimental and theoretical study of matter and energy and their interactions, ranging from the domain of elementary particles, through nuclear and atomic physics, to the physics of solids and, ultimately, to the origins of the universe itself.
Many of our staff play leading roles in major international research projects, such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.
You will gain a basic understanding of the core topics in theoretical physics, receive an introduction to the methods of experimental physics and obtain a solid foundation for further study of the subject. Topics will include dynamics, wave motion, properties of matter, thermal physics, optics, electricity and magnetism, and quantum physics.
You will undergo training in more specialised experimental techniques and expand your awareness of the latest developments in modern physics research. Topics will include physics of waves, dynamics, physics of solids, thermal physics, electricity and magnetism, nuclear and particle physics, physics of optics, and mathematical techniques.
You will also study other subjects in years 1 and 2: see Degrees in Arts, Life Sciences, Science and Social Sciences.
Years 3, 4 and 5
If you progress to Honours (years 3 and 4) you will continue to study in greater depth core topics spanning all areas of physics, explore a range of specialist topics of your choice, and undertake project work, often within a world-leading research group.
An important aspect of the Physics degree programmes is the emphasis on technological applications such as laser physics, semiconductor physics and devices, modern signal processing technology, and magnetic and superconducting materials. If you choose the Theoretical Physics degree you will focus on more advanced theoretical topics. Additionally, you will undertake specialised computational project work.
There is an opportunity to take an MSci degree, which explores physics topics in greater depth and includes an individually supervised project working at the cutting edge of international research.
Our international links
You will have the opportunity to apply to study abroad. There are currently two options available: the Erasmus+ Programme and the International Exchange Programme. See Study abroad.
Academic entry requirements
for entry in 2017
- Standard academic entry requirements: AAB.
- Minimum academic entry requirements: BBB.
- Other mandatory requirements: Applicants require Mathematics and Physics at Grades A or B.
- Standard academic entry requirements: S5 entry requirement = AAAA or AAABB. S6 entry requirement = AAAAAB (S6 entry requirements only apply to applicants who achieved the minimum S5 requirements and have been made a conditional offer.)
- Minimum academic entry requirements: Applicants who achieve less than AAAA or AAABB in S5 but achieved at least ABBB MAY receive an offer based on S6 results. A decision will be made in March 2017.
- Other mandatory requirements: Applicants require Mathematics and Physics. at Grades A or B.
We adjust these entry requirements for eligible applicants, from AABB at S5/S6, based upon completion of a pre-entry programme. For pre-entry programme eligibility and adjusted grade requirements, see Access Glasgow.
- Standard academic entry requirements: 36 points.
- Minimum academic entry requirements: 34 points.
- Other mandatory requirements: Three HL subjects at 6,6,5. Applicants must have a minimum of two science subjects one of which is relevant to programme applied for. While HL6 is preferred for both science subjects, SL6 may be considered for ONE. Applicants to Physics or Astronomy require grades in Mathematics and Physics, with one being at HL6 and the other being either HL6 or SL6.
Typical entry requirements for European qualifications: Science European Requirements [pdf]
Accepted Science subjects:
- Computing Science
- Engineering Science
- Environmental Science
- Human Biology
- Lifeskills Mathematics
- Mathematics of Mechanics
Please note: all A-Level, International Baccalaureate, and other EU entry requirements must be achieved in first sitting.
Advanced Entry or Faster Route
Applicants who attain exceptional grades may be considered for Advanced Entry (commence their degree at year 2) or Faster Route (additional classes enabling them to condense a 4 year Honours degree into three years). The availability of Advanced Entry or Faster Route will vary by science subject and thus reduce the flexibility that a student has in selecting optional subjects.
Applicants who are interested in Advanced Entry or Faster Route should apply for year 2 (Y2) on their UCAS application. In the event that the specific subject is unavailable or their application is unsuccessful they will automatically be considered for year 1 entry without having to submit a separate UCAS application.
Indicative Grades for an applicant to be considered for Advanced Entry or Faster Route are:
- A-levels: A*AA at one sitting.
- Advanced Highers: AAA at one sitting.
- International Baccalaureate: 38 Points.
In all cases the mandatory requirements specified must also be met. All applicants should use the standard UCAS code but apply for Y2 entry.
Applicants may be invited for interview.
If you have exceptional A-level or Advanced Higher grades it's possible to gain exemption from Year 1 study and enter directly into Year 2 or follow a faster route advanced entry programme, both of which allow you to complete your degree in one year less than usual. See: Advanced entry
For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) Academic module (not General Training):
- overall score 6.5
- no sub-test less than 6.0
- or equivalent scores in another recognised qualification (see below)
Common equivalent English language qualifications:
- ibTOEFL*: 90; no sub-test less than: Reading: 20; Listening: 19; Speaking: 19; Writing: 23
- CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
- CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): 176 overall: no sub-test less than 169
- PTE Academic (Pearson Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
- IGCSE: English language: B minimum
- Trinity College London Integrated Skills in English: ISEII at Distinction with Distinction in all sub-tests
* Please note that TOEFL is still acceptable for admission to this programme for both home/EU and international students.
For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use TOEFL to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level courses. We therefore still accept TOEFL tests taken in the last two years for admission to this programme.
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the English for Academic Study Unit Pre-sessional courses. We also consider other BALEAP accredited pre-sessional courses:
What do I do if...
my language qualifications are below the requirements?
The University's School of Modern Languages and Cultures offers a range of Pre-Sessional Courses to bring you up to entry level. The course is accredited by BALEAP, the UK professional association for academic English teaching; see Links.
my language qualifications are not listed here?
Please contact the Recruitment and International Office: Elaine.Shortt@glasgow.ac.uk
If you require a Tier 4 student visa, your qualification must be one of the secure English language tests accepted by UK Border Agency:
my academic qualifications are below the requirements?
Glasgow International College offers Foundation courses to upgrade your academic qualifications.
Visa requirements and proof of English language level
It is a visa requirement to provide information on your level of English based on an internationally recognised and secure English language test. All test reports must be no more than 2 years old. A list of these can be found on the UK Border Agency website. If you have never taken one of these tests before, you can get an initial idea of your level by using the Common European Framework self-assessment grid which gives you a level for each skill (e.g. listening B1/writing B2 etc.) However, please note that this is not a secure English language test and it is not sufficient evidence of your level of English for visa requirements.
For further information about English language, please see School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study.
Employment prospects for physics graduates are very good. The scientific knowledge and mathematical and analytical skills you acquire will equip you to work across a wide range of industries including aerospace, electronics, semiconductors, petroleum, communications, computing, medical physics, education, commerce and the civil service – both in scientific and administrative areas.
All programmes containing physics are accredited by the Institute of Physics.
When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:
Theoretical Physics: F344
Computing Science/Physics: FG34
Theoretical Physics: F340
Computing Science/Physics: IF13
How and when you pay tuition fees depends on where you’re from: see Tuition fees for details.
We offer a wide range of scholarships to our undergraduates, including both home/EU and international students. The University is committed to supporting students and rewarding academic excellence. That’s why we’ve invested more than £1m in additional scholarship funding over the last year.
For a full list of scholarships including eligibility criteria and how to apply, please see:
The deadlines for applications to Medicine, Vet Medicine and Dentistry is 15 October each year. The deadline for applications to all other degree programmes is 15 January each year.
The University of Glasgow does not usually accept any applications after these UCAS deadlines. It is the applicants' responsibility to ensure the accuracy of their application prior to submission, and requests from applicants to correct erroneous application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these UCAS deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.
- 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or applying to Oxford or Cambridge
- 15 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website)
- 30 June: international (non-EU) students.
Apply at www.ucas.com or through your school or college.
Contact UCAS on 0871 468 0468.
UCAS tariff points
The University does not frame its offers in terms of UCAS tariff points.
How soon will I receive a decision?
We will usually respond before the end of March.
If your qualifications meet our requirements and we believe you could benefit from study at Glasgow, you will receive an unconditional offer.
If you haven’t yet gained the necessary passes for entry to your chosen subject(s), we may look at the qualifications you are taking when you apply and make you a conditional offer.
Will I be interviewed?
An interview will be part of the selection process for: Community Development, Dentistry, History of Art & Art-world Practice, Medicine, Music, Nursing, Teaching, and Veterinary Medicine & Surgery. You may also be interviewed if you’re applying for entry into Year 2 in any subject.
Is deferred entry available?
For Dentistry, Nursing and Veterinary Medicine programmes we are unable to consider applications for deferred entry. In other cases deferring may be possible but it’s not granted automatically.
Transfers from another University to the University of Glasgow will only be considered under the following circumstances:
- The applicant has a genuine personal circumstance (illness, bereavement or other family situation) which requires the student to move back to their home town to be closer to family; AND
- The applicant would have met the University of Glasgow entrance requirements at the time he/she went to the other institution. In exceptional circumstances, a student may be admitted if he/she was marginally below the University of Glasgow entrance requirements, and they have performed above average at the other institution.
We want to help talented applicants from all backgrounds to study at Glasgow. See our range of widening access pre-entry programmes at Widening Participation.
British Sign Language
UCAS has launched seven new videos using British Sign Language, including details on how to apply and a Parents' Guide.
Apply at www.ucas.com or through your school or college.
Contact UCAS on 0871 468 0468.