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.
In first year 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. Courses you will typically study are dynamics, wave motion, properties of matter, thermal physics, optics, electricity and magnetism, and quantum physics.
You will also study two other subjects of your choice in year 1: see Degrees in Arts, Science and Social Sciences.
In second year you will extend and deepen your broad physics education, undergo training in more specialised experimental techniques and expand your awareness of the latest developments in modern physics research.
Courses you will typically study are 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 one or two other subjects in year 2: see Degrees in Arts, 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, from sub-atomic particles to optics and electromagnetism, 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 your Honours programme 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. The MSci aims to foster the development of critical judgement and independent scientific work, and to prepare you for professional leadership in your chosen field.
The University is part of the Scottish Universities’ Physics Alliance (SUPA), a group of eight university physics and astronomy departments which aims to place Scotland at the international forefront of research in physics and astronomy.
Our staff have strong international links across a wide range of research fields. Many of our staff play leading roles in major international research projects, such as the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and the worldwide collaboration searching for gravitational waves. You will have the opportunity to take part of your degree abroad.
Employers are competing for good physics graduates at a time when there is a worldwide shortage, making employment prospects for physics graduates very good. The scientific knowledge and mathematical and analytical skills you acquire could find you working across a wide range of industries including aerospace, electronics, semiconductors, petroleum, communications, computing, medical physics, education, commerce and civil service – both in scientific and administrative areas.
All programmes containing physics are accredited by the Institute of Physics.
For international students entry to this programme is supported by courses from GIC.
Academic entry requirements
for entry in 2014
Highers: AAAA or AAABB (including Physics and Mathematics) in first sitting = unconditional offer.
Applicants who achieved AAAB or AABBB at their first sitting may receive a conditional offer dependent upon them attaining enough Highers and/or Advanced Highers to bring their total attainment to six or more Highers/Advanced Highers by the end of their second sitting. Two Sciences (see subject specific requirements above), at minimum grades of A/B, if not attained at first sitting, will be required.
Additional offers MAY be made to applicants who achieved between ABBB and AABB (including Maths and Physics) at their first sitting. A decision re these applications will be made in March 2014 once all applications have been reviewed.
A-levels: AAB, including Physics and Mathematics.
Applicants will receive an offer conditional on attaining AAB. Applicants who achieve AAB are guaranteed entry. Applicants who achieve grades less than AAB but higher than BBB will be considered for entry once all results have been received and reviewed in August 2014.
IB: A minimum of 34 points is required to be considered for an offer. Actual offers will specify subjects and grades to be attained at Higher Level.
Accepted Science subjects:
- Computing Studies
- Environmental Science
- Human Biology
- Information Systems
- Managing Environmental Resources
- Science (Double Syllabus)
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
English language requirements
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: 92; no sub-test less than 20
- CAE (Cambridge Certificate of Advanced English): B minimum
- CPE (Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English): C minimum
- PTE Academic (Person Test of English, Academic test): 60; no sub-test less than 59
The University of Glasgow accepts evidence of the required language level from the Language Centre 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 Language Centre 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 contact the Language Centre.