In this degree programme the study of physics is pursued with particular focus on astrophysical phenomena: from stars and planets to galaxies and cosmology. Astrophysics provides a natural laboratory in which to explore the laws of physics, and in certain astrophysical objects – such as pulsars, quasars and black holes – to test those laws under extreme conditions.
In first year you will gain a basic understanding of the main topics in theoretical physics and will be introduced to the methods of experimental physics, thereby providing a solid foundation for further study in physics.
You will also study two other subjects of your choice in year 1: see Degrees in Arts, Science and Social Sciences.
The second year will extend your broad physics education, providing training in more specialised experimental techniques and expanding your awareness of the latest developments in modern physics research. You will also be introduced to the foundations of astrophysics, covering topics including the physics of our solar system, the origin of stars and galaxies, and the evolution of the universe.
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 core topics in greater depth but will also study specialist subjects of your choice in depth and will undertake project work, often within a world-leading research group.
The main astrophysics components of the Honours programme include
- stellar structure and evolution
- high energy astrophysics
- galaxies and cosmology
- instruments for optical and radio telescopes
- exploring planetary systems.
There is an opportunity to take an MSci degree which explores physics and astrophysics topics in greater depth. In the final year of the MSci degree you will carry out 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.
Astronomy lectures are complemented by our observatory, planetarium and telescope facilities. The University also maintains close links with the Glasgow Science Centre, home of one of the UK’s best planetariums.
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.
The School of Physics & Astronomy has 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 undertake part of your degree abroad.
Our graduates are employed in many areas including industry, national research laboratories, the financial sector and education. Many graduates choose to study for a postgraduate degree before entering the job market.
All programmes containing physics are fully 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 two science subjects) in first sitting = unconditional offer.
Applicants who achieved AAAB or AABBB (including two science subjects) at their first sitting WILL receive an offer from the University. This offer may be conditional (on second sitting results) or unconditional, depending on how many applications are received from students who have attained these grades.
Additional offers, either conditional or unconditional, MAY be made to applicants who achieved between ABBB and AABB (including two science subjects) at their first sitting. A decision re these applications will be made in March 2014 once all applications have been reviewed.
Applicants who receive an offer conditional on second sitting results will be required to study Advanced Highers in relevant subjects as an integral part of their conditional offer.
A-levels: AAB, including Physics and Mathematics.
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.
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.