Physics / Theoretical Physics BSc/MSci
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 and the gravitational wave observatory LIGO.
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 Flexible degrees.
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.
Programme alteration or discontinuation
The University of Glasgow endeavours to run all programmes as advertised. In exceptional circumstances, however, the University may withdraw or alter a programme. For more information, please see: Legal statements: Disclaimer.
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 2019
About entry requirements
The S5 Standard Academic Entry Requirements represent the grades which, if attained in addition to successfully meeting mandatory subject requirements and any non-academic entry requirements (interviews, auditions, aptitude tests), will normally result in an offer being made. Students must achieve the standard entry requirements by the end of S5 (cumulative S4 and S5).
The S5 Minimum Academic Entry Requirements represent the minimum grades which an applicant must have obtained by the end of S5 (cumulative S4 and S5) in order for them to be considered for a conditional offer based on S6 results. Not all applicants who achieve the Minimum Academic Entry Requirements will be made an offer. This will depend on the number of applications we have received for a degree programme and the number of applicants who have met the Standard Academic Entry Requirements.
Where an applicant is made a conditional offer based on S6 results, the S6 Standard Academic Entry Requirements represent the cumulative grades that must be attained by the end of S6, in addition to meeting any mandatory subject and non-academic requirements. All degree programmes allow applicants to “double count” Highers and Advanced Highers in the same subject when calculating cumulative grades. A Grade B in an Advanced Higher will be regarded as another Grade A at Higher Level and a Grade C at Advanced Higher will be regarded as another Grade B at Higher Level. All degree programmes require grades in a minimum of four different subjects.
Advanced Highers are a qualification of increased importance to the University, which recognises that applicants with these qualifications find the transition to university easier and perform better in their university exams. Many of our degrees specify Advanced Highers as part of the S6 Entry Requirements.
If a school is unable to offer specific Advanced Higher subjects applicants will be made bespoke offers which will normally require the applicant to attain additional relevant Highers in S6.
Adjusted Entry Requirements
We adjust the Standard Academic Entry Requirements for eligible applicants who complete one of our widening participation pre-entry programmes. Criteria for eligibility include attending a Scottish target secondary school, living in a priority Scottish postcode area, current or previous experience of living in care or estrangement from family support.
For more information about your eligibility and our pre-entry programmes see: Access Glasgow.
A-levels and International Baccalaureate
The Standard Academic Entry Requirements represent the grades at which any possible offer would be made. Students must also meet mandatory subject requirements and any non-academic entry requirements (interviews, auditions, aptitude tests).
The Minimum Academic Entry Requirements represent the minimum grades that the University will accept for entry to the degree programme. Students must also meet mandatory subject requirements and any non-academic entry requirements (interviews, auditions, aptitude tests).
BSc (Hons), MSci
- Standard academic entry requirements: AAB.
- Minimum academic entry requirements: BBB.
- Other mandatory requirements: Minimum of one relevant Science A-level, including practical assessment. Mathematics and Physics A-levels at Grades A or B.
- Standard S5 academic entry requirements: AAAA/AAABB.
- Minimum S5 academic entry requirements: ABBB.
- Standard S6 academic entry requirements: AAAAAB.
- Other mandatory requirements: Highers in two Science subjects. Entry from S5 requires Higher Mathematics and Physics at Grades AB or BA. Entry from S6 requires a minimum of Grade B in BOTH Mathematics and Physics by the end of S5 PLUS Advanced Higher in EITHER Physics OR Mathematics at Grade B.
We adjust these entry requirements for eligible applicants who complete one of our widening participation pre-entry programmes: see Access Glasgow.
- Adjusted S5 academic entry requirements: AABB/ABBBB.
- Adjusted S6 academic entry requirements: AABB-BBBBB.
- Adjusted mandatory requirements: Highers in two Science subjects. Higher Mathematics and Physics: both at Grade B.
- Standard academic entry requirements: 36 points.
- Minimum academic entry requirements: 32 points.
- Other mandatory requirements: Minimum of two relevant Science subjects at HL: SL6 will be considered for one. Mathematics and Physics: one at HL6 and the other HL6 or SL6.
Typical entry requirements for European qualifications: European requirements: Arts, Science, Engineering, Accountancy, Social Sciences [pdf]
Accepted Science subjects
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.
Glasgow International College
International students with academic qualifications below those required should contact our partner institution, Glasgow International College, who offer a range of foundation certificates.
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*: 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 as a First Language (0500/0522): C in Reading and Writing, plus 1 in Listening, 2 in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
- IGCSE: English as a Second Language (0510/0511): A in Reading and Writing, plus A in Listening, 2/B in Speaking, where applicable. All four components (listening, writing, speaking, reading) must be examined and detailed on results slip
- 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:
- School of Modern Languages and Cultures: English for Academic Study
- BALEAP guide to accredited 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:
- UK Border Agency Tier 4 English Language requirements
- UKBA list of approved English language tests [pdf]
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.
Degrees and UCAS codes
When applying you will need to know the UCAS code for the subject or subject-combination that you wish to apply to:
Fees and funding
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 in recent years.
College of Science and Engineering Deans' Award
The College of Science and Engineering is offering ten scholarships worth £10,000 each towards tuition fees for academically excellent students wishing to study an Undergraduate or Postgraduate Taught programme within the College’s programme portfolio.more information
RUK Access Bursary 2018 Entry
The bursary supports talented students who might not be able to take a place at University for reasons of financial hardship and available to new entrant full-time undergraduate students of the University of Glasgow who are fully registered for Session 2018-19 as being domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and paying annual tuition fees of £9,250 per annum.more information
RUK Excellence Scholarship 2018
The RUK Excellence Scholarship of £1,000 for each year of study will be awarded to first degree entrants who have attained AAA or better in one sitting at A Level (or equivalent).more information
The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database
How to apply
If you’re seeking full-time study you must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
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.
Apply at www.ucas.com or through your school or college.
Contact UCAS on 0871 468 0468.
ATAS: Academic Technology Approval Scheme
Please note that this programme requires ATAS. If you require a visa to study in the UK then you will need to apply for an ATAS certificate before applying for your visa or extension of stay, allowing at least four weeks (20 working days) in order to obtain it.
The Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) was introduced on 1 November 2007. It is used to help stop the spread of knowledge and skills that could be used in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery. This is in common with other governments around the world.
The ATAS is designed to ensure that people who are applying to study certain sensitive subjects in the UK do not have links to WMD programmes.
- more information about the scheme and ATAS certificate (Foreign & Commonwealth Office website).
BSc Physics students in work or study six months after graduation