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. Studying with us offers you a fundamental understanding of the way the Universe works, brings you to the forefront of technology, and provides the opportunity to work in world-leading research groups.
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.
- September start
- Session dates
- Physics BSc (Hons): F300 4 year degree
- Theoretical Physics BSc (Hons): F344 4 year degree
- Physics MSci: F301 5 year degree
- Theoretical Physics MSci: F340 5 year degree
Why study Physics / Theoretical Physics?
- This degree programme is accredited by the Institute of Physics
- Lectures are complemented by our observatory, planetarium and telescope facilities at our Garscube Campus
- 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
- The school has two active societies - PhySoc and AstroSoc - run by students, for students
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.
- PHYSICS 2
- PHYSICS 2T: PROGRAMMING UNDER LINUX
- MATHEMATICS 2A: MULTIVARIABLE CALCULUS
- MATHEMATICS 2B: LINEAR ALGEBRA
- MATHEMATICS 2D: MATHEMATICAL METHODS AND MODELLING
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 mathematics and other optional subjects in years 1 and 2: see Flexible degrees.
- MATHEMATICAL METHODS 1
- WAVES & DIFFRACTION
- QUANTUM MECHANICS
- THERMAL PHYSICS
- ELECTROMAGNETIC THEORY 1
- HONOURS COMPUTATIONAL PHYSICS LABORATORY
- THEORETICAL PHYSICS GROUP PROJECT
- SOLID STATE PHYSICS
- NUCLEAR & PARTICLE PHYSICS
- ATOMIC SYSTEMS
- MATHEMATICAL METHODS 2
- QUANTUM THEORY
- GENERAL PHYSICS WORKSHOP
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.
The Physics degree programmes emphasise technological applications such as laser physics, semiconductor physics and devices, modern signal processing technology, and magnetic and superconducting materials.
The Theoretical Physics degree focuses on more advanced theoretical topics, and will involve specialised computational project work. In the final year, all students work on an independent research project embedded in one of the school’s active research groups.
There is an opportunity to take an MSci degree, which explores physics topics in greater depth and includes a more extensive 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: Student contract.
Our international links
You will have the opportunity to study abroad at one of our partner universities as part of your degree. This won’t add any extra time to your studies; see Study abroad.
for entry in 2022
Summary of entry requirements for Physics/Theoretical Physics
SQA Higher Entry Requirements
- BBBB at S5 will be considered. Typically S6 entrants will have AAAAA at Higher. B at Advanced Higher is equivalent to A at Higher.
- Additional requirements: Higher Mathematics and Physics.
SQA Higher Adjusted Entry Requirements* (by end of S5 or S6)
- MD20 – BBBB (also other target groups*)
- MD40 – AABB*
- Additional requirements: Higher Mathematics and Physics. Successful completion of Top-Up or one of our Summer Schools.
A-level Standard Entry Requirements
- AAB – BBB
- Additional requirements: A-level Mathematics and Physics.
IB Standard Entry Requirements
- 36 (6,6,5 HL) – 32 (6,5,5 HL)
- Additional requirements: HL Mathematics (Analysis & Approaches) and Physics.
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.
For applicants whose first language is not English, the University sets a minimum English Language proficiency level.
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)
- 6.5 with no sub-test under 6.0.
Common equivalent English language qualifications
All stated English tests are acceptable for admission to this programme:
TOEFL (ib, my best or athome)
- 90 with minimum R 20, L 19, S 19, W 23.
- 60 with minimum 59 in all sub-tests.
Glasgow International College English Language (and other foundation providers)
- Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.
University of Glasgow Pre-sessional courses
- Tests are accepted for academic year following sitting.
Cambridge English Qualifications
- Cambridge Advanced English (CAE): 176 overall, no subtest less than 169
- Cambridge Proficiency in English (CPE): 176 overall, no subtest less than 169
- iGCSE English or ESOL 0522/0500, grade C
- International Baccalaureate English A SL5 or HL5
- International Baccalaureate English B SL6 or HL5
- SQA National 5 English or ESOL, grade B
- SQA Higher English or ESOL, grade C
- Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education, English Language grade 4
- West African Examination Council, Senior Secondary School Certificate, English grade C6
Alternatives to English Language qualification
- Undergraduate degree from English speaking country (including Canada if taught in English)
- Undergraduate 2+2 degree from English speaking country
- Undergraduate 2+2 TNE degree taught in English in non-English speaking country
- Masters degree from English speaking country
- Masters degree (equivalent on NARIC to UK masters degree) taught in English in non-English speaking country.
For international students, the Home Office has confirmed that the University can choose to use these tests to make its own assessment of English language ability for visa applications to degree level programmes. The University is also able to accept an IELTS test (Academic module) from any of the 1000 IELTS test centres from around the world and we do not require a specific UKVI IELTS test for degree level programmes. We therefore still accept any of the English tests listed 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 External Relations
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
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.
Undergraduate Excellence Scholarship
The University of Glasgow has a number of Undergraduate Excellence Scholarships available to new International and EU students for 2022 entry. The scholarship is awarded as a tuition fee discount of £7,000 per year of study and is subject to satisfactory progress for consecutive years of study.
RUK Excellence Scholarship
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).
RUK Access Bursary
The bursary supports talented students who might not be able to take a place at University for reasons of financial hardship. It is available to new entrant full-time, undergraduate students of the University of Glasgow who are fully registered for Session 2021/22, as being domiciled in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and paying annual tuition fees of £9,250 per annum.
James McCune Smith Scholarship
The University of Glasgow has up to 30 undergraduate scholarships available for students of African/African-Caribbean backgrounds. The scholarship supports students who could face financial difficulties taking up their place to study at the university. The value of the scholarship is £2,000, paid in instalments for year one of undergraduate study. The scholarship is open to new applicants to the university only.
The University of Glasgow offer a 15% discount on the first year of tuition fee to students from Beaconhouse Schools and who enrol on an undergraduate programme at the University of Glasgow. The discount does not apply to Veterinary Medicine, Medicine and Dentistry programmes.
Undergraduate Talent Scholarships
The University of Glasgow awards c.50 undergraduate Talent Scholarships each academic year to support students who could face financial difficulties in taking up their place to study at the University. The value of each scholarship is typically £1,500 p.a. for each year of the degree programme, subject to satisfactory progress. Talent Scholarships are available to students entering any of the University's Colleges.
Dental School students are eligible for a Talent Scholarship in their first year of study only. They are eligible for the NHS Dental Student Support Grant in the following years.
Republic of Ireland (RoI) Access Bursary
Glasgow has a long and proud tradition of providing financial support to talented students who, for reasons of financial hardship, might not be able to take a place at university. Our RoI Access Bursary is part of our commitment to continue to attract and support students from a diverse range of backgrounds. The RoI bursary will be up to £2,000 for your first year of study and £1,000 for continuing years.
Payments of the RoI Access Bursary will be detailed in your Award Letter.
- The RoI Access Bursary will be awarded as a cash payment.
- The RoI Access Bursary will be paid in 10 instalments from October until July; this award is based on household income
- The RoI Access Bursary will only be awarded in years where tuition fees of £9,250 apply (i.e. Normally Years 1,2 and 3. Bursary is not paid in Year 4 where no tuition fees are due).
Republic of Ireland (RoI) Excellence Scholarship
The RoI Excellence Scholarship of £1,000 for each year of study will be awarded to first degree entrants who have attained at Irish Higher grades A1, A1, A1, A1 from the Irish Leaving Certificate. Dentistry, Medicine and Veterinary Medicine applicants are not eligible for this award.
- The RoI Excellence Scholarship will be processed as a cash payment.
- The RoI Excellence Scholarship will be paid in 2 instalments.
- The first payment will be in October and the second payment will be in February.
These payments will be credited to the UK bank account held on your MyCampus profile; therefore, it is vital that this is up to date at the start of the session. By submitting your bank details on the MyCampus system, you are confirming that you agree with the terms and conditions of the award.
The University of Glasgow is offering four scholarships (one per college) for applicants to the University who are staying in the UK on humanitarian grounds and are facing challenges in progressing onto Higher Education. The scholarship is open to prospective undergraduate and postgraduate taught students of the University of Glasgow applying for entry in 2022/23. The scholarship meets the full cost of tuition fees for the duration of your programme as well providing an additional £5,000 per year stipend, if the eligibility criteria for university accommodation is met this will also be provided for the duration of your degree. For more information on the accommodation criteria, please see the Accommodation Services section on the website.
We are also offering eight scholarships to students who hold refugee status. This scholarship is awarded as a £2,500 stipend towards study costs, per year of study.
The Clan Gregor Society Prize
The Clan Gregor Society are offering an award to new entrants to the University of Glasgow who descend from Clan Gregor. Prospective students will be asked to submit an application highlighting areas of consideration such as academic excellence and financial need. The award is open to both Undergraduate and postgraduate applicants.
The scholarships above are specific to this programme. For more funding opportunities search the scholarships database
How to apply
Full-time students must apply through the Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).
SQA applicants who are eligible for our Widening Participation programmes are encouraged to participate in one or more of these programmes, including Summer School, to support your application and the transition to higher education.
International students to Arts, Engineering, Law, Nursing, Science, and Social Sciences can also apply using The Common Application: however, if applying to more than one UK university, we recommend using UCAS. Applications to Dentistry, Education, Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine must be made through UCAS.
- 15 October: if including Dentistry, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine or also applying to Oxford or Cambridge
- 26 January: all other UK/EU applicants (unless otherwise stated on the UCAS website).
- 30 June: international (non-EU) students
We do not usually accept any applications after these deadlines.
It's your responsibility to ensure the accuracy of your application before submission. Requests to correct application content, change degree programme or change college of entry, will not be accepted after these deadlines. This policy is in place to ensure fairness and consistency to all applicants, and no exceptions will be made.
- Apply at www.ucas.com or through your school or college
- Contact UCAS on 0871 468 0468
- Apply at commonapp.org (international students to certain areas only)
ATAS: Academic Technology Approval Scheme
Please note that this programmes in this subject at Masters level require 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).
How to apply for Advanced Entry
Apply for year 2 (Y2) on your UCAS application. If the specific subject is unavailable for Advanced Entry or your application for year 2 entry is unsuccessful, you will be automatically considered for year 1 entry. You do not have to submit a separate UCAS application.
Subject league tables
UK top 15
Times & Sunday Times Good University Guide [Physics & Astronomy]