FAQ

If you have a question that is not covered here please contact Undergraduate Admissions Tutor

 

What are some useful sources of information?

Our brochure gives an overview of our undergraduate courses. 

The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific membership society working to advance physics for the benefit of all. Their purpose is to gather, inspire, guide, represent and celebrate all who share a passion for physics. Their site www.physics.org provides a wealth of information for those who are studying Physics. 

The UCAS website provides up to date information on the process of applying to university. 

Unistats is the official website for comparing UK higher education course data. It includes official data for undergraduate courses on each university and college's satisfaction scores in the National Student Survey, jobs and salaries after study and other key information for prospective students.

What are the entry requirements?

The majority of our courses have an A*AA A Level requirement, including Mathematics and Physics at A*A . Some courses may be higher or have additional restrictions or alternative conditions. Please visit the specific course page to find out more.

We accept a range of international qualifications. To discuss your specific situation please contact the admissions tutor

If you do not study Mathematics at A Level or equivalent you may be eligable for our Physical Sciences foundation year. 

We do not interview and our decision will be made solely on your UCAS application.

What will I learn?

Our degree courses are designed to offer a solid core of physics knowledge and experience. In all of our courses, emphasis is placed on the acquisition of the skills and understanding required to make effective use of knowledge of the subject. We are also focused on developing many important general skills such as planning, decision making, the effective use of verbal and written communication and computer programming. A detailed list of modules is found in our brochure.

How will I be taught?

The university timetable is split into 50 minute sessions between 9 am and 5:50 pm Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and 9 am and 12:50 pm on Wednesday. First year physics students have around 22 of these sessions a week. Half of these will be lecture based courses, a lecturer teaching the course from the front of a lecture theatre to the entire cohort. This is supplemented by our online learning environment which hosts lecture notes, reading lists, lecture recordings and/or non-assessed problems as appropriate. 

For all students, excluding those on certain theoretical physics courses, five hours a week in the first year will be spent in the laboratory.  Experimental physics teaching is important, equipping students with skills in experimental techniques, planning, data analysis and report writing. We have modern, purpose-built laboratories with up-to-date technology. In addition to general Physics laboratories, we have a specialised AstroLab for those on the Physics and Astrophysics programmes. In the later years lab time increases and work is based in specialised laboratories which concentrate on one subject area – for example Nuclear Physics, Solid State Physics or Photonics. Laboratory classes are led by lecturers and are assisted by postgraduate teaching assistants. 

Computing is taught for two hours a week in the first two years. Students are taught to code using the Python language, and there is no assumption of previous experience. In third year there are optional advanced computing laboratory options and students may choose a fourth year project with an emphasis on computational work.

Examples classes are a chance to work on practice problems collaborativley and with help from teaching assistants. First year students have one 50 minute mathematics guided session a week and a two hour skills workshop. The skills workshops will teach the relationship between different areas of physics, the application of this understanding to the solution of real life problems and the communication skills needed to convey this knowledge to others.

The final component of the first year timetable is a weekly tutorial session. Tutor groups are no bigger than 4 students who meet with the same tutor throughout the academic year. This is an opportunity to talk through the physics learnt that week, go through example problems, talk about interesting physics and generally be a point of contact for all academic topics. Tutorials also take place in the second year, in the third year students are allocated a personal tutor but weekly meetings are replace by various support structures around particular modules, in the fourth year tutorials are replaced with project supervisions.

Where will I be taught?

The University of Birmingham is a campus-based University and all your teaching will take place on our Edgbaston campus. This means that everything you might need is within easy reach. In particular, the School itself is in a group of purpose-built buildings in a central location. This means that everything you need to learn - lecture theatres, laboratories, computer clusters and staff offices- is easy to get to. The School is also conveniently placed for access to the University Library, the Sports Centre and the Guild of Students, which provides catering and social functions.

Maps and directions