Physics studies how our Universe works, from the smallest atomic nucleus to the largest galaxy. Our BSc Physics with Astrophysics degree is aimed at students who have an interest in astronomy and wish to understand the physics behind the pretty pictures. Students undertaking this degree will still obtain a thorough grounding in modern physics, but will also take astrophysics modules that allows them to understand the workings of our Universe.
Physics at Queen's was ranked 3rd in the country for research intensity in United Kingdom's most recent Research Excellence Framework (REF) exercise as published by the Times Higher Education.
I enjoyed finding out about how the world works and answers to some of the most fundamental questions.
Lisa Carlin (BSc Physics)
|Course Content||Students cover all subjects in stage 1 and stage 2 and may choose from a large range of subject areas in stage 3|
|Stage 1||In their first year students study a core of experimental, theoretical and computational Physics, alongside Applied|
Light and Optics
Solid State Physics
Practical work will be performed in our new state-of-the-art teaching centre laboratories. Here students will encounter the physical phenomena learned about in their lectures, as well as computer programming. Tutorials, based around the lecture courses, give experience in problem-solving and verbal and written communication. Within the course students will receive basic skills training in writing, presentations and personal/career development.
|Stage 2||At Stage 2, according to degree selection, modules are taken which reveal the excitement of such areas as:|
Atomic and Nuclear Physics
Optics, Electricity and Magnetism
Physics of the Solid State
Advanced Laboratory work develops the skills of planning, carrying out and analysing experiments and simulations, and provides opportunities for deepening understanding of the wide applicability of physics. At Stage 3, a choice of modules is made to develop in-depth understanding of such areas as:
|Stage 3||Astrophysics II|
Advanced Electromagnetism and Optics
Nuclear and Particle Physics
Physics in Medicine
Quantum Mechanics and Relativity
Advanced Solid State Physics
Project work entails a major experimental or computational investigation of a particular physics problem. This is undertaken using state-of-the-art equipment installed in the School’s new Teaching Centre. This includes projects on ultrasound, MRI and X-ray imaging, gamma ray spectroscopy, lasers, atomic force and scanning tunnelling microscopy, nanomaterial fabrication and characterisation, and astronomical observations.
School of Maths and Physics
Jason is a senior lecturer in the School of Mathematics and Physics and also works within the Centre for Plasma Physics (CPP) and the Centre for Advanced and Interdisciplinary Radiation Research. He is an internationally-recognised physicist in the field of atomic charge exchange and molecular dynamics.
|Large Group Teaching||9 (hours maximum)|
9 hours of lectures
|Medium Group Teaching||6 (hours maximum)|
6 hours of practical classes and computer workshops each week in level 1, increasing to an average of 8 hours of practical work per week in Level 2.
|Personal Study||16 (hours maximum)|
14-16 hours studying and revising in your own time each week, including some guided study using handouts, online activities, homeworks etc.
|Small Group Teaching/Personal Tutorial||1 (hours maximum)|
1 hour of tutorials (or later, project supervision) each week
At Queen’s, we aim to deliver a high quality learning environment that embeds intellectual curiosity, innovation and best practice in learning, teaching and student support to enable students to achieve their full academic potential. Examples of the opportunities provided for learning on this degree programme are:
The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the learning objectives of each module. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year, and may be accessed online via the School website. Physics modules are typically assessed by a combination of continuous assessment and a final written unseen examination. Continuous assessment consists of:
As students’ progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, personal tutors, advisers of study and peers (other students). University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
Undergraduate Teaching Centre
Throughout their time with us, students will use the new Mathematics and Physics Teaching Centre. Opened in 2016 with almost £2 million of new equipment, students can use the well-equipped twin computer rooms for both self-study and project work. In the physics laboratories, students will be able to investigate everything from the nature of lasers, to the quantum mechanical properties of the electron, to the dynamic hydrogen chromosphere of the Sun.
|A level requirements|
ABB including Mathematics and Physics
|Irish leaving certificate requirements|
H3H3H3H3H3H3/H2H3H3H3H3 including Higher Level grade H3 in Mathematics and Physics
Successful completion of Access Course with an average of 80% with at least 80% in each Mathematics and Physics module and no less than 70% in any module.
In addition, to the entrance requirements above, it is essential that you read our guidance below on 'How we choose our students' prior to submitting your UCAS application.
Applications are dealt with centrally by the Admissions and Access Service rather than by the School of Mathematics and Physics. Once your on-line form has been processed by UCAS and forwarded to Queen's, an acknowledgement is normally sent within two weeks of its receipt at the University.
Selection is on the basis of the information provided on your UCAS form, which is considered by the Selector for the School of Mathematics and Physics along with a member of administrative staff from the Admissions and Access Service. Decisions are made on an ongoing basis and will be notified to you via UCAS.
For entry last year, applicants for programmes in the School of Mathematics and Physics must have had, or been able to achieve, a minimum of five GCSE passes at grade C or better (to include English Language and Mathematics), though this profile may change from year to year depending on the demand for places. The Selector also checks that any specific entry requirements in terms of GCSE and/or A-level subjects can be fulfilled.
Offers are normally made on the basis of three A-levels. Two subjects at A-level plus two at AS would also be considered. The minimum acceptable is two subjects at A-level plus one at AS though candidates offering this combination will be considered on an individual basis depending on the degree for which they have applied. The offer for repeat candidates may be one grade higher than for first time applicants. Grades may be held from the previous year.
Applicants offering two A-levels and one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent qualification) will also be considered. Offers will be made in terms of performance in individual BTEC units rather than the overall BTEC grade(s) awarded. Please note that a maximum of one BTEC Subsidiary Diploma/National Extended Certificate (or equivalent) will be counted as part of an applicant’s portfolio of qualifications. The normal GCSE profile will be expected.
Applicants offering other qualifications, such as the International Baccalaureate, Irish Leaving Certificate or an Access course, will also be considered. The same GCSE (or equivalent) profile is usually expected of those candidates offering other qualifications.
Candidates offering Access Certificate in Foundation Studies courses will be considered individually on their own merits.
The information provided in the personal statement section and the academic reference together with predicted grades are noted but, in the case of degree courses in the School of Mathematics and Physics, these are not the final deciding factors in whether or not a conditional offer can be made. However, they may be reconsidered in a tie break situation in August.
A-level General Studies and A-level Critical Thinking would not normally be considered as part of a three A-level offer and, although they may be excluded where an applicant is taking four A-level subjects, the grade achieved could be taken into account if necessary in August/September.
Candidates are not normally asked to attend for interview.
If you are made an offer then you may be invited to a School Visit Day, which is usually held in the second semester. This will allow you the opportunity to visit the University and to find out more about the degree programme of your choice and the facilities on offer. It also gives you a flavour of the academic and social life at Queen's.
If you cannot find the information you need here, please contact the University Admissions and Access Service (firstname.lastname@example.org), giving full details of your qualifications and educational background.
For information on international qualification equivalents, please check the specific information for your country.
An IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in each test component or an equivalent acceptable qualification, details of which are available at: http://go.qub.ac.uk/EnglishLanguageReqs
If you need to improve your English language skills before you enter this degree programme, INTO Queen's University Belfast offers a range of English language courses. These intensive and flexible courses are designed to improve your English ability for admission to this degree.
INTO Queen's offers a range of academic and English language programmes to help prepare international students for undergraduate study at Queen's University. You will learn from experienced teachers in a dedicated international study centre on campus, and will have full access to the University's world-class facilities.
These programmes are designed for international students who do not meet the required academic and English language requirements for direct entry.
INTO - English Language Course(QSIS ELEMENT IS EMPTY)
Students are encouraged to apply for summer or extended placements with local companies. Employers who specifically seek our Physics students for placements include Seagate and General Electric. Some MSci projects are undertaken in collaboration with outside organisations, including local companies, the NHS, and national and international facilities.
Physics graduates earn 14 per cent more on average than other graduates (HESA 2014). They have a significantly lower unemployment rate on qualification and over a lifetime, only graduates in medicine or law earn more than those with a physics degree (Institute of Physics Careers Survey 2012).
Physics-related jobs are available in research, development, and general production in many high technology and related industries. These include medicine, biotechnology, electronics, optics, aerospace, computation and nuclear technology. Physics graduates are also sought after for many other jobs, such as business consultancy, finance, business, insurance, taxation and accountancy, where their problem-solving skills and numeracy are highly valued. In Northern Ireland alone in 2015, there were almost 59,000 jobs in physics based industries (Institute of Physics Report 2017).
About half of our students go on to further study after graduation. Some physics graduates take up careers in education, while a number are accepted for a PhD programme in Physics, which can enhance employment prospects or provide a path to a research physicist position. Most of the rest of our graduates move rapidly into full-time employment, most in careers that require a degree.
Employment after the Course
As part of the assessment within our modules, students will have to prepare reports, give presentations and work together within small groups. Students will become experienced in using spreadsheet and ord processing software to analyse and communicate their findings. Additionally, basic computer programming is taught to allow computational modelling of physical phenomena, which can then be applied to many non-scientific areas of commerce and industry. The problem-solving and communication skills that are essential to scientific study are also recognised as important attributes for many other careers.
Typical career destinations of graduates include:
• Industrial Physics
• Medical Physics
• Research scientist
• Computer technology
• Forensic accountant
• Nuclear Physics
• Financial analysis
Students will have partially fulfilled the requirements to obtain the status of Chartered Physicist (CPhys) with the Institute of Physics.
Top performing students are eligible for a number of prizes within the School.
In addition to your degree programme, at Queen's you can have the opportunity to gain wider life, academic and employability skills. For example, placements, voluntary work, clubs, societies, sports and lots more. So not only do you graduate with a degree recognised from a world leading university, you'll have practical national and international experience plus a wider exposure to life overall. We call this Degree Plus. It's what makes studying at Queen's University Belfast special.
|Northern Ireland (NI)||£4,275|
|England, Scotland or Wales (GB)||£9,250|
|Other (non-UK) EU *||£4,275|
Tuition fees for 2020-21 have not been set. Those quoted above are for students commencing study in 2019-20. These will be subject to an increase for students commencing study in 2020-21.
Tuition fee rates are calculated based on a student’s tuition fee status and generally increase annually by inflation. How tuition fees are determined is set out in the Student Finance Framework.
* The tuition fees that EU students starting courses at UK universities following the agreed transition period are required to pay will depend on what is agreed as part of the UK's exit negotiations. Please refer to www.qub.ac.uk/brexit
Depending on the programme of study, there may be extra costs which are not covered by tuition fees, which students will need to consider when planning their studies.
Students can borrow books and access online learning resources from any Queen's library.
If students wish to purchase recommended texts, rather than borrow them from the University Library, prices per text can range from £30 to £100. A programme may have up to 6 modules per year, each with a recommended text.
Students should also budget between £30 to £75 per year for photocopying, memory sticks and printing charges.
Students undertaking a period of work placement or study abroad, as either a compulsory or optional part of their programme, should be aware that they will have to fund additional travel and living costs.
If a final year includes a major project or dissertation, there may be costs associated with transport, accommodation and/or materials. The amount will depend on the project chosen. There may also be additional costs for printing and binding.
Students may wish to consider purchasing an electronic device; costs will vary depending on the specification of the model chosen.
There are also additional charges for graduation ceremonies, examination resits and library fines.
Physics with Astro-Physics costs
All essential software will be provided by the University, for use on University facilities, however for some software, students may choose to buy a version for home use.
There are different tuition fee and student financial support arrangements for students from Northern Ireland, those from England, Scotland and Wales (Great Britain), and those from the rest of the European Union.
Information on funding options and financial assistance for undergraduate students is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/Fees-and-scholarships/.
Each year, we offer a range of scholarships and prizes for new students. Information on scholarships available.
Information on scholarships for international students, is available at http://www.qub.ac.uk/International/International-students/International-scholarships/.
How to Apply
Application for admission to full-time undergraduate and sandwich courses at the University should normally be made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Full information can be obtained from the UCAS website at: www.ucas.com/apply.
When to Apply
UCAS will start processing applications for entry in autumn 2020 from 1 September 2019.
Advisory closing date: 15 January 2020 (18:00).
Late applications are, in practice, accepted by UCAS throughout the remainder of the application cycle, but you should understand that they are considered by institutions at their discretion, and there can be no guarantee that they will be given the same full level of consideration as applications received by the advisory closing date.
Applicants are encouraged to apply as early as is consistent with having made a careful and considered choice of institutions and courses.
The Institution code name for Queen's is QBELF and the institution code is Q75.
Further information on applying to study at Queen's is available at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/Study/Undergraduate/How-to-apply/
After an offer is made this will be notified to applicants through UCAS. Confirmation will be emailed by the Admissions and Access Service and this communication will also include Terms and Conditions (www.qub.ac.uk/Study/TermsandConditions) which applicants should read carefully in advance of replying to their offer(s) on UCAS Track.
Fees and Funding
Queen's University Belfast is committed to Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
For more information please read our Equality and Diversity Policy.
Queen's University Belfast is registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland NIC101788
VAT registration number: GB 254 7995 11