Physics

Combine an education in physics with a passion for music performance in this unique course.

Key information

Award

BSc

Duration

4 years

full-time

Typical offer

Three A-level offer: A*A*A

See full entry requirements

Applications : admissions ratio

6.9 : 1

Based on 2015 application data

Professionally accredited

Read about this course's accreditation

  • UCAS course code: F3W3
  • ECTS: 309
  • Start date: October 2018

Overview

This specialist course, taught jointly by Imperial and the Royal College of Music, enables you to achieve a degree level education in both physics and music performance and prepares you for a professional career in either field.

You study all the core material from our standard three-year BSc Physics course, as well as some optional modules, to ensure that you graduate as a fully qualified physicist.

At the same time, you will complete the main performance elements of the Royal College of Music's BMus degree on one principal instrument. Due to the demanding workload, the course is spread out over four years.

Study programme

Physics at Imperial covers a broad range of topics in both fundamental and applied physics.

All of our physics courses follow the same core curriculum for the first two years. This gives you a good grounding in physics, mathematics and experimental methods, and prepares you for advanced study in later years.

A wide range of optional modules is available as you progress through the course, many of which are directly linked to the research of our nine internationally-recognised research groups so you’ll be learning at the very cutting edge of the subject. Research in our Department has contributed to ground-breaking discoveries in many different fields, from astrophysics to quantum optics and laser science.

This freedom to tailor the course to your interests allows you to continue with a broad physics education or specialise in a particular area such as theoretical physics or plasma physics.

You will also have the chance to complete a substantial project with one of our research groups.

Laboratory and computing work

Physics student in a labPractical work is an important part of the Physics curriculum at Imperial, and you will have access to state-of-the-art facilities as well as data collected from major experiments such as CERN.

Physics is a practical science and relies on data, so physicists need to understand how data is generated and how to analyse it. You will take laboratory classes to equip you with a wide range of skills such as using apparatus, conducting experiments, interpreting data, and presenting your results.

You will also gain a solid understanding of how to use computers as tools to help model and understand the physics of complicated phenomena. This includes using computers to make advanced calculations and analyse data, and how to use the programming language Python.

Structure

Modules shown are for the current academic year, and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Year 1

Core modules – Imperial

  • Electricity and Magnetism, Relativity
  • Laboratory and Computing I
  • Mathematics
  • Measurement and Uncertainty
  • Mechanics, Vibrations and Waves
  • Professional Skills I
  • Quantum Physics and Structure of Matter

Core modules – Royal College of Music

  • Principal Study 1
  • Professional Portfolio (Alexander Technique)

Year 2

Core modules – Imperial

  • Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Mathematics and Statistics of Measurement 
  • Professional Skills II
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Solid State Physics
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics

Core modules – Royal College of Music

  • Aural Training
  • Historical Studies Level 4
  • Principal Study 2

Year 3

Core modules – Imperial

  • Electromagnetism and Optics
  • Project/ Essay Project
  • Comprehensive Physics
  • Professional Skills III

Core modules – Royal College of Music

  • Principle Study 3
  • Practical Musicianship Level 4

Optional modules – Imperial

You choose a small number of optional modules in the third year typically from the list below.

  • Advanced Classical Physics
  • Astrophysics
  • Communicating Physics
  • Complexity and Networks
  • Computational Physics
  • Environmental Physics
  • Fluid Dynamics
  • Foundations of Quantum Mechanics
  • Group Theory
  • Imaging and Biophotonics
  • Lasers
  • Light and Matter
  • Mathematical Methods
  • Medical Imaging: Nuclear Diagnostics and MRI
  • Medical Imaging: X-Rays and Ultrasound
  • Physics of the Universe
  • Plasma Physics
  • Principles of Instrumentation
  • Statistical Mechanics
  • Sun, Stars and Planets

Year 4

Core module – Royal College of Music

  • Principle Study

Optional modules

Imperial

You choose between two and four optional modules, because each module has a different amount of ECTS credits.

  • Advanced Classical Physics
  • Astrophysics
  • Communicating Physics
  • Complexity and Networks
  • Computational Physics
  • Environmental Physics
  • Fluid Dynamics
  • Foundations of Quantum Mechanics
  • Group Theory
  • Imaging and Biophotonics
  • Lasers
  • Light and Matter
  • Mathematical Methods
  • Medical Imaging: Nuclear Diagnostics and MRI
  • Medical Imaging: X-Rays and Ultrasound
  • Physics of the Universe
  • Plasma Physics
  • Principles of Instrumentation
  • Statistical Mechanics
  • Sun, Stars and Planets
Royal College of Music

You may choose one optional module from the Royal College of Music, details of which can be found here.

Humanities and Business

You may choose one of the modules below.

Professional accreditation

This degree is professionally accredited by the Institute of Physics.

Holders of accredited degrees can follow a route to Institute Membership and the CPhys professional qualification.

Achieving a professionally accredited degree demonstrates to employers that you have achieved an industry-recognised standard of competency. It also brings international recognition of your qualification, which is particularly useful for students preparing for a career abroad.

BSc or MSci?

As professionally accredited qualifications, our BSc Physics courses partially satisfy the academic requirement for professional registration as a Chartered Physicist (CPhys). This is a highly respected qualification earned by professionals working in physics, which can lead to higher earning potential and better career prospects.

Partially satisfying the academic requirements means that you will need to demonstrate that you have knowledge equivalent to an accredited integrated Master’s degree on your route to gaining Chartered status after you graduate.

Our MSci courses fully satisfy the academic requirement, meaning you will not need to complete any further study, though all CPhys applicants need to meet certain professional competence requirements.

Our accreditation agreement with the Institute of Physics is renewed every five years.

The current accreditation agreement is due to be renewed for students starting their studies in the 2020–21 academic year. The Department expects to be accredited into the future.


Associateship

As well as your main Imperial degree, you will also receive the award of the Associateship of the Royal College of Science (ARCS) on completion of this course.

The Royal College of Science is one of three historic Colleges that came together to form Imperial College London in 1907.

Find out more about our Associateships.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching

You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, laboratory classes and computing labs. You will be able to utilise the office hours of staff from the department to discuss your progress.

There will also be group and individual project work, in order to ensure our degrees provide a strong set of additional skills, such as presentation and communicative skills.

Assessment

Our Physics degrees use a variety of assessment methods, the list below provides a guide to what you can expect:

  • Written examinations
  • Assessed problem sheets
  • Laboratory and project reports
  • Continuous assessments, e.g. essay writing
  • Group and individual presentations

Staff expertise

At Imperial, you will be taught by a range of teachers of all levels from Professors to PhD students, including some who undertake groundbreaking research and are regarded as experts in their field.

You may also experience peer teaching and be taught by specialists external to the College.

Compare this course

See how this course compares with similar courses at different institutions using the Unistats Key Information Set (KIS).

You can use the KIS to find out how this course compares in areas such as the proportion of time spent in timetabled teaching and independent study, how the course is assessed, student satisfaction and what our graduates are doing six months after completing this course.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis – see selection process below.

For advice on the requirements for the qualifications listed here please contact the Department (see Contact us).

We also accept a wide range of international qualifications. If the requirements for your qualifications are not listed here, please see our academic requirements by country page for guidance on which qualifications we accept.

A-levels

Typical offer range

As a guide, the typical offer made in 2016 to at least 85% of applicants studying A-levels was A*A*A.

Subject and grade requirements (2018 entry)

We expect applicants for 2018 entry to meet the following grade requirements in these subjects:

  • A* in Mathematics
  • A in Physics

General Studies and Critical Thinking are not accepted.

Practical endorsement (practical science assessment)

If you are made an offer you will be required to achieve a pass in the practical endorsement in all science subjects that form part of the offer.

International Baccalaureate

Typical offer range

As a guide, the typical offer made in 2016 to at least 85% of applicants studying IB was 40 points overall.

Subject and grade requirements (2018 entry)

We expect applicants for 2018 entry to meet the following grade requirements in these subjects:

  • 7, 6, 6 at higher level including Mathematics and Physics

Advanced Placements

Our minimum requirement for this course is grades 5, 5, 5 to include:

  • 5 in Calculus BC
  • 5 in Physics C Electricity and Magnetism
  • 5 in Physics C Mechanics

ABRSM (all applicants)

You will need to meet a standard broadly equivalent to a grade 8 with distinction in the ABRSM examination. Suitable applicants will be invited to audition.

Selection process

Assessing your application

Admissions Tutors consider all the evidence available during our rigorous selection process and the College flags key information providing assessors with a more complete picture of the educational and social circumstances relevant to the applicant.

Some applicants may be set lower offers and some more challenging ones. It is the College’s policy to not make offers below three A’s at A-level in relevant subjects, 38 IB points with at least a grade 6 at higher level in relevant subjects, or their equivalent.

A typical range of offers made by this Department in 2016 (encompassing at least 85% of applicants who studied A-level or IB) is shown above.

Post-application interview day

If your UCAS application indicates that you are likely to satisfy our requirements you will be invited for one of our post-application interview days with a member of our academic staff.

Because we receive many more excellent applications than we have places available, our interviews will involve some technical discussions so that we can assess candidates with similar academic records and predictions.

You will have the chance to have lunch with our undergraduates. You will also meet with a member of the admissions team. This meeting is an opportunity to find out more about the course, our Department and College facilities, and social life in general.

It also gives us the chance to assess your suitability for the course, to learn about your interests and motivation, and to decide whether to offer you a place.

If you have not decided exactly which of our courses you want to apply for you can use the interview to discuss your choice with us. You will normally be able to see one of the labs and some of our research work.

Candidates who are unable (for travel reasons) to attend an interview will be assessed solely on the basis of their UCAS application. However we are keen to interview candidates wherever possible.

English language qualifications (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for undergraduate applicants.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS)

An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students who apply for this course.

For more information about the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS), please see the International Student Support website.

Tuition fees and funding

We charge tuition fees for every year that your course lasts. The fee you will be charged is based on your fee status, which is determined by government regulations.

Tuition fees (Home and EU students)

2017 entry
£9,250 per year

The above fee applies to the academic year 2017–18 only. This is the maximum rate of tuition chargeable by institutions that achieved a ‘meet expectations’ award under the first year of the UK government’s new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).

In its TEF: Year Two specification guidance document, the government confirmed that all institutions achieving a Bronze rating or higher in Year Two will be able to charge the maximum capped amount. These ratings will be announced in spring 2017.

You should expect the fee to increase for each year that your course lasts, subject to UK government regulations on fee increases.

We expect EU students will continue to pay the Home rate of tuition as long as the UK remains in the EU, and for the duration of their course, provided this remains lawful.

Government funding

If you're a Home student, you can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the UK government to cover the entire cost of tuition for every year of your course. You can also apply for a means-tested Maintenance Loan to help towards your living costs.

EU students entering university in the UK in 2017 also have access to the Tuition Fee Loan for the duration of their course. The government has not yet confirmed arrangements for EU students starting university in 2018.

Tuition fees (Islands and Overseas students)

2017 entry
£27,000 per year

The above fee applies to the academic year 2017–18 only. The fee for the 2018–19 academic fee has not yet been set by the College. We will update this page as soon as this fee information is available so please check back before submitting an application for 2018 entry.

Please note that the tuition fee amount you will pay may increase each year.

Accommodation and living costs

Living costs, including accommodation, are not included in your tuition fees.

Over 90 per cent of Imperial undergraduates choose to live in our halls of residence in their first year. You can compare costs across our different accommodation options on our Accommodation website.

A rough guide to what you might expect to spend to live in reasonable comfort in London is available on our Fees and Funding website.

Careers

Imperial’s Physics graduates are sought after by a wide range of employers – for example, the electronics industry needs physicists to design next-generation display technologies, lasers, optical fibres and advanced semiconductor devices. Increasingly the energy sector looks to physicists to improve photovoltaic cells for solar energy generation, to optimise wave and wind power technologies, and to improve the efficiency of electrical components.

Recent graduates of the Department have become:

  • Research Analyst, National Physical Laboratory
  • Operational Researcher, Department of Energy and Climate Change
  • Research Engineer, A*STAR, Singapore
  • Systems Engineer, BAE Systems
  • Innovations Analyst, Carbon Trust

How to apply

UCAS key information

  • UCAS course code: F3W3
  • UCAS institution code: I50

UCAS Apply system

To apply to study at Imperial you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

Application deadlines

All applications, other than those which include choices for medicine at Imperial, must be submitted to UCAS by 18.00 (UK time) on 15 January 2018 for entry in October 2018.

The deadline for medicine courses at Imperial starting in 2018 is 18.00 (UK time) on 15 October 2017.

Tracking your application

Once you’ve completed and submitted your application through UCAS’s online Apply service, you can use UCAS’ Track system to follow its progress and manage your choices.

See our How to apply section for further guidance.

Applying for BSc Physics and Music Performance

First, apply for Imperial through the UCAS system, addressing Physics in your personal statement.

Then, in a separate email to ph.admissions@imperial.ac.uk or by post, outline:

  • what instrument you play
  • when you started playing
  • qualifications achieved so far
  • repertoire

Imperial will then pass this information on to the Royal College of Music for shortlisting. Auditions are typically held in November or December and we aim to hold the Physics interview on the same day.

In the event that you are not shortlisted for audition at the Royal College of Music but demonstrate that you are a strong candidate for Physics study on your UCAS form, we will automatically consider your application for all other undergraduate courses within the Department.

You may also be interested in the following related departments and the courses they offer:

Contact us

Physics lecturer

Got a question?

Mery Fajardo
T: +44 (0)20 7594 7513
E: ph.admissions@imperial.ac.uk

Read more on the Department of Physics website.

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