BSc (Honours) Physics with Foundation Year

Year of Entry 2024/25
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BSc (Honours)

Physics with Foundation Year

Full-time Physics

Immerse yourself in how the universe works, applying core physics principles to real-world challenges, developing hands-on expertise in scientific exploration, and collaborating with cutting-edge researchers, with a foundation year to prepare you for t

Everything you need to know...

  • Pound sign

    What is the fee?

    Home: £9,250 per year (£1,200 for placement year)
    International/EU: £16,655 per year (£1,200 for placement year)

  • Time

    How long will I study?

    4/5 Years

  • Location

    Where will I study?

    City Campus

  • Bookmark

    What are the entry requirements?

    80 UCAS Points

  • Checkmark

    What is the UCAS code?

    A033

  • Date

    When do I start?

    September 2024

  • Avatar

    Placement year available?

    Yes


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Course summary

  • Be a physicist from day one, using key principles to solve real-world problems.
  • Explore the universe, from black holes to the Higgs Boson. 
  • Specialise in anything from astro to particle physics.
  • Use physics creatively to discover new things.
  • Apply theory to hands-on experiments, placements, projects and modelling.

Learning in small, close-knit and supportive groups, you’ll study a range of classical and modern physics, using mathematical and analytical tools to solve the problems you encounter. The skills you’ll develop are some of the most versatile of any subject, preparing you to excel in the world of physics and beyond.

This foundation year course is for those who don't meet the entry requirements for our BSc Hon Physics, or would like extra preparation before starting degree-level study.

Accredited by
  • Institute of Physics (IOP)

This course is accredited by the Institute of Physics.



How you learn

All our courses are designed around a set of key principles based on engaging you with the world, collaborating with others, challenging you to think in new ways, and providing you with a supportive environment in which you can thrive. 

Our dynamic teaching connects you with cutting-edge research and industry innovation. You’ll connect theory to real-world applications and dive into ongoing research and industry trends – all with personalised support at every stage of your studies. 

Our dedicated teaching team has extensive knowledge and expertise in their respective fields, providing exceptional support and guidance throughout your academic journey. We offer student-centred and experiential learning – from active, creative engagement with physics to critical thinking and practical application of knowledge. We also connect teaching to ongoing research and industry practices, making sure you’re well prepared for physics-related careers.

You learn through:

  • Diverse lectures emphasising peer collaboration.
  • Tutorials to practise and apply your knowledge ahead of assessments.
  • Hands-on lab experience in computational modelling and simulation.
  • Q&A and discussions for self-assessment and understanding.
  • Support sessions for receiving feedback and preparing for assessments.
  • Teamwork activities for collaboration in an innovative environment.
  • Project-based learning to apply knowledge, creativity, design, critical analysis and professional skills to real-world projects.

Key Topics

The course covers an extensive range of topics – including quantum physics, atomic structure, astrophysics, cosmology, nuclear and particle physics, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, and advanced computational physics. 

During the course, you’ll jump into atomic, nuclear and particle physics – exploring the universe through astrophysics, the infinitesimal, quantum physics and the structure of matter. You’ll also hone your skills in python programming and research, collaborating with second and final-year students on a project from our research institute.

We’ll then explore quantum tunnelling, dark matter and how to apply electromagnetism, special relativity and thermodynamics to real-world problems. You’ll work on a large project based in our research institute, taking a greater responsibility for driving the research. You’ll also be supported to find a paid industrial work placement in an area of your choosing, as well as an optional work placement year – both helping you to get a real sense of how your physics skills support you in work.

In your final year you’ll complete a year-long research project, specialising in an area of physics you’re interested in. For example, you could examine the topology of black holes, explore how superfast magnetic switching materials can treat cancer, or gather data on nuclear transitions at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). Or even use material research techniques to find fraudulent artefacts in museum collections. You’ll also be able to choose from a selection of taught subjects – from the history of physics to learning how to use Scanning Electron Microscopes. 

Course Support

Our supportive staff will nurture your creativity, encouraging you to ask compelling questions and providing you with the tools to answer them. Our high ratio of staff to students means you’ll always be able to receive the support you need on your learning journey towards highly skilled, graduate-level employment. This includes:  

  • Access to our student support triangle to help with your personal, academic and career development.
  • Access to our Skills Centre for support with one-to-ones, webinars and online resources, where you can get help with planning and structuring your assignments and assessment preparation.
  • Industry-specific employability activities, including work placements, live projects and networking opportunities.

Course leaders and tutors

Alex Crombie
Alex Crombie
Lecturer in Physics

Alex Crombie MPhys, MInstP holds degrees in physics and electronics. He teaches Professional Practice across all three years of the Physics course, along with Optics … Read more

Your lecturer's view
Watch course leader Tim Spencer talk about this course.

Applied learning

Live Projects

Our physics course prioritises the practical application of knowledge and provides opportunities for you to interact with real research and industry projects. These projects support you in applying for a year-in-industry work placement, and help you understand how physics is used in commercial settings. 

You’ll have the chance to collaborate on live projects that involve real-world physics challenges from industry partners. In previous years students have collaborated with companies such as Mott MacDonald, identifying cutting-edge techniques to examine crack penetration in industrial concrete, and Chase Cryogenics, supporting their development of materials suitable for 3D printing in micro kelvin environments. 

Work Placements 

You’ll have the opportunity to arrange a year-long work placement in between your second and third years. This gives you valuable work experience to prepare you for your future career – and allows you to graduate with an Applied Professional Diploma to add to your CV. 

We’ve designed your course to give you the knowledge and confidence to secure and succeed in your placement. You’ll have access to various support activities, resources, employer events and opportunities from your Careers & Employability Team – helping you to make the most of your work experience opportunities. 

Previous students have secured placements at businesses such as Rutherford Appleton laboratories, HSBC, Covance, the RAF and Babcock International.

Field Trips 

Field trips and site visits to understand how your academic experience is used in professional settings, from local observatories right through to visiting CERN in Switzerland. 

Networking Opportunities

We host networking events and platforms where you can connect with physics professionals, expand your professional network and explore potential career paths. Guest speakers from industry and academia across Europe deliver engaging lectures – from the physics of dragonfly wings to how to improve the performance of cloud storage data centres.

You’ll have the opportunity to attend scheduled events across the academic year and meet industry partners, employers, researchers, and alumni. You'll also have the chance to attend alumni presentations where you can gain insights from previous students before you graduate.


Future careers

A physics degree prepares you for a wide range of rewarding careers – where analytical thinking, problem-solving and scientific expertise are highly valued. 

Some potential career paths for physics graduates include: 

  • Research science 
  • Data analysis 
  • Aerospace science
  • Medical physics 
  • Renewable energy
  • Financial analysis 
  • Science communication 
  • Patent examination 
  • Technology consultancy 
  • Academic research

Where will I study?

You study at City Campus through a structured mix of lectures, seminars and practical sessions as well as access to digital and online resources to support your learning.

City Campus

City Campus is located in the heart of Sheffield, within minutes of the train and bus stations.

City Campus map | City Campus tour 


City Campus map
Location

Howard Street
Sheffield
S1 1WB

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Equipment and facilities

You’ll have access to state-of-the-art teaching and learning facilities that support your practical exploration and understanding of the subject. Our department provides a dynamic and collaborative learning environment, with modern laboratories and specialised equipment.  

Key facilities and equipment available on the course include: 

  • Fully equipped physics labs for experiments and investigations. 
  • A multi-million-pound research institute – housing national research centres such as the high-power impulse magnetron sputtering (HIPIMS) plasma research facility.
  • High-performance computing facilities for simulations and modelling. 
  • Specialised software for data processing and theoretical calculations. 
  • Dedicated research spaces for independent and group projects.
  • Well-stocked libraries and online resources for extensive scientific literature.

These facilities and resources mean you’ll have the necessary tools and environment to engage in hands-on experimentation, computational modelling, and theoretical exploration – all enhancing your learning experience and preparing you for a successful career in physics.

Entry requirements

All students

UCAS points

  • 80

This must include at least 32 points from one A level or equivalent BTEC qualifications. For example:

  • CDD at A Level.
  • MMP in BTEC Extended Diploma.
  • Pass overall from a T level qualification with C from core
  • A combination of qualifications, which may include a maximum of one AS level, EPQ and general studies

You can find information on making sense of UCAS tariff points here and use the UCAS tariff calculator to work out your points.

GCSE

  • English Language at grade C or 4
  • Maths at grade C or 4
  • Science at grade C or 4

*GCSE Equivalents

  • Level 2 Literacy or Functional Skills Level 2 English
  • Level 2 Numeracy or Functional Skills Level 2 Maths
     

• Access - an Access to HE Diploma with at least 45 credits at level 3 and 15 credits at level 2. At least 15 level 3 credits must be at merit grade or above from a QAA-recognised Access to HE course, or an equivalent Access to HE certificate.

We may also accept you, if you have no formal qualifications but can show evidence of ability and a genuine commitment to studying the subject.

Some applicants may be invited to attend an informal interview with the course leader to ensure that the programme is suitable for themselves and their aspirations.

UK students may be able to claim financial support for the course.

If English is not your first language, you will need an IELTS score of 6.0 with a minimum of 5.5 in all skills, or equivalent. If your English language skill is currently below IELTS 6.0 we recommend you consider a Sheffield Hallam University Pre-sessional English course which will enable you to achieve an equivalent English score.

Additional information for EU/International students

If you are an International or non-UK European student, you can find out more about the country specific qualifications we accept on our international qualifications page.

For details of English language entry requirements (IELTS), please see the information for 'All students'.


Modules

Important notice: The structure of this course is periodically reviewed and enhanced to provide the best possible learning experience for our students and ensure ongoing compliance with any professional, statutory and regulatory body standards. Module structure, content, delivery and assessment may change, but we expect the focus of the course and the learning outcomes to remain as described above. Following any changes, updated module information will be published on this page.

You will be able to complete a placement year as part of this course. See the modules table below for further information.

Year 1

Compulsory modules

Module
Credits
Assessment
Engineering And Mathematics In Practice
Credits 20
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Foundation Mathematics, Mechanics And Electronics 1
Credits 40
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Foundation Mathematics, Mechanics And Electronics 2
Credits 40
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Fundamentals Of Materials And Manufacturing
Credits 20
Assessment Practical(100%)
Year 2

Compulsory modules

Module
Credits
Assessment
Bridging The Gap From Classical To Quantum Physics
Credits 40
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Exploring The Building Blocks Of Matter - Particle, Nuclear, And Atomic Physics
Credits 40
Assessment Coursework(50%) , Exam(50%)
Physics In Practice - Skills For Real-World Applications
Credits 20
Assessment Coursework(100%)
The Physics Of Stars And Beyond - Exploring The Universe
Credits 20
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Year 3

Compulsory modules

Module
Credits
Assessment
Exploring The Cosmos Through Mechanics, Relativity, And Astrophysics
Credits 20
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Harnessing Quantum And Computational Physics For Discovery
Credits 40
Assessment Coursework(50%) , Exam(50%)
How To Predict The Future - Thermodynamics And Statistical Physics
Credits 20
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Physics Unleashed - Mastering Real-World Applications
Credits 40
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Year 4

Optional modules

Module
Credits
Assessment
Placement Year
Credits -
Assessment
Final year

Compulsory modules

Module
Credits
Assessment
Developing Further Advanced Topics In Physics And Its Applications
Credits 40
Assessment Coursework(50%) , Exam(50%)
Discovering Advanced Topics In Physics And Its Applications
Credits 40
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Project: Implementation
Credits 20
Assessment Coursework(100%)
Project: Management And Scoping
Credits 20
Assessment Coursework(100%)

Fees and funding

Home students

Our tuition fee for UK students starting full-time undergraduate study in 2024/25 is £9,250 per year. These fees are regulated by the UK government and are therefore subject to changes in government policy. During your placement year you will pay a reduced fee of £1,200.

If you are studying an undergraduate course, postgraduate pre-registration course or postgraduate research course over more than one academic year then your tuition fees may increase in subsequent years in line with Government regulations or UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) published fees. More information can be found in our terms and conditions under student fees regulations.

International students

Our tuition fee for International/EU students starting full-time study in 2024/25 is £16,655 per year. During your placement year you will pay a reduced fee of £1,200.

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Financial support for home/EU students

How tuition fees work, student loans and other financial support available.

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Additional course costs

This link allows you to view estimated costs associated with the main activities on specific courses. These are estimates and, as such, are only an indication of additional course costs. Actual costs can vary greatly depending on the choices you make during your course.

Additional costs for Physics courses (PDF, 310.7KB)

Legal information

Any offer of a place to study is subject to your acceptance of the University’s Terms and Conditions and Student Regulations.

 

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