Study mode:Online Study type:Full-time Languages: English
Local:$ 11.4 k / Year(s) Foreign:$ 22.6 k / Year(s) Deadline: May 1, 2025
StudyQA ranking:11492 Duration:4 years

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The programme details of this course are provided by the School of Physics and Astronomy: The School of Physics and Astronomy is well known for the quality of both its teaching and its research. The School is rated highly in various teaching league tables, and in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework the quality of our physics and astronomy research was rated joint third in the UK. Students and staff in the School work together to form a supportive academic community. Our teaching is informed by our research; final year projects are usually carried out within our research groups.

Within the degree programme you have the opportunity to either in level-one (first year) leading to the honours BSc degree in four years, or the MPhys in five years. Mathematical, experimental, observational and computational skills are developed. You can expect to have the opportunity to engage with a number of specialist topics including for example cosmology, gravitational dynamics, quantum physics, and star formation. It may be possible to spend a semester or year studying abroad as part of this degree programme.  

Our approach to Learning and Teaching is a little like the University itself: a mix of very traditional and very new. In every subject, we take care to cover all the bases, on the one hand familiarising our students with the knowledge and theories that are essential to understanding of the discipline; and on the other, giving you a chance wherever possible to develop practical uses for the expertise you acquire. From this starting-point, we expect our students increasingly to design their own studies, by selecting options and undertaking research-based activities that they devise by themselves, with support from academic staff.

Students put together their programme of studies by selecting a combination of compulsory and optional modules from our Course Catalogue. The Catalogue describes each module and gives information about the learning, teaching and assessment methods used. Some course available at a University are:

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics. This module surveys our present state of knowledge of the orbits, surfaces and atmospheres of the planets in our solar system; the structure and evolution of the Sun and other stars, including extra-solar planetary systems; the bizarre menagerie of star-forming regions, violent stellar objects and supermassive black holes found within our own Milky Way Galaxy and in other galaxies; and the large-scale structure and ultimate fate of the expanding Universe. Throughout the module, fundamental observations are interpreted using mathematical models to show how distances and other properties of astronomical objects throughout the Universe have been measured, from the time of Copernicus to the era of the Hubble Telescope and beyond (20 credits).
  • The Physical Universe.This module presents a descriptive, largely non-mathematical account of the physical universe. It is aimed at students from across the University. It is divided into two components: concepts in astronomy, dealing with our understandings of the properties and ages of planets, stars, galaxies, and their distributions in space, cosmology and the origin of the Universe; and concepts in physics, dealing with our understandings of the nature of light and matter, the structure of atoms, fundamental particles and their links to cosmology (20 credits).
  • Astrophysics. This module provides a streamlined introduction to the science of astrophysics for students who have taken direct entry to Second level and who are planning to take level two astrophysics later in the same academic session. It covers the essential items of observational astrophysics and how the radiation that is detected on Earth can be used to develop a physical model of the Sun, stars, planets, our Galaxy and external galaxies as well as the Universe as a whole. Topics will include stellar evolution, the rotation curves of galaxies and the need for Dark Matter as well as the expanding Universe, Dark Energy and cosmology (5 credits).
  • Physics.This module covers the core subjects of mechanics, waves and optics, and also provides an overview of the physical properties of matter. It is suitable for those who have studied physics to the level of Higher Physics or equivalent. It includes lectures on Newton's laws, work and energy, simple harmonic motion, the different types of wave motion, geometrical and wave optics, and the nature and composition of nuclei, atoms, molecules and solids, and their interactions. Relevant laboratory work is an important part of the module (20 credits).
  • Mathematics for Physicists. This module is designed to give physics students a secure base in elementary calculus and other mathematical tools to enable them to access the mathematics modules needed for progression into physics and astronomy degrees. Participants will learn to use this mathematics effectively and efficiently in the context of work in physics (20 credits).


Applicants must satisfy one of the following:

  1. SQA National 5 in English and Mathematics (or approved science), at Grade B or above AND two SQA Highers in approved sciences.
  2. GCSE in English Language or English Literature and Mathematics (or an approved science) at Grade B or above AND one GCE A-Level or equivalent, in an approved science.
  3. Passes in other examinations at such levels and in such subjects as the Dean may accept as a qualification equivalent to those mentioned.

Further information on entrance requirements

  1. Candidates may satisfy the entrance requirements by successful completion of special entry or Access courses.
  2. Applications from mature candidates are welcome and entrance requirements may be relaxed for such candidates in the light of other qualifications and/or experience.
  3. Other UK qualifications such as Open University credits may be accepted in full or partial satisfaction of the Faculty Entrance Requirements.
  4. International students whose first language is not English must have a certain level of English which can be indicated either by a satisfactory score in English language requirements or other proof of English language proficiency such as a high level of achievement within an international qualification.

If you are interested in undergraduate study at St Andrews, you must meet the University's entrance requirements as outlined below, as well as the entrance requirements set by the relevant Faculty for your programme of study. If you have graduated from high school in Russia with a national school leaving certificate (Certificate of Secondary (Complete) General Education Attestat o Srednem (Polnom) Obshchem Obrazovanii), we would also expect you to have one of the following:

  • A recognised foundation programme certificate. The University's Centre for International Foundation Programmes (CIFP) offers a range of programmes providing an excellent preparation for undergraduate academic study and we welcome students with strong Attestat scores.  Find out more about taking a foundation programme at the University of St Andrews.
  • At least 3 A Levels
  • An IB Diploma
  • At least 5 'Group A' advanced placement subjects

If you are studying a foreign language qualification and you wish this to be considered, it should be in a language that is foreign to you and should not be in your first language. You should indicate in your personal statement that the foreign language qualification you are studying is not your first language. If this is not the case your application may be considered less competitive.

International Undergraduate Scholarship

These entrant scholarships are for international students who will be studying at St Andrews for an undergraduate degree starting in 2016. The scholarships will be awarded as a tuition fee reduction of up to £4,000 per year for each year of the student's undergraduate studies and will be awarded on the basis of financial need.

BA International Honours Scholarship: Scholarship for Excellence

The BA International Honours Scholarship is available to students entering first year of the BA International Honours Programme commencing at St Andrews. The Selection Committee seeks applicants who are gifted students with academic excellence. The successful scholars will be expected to fulfil an ambassadorial role and represent the University at a number of events and contribute to various University publications. 4 awards are available: 3 awards of $6,000 (USD) per annum and 1 award of over $6,000 (USD) per annum.

Accommodation Award

Prospective students can apply for financial support for their University accommodation fees. The award is £3,000 per annum for the first two years of study and is means-tested, based on financial need. In order to be eligible, applicants must have a gross annual household income of under £34,000.

The Kinnessburn Scholarship

The Kinnessburn Scholarship is awarded annually to a student who has successfully completed a foundation programme at the Centre for International Foundation Programmes and is moving on to an undergraduate degree programme within the University of St Andrews. Value of award (per year) is £2,000.

Saints Sport Scholarships

The Department of Sport & Exercise, in partnership with the Athletic Union, offers a support programme to athletes who show exceptional abilities and potential whilst studying at St Andrews. Students competing at SSS/Regional Squad level and above in any sports disciplines are eligible to apply for an individual Sports Scholarship. In recent years, most scholars have been at junior international level and above. Scholarships will only be awarded to students matriculated for the full academic year and will be awarded at the start of Semester 1.

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