Physics

Study mode:Full-time Languages: English Duration:4 years
Local:$ 12.7k / Academic year(s) Foreign:$ 42k / Academic year(s) Deadline: Oct 15, 2021
StudyQA ranking:239

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Physics is concerned with the study of the universe from the smallest to the largest scale: why it is the way it is and how it works. Such knowledge is basic to scientific progress. The language of physics is mathematics: formulating physical theories sometimes requires new mathematical structures. Physics is a fundamental science and a practical subject. Many techniques used in medical imaging, nanotechnology and quantum computing are derived from physics instrumentation. Even the World Wide Web was a spin-off from the information processing and communications requirements of high-energy particle physics.

Oxford has one of the largest university physics departments in the UK, with an outstanding and very diverse research programme in six sub-departments:

  • Astrophysics
  • Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics
  • Atomic and Laser Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics (including Biophysics)
  • Particle Physics
  • Theoretical Physics.

Physics at Oxford is challenging and mathematical with a strong emphasis on fundamental concepts such as optics and relativity. The fourth-year MPhys option courses bring you to the threshold of current research, and can lead to subject specialism. An accepted student can also complete in three years with a BA. The department is equipped with state-of-the-art lecture facilities and teaching laboratories. Tutorials give students direct and regular access to physicists actively involved in research and provide an opportunity to explore scientific ideas with experts in the field.

Physics Careers

More than 40% of Physics graduates go on to study for a higher degree, leading to careers in universities or in industry or in research and development, technical consultancy, manufacturing and science education. Many others enter professions unrelated to Physics, such as finance and business, where the analytical and problem-solving skills they have developed are highly sought after.

In the first year, time is equally divided between mathematics and physics, with about ten lectures and two tutorials plus one day in the practical laboratories a week. In the second and third years the core and mainstream physics topics are covered in tutorials and small group classes. Practical work is also done during the year. In the fourth year you take two major options and the MPhys project.

1st year

Current courses

  • Classical mechanics and special relativity
  • Electromagnetism, circuit theory and optics
  • Mathematical methods I
  • Differential equations and waves

Short options, eg:

  • Astronomy
  • Complex analysis
  • Quantum ideas

Assessment

First University examinations: Four written papers; short option paper; satisfactory laboratory work

2nd year

Current courses

  • Thermal physics
  • Electromagnetism and optics
  • Quantum physics
  • Mathematical methods II

Short options, eg:

  • Classical mechanics
  • Climate physics
  • Introduction to biological physics

Assessment

Final University examinations, Part A (BA and MPhys):
Three written papers; short option paper; laboratory work; individual presentation

3rd year
Current courses
  • Flows, fluctuations and complexity
  • Symmetry and relativity
  • Quantum, atomic and molecular physics
  • Sub-atomic physics
  • General relativity and cosmology
  • Condensed-matter physics
Short options, eg:
  • Advanced quantum mechanics
  • Classical mechanics
  • Plasma physics

Assessment

Final University examinations, Part B (MPhys): 
Six written papers; short option paper; mini-project; laboratory work Final University examinations, Part B (BA): Four written papers; short option paper; mini project; group presentation; laboratory work; project report

4th year

Research

Project and two option courses:

  • MPhys project
Current major options
  • Astrophysics
  • Laser science and quantum information processing
  • Condensed matter
  • Particle physics
  • Atmospheres and oceans
  • Theoretical physics
  • Biological physics
The options listed above are illustrative and may change. More information about current options is available on the Physics website.

Assessment

Final University examinations, Part C (MPhys): 
Project report; two major option papers

Exams are taken in June at the end of each year of the courses. Most written papers are of 2.5 or 3 hours duration. Short options are shared across years 1–3 and are examined by a 1.5 hour paper; the titles shown are illustrative and may change from year to year of the course.

  • Attestat o Srednam Obrazovanii (Certificate of Secondary Education) would not be sufficient for candidates to make a competitive application. If your qualification is listed as being insufficient to make a competitive application to Oxford, then you will need to undertake further study if you wish to apply.You could take British A-levels (the British Council may know where you can take A-levels in your country), the International Baccalaureate (IB), or any other qualifications listed as acceptable on this page. The first year of a bachelor's degree from another university could also be an acceptable alternative.
  • IELTS: overall score of 7.0 (with at least 7.0 in each of the four components)
  • TOEFL (paper-based): overall score of 600 with a Test of Written English score of 5.5
  • TOEFL (internet-based): overall score of 110 with component scores of at least: Listening 22, Reading 24, Speaking 25, and Writing 24.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced, also known as the Certificate of Advanced English (CAE): grade A if taken before January 2015, or a score of at least 185.
  • Cambridge English: Proficiency, also known as the Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE): grade B if taken before January 2015, or a score of at least 185.
  • English Language GCSE, or O-level: grade B (for IGCSE, please see below)
  • International Baccalaureate Standard Level (SL): score of 5 in English (as Language A or B)
  • European Baccalaureate: score of 70% in English.

Hill Foundation Scholarship

Russian nationals wishing to study for a second undergraduate degree. 

Palgrave Brown Scholarship

Students must be ordinarily resident in and/or educated in the following countries:

Albania; Armenia; Azerbaijan; Belarus; Bosnia and Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Croatia; Czech Republic; Estonia; Georgia; Hungary; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyz Rep.; Latvia; Lithuania; Macedonia;  Moldova; Montenegro; Poland; Romania; Russia; Serbia; Slovakia; Slovenia; Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Ukraine; Uzbekistan. 

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