Study physics in the UK

What is physics?

Physics is the science of nature and natural objects, covering everything from matter, motion, space, time and energy. By studying physics, you will develop a deeper understanding of how the world works through a scientific lens. A degree in physics can open doors to a wide range of careers in science, from disciplines in engineering to cutting edge projects like the Large Hadron Collider at CERN.

Some of the fields you will be able to specialise in include:

  • Physics and Engineering – Studying the theories of physics in relation to engineering and technology
  • Physics and Mathematics – Understanding how mathematical concepts underpin the principals of modern physics
  • Astrophysics – The use of physics to study matter in space such as stars, planets and nebula, how they are created and how they affect one another
  • Nuclear physics – Using the foundations of physics to study protons, neutrons and atoms, radiation and the creation of nuclear energy
  • Quantum Technology – The emerging field of the study of electrons and their application to improve technology

Why study physics?

There are many benefits to studying a degree in physics:

For those looking to learn as much as possible about the planet we live on, a physics degree can help you to answer questions about the world, such as where we came from, what will happen to the universe in the future and how we can power our towns and cities sustainably. You will have the opportunity to find your specialism and can dedicate your studies to the subject area which interests you most.

Physics graduates can use their skills to address the challenges facing the world, from developing green technologies to improving mobile technology. As well as learning about the world and how it works, the complex nature of the degree provides plenty of opportunities to strengthen your problem-solving, research and reasoning skills.

Graduates of STEM degrees have skills that employers in a wide variety of industries value highly, such as advanced mathematics skills, thorough research and understanding complex data. According to research, physics graduates often earn more than other science graduates (Institute for Fiscal Studies 2018).

Why study physics at the University of Surrey?

The University of Surrey's Department of Physics is home to a range of excellent research facilities, ensuring Surrey students are at the forefront of the newest discoveries and technologies. The University is also partnered with the National Physical Laboratory, offering distinctive physics courses that reflect the diverse nature of the subject.

Degrees at the University include flexible modules across many different topics, so you can find the subject area that appeals to you the most. By combining core modules that introduce you to the subject with optional modules, you will receive a well-rounded education. First year students at the University can also benefit from the opportunity to switch between any of the specialist physics courses on offer.

The Professional Training Year programme provides work placement opportunities for undergraduate students at the University. This is your chance to gain crucial work experience that can help kickstart your career in physics.

The programme has been running successfully for over forty years and includes over 2,300 professional placement partners, which have included.

  • The National Physical Laboratory
  • Tesla Engineering
  • IBM UK
  • BAE Systems

Degree options at the University of Surrey

There are a variety of physics undergraduate degrees you can progress to at Surrey after studying the relevant pathway at the International Study Centre:

  • Mathematics and Physics MPhys (Hons)
  • Mathematics and Physics MMath (Hons)
  • Mathematics and Physics BSc (Hons)
  • Physics MPhys (Hons)
  • Physics BSc (Hons)
  • Physics with Astronomy MPhys (Hons)
  • Physics with Astronomy BSc (Hons)
  • Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics BSc (Hons)
  • Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics MPhys (Hons)
  • Physics with Quantum Technologies MPhys (Hons)
  • Physics with Quantum Technologies BSc (Hons)

Physics rankings

15th in the UK for Physics and Astronomy in The Times and The Sunday Times Good University Guide 2019

Accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP) for the purpose of fully meeting the educational requirement for Chartered Physicist

“The International Study Centre is a very important step that I think students should take, especially if it’s your first time in this country. It doesn’t just prepare you academically; it also prepares you for life in a different city, so it’s an important progression.”

Omar from Oman
Studied International Foundation Year – Engineering and Physical Sciences

Degree preparation at the International Study Centre

Programmes at the University of Surrey International Study Centre will prepare you for a degree in the field of physics at the University of Surrey. Our pathway programmes will give you the academic and English language skills needed to succeed at university, as well as range of subject-specific modules related to your degree study.

Undergraduate pathway to physics

Surrey ISC students in an engineering lab at the university.

Our Engineering and Physical Sciences International Foundation Year is a two-semester programme that will prepare you for a range of physics undergraduate degrees at the University of Surrey.

How to apply

Surrey ISC students sitting on the green grass on campus

Discover how to apply to study at the University of Surrey International Study Centre, the entry requirements and fees, and what to expect when you arrive at the centre.

What are the physics graduate job opportunities?

There are a wide variety of career options available to physics graduates. You can stay on and further your academic studies, or enter a wide variety of different careers such as:

  • Data Analyst
  • Geophysicist
  • Healthcare scientist, medical physics
  • Laboratory technician
  • Laser Engineer
  • Meteorologist
  • Nanotechnologist
  • Physics teacher
  • Radiation protection practitioner
  • Software Developer
  • Systems Analyst
  • Theoretical Astrophysicist