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Physical Sciences, BSc

Physical Sciences, BSc

Course Overview


This wide ranging degree will be of interest to anyone wishing to leave University with a science degree and will equip you for a future working in a science based industry or even in an area such as science journalism.

Many students have a passionate interest in science and technology, and who seek to study a broader degree than just physics or just chemistry. The physical sciences degree answers this need and allows you to study a mix of courses from the physical sciences, including physics, chemistry, geology, biology and so on.

The degree follows a similar structure to the standard Physics degree, however, the flexibility allows for a mix of courses that involve no compulsory Mathematics courses. This appeals to many students who have an interest in this area but are put off by the mathematical components. Courses are dynamic and exciting, including Astronomy and Meteorology so it is a very broad ranging degree programme.

LEARNING MODE On Campus Learning
DURATION 48 months

Compulsory Courses

Professional Skills Part 1 (NT1001)

Optional Courses


  • The Physical Universe A (NT1015) OR Understanding the Physical World (NT1016)
  • The Physical Universe B (NT1513) OR Astronomy and Meteorology (NT1514)

Plus select a further 30 credit points from level 1 courses in Physical Sciences*, plus a further 60 credit points from courses of choice

* For the purposes of this degree, the Physical Science Group of courses consists of all courses with codes PX, PC, CM, CS, EG, ES, GL, MA, MX, SS and ST, plus GG 2510 and GG 3069.

The Physical Universe A (NT1015) – 15 Credit Points
Understanding the Physical World (NT1016) – 15 Credit Points
The Physical Universe B (NT1513) – 15 Credit Points
Astronomy and Meteorology (NT1514) – 15 Credit Points

Optional Courses

Select one of the following:

  • Light Science (NT2013) AND Practical Optics and Electronics (NT2505)
  • Dynamical Phenomena (NT2015) AND Relativity and Quantum Mechanics (NT2510)

Plus select a further 30 credit points from level 2 courses in Physical Sciences, plus a further 60 credit points from courses of choice

Light Science (NT2013) – 15 Credit Points
Practical Optics and Electronics (NT2505) – 15 Credit Points
Dynamical Phenomena (NT2015) – 15 Credit Points
Relativity and Quantum Mechanics (NT2510) – 15 Credit Points

Optional Courses

Select two of the following:

  • Energy and Matter (NT3014)
  • Research Skills in Physics (NT3017)
  • Introduction to the Solid State (NT3016)

Plus two of the following:

  • Structure Of Matter And The Universe (NT4510)
  • Advanced Practical Physics (NT3510)
  • Electricity and Magnetism (NT3512)
  • Quantum Mechanics (NT3511)

Select a further 30 credit points from Level 3 Physical Sciences courses, plus a further 30 credit points from courses of choice.

Energy and Matter (NT3014) – 15 Credit Points
Research and Computing Skills (NT3017) – 15 Credit Points
Introduction to the Solid State (NT3016) – 15 Credit Points
Advanced Practical Physics (NT3510) – 15 Credit Points
Electricity and Magnetism (NT3512) – 15 Credit Points
Quantum Mechanics (NT3511) – 15 Credit Points
Structure of Matter and the Universe (NT4510) – 15 Credit Points

Compulsory Courses

Project (NT4013) – 45 Credit Points
Statistical Physics and Stochastic Systems (NT4012) – 15 Credit Points
Case Studies in the Physical Sciences (NT4007) – 15 Credit Points
Modelling Theory (NT4514) – 15 Credit Points

Optional Courses

Select 15 further credit points from courses in Physical Sciences at Level 3 or 4, plus 15 credit points from courses of choice.

NOTE: A graduating curriculum for the Honours programme must include 90 credit points from Level 4 courses.

Assessment Methods

Students are assessed by any combination of three assessment methods:

  • coursework such as essays and reports completed throughout the course;
  • practical assessments of the skills and competencies learnt on the course; and
  • written examinations at the end of each course.

The exact mix of these methods differs between subject areas, year of study and individual courses.

Honours projects are typically assessed on the basis of a written dissertation.

Why Study Physical Sciences?

Why Physics

  • The Department of Physics at the Northampton University has a long and illustrious history, and former staff include great physicists such as James Clerk Maxwell and G.P. Thomson.
  • We offer a modern, modular degree structure with a broad syllabus and a wide range of degree choices.
  • Long tradition of teaching physical sciences combined with modern facilities.
  • Emphasis placed on teaching employability and development of generic skills, useful in a wide range of careers.
  • We also offer a broad-based, less mathematical degree in Physical Science that allows the combination of Physics courses with a wide choice of other subjects.
  • Learn from research active, academic staff.
  • We are engaged in a wide range of research areas ranging from the fundamental nature of the universe through to understanding the atomic structure of complex materials and semiconductor device physics.
  • Our graduates go in to a huge range of jobs including; Meteorology, Medical physics, Environmental monitoring, Astronomy, Particle physics, Geophysics, Materials science, Invention Design, Teaching,
    Financial Modelling.


There are many opportunities at the Northampton University to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success. The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us, from first to final year – and beyond.

Your Employability

The University Careers Service aims to inspire and support your career success through collaboration, innovation and professionalism. We provide our students and recent graduates with the advice and information they need for effective career planning and skill development along with opportunities for networking and connecting with employers. 

Entry requirements


SQA Highers

Standard: AABB*

Applicants who have achieved AABB (or better), are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/ Advanced Highers may be required.

Minimum: BBB*

Applicants who have achieved BBB (or are on course to achieve this by the end of S5) are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will normally be required.

Adjusted: BB*

Applicants who have achieved BB, and who meet one of the widening participation criteria are encouraged to apply and will be considered. Good performance in additional Highers/Advanced Highers will be required.

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.


Standard: BBB*

Minimum: BBC*

Adjusted: CCC*

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

International Baccalaureate

32 points, including 5, 5, 5 at HL*.

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

Irish Leaving Certificate

5H with 3 at H2 AND 2 at H3 OR AAABB*, obtained in a single sitting. (B must be at B2 or above)

* Including good performance in at least two Mathematics/ Science subjects by the end of your senior phase of education.

English Language Requirements

English Language Requirements

To study for an Undergraduate degree at the University of Northampton University it is essential that you can speak, understand, read, and write English fluently. The minimum requirements for this degree are as follows:


IELTS Academic:

OVERALL – 6.0 with: Listening – 5.5; Reading – 5.5; Speaking – 5.5; Writing – 6.0


OVERALL – 78 with: Listening – 17; Reading – 18; Speaking – 20; Writing – 21

PTE Academic:

OVERALL – 54 with: Listening – 51; Reading – 51; Speaking – 51; Writing – 54

Cambridge English Advanced & Proficiency:

OVERALL – 169 with: Listening – 162; Reading – 162; Speaking – 162; Writing – 169

How to apply


This programm by online learning has start dates in September and January of each academic year. 

We recommend that you apply as early as possible; this is particularly important for applicants who may need to allow sufficient time to take an English language test

Documentation required

Applications are made online via the University Application Service, EUCLID.

Please follow the instructions carefully and make sure that you have included the following documentation with your application:

  • Degree certificates showing award of degree.
  • Previous academic transcripts for all past degree programmes.
  • A reference in support or your application. The reference should be academic and dated no earlier than one year from the start of study on the LLM programme.
  • Evidence of English language proficiency, if required.

If you are currently studying for your degree or you are not in a possession of an English test result you may still apply to the programme. Please note that it is your responsibility to submit the necessary documents.

After you apply

After your application has been submitted you will be able to track its progress through the University’s applicant hub.

Application processing times will vary however the admissions team will endeavour to process your application within four to six weeks of submission. Please note that missing documentation will delay the application process.

You will be informed as soon as possible of the decision taken. Three outcomes are possible:

  • You may be offered a place unconditionally
  • You may be offered a conditional place, which means that you must fulfil certain conditions that will be specified in the offer letter. Where a conditional offer is made, it is your responsibility to inform the College Postgraduate Office when you have fulfilled the requirements set out.
  • Your application may be unsuccessful. If your application has not been successful, you can request feedback from us or refer to our guidance for unsuccessful applicants, which explains some of the common reasons we why we reach this decision.
    View the University’s guidance for unsuccessful applicants
Terms and conditions of admissions
  • The University’s terms and conditions form part of your contract with the University, and you should read them, and our data protection policy, carefully before applying.

    Northampton University admissions terms and conditions