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Study Physics abroad

About this subject

  • About this subject
  • Is this the course for me?
  • Career prospects
  • Studying Physics
  • Where to study?

Physics is a branch of science involving the study of natural matter through time and space. As far as academic disciplines go, it is most probably one of the oldest; predominantly through its inclusion of astronomy. However physics (physical science) was not recognised as a subject matter in its own right until the 17th century when the physical, biological and chemical aspects of science were recognised as three separate subject matters in their own right.

Physics and physicians have been responsible for some of the most advanced scientific developments in the past 400 years. From Newton’s discovery of Gravity and Einstein’s theory of relativity to the moon landings of 1969 the study of physical matter not only allows us a greater understanding of the world around us, but is a pivotal factor in technological innovation.

Is this the course for me?

If you’re passionate about science and discovering how the world around you works then Physics will most likely be an ideal course of study for you. However, if you are considering taking a degree in Physics, it is important that you have a firm grasp on maths, particularly algebra.  It will be expected that students not only understand the theory behind the subject matter but will be able to take responsibility for their own practical research, so those who are both hard-working and organised will benefit most from the course.

Career prospects

A common misconception is that a degree in science based subjects lends itself only to a career within the scientific industry. However, with the average graduate salary in the UK working out at £22,500, there are many strong careers prospects for new physics graduate.  While some students do go on to pursue careers in the field of scientific research, there are many alternative jobs available for those who have studied Physics.

In recent years many Physics graduates have been recruited within the financial and business sectors. Those who study Physics tend to demonstrate problem solving skills, mathematical ability as well as the ability to analyse data and work hard; all of which are key skills when working in such sectors.

In 2010, over a third of physics graduates opted to take a post-graduate course as opposed to entering the jobs market straight away. Courses range from Masters Degrees and PhD’s in subjects such as mechanical engineering or Medical Physics to PGCE’s that allow Physics graduates to pursue a career in teaching.

Studying Physics

There are a variety of different courses available at a number of different institutions across the UK, all of which will expect their students to have gained a respectable mark in their Physics A-level or equivalent examinations.  Usually your course will be a minimum of 3 years, although some establishments will allow students to sit an extra year to convert their undergraduate Bachelors degree into a Masters or to gain valuable experience working within a scientific industry.

Due to the volume of theoretical and practical information you will acquire during your time as a student, the Physics course will be particularly demanding. You will be expected to attend lectures as well as conduct experiments within a lab-based environment. Even outside of contact time you will be expected to read around the subject in your spare time.

It is also important that there are no barriers preventing students from making the most out of their time on the course. If you are a foreign student, and English is not you native language, then you will be expected to pass an IETLS test. Most Universities will require you to score a minimum of 6.0 on the test although more prestigious institutions expect a 6.5.

Where to study?

One of the most important things to consider when deciding where to study a Physics degree is the research facilities of the Universities as well as the module options available to study. Physics is a predominantly practical subject, so the experiments you do and the data you collate during the course of your study will have a crucial impact upon your final grade.  Universities offering Physics as a course will all have basic lab facilities of their own. However, some of the more prestigious establishments will have forged relationships with larger research companies who will allow supervised students to access their facilities. These benefits are also advantageous when seeking employment.

Location will also be a key factor for those deciding where to study. While you primarily attend university to study for your degree, it is important to remember that your University of choice will also determine where you live. If you’re an out-going, social individual and you like being surrounded by a wide cross-section of people then think about studying at a University located in the heart of a bustling city. However, if you’re a quiet individual looking for a slower pace of life, opt for a smaller university where the focus is on creating a tight-knit community.

It is also important to consider your academic abilities, and your financial status. Do your grades meet the entry requirements? Can you afford the fees and the cost of living? If you’re still struggling financially, you can always apply for a bursary or scholarship.

What Physics courses are there?


Physics (General)


Applied Physics


Engineering Physics


Electronics (Physics)

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