Mathematics and Physics BSc (Hons), MMath (Hons) or MPhys (Hons) – 2017 entry

The Maths lecturers are really helpful and willing to spend extra time to explain any difficult areas. There’s a fantastic community here. It’s not just a place to study for your degree, it’s a place where you develop as a person.

What you'll study

Our joint programmes in Mathematics and Physics will appeal to students who wish to continue studying both subjects to degree level by combining the rigour of formal mathematics with its application to a wide range of situations in physics.

These programmes will educate you to sufficient breadth and depth to enable you to continue on to PhD study in theoretical physics or applied mathematics, or to gain employment in a numerate or technical field – the same opportunities as would be available to you had you taken a straight physics or mathematics degree.

Programme overview

These programmes contain a selection of core material across both mathematics and physics, including calculus, quantum physics, linear algebra and particle physics, along with a wide-ranging choice of optional modules across both disciplines. Options include areas such as fluid dynamics, space science, Galois theory and general relativity. All of these degrees involve extended projects, which can be taken with a more mathematical or physical bias, according to your interests.

Mathematics is a highly regarded discipline that both underpins contemporary life and is a fascinating subject in its own right.

Skills learned through the study and application of mathematics often prove invaluable in solving the complex problems arising in today’s workplace, and it is no coincidence that Surrey Mathematics graduates are in great demand.

Our degrees provide you with an overview of the key theories and techniques that underlie modern pure and applied mathematics, as well as offering ample opportunities for in-depth study of specialised topics depending on your interests.

Our programmes produce graduates who are highly numerate and computer-fluent. Through their studies with us, students develop well-honed analytical and other transferable skills to equip them for a variety of interesting and rewarding careers.

In addition to specific technical skills, students gain a broad knowledge base and develop important general skills, such as thinking independently, communicating effectively, meeting deadlines and engaging productively in teamwork.

Read about the experience of Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics student Laurence Stant.

Programme structure

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

Year 1 gives you the core physics, mathematics knowledge, and professional research skills you need. You will get to grips with the fundamental principles of physics and be introduced to modern physics, from quantum mechanics to relativity.

Building on these principles, you will explore the breadth of the world of physics, looking at atoms, star formation, cosmology, the Schrödinger equation, and even measure the speed of light.

You will also be introduced to the theories developed to deal with physical processes beyond the normal speeds and sizes of everyday life. See our world through Schrödinger’s eyes.

Compulsory modules:

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

In Year 2, you will continue to expand your understanding of and experience with both classical and modern physical theories and concepts.

In addition, you will be able to choose the areas that you want to specialise in, and tailor your degree pathway to suit your interests by selecting from a choice of optional modules.

Compulsory Physics modules:

Compulsory Mathematics modules:

Optional modules:

Professional Training placement (optional)

The optional Professional Training placement starts at the end of your second academic year.

If you decide not to do the Professional Training year, you proceed directly to Year 3 to complete your taught modules and graduate in your third year.

MMath and MPhys

The MMath and MPhys pathways involve a compulsory integrated research year, which takes place in Year 3. 

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)

Year 3 will see you specialise in your chosen field and deliver your final-year project. Through your work on this final-year project, you will develop your scientific writing skills, as well as your communication and presentation style.

BSc students will undertake an extended research project in their final semester and can currently choose up to six optional modules.

Compulsory modules:

Optional modules:

Year 4 (MPhys only, FHEQ Level 7)

Our MPhys programmes are four-year courses with an integrated research year that is unique in the UK. In Year 4, MPhys students undertake a problem-solving module and choose up to five optional modules.

The range of modules available may vary from year to year, but your freedom to choose which options to study remains our priority. The unique research year begins after you have completed half of your Year 3 taught modules, at the end of the autumn semester.

Compulsory modules:

Optional modules:

Professional recognition

The Mathematics and Physics degree is recognised by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA), and by the Institute of Physics.

Professional Training placements

Sandwiched between Years 2 and 3 for our BSc programmes, the Professional Training placement year provides an opportunity for you to enhance your academic studies, with practical experience augmenting your knowledge and skills.

Mathematicians are in demand in many areas of business and industry. The work which students are able to do on placement reflects this breadth, and may vary from operational research and computer programming in insurance or banking to analysing clinical trials or solving heat transfer and aerodynamic problems encountered in the atomic energy and aerospace fields.

We have excellent links with an extensive portfolio of companies and organisations. Recent employers include:

  • Deloitte & Touche
  • Intel
  • AXA Actuarial
  • Royal Sun Alliance
  • Lloyds TSB
  • GlaxoSmithKline
  • NHS
  • Department of Transport
  • HM Customs and Excise

While on placement, you will be a paid employee of the training company. You will, however, also continue to be a member of the University and will be visited periodically by academic staff to track your progress and help ensure that you have a successful experience.

Transfer between programmes which do or do not include a Professional Training placement is possible during the first year, so a decision made when you apply can be changed later.


You will have a stimulating mixture of lectures, laboratory work, tutorials, practical exercises and computational classes. There will be assigned coursework, problem solving and projects.

Computers are used extensively, as teaching aids via self-learning packages, in the laboratory for experimental control and data analysis, in modelling of physical problems and for effective communication.

Eight practical laboratory half-modules are designed to introduce particular elements of physics, experimental design, data analysis, background research and technical writing.

A ninth module introduces computational modelling, the topic of which can be based upon your personal interests. Experimental and computational exercises, undertaken in the teaching laboratory, are designed to complement and aid the learning of concepts taught in lectures.


All modules are assessed by written examination, coursework or, most commonly, a combination of the two.

For the MPhys degrees, 30 per cent of the degree is awarded for the Year 2 modules, 30 per cent for the research year and associated dissertation, and 40 per cent for the Year 3 modules.

For the BSc degrees, 35 per cent of the degree mark is awarded for the Year 2 modules with 65 per cent awarded in Year 3.

Coursework accounts for about 30 per cent of the overall degree mark.

Contact hours

The following represents an indicative estimate of how you can expect your time to be split on each of these programmes, based on the information available at the time of publication (February 2016):

  • 2 per cent personal tutorial/small group teaching
  • 2 per cent medium group teaching
  • 31 per cent large group teaching
  • 65 per cent studying and revising in your own time


We can boast extensive facilities within the Department of Physics, including our undergraduate teaching laboratories which recently underwent a thorough refurbishment.

The Department has also recently benefited from a £3.5 million refurbishment of its research laboratories, which our undergraduate students use as they carry out their final-year research projects.

The University of Surrey is currently leading a £6 million research project to develop quantum computers using atomic-scale devices.

Career opportunities

Physicists are highly sought after in industry, research, education, management, medicine, law and business, because of their broad practical skills and knowledge of fundamental theory.

Our degrees will provide you with the analytical, experimental and computational skills valued in a wide range of career opportunities.

All Surrey Physics students learn a range of employability skills during their studies. These include a dedicated Year 1 module, Scientific Investigation Skills, which covers key communication skills, group work and presentations, problem solving in the laboratory environment, plus sessions on interview techniques, CV preparation and job applications.

Students who take either the Professional Training or research year placements also get invaluable employment experience at their host institution.

Many of our graduates, particularly those with an MPhys degree, go on to postgraduate degrees in order to become researchers. Other graduates have launched careers in organisations such as:

  • Shell International Petroleum
  • 3M
  • GEC Marconi Research
  • Nokia
  • BT
  • National Physical Laboratory
  • BBC
  • NHS
  • Defence Research Agency
  • Surrey Medical Imaging Systems

Graduate prospects

Graduates have taken up roles such as research physicists, consultants, engineers, teachers and bankers in companies including the BBC, BAE Systems and Astrium.

Many have gone on to take Masters degrees in a range of subjects, such as geophysics, nanotechnology, meteorology, quantum field theory, education management and science communication, while others have chosen to study for PhDs in astrophysics, semiconductors or photonics.

Global opportunities

You have the option of spending one or two semesters abroad in your second year at one of our partner universities, including:

  • Nanyang Technological University
  • Seoul National University
  • University of Cincinnati
  • North Carolina State University
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of North Texas
  • Texas Tech
  • Swinburne University of Technology
  • University of Sydney
  • La Trobe University
  • Brock University
  • University of Victoria, Wellington

International experiences expose you to a new cultural environment that develops your adaptation and communication skills and also your ability to deal with unfamiliar situations, thus strengthening your academic and professional profile.

In addition, or alternatively, you may wish to consider spending your Professional Training year working in another country. If you work in another part of Europe you will be eligible for an Erasmus+ grant.

This is an excellent opportunity not only to acquire valuable work experience but also improve or learn another language.

2017 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?



MMath and MPhys: AAA (or AAB if A-level Further Mathematics is included)

Applicants taking either Physics, Biology, Chemistry or Psychology are also required to pass the Science Practical Certificate in the subject.

Access to HE Diploma

BSc: QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 39 Level 3 Credits at Distinction and 6 Level 3 Credits at Merit.

MMath and MPhys: QAA recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 45 Level 3 credits at Distinction

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma


MMath and MPhys: D*DD

European Baccalaureate

BSc: 75 per cent

MMaths: 76 per cent

MPhys: 76 per cent

International Baccalaureate

BSc: 35 points

MMath and MPhys: 36 points

Scottish Highers


Scottish Advanced Highers AAB/Scottish Highers AAABB


Scottish Advanced Highers AAA/Scottish Highers AAAAB


Scottish Advanced Highers AAA/Scottish Highers AAAAB

Welsh Baccalaureate


Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AA


Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AA


Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Diploma and A-level AA

Other international qualifications

If you are an international student and you don’t meet the entry requirements to this degree, we offer the International Foundation Year.

Select your country:

Required subjects

GCSE English Language at grade C/4 or above and GCSE Mathematics at grade C/4 or above (or equivalent)

Mathematics A-level grade A and Physics A-level are required. 

Selection process

Offers are normally made in terms of grades.

Suitable candidates will be invited to an Applicant Day. During the visit to the University the candidate can find out more about the programme and meet staff and students.

English language requirements

6.5 IELTS minimum overall

6.0 IELTS minimum in each sub-skill

If you are an international student and you are concerned that your English is not to the required standard, you may benefit from the International Foundation Year, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Please note that the University of Surrey offers English language programmes and is also an IELTS Test Centre.

Course Options

Qualification Course Length Professional Training UCAS code KIS code
BSc (Hons) 3 years GF1H View KIS data set
BSc (Hons) 4 years GFH1 View KIS data set
MMath (Hons) 4 years GF13 View KIS data set
MPhys (Hons) 4 years GF1I View KIS data set

Tuition fees

View a complete listing of all ongoing fees for our undergraduate programmes.

The University will assess your fee status. If you are unsure whether you are likely to be considered a home, EU or overseas student for fees purposes, the UKCISA website offers more information.

Professional Training placement fees

Programmes marked with a tick in the table above include a Professional Training placement.

A reduced fee is charged for Professional Training placements.

Fees will not have to be paid up front for those eligible students who decide to take up the Government's loan for higher education fees. The Professional Training placement is a key factor in the high employability rates achieved by students with Surrey degrees.

Bursaries and scholarships

We're committed to making sure that we offer support for students who might need it.

Find out more

International students

Experienced staff in our International Student Office are available to help from the moment you consider studying at the University. We offer professional advice on immigration, visa issues, entry qualifications, pre-departure information, employment regulations and international student welfare.

How to apply

Find out how and when to apply to study at Surrey.

More info

Professor Ian Roulstone presents an overview of the undergraduate Mathematics offerings at the University of Surrey.


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that not all modules described are compulsory and may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Professional Training Placement

Professional Training placement at London 2012

Maths student Holly Wade and Electronic Engineering student Linda Igboanugo talk about their Professional Training Placement work on London 2012

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