Published: 07 October 2022

A week in the life of a physics undergraduate

From lectures to laboratory-based practicals and personal tutorials, discover what a typical week looks like as a first-year BSc or MPhys physics student at Surrey.

How will I be taught?

You’ll learn through a combination of seminars, tutorials, lectures, computer programming classes, group work, laboratory-based practicals and online learning. You’ll receive approximately 22 contact hours each week.

You’ll also be expected to carry out independent study, including coursework, essays and reading. We have a range of study spaces available, including our library, open 24/7, and more relaxed spaces like the new Hillside Coffee café.

What will I be taught?

A typical week will cover the following modules: Small Group Problem-Solving; Essential Mathematics; Oscillations and Waves; Fundamentals of Physics; and Scientific Investigation Skills.  

Read more about our undergraduate physics courses here.

It sounds like I'll be busy! What support will I get?

Twice per semester you’ll meet with your personal tutor for an hour, which is a good way to see how you’re getting on and monitor progress.

On Wednesdays, there is a drop-in session with the Head of Department and there are also optional mathematics drop-in sessions.

What about other interests? Will I have time for those during the week?

That’s what Wednesdays are for: you have most of the day to focus on sporting, society or employability events. Students have access to more than 180 student clubs and societies, with interests ranging from mixed martial arts to mah jong, and poker to politics. There is a physics society, PhySoc, which organises a range of events throughout the year.

Nearby Surrey Sports Park is a £36m facility, offering state-of-the-art training facilities such as a climbing wall and an Olympic-size swimming pool.

What’s life like outside lectures?

We’re a campus university so everything you need is within a five-minute walk, including the Students’ Union building, grocery shopping, wellbeing and support services, the launderette and the medical centre.

Guildford’s picturesque cobbled high street boasts a wide range of shops and restaurants, plus an excellent range of pubs and a busy nightlife. The town is also only a 35-minute train journey to London.

Expect more

Find out why you should expect more at Surrey and when our next undergraduate open days will be.

Disclaimer: The modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication and may be subject to teaching availability, student demand and/or class size caps.

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