Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics BSc (Hons) or MPhys (Hons) – 2018 entry

The subject matter on [this] BSc covers a wide range of topics – even specialist courses like mine give you a good grounding in all areas, allowing you to pick more focused modules later down the line.

The Professional Training year provided me with access to top companies. I spent my placement with National Instruments, and the training, experience and skills I gained will help me throughout my career.

Why Surrey?

Unique in the UK, this exciting course contains all the core modules required in a physics degree, but with a specialism that combines the quantum world of atomic nuclei with the cosmic scale of astronomy. After all, when you look up into the night sky, almost everything you see is the result of a nuclear reaction.

Programme overview

The special blend of physics taught in our Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics programmes reflects the outstanding nuclear physics research that we conduct at Surrey.  On the course you will gain a thorough understanding of all the core elements of traditional physics – for example particle physics, atoms and molecules, and quantum mechanics – and study topics such as detection and measurement in astronomy and experimental nuclear physics. You can also switch between any of our specialist Physics degrees during your first year.

Many of our students choose to take an integrated Research Year or Professional Training placement year, giving them invaluable work and research experience and a real head start whether they enter the job market or continue to postgraduate studies.

Programme structure

The structure of our programmes follows clear educational aims that are tailored to each programme. These are all outlined in the programme specification documents which include further details such as the learning outcomes. Please be aware that these specifications are applicable to the current academic year.

Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

Year 1 (FHEQ Level 4)

Year 2 (FHEQ Level 5)

Professional Training placement (optional)

Many of our students opt to do a Professional Training placement. These normally begin at the end of the second academic year and finish in time for you to begin the third year of study.

Professional Training placements offer students the opportunity to gain access to the world of work, including meeting employers, developing job search skills and acquiring the employability skills that employers look for. Find out more about Professional Training placements.

Year 3 (FHEQ Level 6)

Year 4 (FHEQ Level 7)

Our MPhys programmes are four-year courses with an integrated MPhys Research Year that is unique in the UK. MPhys students start their research year halfway through Year 3, after completing the Year 3 taught modules.

In Year 4 you will complete your Research Year and then take a final semester of taught specialist modules, including a problem-solving module and up to five optional modules covering advanced topics in physics.

Professional recognition

Our Physics, Physics with Astronomy and Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics are accredited by the UKs Institute of Physics (IOP) and can lead to the award of Member of the Institute of Physics (MInstP) and Chartered Physicist (CPhys), after appropriate career experience. Our recently launched courses are awaiting accreditation by the IOP.

Institute of Physics (IOP) logo


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.

Discover more about our academic staff in the Faculty of Engineering and Physical Science.


Modules are assessed individually and credits are awarded for the successful completion of each one. Assessment takes place through a combination of examination and/or coursework, practical examinations and reports.

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

Contact hours can vary across our modules. Full details of the contact hours for each module are available from the University of Surrey's Module Catalogue. See the programme structure section for more information.

Academic support

You are allocated a personal tutor to guide you through the programme and advise on your option choices and future career, helping you to get the most out of your time at Surrey.


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

The Department has recently installed a new student observatory for astronomy, which will be used both by students for assessed laboratory experiments and also by enthusiasts for informal use.

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 Department’s new Astrophysics Research Group supports computational and observational projects in astronomy and astrophysics.

Global opportunities

We give our students the opportunity to acquire international experience during their degrees by taking advantage of our exchange agreements with overseas universities or by completing a Professional Training placement abroad. In addition to the hugely enjoyable and satisfying experience, time spent abroad adds a distinctive element to your CV. To check where you can go, visit our Global Exchanges pages.

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

  • Aachen Technical University
  • University of Ulm
  • Claustahl Technical University
  • University of Halle
  • University of Tessaloniki
  • University of Drebchen
  • Nanyang Technological University
  • Seoul National University
  • University of Cincinnati
  • North Carolina State University
  • University of Central Florida
  • University of North Texas
  • Swinburne University of Technology
  • University of Sydney
  • La Trobe University
  • Victoria Universit, Wellington
  • Brock University

International experiences can 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 to improve or learn another language.

MPhys students have spent their research placements at:

  • Notre Dame, Indiana
  • WNSL, Yale University
  • ORNL in Tennessee, USA
  • TRIUMF in Vancouver, Canada
  • The University of Marburg in Germany
  • CERN in Switzerland.

If you choose to do your research placement in another part of Europe you will be eligible for an Erasmus grant.

Careers and Professional Training

We are very proud of our track record for graduate employability. One of the main reasons for our graduate employability success is our Professional Training placement programme which is one of the largest in the World, with over 2,300 partner organisations in the UK and overseas. To find out more visit our Careers and Professional Training pages.

Undertaking a Professional Training placement can add real value to your experience and enable you to apply theoretical understanding, bringing it alive in the world outside university. Over the years, we have placed our students with many companies and laboratories, including:

  • BAE Systems
  • BT
  • HMS Sultan
  • INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Roma
  • Instituto de Carboquímica
  • Jaguar Cars
  • National Physical Laboratory
  • National Radiological Protection Board
  • Royal Surrey County Hospital
  • Science Museum
  • National Oceanography Centre

We offer a Professional Training placement with international opportunities and we have been placing students with companies for more than 40 years. Placement employers are often so impressed with the student’s performance that they offer them a permanent job when the student graduates.

The optional Professional Training placement starts at the end of the second academic year. Preparation for the Professional Training placement begins during Year 2. 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.

If you are studying a BSc programme, you will discuss your particular interests and abilities with your personal tutor and the Professional Training tutor during Year 2. The Department will look closely at your CV and help you with all aspects of applying to potential employers.

Every October, a Professional Training conference allows the previous year’s students to tell you about their experience first-hand. The Department will help you to apply to companies in our extensive database. 

Our students gain huge experience of a wide range of employment skills during their placement year, giving them a significant advantage when applying for jobs after graduation.

Graduate prospects

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.

After your degree, you may decide to become a professional scientist, but physics opens many other doors too. Your skills will be valued by a wide range of employers in areas such as journalism, law, IT, education and finance.

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 with organisations such as:

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

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.

Additional costs

There are associated costs with this BSc (Hons) programme:

  • Commuting (local travel expenses): unable to specify amount - some travel costs for commuting schools as part of Physics in Education module

2018 Entry requirements

What qualifications do you need?



BSc (Hons): AAB. Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

MPhys (Hons): AAA. Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.       

Required Subjects

BSc (Hons): Mathematics and Physics.

MPhys (Hons): Mathematics and Physics.


BSc (Hons): English Language C(4) and Mathematics C(4).

MPhys (Hons): English Language C(4) and Mathematics C(4).

Access to HE Diploma


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

MPhys (Hons): QAA-recognised Access to Higher Education Diploma with 45 Level 3 Credits at Distinction.

Required Subjects

BSc (Hons): Modules must be in relevant subjects.

MPhys (Hons): Modules must be in relevant subjects.

GCSE Equivalent

BSc (Hons): English Language C(4) and Mathematics C(4).

MPhys (Hons): English Language C(4) and Mathematics C(4).

BTEC (QCF Level 3) Extended Diploma


BSc (Hons): DDD BTEC Extended Diploma and A-Level Mathematics at Grade A.

MPhys (Hons): D*DD BTEC Extended Diploma and A-Level Mathematics at Grade A.

Required Subjects

BSc (Hons): BTEC must be in a relevant subject.

MPhys (Hons): BTEC must be in a relevant subject.

GCSE Equivalent

BSc (Hons): English Language C(4) and Mathematics C(4).

MPhys (Hons): English Language C(4) and Mathematics C(4).

European Baccalaureate


BSc (Hons): 82%.

MPhys (Hons): 85%.

Required Subjects

BSc (Hons): Grades 8.5 and 7.5 in Mathematics and Physics.

MPhys (Hons): Mathematics and Physics Grade 8.5.

GCSE Equivalent

BSc (Hons): English Language (1/2) - 6 English Language (3) - 7 Mathematics 6.

MPhys (Hons): English Language (1/2) - 6 English Language (3) - 7 Mathematics 6.

International Baccalaureate


BSc (Hons): 34.

MPhys (Hons): 34.

Required Subjects

BSc (Hons): HL6/SL7 and HL5/SL6 in Mathematics and Physics.

MPhys (Hons): HL6/SL7 in Mathematics and Physics.

GCSE Equivalent

BSc (Hons): English HL4/SL4 and Mathematics or Mathematics studies HL4/SL4.

MPhys (Hons): English HL4/SL4 and Mathematics or Mathematics studies HL4/SL4.

Science Practical Certificate

Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

Scottish Highers


BSc (Hons): AAABB.

MPhys (Hons): AAAAB.

Required Subjects

BSc (Hons): Mathematics and Physics.

MPhys (Hons): Mathematics and Physics.

GCSE Equivalent

BSc (Hons): English Language - Scottish National 5 - C Mathematics - Scottish National 5 - C.

MPhys (Hons): English Language - Scottish National 5 - C Mathematics - Scottish National 5 - C.

Welsh Baccalaureate


BSc (Hons): AAB from a combination of the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and two A-levels. Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

MPhys (Hons): AAA from a combination of the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate and two A-levels. Applicants taking the Science Practical Endorsement are required to pass.

Required Subjects

BSc (Hons): A level Mathematics and Physics subject.

MPhys (Hons): A level Mathematics and Physics subject.

GCSE Equivalent

BSc (Hons): Completion of GCSE English and Mathematics equivalents within the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.

MPhys (Hons): Completion of GCSE English and Mathematics equivalents within the Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate.

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, run by the Surrey International Study Centre.

Select your country:

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

IELTS Academic: 6.5 overall with 6.0 in each element.

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 F3F5 View KIS data set
BSc (Hons) 4 years F3F6 View KIS data set
MPhys (Hons) 4 years F3FM 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.

Additional costs

There are additional costs associated with this programme – view the additional costs section for full details.

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

The Full Surrey Award 2018 entry

The University will identify eligible students, so there is no application form for this scheme.

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


Modules listed are indicative, reflecting the information available at the time of publication. Please note that modules may be subject to teaching availability and/or student demand.

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