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Theoretical Physics MPhys, BSc

(Full time) 2017 start

Theoretical Physics MPhys

This degree programme provides students with excellence in teaching and learning opportunities in an internationally competitive research environment.

You will graduate with a full understanding of the theoretical basis of modern physics upon completion of the programme, along with key transferable skills to further your career. Lectures, workshops and tutorials combine to give a stimulating and challenging course, covering all core aspects of modern physics along with additional advanced maths courses offered by the School of Mathematics. Throughout, you will demonstrate your grasp of how modern mathematical methods are applied to advanced topics in Theoretical Physics. Options for either Industrial Placement or Study Abroad are available.

Your final-year, independent theoretical research project will give you an understanding of the scientific research process and the skills needed to be a research scientist.

This course is professionally accredited by the Institute of Physics.

Enhancing your degree

It is possible to transfer to the four-year Integrated Masters (MPhys, BSc) from the three-year Bachelor’s (BSc) degree up until the end of year 2, and vice-versa, subject to suitable academic performance at that stage.

This course is also available with either the Industrial Placement or the Study Abroad scheme. Both options are by application near the beginning of year 2, and are subject to academic selection. The Study Abroad replaces your 3rd year at Leeds with a year abroad, so the course length is still 4 years. The Year in Industry option adds an extra year to the course, usually taken between years 2 and 3.

Dr Robert Purdy is the Undergraduate Admissions Tutor for the course and Sarah Gardner is the Undergraduate Admissions Officer.


This course is professionally accredited by the Institute of Physics.

You will start the course by gaining a solid grounding in all aspects of physics and mathematics covering a broad range of topics. Core subjects of the programme include quantum theory and quantum field theory, special and general relativity, nuclear and particle physics, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, real and complex analysis, vector calculus and differential equations. You have options that allow you to explore your own interests, but also take some courses in common with students on other physics and mathematical degree programmes. We also expect you to gain an understanding of basic laboratory skills in year one, so that you can gain a better sense of how experiment and theory work together in physics.

Specialist topics, from photonics through to the philosophy of modern physics, are drawn from the research interests of the Schools of Physics and Astronomy, Mathematics, and Philosophy. In your final year, you will choose advanced options from a wide range of modules in both physics and mathematics.

In addition, you will choose either to extend your understanding of current theoretical physics by carrying out a critical literature review or to gain experience of actual research by undertaking a project. The literature review can deal with leading-edge topics such as string theory or quantum computing. The research project is related to the School’s research interests in theoretical physics, such as liquid state physics, gauge fields, knots and polymers, biological membranes and quantum information.

When you finish this programme, you will have a sound knowledge and understanding of the core observations, concepts and quantitative theoretical structures that constitute our contemporary understanding of the physical world, as well as an enhanced interpersonal skill set of problem solving, independent learning, verbal and written communication and presentation skills, all of which will help you to progress into your desired career path.

Course structure

To find module level details follow this link (Opens new window)

These are typical modules/components studied and may change from time to time. Read more in our Terms and conditions.

Broadening your academic horizons

At Leeds we want you to benefit from the depth and breadth of the University's expertise, to prepare you for success in an ever-changing and challenging world. This course gives you the opportunity to broaden your learning by studying discovery modules. Find out more on the Broadening webpages.

Learning and teaching

We use several different teaching methods including lectures, workshops, small-group tutorials, laboratory work, project work and computer-aided learning. In the first year there is a mixture of workshops and small group tutorials, and then in subsequent years we use workshops to expand upon lectures.

Formal examinations account for between 60-100% of the marks which determine the final degree classification, the rest coming mainly from practical work with contributions from oral presentations and tutorial work. Some later year modules are self-contained and are fully assessed in-course.

Laboratory classes are seen as an integral part of our teaching throughout your time at Leeds. They provide you with the opportunity to develop your verbal and written communication skills through performing experiments individually or as part of a group, undertake completion of a short course on data analysis and statistics and learn how to conduct practical experiments in preparation for your final year Research Project.

When you arrive in the department you will be assigned a Personal Tutor. In the first year, he or she acts also as your Academic Tutor and will arrange weekly small-group tutorials, where problems set by the tutor are discussed, along with other aspects of physics and university life. Your Personal Tutor is there to offer advice, to monitor your progress, and to be your first point of contact during your undergraduate years. Group tutorials are held in the second and third years, in which a combination of examination style questions and more wide ranging applications of physics are explored.

There are various facilities to support you with your studies including extensive computer clusters and virtually universal wireless connectivity. The Edward Boyle Science and Engineering Library is only a short walk from the School of Physics and Astronomy and has multiple copies of the recommended books, as well as a variety of different studying environments, such as personal and flexible group work areas. The School itself provides additional computing and study areas.


Just as we use a variety of teaching methods we also use a range of assessment types to encourage students to show us their talent.

To encourage you to learn your physics and maths, as the modules are being taught, all core modules have a component of continually-assessed work which makes up 15% of the final mark. The other 85% comes from the examination. We also assess through written reports, presentations and oral discussions throughout the programme, which builds up your skills in these areas. Some later year modules are self-contained and are fully assessed in-course.

Details on the types of assessment used for each module can be found on the University Module Catalogue.

Entry requirements

A level: AAA including physics and mathematics.

We do not accept A-level general studies and/or critical thinking as part of the requirement.

Applicants taking a Science A-level (in England) will be required to achieve a pass in the practical element in addition to the standard A-level grade requirement.

GCSE: 5 required, including English, each with a minimum of grade C.

Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the School’s Undergraduate Admissions Team.

Alternative entry

We’re committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.

Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.

Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.


Foundation year

If you have the ability to study for a degree but don’t have the qualifications to enter directly to level one, you might consider studying a foundation year. We have formal links with the following foundation year programmes:

- University of Leeds International Foundation Year (IFY)

- Northern Consortium of UK Universities (NCUK)

- Study Group Leeds International Study Centre (LISC)

If you are applying from an alternative foundation year provider, please contact our admissions team to find out if your qualification is suitable for entry to our courses.

English language requirements

IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any component.. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.

International students who do not meet the English language requirements for the programme may be able to study an English for Academic Purposes pre-sessional course with a progression route to the degree programme. For information and entry requirements, read Pre-sessional programmes.

How to apply

Apply to this course through UCAS. The institution code for the University of Leeds is L23. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.

International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK/EU students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.

Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.

Admissions policy

Faculty of Mathematics and Physical Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Policy


UK/EU: See fees section below

International: £19,750 (per year)

For UK and non-UK EU students starting in 2017, the fee for 2017/18 will be £9,250, subject to parliamentary approval of changes to higher education funding. We anticipate that we will be able to confirm the 2017 fee in late 2016. 

The fee may increase in future years of your course, as permitted by law. 

The UK government has confirmed that non-UK EU students starting in 2017 will have home fee status and be eligible for UK government student loans for the duration of their course. Read the full government statement

If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.

Read more about paying fees and charges.

Scholarships and financial support

If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.

Our graduates enter a wide range of professions including research in industry and academia, IT, management, finance and teaching.

Careers support

On successful progression to Year two, you will have the opportunity to spend your third year in North America or the second semester of your third year in Europe.

This course offers the Year in Industry placement and also allows our best performing students to apply for a summer research placement within the School.

Key facts

UCAS code:

4 years full time

Typical A level offer:
(specific subjects required)

UK/EU fees:
See fees section below
International fees:
£19,750 (per year)

Contact us:
School of Physics and Astronomy Undergraduate Admissions Enquiries
+44 (0) 113 343 3881

2016 entry

Tom Watts

MPhys Physics with Astrophysics

"When I first visited I just felt at home here. The city is great, the University as a whole has a brilliant reputation and the School of Physics and Astronomy itself is very welcoming."