Physics and Astrophysics


UCAS code: FF35
Typical offer:
Three years

BSc + Year in Industry

UCAS code: FF36
Typical offer: ABB
Length: Four years

MPhys + Study Abroad

UCAS code: FF3M
Typical offer:
Four years


UCAS code: F3F5
Typical offer: AAA
Four years

MPhys + Year In Industry

UCAS code: F3F6
Typical offer: AAA
Length: Five years

Don't meet our entry requirements?
International students: Pathway programme
UK students: OpenPlus entry with the Open University

How to apply for this course

Other physics and astronomy degrees:

About the course

Few universities include as much astrophysics content in their Physics and Astrophysics course as the University of Sheffield. Our degree is split roughly 50/50 between the two subjects and students have access to:

  • a computer controlled 0.4m telescope and a robotic 0.25m telescope, both on the roof of our building
  • a 0.5m telescope on La Palma, Canary Islands, built in collaboration between the University of Sheffield and Durham University, and hosted by the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes

The astrophysics modules on your course will take you from learning how the universe evolved and how our solar system is structured, to advanced topics such as stellar atmospheres and nuclear astrophysics. Astrophysics students have the opportunity to visit the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes on La Palma in third year, and previous students have spent a year working at the facility through our Degree with Employment Experience scheme.

As part of my course, I spent one year working as a support astronomer at the 2.5m Isaac Newton Telescope on La Palma, in the Canary Islands.

I am very keen on observing, and being able to carry out observations of countless types of astronomical sources over a year was extremely enjoyable

David Modiano, MPhys Physics and Astrophysics with Employment Experience  READ MORE

Our degrees are accredited by the Institute of Physics, which means that we cover all of the topics and training that you need to graduate into a professional physics career. You'll start by developing your essential physics knowledge, with subjects including mechanics, waves, optics, relativity, electromagnetism, thermodynamics and quantum physics, before studying these areas at a more advanced level in second year. You'll also have compulsory modules on topics such as the solar system, galaxies and stellar evolution, and a number of topics to choose from in third year. These are set out in the 'Course structure' tab.

You can learn computer programming using professional software such as LabVIEW and Python, and develop other practical skills during regular sessions in our teaching laboratories. Throughout your first and second year, you'll be trained in how to use essential scientific instrumentation in physics experiments, and how to use specialist computer software for collecting and analysing scientific data.


You'll tie all of your skills and knowledge together in third year, when you'll complete an astronomy research project. You'll also have the option to do a physics research project or an extended project. This gives you the chance to work in one of our state-of-the-art research laboratories, work on solving a problem for one of our partners in industry, or gain experience of teaching physics in local schools. If you do one of our research-intensive MPhys degrees, you'll get to do an even bigger research project in and choose from even more optional modules in fourth year.

Research projects

Through our network of global partners, our students also have opportunities to visit leading institutions like the ATLAS project at CERN, the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes on La Palma in the Canary Islands and the dark matter research facility at Boulby Underground Laboratory. This gives you the chance to experience the workings of a major research centre first-hand – talking to physicists at work or using state-of-the-art equipment.

Field trips

Course structure

Below are some examples of topics covered in this degree from the current academic year. There may be some changes before you start your course.

First year

Compulsory modules:

Second year

Compulsory modules:

Third year

Except for Study Abroad and MPhys Year in Industry students

Compulsory modules:

Optional modules:

Fourth year

MPhys students only

Compulsory modules:

Optional modules:

The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

Physics and Astrophysics with a Year in Industry

If you do one of our Year in Industry courses, you’ll spend 12 months before the final year of your degree on a work placement in the physics industry. This makes your degree a year longer, as you’ll still cover the same content as students on the standard BSc and MPhys degrees.

During your placement year, you’ll work full-time, potentially earning a graduate-level salary. You’ll pay reduced fees for the year you spend on placement but still have access to all the support you need from the University.

Placements aren't guaranteed – it's your responsibility to secure one but we'll do everything we can to help. You can meet many employers who offer placements at our annual physics careers fair. You’ll also get support from our careers staff, to help you find the placement that’s right for you.

David, pictured, worked as a support astronomer at the Isaac Newton Telescope on the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory on La Palma, in the Canary Islands.

Cropped version of David M's photo

I plan to pursue a career in research in astronomy, and this placement year has not only solidified this aspiration but also provided me with training and experience crucial to this field.

David Modiano MPhys Physics and Astrophysics with Employment Experience  READ MORE

Physics and Astrophysics with Study Abroad

If you take a Study Abroad course, you'll spend your third year studying physics at another top university in the USA, Canada, New Zealand or Australia. It's a great way to get an even bigger range of perspectives on the subject and experience life in another part of the world. You'll pay reduced fees for the year you're abroad. Your place at another university isn't guaranteed – it's your responsibility to secure one but we’ll do everything we can to help.

I chose to study at the University of Western Australia... The chance to study physics  in another country is not one to be missed and I would highly recommend it to anyone considering studying abroad.

Kirsty Taggart, MPhys Physics and Astrophysics with a Year Abroad  READ MORE

 Kirsty Taggart