Physics and Astrophysics


UCAS Code: FF35
Typical offer:
Three years

Average weekly contact time

First year: 16 hours
Second year: 18 hours
Third year: 12 hours
Fourth year: Nine hours


UCAS Code: F3F5
Typical offer:
Four years

With Study Abroad

Typical offer:
Four years

How to apply for this course

About the course

The Physics and Astrophysics degree at Sheffield is one of the few in the country to offer such a high proportion of astrophysics content as part of a physics degree. It's roughly fifty-fifty between the two subjects. This means it's ideally suited to students looking for a course that packs in as much astrophysics as possible into a physics degree, but misses none of the core physics modules. You can do this course as a standard three year BSc or a four year MPhys where you'll do more research.

As well as covering almost every branch of astrophysics, you can spend a year of your degree on the other side of the world. The Physics and Astronomy with Study Abroad is an MPhys course where you spend your third year at a top university in Australia, New Zealand, Canada or the USA.

From academic year 2016/17 onwards, we are offering an exciting new degree course option: Physics and Astrophysics with Employment Experience. On this degree, the fourth year of this five-year MPhys programme is spent working as an Astronomer at the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes (ING) on La Palma, Canary Islands. Click on the Field trips tab to find out more.

The department operates three large optical telescopes: two on the roof of the Physics building in Sheffield and one on La Palma in the Canary Islands. You can visit La Palma on a week-long field trip which is attended by many the third-year students each year. If you do the MPhys course, you have the chance spend your whole fourth year there working on a research project: Astronomy Group

You'll get lots of opportunities to put your scientific knowledge in to practice. We run field trips to Observatorio del Roque de los Muchachos in the Canary Islands, the underground dark matter laboratory at Boulby Mine and the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. You can also do a research placement in the department to build up your practical skills and add to your CV.

Our students have an excellent employability record in a wide range of graduate careers. Many enter science-related industries such as working for renewable energy, nanotechnology, space exploration industries and telecommunications companies. Others go into non-science graduate careers, using the graduate level skills they gained from their degree. Many choose further study, doing masters and PhDs in the UK and abroad, and teaching.

Year abroad

On the Physics and Astrophysics with Study Abroad course, you will spend your third year at a top international university, taking classes at a similar level to the ones we run in Sheffield. The Study Abroad webpages have a full list of universities you may be able to go to. Below, is a list of universities our students have gone to in the past.

Meet some of our Study Abroad students





These are the current undergraduate modules for this course. As we want to keep our degrees as up-to-date as possible, the modules available when you start your degree might be different.

First year

Core modules:

Second year

Core modules:

Options include:

Third year (except Study Abroad)

Core modules:

Options include:

Fourth year (MPhys only)

Core modules:

Options include:

Foundation Year

We offer a Physics Foundation Year for students with A level qualifications, or equivalent, in at least one the following subjects: Maths, Physics, Chemistry or Biology. The Science and Engineering Foundation Year programme is made up of taught modules in physics, mathematics and chemistry taught by academic staff in those departments, plus laboratory and transferable skills taught by staff in the Faculty of Engineering. On successful completion of the Foundation Year students can enter the first year of one of our undergraduate degree programmes.

UCAS code: F309
Typical offer: BBB
Length: Four or five years, depending on final degree course chosen

"Finishing the Foundation Year with good grades gives you the confidence to see that you really can tackle a degree in science or engineering."

– Rose Ireland, BSc Physics

Find out more about the Science and Engineering Foundation Year programme

Science and Engineering Foundation Year: Science degree pathway

Open University OpenPlus entry

The University of Sheffield and the Open University have created a flexible way for UK students to study physics. You can spend two years studying in your own time with the Open University, allowing you to combine work with your studies.

If you complete this successfully, you can transfer directly onto the second year of our full-time BSc Physics, or Physics and Philosophy course.

Find out more

Other Physics and Astronomy courses: Physics | Physics and Philosophy | Theoretical Physics | Chemical Physics | Physics with Computer Science | Physics with Medical Physics