Physics with Philosophy

BSc

UCAS code: FV35
Typical offer:
ABB
Length:
Three years

MPhys

UCAS code: F3V5
Typical offer: AAA
Length: 
Four 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

Physics and philosophy both ask profound questions, whether they are about the laws of the universe or the nature of existence. This course includes modules taught by experts in the University of Sheffield's Department of Philosophy, so that you can place the fundamental theories of physics in a meaningful conceptual context.

Throughout your degree, you'll have the chance to take lots of the philosophy modules available to undergraduate students based in the Department of Philosophy, so that you can focus on the subjects that interest you most. Topics range from religion, ethics and politics, to feminism, the arts and death, to major thinkers such as Plato, Kant and Hegel.

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 be able to pick from a number of physics topics 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.

Teaching

You'll tie all of your skills and knowledge together in third year, when you'll get to do a physics research project, based in one of our state-of-the-art research laboratories. 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 physics modules in fourth year.

Research projects

Through our network of global partners, our students also have opportunities to visit leading institutions like ATLAS project at CERN, the Newton Group of Telescopes 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:

Optional modules:

  • PHI103 Self and Society 
  • PHI107 The Philosophy of Religion
  • PHI115 Reason and Argument
  • PHI116 Elementary Logic
  • PHI118 History of Ethics
  • PHI121 Knowledge, Justification and Doubt
  • PHI123 Philosophy of Science
  • PHI125 Matters of Life and Death
  • PHI126 Mind, Brain and Personal Identity
  • PHI132 Death
  • PHI133 Film and Philosophy
  • PHI134 History of Philosophical Ideas
  • PHI135 Writing Philosophy
  • PHI158 Philosophy of Sex

Second year

Compulsory modules:

Optional physics modules:

Optional philosophy modules:

  • PHI202 Philosophy of Mind
  • PHI203 Formal Logic
  • PHI211 Theory of Knowledge
  • PHI212 Philosophy of Art and Literature
  • PHI216 Feminism
  • PHI217 Plato
  • PHI218 The Rationalists
  • PHI219 Ethics: Theoretical and Practical
  • PHI220 Political Philosophy
  • PHI225 Metaphysics
  • PHI226 Philosophy and Education
  • PHI227 Religion and the Good Life
  • PHI230 Philosophy of Science

Third year

Compulsory modules:

Optional physics modules:

BSc students only

Optional philosophy modules:

  • PHI324 Feminism: Rationality and Politics
  • PHI325 Phenomenology
  • PH1330 Philosophical Problems II
  • PHI332 Philosophy of Psychology
  • PHY335 Philosophical Problems I
  • PHI340 Aristotle
  • PHI350 Global Justice
  • PHI335 / PHI336 Philosophical Project 1 / 2
  • PHI364 Philosophy of Law
  • PHI370 Free Will and Religion
  • PHI374 The Radical Demand in Logstrup's Ethics
  • PHI375 Philosophy of Medicine
  • PHI377 Work Place Learning
  • PHI379 The Political Philosophy of Climate Change
  • PHI381 Moral Theory and Moral Psychology
  • PHI382 For the Love of Knowledge: Topics in Analytic and Social Epistemology
  • PHI383 The Rationalists
  • PHI384 Hegel and the Phenomenology of Spirit
  • PHI385 Sources of Normativity

Fourth year

MPhys students only

Core modules:

Options include:

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.

Degree with Employment Experience

Students on all of our degrees, can join the University of Sheffield's Degree with Employment Experience programme and do a year-long work placement between their second and third year, or third and fourth year.

You'll pay reduced fees for the year you're on placement, most students find salaried positions, and you'll still have access to your tutor and the support you need from the university. Most students earn salaries during their placements too.

It isn't something you apply for before you get here and placements aren't guaranteed – it's your responsibility to secure one but we’ll do everything we can to help.

Complete your placement successfully and we amend your degree title to reflect your experience, for instance: BSc Physics with Employment Experience.

Isabelle, pictured, worked with the Science and Technology Facilities Council at Daresbury Laboratory, a government scientific research company where a new particle accelerator is being built.

Degree with Employment Experience

Isabelle Gessey

I really feel like I am contributing to the scientific community.

Isabelle Gessey, MPhys Physics and AStrophysics with Employment Experience  READ MORE