Physics and/with Philosophy

BSc

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

MPhys

UCAS code: F3V5
Typical offer: AAA
Length: 
Four years

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

How to apply for this course

Other physics and astronomy degrees:

Spend a year on a work placement as part of your course:

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:

  • PHI107 The Philosophy of Religion
  • PHI115 Reason and Argument
  • PHI116 Elementary Logic
  • PHI118 History of Ethics
  • PHI119 Climate Ethics
  • PHI120 Paradox and Plurality: Zeno to Aristotle
  • PHI121 Knowledge, Justification and Doubt
  • PHI125 Matters of Life and Death
  • PHI126 Mind, Brain and Personal Identity
  • PHI132 Death
  • PHI133 Film and Philosophy

Second year

Compulsory modules:

Optional modules:

  • PHI201 Reference and Truth
  • PHI202 Philosophy of Mind
  • PHI203 Formal Logic
  • PHI204/219 Ethics: Theoretical and Practical
  • PHI208/220 Political Philosophy
  • PHI211 Theory of Knowledge
  • PHI212 Philosophy of the Arts
  • PHI216 Feminism
  • PHI218 The Rationalists
  • PHI223 Topics in Ancient Philosophy
  • PHI225 Metaphysics
  • PHI226 Philosophy and Education
  • PHI227 Religion and the Good Life

Third year

Compulsory modules:

Optional physics modules:

Except for MPhys students

Optional philosophy modules:

  • PHI302 Metaphysics
  • PHI313 Epistemology
  • PHI318 Liberty, Democracy and Community
  • PHI324 Feminism: Rationality and Politics
  • PHI325 Phenomenology
  • PHI332 Philosophy of Psychology
  • PHI333 Theories of Rights
  • PHI335 / PH1330 Philosophical Problems 1 & 2
  • PHI336 Kant
  • PHI345 Advanced Logic
  • PHI364 Philosophy of Law
  • PHI366 Plato's Symposium
  • PHI368 Practical Reason
  • PHI369 Collective Action
  • PHI370 Free Will and Religion
  • PHI371 Fiction and Truth
  • PHI372 Pain, Pleasure and Emotions
  • PHI374 The Radical Demand in Logstrup's Ethics

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.

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

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