Work or University - why not both?

The OpenPlus entry route

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 with your studies. If you complete this successfully, you can transfer directly onto the second year of our full time BSc Physics or Physics/Philosophy course. You'll then study as a full time student and graduate with a University of Sheffield degree.

You can also choose to study for an additional year to graduate with an MPhys degree. This way, you can do more of your own research because the course is designed to give you the skills you'll need for a career as a professional physicist.

How does it work?

For the first two years you study in your own time on a supported open learning course with the Open University, to get a thorough grounding in physics. You will study at home using printed or online learning resources sent to you by the OU, and have support from your OU tutor and other OU staff. You will also take part in a one week residential school at the OU to learn practical laboratory skills.

During these two years you will have a University of Sheffield physics tutor, and have opportunities to visit the department and participate in undergraduate activities.

Once you have completed the OU sections you will join the University of Sheffield as a full time second year student on either our BSc or MPhys Physics or Physics/Philosophy course.

What are the entry requirements?

There are no formal entry requirements for the Open University part of the OpenPlus course other than an interest and enthusiasm for Physics, and a willingness to learn.

Entry to the University of Sheffield degree is subject to you passing the OU component. You will also need an acceptable qualification in written and spoken English, this is normally GCSE English grade C or better. There are many equivalent qualifications, e.g. IELTS, TOEFL, for international students.

More information on the University's English requirements can be found at:

What's the difference between the BSc and MPhys physics courses?

The BSc Physics course takes 3 years (as a full time student) and is our standard course, covering the fundamentals of physics as well as introducing current research issues. Students on the MPhys course progress to an additional, research-based year. During this year you will study more advanced topics and carry out a substantial research project, based around some of the research going on in the department. Our aim is to provide MPhys students with the skills needed to pursue careers as professional physicists, should they want to. The BSc is intended to provide a more general education for students who want to pursue a less specialised career or undertake postgraduate training. Both degrees are accredited by the Institute of Physics and can lead to Chartered Physicist status after suitable professional experience.

For more detail of the courses


For the first 2 years, students pay OU fees. University of Sheffield fees apply for subsequent years of full time study.

How to apply

Entry is via the University of Sheffield, not the Open University. Please contact us if you are interested in applying via this route.

More information

Prof Lee Thompson
Physics Admissions Tutor
(0114) 22 24577

email :

Open University OpenPlus information: