Teaching

Teaching

The lecturers and professors who teach our courses are all engaged in cutting-edge research, in fields that include particle physics, astrophysics, polymer and biophysics, semiconductor nanotechnology and medical physics. This range of expertise means our degrees have lots of module options, so you can focus on what interests you most.

You'll learn from us in lots of different ways. In lectures you'll study important theories, and in lab classes you'll see how they work in practice. We have modules dedicated to designing experiments and research training, so you'll learn how to collect data, analyse results and assess projects. Small group tutorials are a chance for you to work closely with our academic staff on scientific problems and get extra support with tricky subjects.

Typical first year timetable

Your timetable will be a mixture of lectures, tutorials and practical classes. Below is a typical timetable for a first year student in semester one.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday
09:00-10:00 Maths for Physicists lecture
10:00-11:00 Maths for Physicists lecture Maths tutorial
11:00-12:00 Physics lecture Physics tutorial Physics lecture Maths for Physics lecture Physics lecture
12:00-13:00 Pre-lab session Physics lecture
13:00-14:00 Free for sports and other activities
14:00-15:00 Physics lab session
15:00-16:00
16:00-17:00 Maths for Physicists lecture
Video: Inspirational Academics – Dr Ed Daw

Field trips

Our students get the chance to visit major research centres during their degrees. Organisations we work with include:

  • The ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, where the Higgs Boson discovery was made.
  • The Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes in La Palma, Canary Islands, situated nearly 8000ft above sea level for unique observation conditions.
  • The Boulby Underground Laboratory, where scientists search for dark matter.

Find out more about our field trips

Study Abroad

MPhys programmes in Physics, Physics and Astrophysics and Theoretical Physics give you the chance to spend your third year at one of our partner universities in Australia, Canada, New Zealand or the United States, before returning to Sheffield for your final year. Our Study Abroad tutor works with students to find the right university to match their specific programme.

Undergraduate courses

Work placements

Most programmes include an option to take a year out in industry as part of a degree with employment experience. If you are an astrophysics dual then you could go to La Palma to be a support astronomer for the year. Other students have done placements at places including the Sellafield National Nuclear Laboratory and the Science and Technology Facilities Council's Daresbury Laboratory.

Degrees with Employment Experience at the University of Sheffield

Research placements

Each year undergraduates can apply to join the Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience scheme. This gives you a bursary to spend around 10 weeks working with one of our department's research groups over the summer break. This gives you the chance to get first-hand experience of major research projects and can even lead to your name appearing in an academic journal.

Meet our research experience students




Isabelle Gessey talks about her placement year at the Science and Technology Facilities Council's Daresbury Facility.

Course essentials

Core text books
All of our students are given text books on Introductory Physics, which includes access to online resources, and Mathematics for Physicists. Students doing an Astrophysics dual degree are also given a Contemporary Astrophysics text book.

Programming classes
Computer programming is an essential part of physics research, so we'll introduce you to Labview in first year and teach you Python in second year. Advanced programming is optional in later years.

Research projects
All our students do research of their own. This could be as part of a lab project or you might choose to research different methods of science teaching. We currently offer these year long extended project options in third year:

  • Quantum Information Lab
  • Group Industrial Project
  • Material Physics Laboratory
  • Education and Outreach
  • Physical Computing

Our four year MPhys degrees have even more research opportunities for you, and they're great preparation for a career in research or academia.