A student in a physics laboratory

Physics and Astrophysics with a Year in Industry MPhys

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Apply for this course

Explore this course:

    You are viewing this course for 2022-23 entry. 2023-24 entry is also available.

    Key details

    Course description

    Students visiting the telescope facilities on La Palma
    University of Sheffield astrophysics students can visit the telescope facilities on La Palma in the Canary Islands.

    On this course, you’ll build up skills and experience on a work placement, which you can apply to the final years of your degree and a career in research. Placement opportunities for our astrophysics students include the Isaac Newton Group of Telescopes in the Canary Islands and the Thai National Observatory.

    When you’re in Sheffield, you’ll spend half your time studying astrophysics modules, as our degree programme has more astrophysics content than most. There are two telescopes on the roof of our building, which you’ll be trained to use from your first year. We also run a telescope on La Palma in the Canary Islands, which students use during our annual field trip. 

    At the start of your course, in lectures and lab classes, you’ll cover the essential physics behind everything else you’ll study: heat, motion, electricity, magnetism and quantum mechanics. You’ll also begin studying the fundamentals of astronomy and astrophysics with modules that cover our solar system, stars, galaxies and basic cosmology. There are practical sessions using our telescopes and, in programming classes, you can learn skills that are essential to modern astrophysics and valuable in many graduate careers, from data science to computer game design.

    You’ll explore essential physics in even more depth in your second year, and continue to specialise in astrophysics with modules on the structure and evolution of stars and galaxies. You’ll do more practical work with our telescopes and continue to develop your programming skills. 

    Your third year will be your placement year. When you return for your fourth year, you can branch out into lots of different areas and complete your own research project in astrophysics. Your core modules will cover topics like cosmology and stellar atmospheres. Optional modules include topics such as dark matter and nuclear astrophysics.

    A variety of optional modules are also available in your final year, when you’ll be working on a major research project. You’ll choose a research topic in astrophysics and work closely with a member of academic staff who is an expert in the area you want to explore. The project takes up around half of your final year and can lead to a publication in a scientific journal.

    Accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP) for the purpose of fully meeting the educational requirement for Chartered Physicist.

    Modules

    A selection of modules are available each year - some examples are below. There may be changes before you start your course. From May of the year of entry, formal programme regulations will be available in our Programme Regulations Finder.

    Choose a year to see modules for a level of study:

    Title: Physics and Astrophysics with a Year in Industry / with an Industrial Placement Year MPhys course structure
    UCAS code: F3F6
    Years: 2022, 2023
    First year

    Core modules:

    Motion and Heat

    This module introduces and applies the key concepts of motion and heat: force, equations of motion, phase space, determinism and free will, symmetry and conservation laws, waves and oscillations, coherence and classical frequency-time uncertainty, the laws of thermodynamics, thermal equilibrium, entropy and the arrow of time. You will learn how physics problems relate to these fundamental concepts, and how those concepts are used to construct solutions. You will apply the key concepts to design experiments to test scientific hypotheses. You will develop your data analysis and communication skills and to use different sources of information in your learning. You will work independently and as part of a group, developing a wide variety of study skills that will prepare you for the rest of your degree programme.

    25 credits
    Fields and Quanta

    This module introduces the key concepts of fields and quanta: electric and magnetic fields, the behaviour of electric charges and currents, vectors and densities, potentials, quantum states and their evolution, the probabilistic nature of fundamental physical law, and the breakdown of classical physics. This module will teach you how physics problems relate to these fundamental concepts, and how those concepts are used to construct solutions.

    25 credits
    Introduction to Astrophysics

    One of four half-modules forming the Level-1 Astronomy course, PHY104 aims to equip students with a basic understanding of the important physical concepts and techniques involved in astronomy with an emphasis on how fundamental results can be derived from fairly simple observations. The module consists of three sections:

    (i) Basic Concepts, Fluxes, Temperatures and Magnitudes;

    (ii) Astronomical Spectroscopy;

    (iii) Gravitational Astrophysics.

    Parts (i), (ii) and (iii) each comprise some six lectures. The lectures are supported by problems classes, in which you will learn to apply lecture material to the solution of numerical problems.

    10 credits
    The Solar System

    One of the four half-modules forming the Level 1 astronomy course, but may also be taken as a stand-alone module. PHY106 covers the elements of the Solar System: the Sun, planets, moons and minor bodies. What are their structures and compositions, and what dothey tell us about the formation and history of the Solar System?

    10 credits
    Our Evolving Universe

    The course provides a general overview of astronomy suitable for those with no previous experience of the subject. The principal topics covered are (1) how we deduce useful physical parameters from observed quantities, (2) the structure and evolution of stars, (3) the structure of the Milky Way, and the classification, structure and evolution of galaxies in general, (4) an introduction to cosmology and (5) extrasolar plantets and an introduction to astrobiology. All topics are treated in a descriptive manner with minimal mathematics.

    10 credits
    Observing the Night Sky

    This module aims to equip the student with a grounding in the observational and computational data analysis skills they will need as part of an astronomy degree programme, and is an essential pre-requisite of the more advanced handling of astrophysical data that will be expected as part of Levels 2, 3 and 4. The module consists of a mixture of taught material, workshops, and practical activities in positional astronomy, telescope optics, practical observing skills, basic python programming, and astrophysical data analysis.

    10 credits
    Introductory Mathematics for Physicists and Astronomers

    This module provides the necessary introductory  level 1 mathematics for students taking physics and / or astronomy degrees except those taking theoretical physics degrees.

    Topics will be covered in two equally weighted streams: Stream A: common functions of one variable, differentiation, series expansions,  integration and ordinary differential equations. Stream B:  basic complex numbers, vector manipulation, properties and applications of matrices.

    20 credits
    Further Mathematics for Physicists and Astronomers

    This module provides the necessary additional mathematics for all students taking physics and/or astronomy degrees including those taking theoretical physics degrees. The following topics will be covered: introduce the students to vector calculus; elementary probability theory; ensure that the students have a thorough knowledge of how to apply mathematical tools to physical problems.

    10 credits

    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. We are no longer offering unrestricted module choice. If your course included unrestricted modules, your department will provide a list of modules from their own and other subject areas that you can choose from.

    Learning and assessment

    Learning

    You'll learn through lectures, small group tutorials, programming classes, practical sessions in the lab and research projects.

    We invest to create the right environment for you. That means outstanding facilities, study spaces and support, including 24/7 online access to our online library service.

    Study spaces and computers are available to offer you choice and flexibility for your study. Our five library sites give you access to over 1.3 million books and periodicals. You can access your library account and our rich digital collections from anywhere on or off campus. Other library services include study skills training to improve your grades, and tailored advice from experts in your subject.

    Learning support facilities and library opening hours

    Assessment

    You will be assessed through a portfolio of problem sets, lab work and other material, as well as exams, essays, lab reports and presentations.

    Programme specification

    This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.

    Find programme specification for this course

    Entry requirements

    With Access Sheffield, you could qualify for additional consideration or an alternative offer - find out if you're eligible

    Standard offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    AAA
    including Maths and Physics

    A Levels + additional qualifications AAB, including AA in Maths and Physics + A in a relevant EPQ

    International Baccalaureate 36, with 6 in Higher Level Maths and Physics

    BTEC Extended Diploma Not accepted

    Scottish Highers + 2 Advanced Highers AAAAB + AA in Maths and Physics

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels A + AA in Maths and Physics

    Access to HE Diploma Access to HE Diploma in science: 60 credits overall with 45 credits at Level 3, including 39 credits at Distinction (all in Maths and Physics units) and 6 credits at Merit

    Other requirements
    • Students must have passed the practical element of any science A Level taken

    Access Sheffield offer

    The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
    AAB
    including Maths and Physics

    A Levels + additional qualifications AAB, including AA in Maths and Physics + A in a relevant EPQ

    International Baccalaureate 34, with 6,5 in Higher Level Maths and Physics

    BTEC Extended Diploma Not accepted

    Scottish Highers + 2 Advanced Highers AAABB + AB in Maths and Physics

    Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + AA in Maths and Physics

    Access to HE Diploma Access to HE Diploma in science: 60 credits overall with 45 credits at Level 3, including 36 credits at Distinction (all in Maths and Physics units) and 9 credits at Merit

    Other requirements
    • Students must have passed the practical element of any science A Level taken

    English language requirements

    You must demonstrate that your English is good enough for you to successfully complete your course. For this course we require: GCSE English Language at grade 4/C; IELTS grade of 6.5 with a minimum of 6.0 in each component; or an alternative acceptable English language qualification

    Equivalent English language qualifications

    Visa and immigration requirements

    Other qualifications | UK and EU/international

    If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.

    Department of Physics and Astronomy

    2D materials laboratory

    Scientists in the Department of Physics and Astronomy are working on topics such as how to build a quantum computer, the search for dark matter and ways to combat antimicrobial resistance. They run experiments on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, and help to map the universe using the Hubble Space Telescope. They’ll guide you through the key topics in physics and give you a huge range of optional modules to choose from. 

    The department is based in the Hicks Building, which has recently refurbished undergraduate teaching laboratories with all the equipment you need for your physics and astronomy training, as well as classrooms, lecture theatres, computer rooms and social spaces for our students.

    There are also telescopes and a solar technology testbed on the roof, state-of-the-art laboratories for building super-resolution microscopes and analysing 2D materials, and the UK’s first Quantum Information Laboratory, where students can study the fundamental science behind the next technological revolution. It’s right next door to the Students' Union, and just down the road from the 24/7 library facilities at the Information Commons and the Diamond.

    Facilities

    Our students are trained in newly refurbished teaching laboratories and can access a range of specialist technologies, from the telescopes on our roof to our state-of-the-art Quantum Information Laboratory.

    In their final year, MPhys students are based in a specialist research laboratory where scientists are studying technologies such as 2D materials, photovoltaic devices and advanced microscopy tools.

    Department of Physics and Astronomy

    Why choose Sheffield?

    The University of Sheffield

      A top 100 university
    QS World University Rankings 2023

      92 per cent of our research is rated in the highest two categories
    Research Excellence Framework 2021

      No 1 Students' Union in the UK
    Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2022, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017

    Department of Physics and Astronomy

    1st in the UK in terms of the quality of our research

    Research Excellence Framework 2021


    Physics and Astrophysics with a Year in Industry MPhys

    100% of placement year graduates in graduate level work or further study

    Graduate Outcomes 2020

    Graduate careers

    Department of Physics and Astronomy

    Our physics students develop numerical, problem solving and data analysis skills that are useful in many graduate jobs, including computer programming, software engineering, data science, and research and development into new products and services. Their expertise can be applied to many of the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century, from developing renewable energy technologies and improving medical treatments to creating quantum telecommunications systems and exploring outer space.

    Students who want to work as a physics researcher often do a PhD, which can lead to a career at a top university or a major international research facility such as CERN.

    The University of Sheffield is part of the White Rose Industrial Physics Academy. This partnership of university physics departments and technical industries can set up collaborations between our students and industrial partners through internships, year in industry placements, final year projects and careers activities. WRIPA also organises the UK’s largest physics recruitment fair, where our students can meet potential employers.

    Fees and funding

    Fees

    Additional costs

    The annual fee for your course includes a number of items in addition to your tuition. If an item or activity is classed as a compulsory element for your course, it will normally be included in your tuition fee. There are also other costs which you may need to consider.

    Examples of what’s included and excluded

    Funding your study

    Depending on your circumstances, you may qualify for a bursary, scholarship or loan to help fund your study and enhance your learning experience.

    Use our Student Funding Calculator to work out what you’re eligible for.

    Additional funding

    The University of Sheffield’s Experience Sheffield Scholarships includes a number of scholarships that are guaranteed to go to students in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

    Department of Physics and Astronomy scholarships

    Visit us

    University open days

    There are four open days every year, usually in June, July, September and October. You can talk to staff and students, tour the campus and see inside the accommodation.

    Open days: book your place

    Taster days

    At various times in the year we run online taster sessions to help Year 12 students experience what it is like to study at the University of Sheffield.

    Upcoming taster sessions

    Applicant days

    If you've received an offer to study with us, we'll invite you to one of our applicant days, which take place between November and April. These applicant days have a strong department focus and give you the chance to really explore student life here, even if you've visited us before.

    Campus tours

    Campus tours run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

    Book your place on a campus tour

    Apply for this course

    Make sure you've done everything you need to do before you apply.

    How to apply When you're ready to apply, see the UCAS website:
    www.ucas.com

    Not ready to apply yet? You can also register your interest in this course.

    The awarding body for this course is the University of Sheffield.

    Recognition of professional qualifications: from 1 January 2021, in order to have any UK professional qualifications recognised for work in an EU country across a number of regulated and other professions you need to apply to the host country for recognition. Read information from the UK government and the EU Regulated Professions Database.

    Our student protection plan

    Terms and Conditions upon Acceptance of an Offer

    2022-2023