Physics with a Foundation Year BSc MPhys
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Explore this course:
You are viewing this course for 2023-24 entry. 2022-23 entry is also available.
If you don't have the usual scientific or mathematical background for our degrees, a foundation year is for you. Your first year will be spent improving your knowledge and skills, so you're at the right level to move to a degree.
Your study will include modules in physics, mathematics and chemistry. When you've completed the foundation year, you can enter the first year of any of our physics degree programmes.
You can specialise later in your course, and can often switch between our degrees. In your final year, you'll complete an extended individual project.
UCAS code: F309
Years: 2022, 2023
- Core Foundation Mathematics
The syllabus for MAS003 covers the common core A Level curriculum. The unit is tailored for students who have been away from mathematics for a period of time, but who will have gained some A-Level or similar qualifications. The unit covers the basic principles of algebra, geometry and calculus. Following the introduction of new material in the lectures, students have the opportunity of extensive problem solving, both in the tutorial sessions with the lecturers and in their own time.40 credits
- Foundations of Physics
PHY009 provides students with the foundations of Physics required to enter the first year of a regular Physics or other scientific degree course, or an engineering course where detailed knowledge of Physics is needed.30 credits
Understanding will be developed in 3 lectures per week over a full academic year. Problem solving and example classes are integrated into lectures. The following topics will be covered: Dynamics/Mechanics; Electricity and Magnetism; Thermal Physics; Oscillations, Waves, and Optics; Properties of Matter; Atomic and Nuclear Physics.
As PHY009 teaches no practical Physics, this module is complemented by the 10 credit laboratory module FCE002 for most science foundation year students (except for foundation year students leading to a Mathematics undergraduate programme) or FCE001 for engineering foundation year students.
The greatest advances in technology have taken place in the last hundred years. In 1897 few would have imagined that the probing of materials at the atomic level would reveal so much. These early discoveries of atomic constituents and their structure would pave the way for semi-conductor electronics, develop key concepts in physical laws, and offer a replacement energy source for fossil fuels in the form of nuclear power. This course summarises key discoveries in early particle physics and combines historical background with the detailed physics understanding needed to fully appreciate the subject.
These full modules aim to provide a sound foundation in Physics in preparation for Level 1 Physics modules. It introduces (i) Properties of Matter, (ii) Oscillations, waves & optics and (iii) Atomic and Nuclear Physics. (i) Properties of Matter discusses structural, mechanical and electrical properties in terms of simple models. (ii) treats vibration and waves introducing the concepts of wavelength, frequency and wave speed. (iii) discusses the physics of the atom, including historical aspects, the electron, the photo-electric effect, Bohr¿s atomic model, nuclear structure and radioactivity.
- Advanced Level Chemistry
The unit covers a selection of the major concepts from areas of inorganic, organic and physical chemistry in order to develop a sound basic knowledge of chemistry corresponding to the common core A level curriculum as preparation for successful studies in the Material Sciences and Chemical Engineering.20 credits
- Scientific and Laboratory Skills
This module will introduce:20 credits
1. Practical skills common to physics and broad based science and engineering themes. It will develop student practice in performing laboratory experiments using a range of measurement techniques, understanding errors, writing method statements, using appropraite graphing and statistical techniques, and drawing valid conclusions.
2. Communication skills in presenting information both formally and informally, verbal and written.
3. Group work and organisational skills needed to become a successful student.
- Further Foundation Mathematics
The syllabus for MAS004 covers important material which appears on the A level maths and further mathematics A Level curriculum. The module is for students who are taking MAS003 and need a deeper background in mathematics for their degree course. The module covers advanced principles of algebra, geometry and calculus. Following the introduction of new material, students have the opportunity of extensive problem solving, both in the problem classes with tutors and in their own time.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
You'll learn through lectures, small group tutorials, programming classes, practical sessions in the lab and research projects.
You will be assessed through a portfolio of problem sets, lab work and other material, as well as exams, essays, lab reports and presentations.
This tells you the aims and learning outcomes of this course and how these will be achieved and assessed.
The A Level entry requirements for this course are:
including at least one of Maths or Physics + pass in the practical element of any science A Levels taken
A Levels + additional qualifications BBC, including at least one of Maths or Physics + B in a relevant EPQ
International Baccalaureate 32, with 5 in Higher Level Maths or Physics
BTEC Extended Diploma DDM in a relevant subject, including Maths and/or Physics modules
BTEC Diploma DD + B at A Level in either Maths or Physics
Scottish Highers + 1 Advanced Higher ABBBB + B in Maths or Physics
Welsh Baccalaureate + 2 A Levels B + BB, including at least one of Maths or Physics
Access to HE Diploma Award of Access to HE Diploma in Science, with 45 credits at Level 3, including 24 at Distinction (all in Maths and/or Physics units), and 21 at Merit
GCSE Maths and Physics (or Dual Award Science) grade 6/B
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
If you have any questions about entry requirements, please contact the department.
Department of Physics and Astronomy
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.
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.
Why choose Sheffield?
The University of Sheffield
A top 100 university 2022
QS World University Rankings
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 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Research Excellence Framework 2014
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 run regularly throughout the year, at 1pm every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
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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.