Physics BSc (Hons)

  • For Entry: September 2014
  • UCAS Code: F300
  • Duration: 4 years
  • College: Art, Science & Engineering
  • School: Engineering, Physics and Mathematics

Physics, the most fundamental of all sciences, involves the exploration of nature in the broadest possible sense. The Physicist's goal is to uncover the fundamental truths about nature and where possible, to exploit that basic knowledge for the benefit of mankind. 

Dundee Physicists have had a tremendous impact on the modern world - the electronic devices driving pixels in virtually all laptop computers were first conceived and made here, and ground-breaking work on satellite-borne environmental monitoring was initiated here.

Why study Physics at Dundee?

If you think that Physics can be about much more than the Higgs Boson and the Large Hadron Collider then Dundee is the place for you – our focus is on the applications of physics in a wide range of cross disciplinary areas, with our staff carrying out research in biophysics, in medicine, advanced materials and photonics. They also help understand how extra-solar planets form, and if the LHC is really your thing they help build optical diagnostic devices for CERN.

Our courses are fully accredited by the Institute of Physics and that means that they offer the core of physics that all students are expected to study – from classical to quantum mechanics, extended by our mix of contemporary cross disciplinary research interests.

The department has been boosted by a significant number of new staff in the past year and, coupled with a revised curriculum which started in 2013, means that we have a vibrant course structure that offers you all the skills needed to allow you to head off comfortably into jobs in industry or to progress to postgraduate courses for further study.

Research-led teaching

Our current staff are working in some of the most exciting areas of cutting-edge physics. Many such areas are also those earmarked by the government as the critical scientific topics for the future: renewable energy and the environment; robust sensors; and physics applied to medicine and biology. To that end we use the most powerful microscopes available, each capable of resolving individual atoms, to characterise and develop materials such as the next generation of energy efficient solar cells.

We explore the boundaries of biophysics and laser science, especially in medical contexts where the University of Dundee as a whole boasts a world renowned reputation. Biophysics research is undertaken at state-of-the-art facilities within the University's Institute for Medical Science and Technology and also at Ninewells Hospital.

Your final year project could be developing optical techniques to examine cancerous tissue excised from hospital patients - using physics to make a real difference to people's lives. Or you might choose to investigate the behaviour of positrons in solar cell materials with the aim of identifying missing atom defects that degrade performance.

You can get directly involved in active research groups in Level 1: a fast-track route to applying the knowledge and skills that we will teach you.

MSci degree

In addition to the traditional four-year BSc Honours and joint Honours degree programmes, we also offer the new professional degree, the five-year MSci

Civil Engineering is a very varied discipline so there are always different things to be learning about. My favourite experience so far has been surveying camp in second year. Yes, it rained and the days were long but it was a great way to bond with your course-mates as well as learning valuable skills!

Related Courses

The Physics degrees are taught by the School of Engineering, Physics and Mathematics

Physics at Dundee is comfortably small and friendly with a relaxed atmosphere. Our formal teaching methods involve a combination of traditional lectures and tutorials, together with new and innovative multi-media based activities and practical laboratory sessions. 

Students also receive IT training to gain maximum benefit from the advanced computing resources, and so enchance their transferable skills.

MSci Honours Degree

An MSci honours degree normally takes five years, full time, you study levels 1-5, as described below.

BSc Honours Degree

A BSc honours degree normally takes four years, full time, you study levels 1-4, as described below.

Degree without Honours

If you choose to study a degree without honours, you study for three years, levels 1-3 below.

Advanced Entry Honours Degree

It is possible to study for most of our honours degrees in one year less if you have the required grades and subjects as listed in the Entry Requirements section. You study levels 2-4 for the BSc or 2-5 for the MSci. There are definite advantages to considering this route as the time needed to study is reduced by one year which enables you to start working and earning earlier.

Typical Degree Programme

Level 1

Modules at level 1 are designed to increase your understanding of fundamental physics and give the necessary mathematical skills on which modules in later years depend:

  • Mechanics
  • Electricity and Circuits
  • Light, Waves and Matter
  • Astronomical Phenomena
  • Professional Physics (experimental, writing, data analysis and computer modelling)
  • Mathematics 
Level 2

Level 2 will extend your knowledge of classical physics and introduce you to some of the exciting advances made in modern physics:

  • Electromagnetism and Light
  • Classical and Quantum Properties of Matter
  • Electronics and Instrumentation
  • Applied Mathematics and Optics
  • Programming (Students will learn C++ and Matlab related to physical science problem solving)
  • Mathematics
Level 3

At Level 3 you begin a detailed study of the main topics of modern physics together with the acquisition of advanced laboratory skills:

  • Electromagnetism
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Mathematical Methods
  • Atomic Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Thermal Physics
  • Computational Physics
  • Physics Lab and Transferable Skills (over both semesters)
Level 4 

At Honours level, you continue your in-depth studies and carry out a personal project involving practical experience in a research laboratory:

  • Physics Research Project (over both semesters)
  • Thermal Physics
  • Optics and Photonics
  • Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Classical Mechanics and Relativity
  • Options from (for example):
    • Environmental Physics
    • Biophysics
    • Wind and Marine Energy
    • Nuclear Energy
    • Statistical Mechanics
    • Advanced Thermal Physics
    • Advanced Condensed Matter Physics

Level 5

This year is only followed by the MSci Honours students. Modules cover selected topics in considerable depth and introduce you to research techniques and mathematical methods encountered by professional physicists. 

  • Physics Research Project (both semesters)
  • Independent Study Module
  • Advanced Electromagnetism, Quantum Mechanics, Optics and Photonics, Computational Physics and Biophysics

For details of the BEng and MEng in Electronic Engineering and Physics, please visit the Electronic Engineering webpage.

A variety of assessment methods is used, in some cases we will ask you to submit coursework and laboratory reports, in others you will take examinations, and sometimes we will simply ask you to discuss what you have achieved.

The prospects for physics graduates are excellent. As one of our graduates, the analytical and problem solving skills that you will have gained, together with practical abilities on state-of-the-art instrumentation, will allow entry to a diverse spectrum of job possibilities. 

Many of our graduates now work for technology companies involved in the design and manufacture of electronic and optical devices. 

In addition, it is possible to develop industrial careers in defence, micro-electronics, medicine, semi-conductors, communications, research and development, IT, optoelectronics and education.

The following are the minimum requirements, please note qualifications have to be obtained at the first sitting of examinations.

Please note that the entry requirements in our printed prospectus may be subject to change. The entry requirements listed below are up to date and should be referred to in case of any discrepancy.

Courses starting September 2015

Level 1 Entry

Qualification Minimum Grade Typical Grade
SQA Higher BBBB AABB
GCE A-Level BCC BBB
ILC Higher AABB
IB Diploma 32 points (including 6, 5, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects BSc: Mathematics and a Science or Engineering subject (at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level, ILC Higher or IB Higher Level) MSci: Mathematics and Physics (at SQA Higher, GCE A-Level, ILC Higher or IB Higher Level)
EU & International Visit our Your Country webpages for entry requirements tailored to your home country
Other Qualifications
SQA A relevant HNC with B in the Graded Unit including Mathematics for Engineering 1
Scottish Baccalaureate BSc - Pass with BC at Advanced Higher in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
MSci - Pass with BC at Advanced Higher in Mathematics and Physics
SWAP Access Relevant science subjects with ABB grades including Mathematics and Physics Units at SCQF Level 6
EDEXCEL A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDM
Advanced Diploma BSc - Grade B with ASL-A Levels at AB in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
MSci - Grade B with ASL-A Levels at AB in Mathematics and Physics
Welsh Baccalaureate BSc - Pass with A level at AB in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
MSci - Pass with A level at AB in Mathematics and Physics
European Baccalaureate BSc ? 70% overall with 7 in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
MSci ? 70% overall with 7 in Mathematics and Physics

Courses starting September 2015

Advanced Entry (to Level 2)

Qualification Grade
SQA Advanced Higher AB (Advanced Higher) and AB (Higher) in different subjects
GCE A-Level
IB Diploma 34 points (including 6, 6, 5 at Higher Level)
Essential Subjects Mathematics and Physics (at SQA Advanced Higher, GCE A-Level or IB Higher Level)
EU & International
Other Qualifications
SQA A relevant HNC with A in the Graded Unit including Mathematics for Engineering 1 and 120 SCQF points
A relevant HND with BB in the Graded Units including Mathematics Engineering 2
Scottish Baccalaureate BSc - Distinction with AB (MSci) at Advanced Higher in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
MSci - Distinction with AB (MSci) at Advanced Higher in Mathematics and Physics
SWAP Access
EDEXCEL A relevant HND with Merits in appropriate Science/Mathematics modules
A relevant BTEC Extended Diploma with DDD
Advanced Diploma BSc - Grade B with ASL-A Level at AA in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
MSci - Grade B with ASL-A Level at AA in Mathematics and Physics
Welsh Baccalaureate BSc - Pass with A level at AA in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
MSci - Pass with A level at AA in Mathematics and Physics
European Baccalaureate BSc ? 75% overall with 7.5 in Mathematics and a Science/Engineering subject
MSci - 75% overall with 7.5 in Mathematics and Physics

There have been many changes to the arrangements for funding students entering higher education in recent years, yet a degree from the University of Dundee, with its high rate of employment success, remains a cost-effective option.

The fees you pay will, in most cases, depend on your current country of residence.

The fee shown is annual, and may be subject to an increase each year.

Fee categoryFees for students starting September 2014
Scottish students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
Rest of UK students BSc - £9,000 per year, for a maximum of 3 years, even if you are studying a four year degree. MSci - £9,000 per year, for a maximum of 4 years, even if you are studying a five year degree. See our scholarships for rest of UK applicants.
EU students £1,820 per year of study (for Sept 2014 entry). Fees for September 2015 will be confirmed by the Scottish Government in early 2015.
Overseas students (non-EU) £15,950 per year of study. See our scholarships for international applicants.

Scottish and EU students can apply to the Students Award Agency for Scotland (SAAS) to have tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government.

Rest of the UK students can apply for financial assistance, including a loan to cover the full cost of the tuition fees, from the Student Loan Company.

Please apply via UCAS

Physics MSci (F303)

Physics & Mathematics BSc (FG31)

Electronic Engineering & Physics BEng (HF63)

Electronic Engineering & Physics MEng (FH36)