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Why study here

There are so many reasons to choose physics and astronomy at Cardiff University.

Student satisfaction

  • Our students scored their satisfaction 100% in astronomy and 92% in physics, which puts us 1st for astronomy and 2nd for physics out of all Russell Group universities.
  • 96% of our students agree that their course is intellectually stimulating.
  • 92% said they have access to the resources and facilities that support their learning.
  • 97% say they have had the right opportunities to provide feedback on their course (National Student Survey 2020).

Accreditation

We are accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP), meaning your degree will be highly valued by employers around the word.

Flexibility

Our degrees have a common framework in the first year, meaning you can swap your degree right up until the start of your second year.

Cutting-edge scientific research

  • We ranked 6th among UK universities for the quality of our research.
  • 99% of the research we submitted was judged to be ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’ - the highest score for any UK Physics department (latest Research Excellence Framework 2014).
Physicist carrying out research

Modern facilities

Following our £300 million investment, our state-of-the-art facilities provide a superb environment, where research meets industry to inspire innovation. Here you can benefit from well-equipped teaching laboratories, recently refurbished lecture theatres, and libraries offering great opportunities for both group and individual study.

What is more, we're undertaking our biggest campus upgrade for a generation - a £600m investment in our future. This major upgrade will transform the campus for the 21st Century.

Students outside Queen's Building

Great location

Within a short walk of the School of Physics and Astronomy, you’ll discover a city widely renowned for being one of the friendliest in the UK. Perfect for students, it’s easily accessible from University residences and within walking distance of the Students’ Union. Cardiff offers so many great places to eat, drink, socialise, sightsee, and spend your leisure time; you’ll be spoilt for choice with something to suit every taste!

Don't just take our word for it, Natwest Student Living Index 2019 said Cardiff is the most affordable city in the UK, and Whatuni Student Choice Awards 2019 sighted us as the 3rd best Students' Union in the UK.

Teacher with 2 students

Engaging teaching

Our teaching staff are internationally-renowned academics who are passionate about educating the next generation of physicists.

The range of modules offered in the first year is designed to stimulate your interest in physics and astronomy, whilst giving you a sound foundation to build upon in subsequent years.

Traditional lectures, tutorials, and laboratory work are complemented by computer, project and skills-based modules.

Laboratory work

Practical classes of four-hours per week form a key part of all our courses, where you will learn how to use the latest software, develop computational models and to analyse data.

In the first year, the emphasis is on basic techniques, simple but accurate recording of observations and re-enacting some classic physics experiments. In later years, you will progress to substantial experiments requiring planning, analysis and interpretation of results, and reporting to a professional standard.

Final year project

In your final year, when undertaking an independent research project, you are encouraged to work with one of our research groups on a project of your choosing. This project gives you the opportunity to engage in deeper learning about exciting areas of physics and astronomy, like the discovery of gravitational waves.

I cannot recommend the placement year experience enough. It is a fantastic learning experience, allowing insight into a working environment, developmentof communication skills, and the opportunity for applied problem solving. A placement will make you stand out from the crowd to employers, and stand you in good stead for later graduate life.

Matt Hutchinson, BSc graduate

Professional placements

If you choose one of our courses which includes a placement year, then your third year is spent on a professional placement in industry, commerce, government, or another relevant placement provider approved by the University. This year is designed to help you further develop your problem-solving skills, your use of initiative, and to gain a professional work methodology by experiencing some degree of professional responsibility.

Summer research placements

We also offer students the exciting opportunity to spend a summer working with our staff on a real-life project with our summer research placements.

Get involved in Outreach

There are lots of opportunities for you to engage with schools and with the general public through exciting events, helping to inspire the next generation of scientists.

The Physics department is very student orientated and tries its best to make the teaching experience the best it can be for each student.

Peri Jones, MPhys graduate

We listen to our students

We try to ensure that all of our students have the opportunity to give their feedback on our teaching and their student experience as a whole.

Our staff-student panel has both student representatives and is chaired by an elected student, and students are encouraged to provide feedback through their student representatives and questionnaires issued at the end of each module.

We offer support

You’ll join a friendly and approachable School, where staff will always do their very best to help you.

We offer a Personal Tutor, Student Mentors, and operate an 'open door' policy at the School, meaning staff are always on hand.

We also have a dedicated careers advisor, who organises events and offers excellent guidance to help you identify and achieve your career aspirations. Likewise, the University runs a comprehensive student support programme, covering all aspects of student life.

Find out more on our YouTube channel

Head to our YouTube channel, packed with lots of videos by our staff and students to give you a flavour for life at our School!