Mathematics and Physics with a Year of Study Abroad (BSc)
The dividing line between mathematics and physics is becoming less clear and if you are looking for broader study than a single honours degree can offer, this joint honours BSc Physics and Mathematics is designed with you in mind.
Mathematics and physics are subjects that naturally overlap in fields such as applied mathematics and theoretical physics. This joint course offers preparation for careers including industrial or academic research and development, computing, education and areas needing a pragmatic, numerate and analytical approach to problem solving.
Designed for those with an enquiring mind, this degree provides a broad education in how theoretical and experimental physics can be used to describe the universe, alongside mathematics modules designed to challenge and stimulate your academic curiosity.
Throughout your course you will devote half your time to physics and half to mathematics. You can choose between a theoretical project and laboratory work in your final year, depending on your interests. We support you to become an independent learner, able to effectively tackle unseen problems.
This particular version of the degree allows you to spend your third year studying abroad before returning to Cardiff for a final year. The Schools of Mathematics and Physics have agreements with institutions across Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia, and you will have support when applying for your overseas year.
- the opportunity to broaden your experience and enhance your employability by spending a year at a university abroad;
- the involvement of research-active staff in course design and delivery;
- frequent opportunities to conduct practical work laboratory facilities in the School of Physics and Astronomy;
- an opportunity to develop an ease with abstract mathematical concepts, logical argument and deductive reasoning;
- a firm basis for conducting physics research in a range of theoretical and practical areas, including the skills to manage an extended project;
- an accredited route into a physics or mathematics profession - all the core content required for the degree to be accredited by Institute of Physics (IoP) and the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA)
|Next intake||September 2018|
|Mode||Full time with year abroad|
|Accreditations||Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA)|
|Typical A level offer||AAA/A*AB, including A in Mathematics and B in Physics|
|Typical Welsh Baccalaureate offer||The Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate will be accepted in lieu of one A-Level (at the grades listed above), excluding any specified subjects.|
|Typical International Baccalaureate offer||36 including 6 in HL Maths and Physics or 666 in 3 HL's including Maths and Physics|
|Alternative qualifications||Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Mathematics admissions criteria pages.|
|English Language requirements||If you are an overseas applicant and your first language is not English, please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our accepted qualifications.|
|Other requirements||You will require GCSE English or Welsh Language at grade C or grade 4. Alternatively, IGCSE English First Language or English Second Language will be considered at grade C.|
This is a three-year, full-time course, consisting of 120 credits a year. In the first year all modules are compulsory and include foundational mathematics topics such as algebra and calculus, together with modules on the theoretical and practical side of Physics.
The modules in year two will build on your foundational understanding of both Mathematics and Physics and you will be able to choose between Pure and Applied areas of Mathematics, or a combination of the two. Year three is spent at an institution abroad. There are opportunities in the USA, Canada, Australia and many European countries.
The modules shown are an example of the typical curriculum and will be reviewed prior to the 2018/19 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2018. You are advised to check the final module descriptions when they are available to ensure that the programme meets your needs.
You will take 60 credits in Mathematics and 60 credits in Physics. All modules are compulsory. The modules in Mathematics cover the foundational areas of Calculus, Algebra and Analysis. The modules in Physics include both theoretical and experimental aspects.
Students are required to achieve at least a 50% average to continue their studies on the Year of Study Abroad scheme.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Elementary Differential Equations||MA1001||10 credits|
|Foundations of Mathematics I||MA1005||20 credits|
|Foundations of Mathematics II||MA1006||20 credits|
|Linear Algebra I||MA1008||10 credits|
|Mechanics and Matter||PX1121||20 credits|
|Experimental Physics 1||PX1123||10 credits|
|Electricity, Magnetism and Waves||PX1221||20 credits|
|Computational Skills for Problem Solving||PX1224||10 credits|
You will take 60 credits in each subject area. The Physics component is made up of two 20 credit modules and two 10 credit modules. In Mathematics, you will study six 10 credit modules. Two modules are compulsory, the other four are chosen from a selection of six focussing on the areas of Pure and Applied Mathematics.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Calculus of Several Variables||MA2001||10 credits|
|Series and Transforms||MA2004||10 credits|
|Linear Algebra II||MA2008||20 credits|
|The Physics of Fields and Flows||PX2131||20 credits|
|Introductory Quantum Mechanics||PX2132||10 credits|
|Thermal and Statistical Physics||PX2231||20 credits|
Year three: Sandwich year
Year three is spent at a university abroad. At least one third of your modular program should be made up of Mathematics modules, and a further third of Physics modules. Students are free to study up to a third of their program in a separate subject(s).
The final year is made up of 60 credits from the School of Mathematics and 60 credits from the School of Physics. The Physics modules are compulsory and include carrying out a 20 credit research project under the supervision of an academic member of staff. This may be theoretical or experimental in nature or a mixture of both and might involve substantial computing, numerical modelling or analysis.
The Mathematics modules are all optional and include a combination of 10 and 20 credit modules. These modules are in the area of Pure and Applied Mathematics and the subjects are closely aligned to the research interests of the School of Mathematics.
|Module title||Module code||Credits|
|Fluid Dynamics||MA0332||10 credits|
|Complex Function Theory||MA3000||10 credits|
|Coding Theory||MA3007||10 credits|
|Differential Geometry of Curves and Surfaces||MA3010||10 credits|
|Theoretical and Computational Partial Differential Equations||MA3303||20 credits|
|Methods of Applied Mathematics||MA3304||20 credits|
|Game Theory||MA3604||10 credits|
|Mathematical Methods for Data Mining||MA3700||10 credits|
How will I be taught?
Core knowledge is taught through a mixture of lectures, exercise classes, small-group tutorials and guided study. Physics and mathematics are hierarchical disciplines so the structure of the course is systematic, building on fundamental understanding.
The first two years offer a foundation for your final year of study, which covers a range of contemporary subject material, reflecting research interests in the Schools. Throughout the delivery of the programme, wherever possible, recent research results are used to illustrate and illuminate the subject.
How will I be supported?
You will also be allocated a personal tutor in both the School of Mathematics and the School of Physics and Astronomy for the duration of the course. These are members of the academic staff who can give pastoral support and academic advice as well as helping you with Module selection and career planning.
All lecturing staff can be contacted by email and have either an ‘open door’ policy for students with specific queries about course material, or a system to book meeting times. Both Schools have Directors of Learning and Teaching who can advise you on academic issues, and each year of study has a year co-ordinator able to advise on administrative issues. The School of Mathematics has an Education and Students Manager who can assist students with administrative issues. Similarly the School of Physics has a Student Services Administrator who can advise students.
Further learning support is currently also available via the University-wide Maths Support Service. This provides relaxed and informal daily drop-in sessions where you are encouraged to discuss any elements of your studies with a tutor on a one-to-one or small group basis.
How will I be assessed?
Assessment is mainly through written examination at the end of a semester, but some modules involve some continuous assessment including problem-solving exercises, written reports, computer programs and oral presentation. Laboratory, Computational Skills and Projects in Physics are currently solely based on continuous assessment.
Feedback on progress is typically provided through a combination of discussion in class, written comments on submitted work and review of outline solutions to problems.
What skills will I practise and develop?
Studying this course will enable you to acquire and develop a range of valuable skills, both discipline specific and more generic ‘employability skills’. You will:
- develop the skills of objectivity, creativity and independent thinking;
- develop your knowledge of core Mathematics and Physics;
- further your experimental, analytical and investigative skills in laboratory sessions;
- enhance your ability to communicate ideas, principles and theories clearly and concisely, orally and in writing;
- increase your understanding of the principles and techniques of proof;
- develop skills that will enable you to sustain a critical argument in written mathematics;
- learn how to solve well-defined and open-ended problems and identify key issues;
- conduct independent research using source materials such as textbooks, scientific journals and electronic databases
Specialist numerical skills and logical and analytical thought are qualities in demand across a range of stimulating and rewarding careers. Employers of graduates from the School of Mathematics include the financial services sector and organisations such as the Office of National Statistics and the Meteorological Office.
The School of Mathematics also has a Careers Management Skills Programme, company presentations held in the School, presentations by students returning from industry and a range of sponsored prizes awarded for academic achievement.
In 2015/16, 89% of the School’s graduates who were available for work reported they were in employment and/or further study within six months of graduation.
UK and EU students (2018/19)
The University reserves the right to increase tuition fees in the second and subsequent years of a course as permitted by law or Welsh Government policy. Where applicable we will notify you of any change in tuition fee by the end of June in the academic year before the one in which the fee will increase.
Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.
Financial support may be available to individuals who meet certain criteria. For more information visit our funding section. Please note that these sources of financial support are limited and therefore not everyone who meets the criteria are guaranteed to receive the support.
Students from outside the EU (2018/19)
Tuition fees for international students are fixed for the majority of three year undergraduate courses. This means the price you pay in year one will be the same in years two and three. Some courses are exempt, including four and five year programmes and Medical and Dental courses. Visit our tuition fee pages for the latest information.
Costs for sandwich years
During a sandwich year (e.g. year in industry, placement year or year abroad) a lower fee will apply. Full details can be found on our fees pages.
There are no additional costs associated with the Years of Study based at Cardiff University. For the Year of Study Abroad, students are entitled to their normal Student Loan and the tuition fee is only 15% of the normal fee. Students need to consider additional costs such as airfares, health insurance etc. but this would be made clear to students before they finalise their university choice. The Global Opportunities Centre offers support towards airfares of between £500 and £700. For exchange partners within the EU, the Erasmus scheme offers financial support.
We have a range of residences to suit your needs and budget. Find out more on our accommodation pages.