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Mathematics and Physics with a Year of Study Abroad (BSc)

Entry year

Combine the logic and proof of mathematics with profound insights into the physical world offered by our Joint Honours degree.

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Course overview

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.

Distinctive features

  • 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)


UCAS code133K
Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration4 years
ModeFull time with year abroad

Entry requirements

  AAB-A*BB including A*/A in Maths and B in Physics. If you are studying a science A level, a pass in the Science practical element (where applicable) will be required.  Please note, General Studies and Critical Thinking will not be accepted. 

Extended Project Qualification: Applicants with grade A in the EPQ will typically receive an offer one grade lower than the standard A level offer. Please note that any subject specific requirements must still be met.

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.

Please contact the University for further information.

34-32 including 6 in HL Maths & 5 in HL Physics or 666-665 in 3 HL's including 6 in Maths and 5 in Physics

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Mathematics admissions criteria pages.


Grade C or grade 4 in GCSE English Language.

IELTS (academic)

At least 6.5 overall with a minimum of 5.5 in each sub-score.


At least 90 with minimum scores of 17 for writing, 17 for listening, 18 for reading and 20 for speaking.

PTE Academic

62 with a minimum of 51 in all communicative skills.

Trinity ISE II/III

II: at least two Distinctions and two Merits.
III: at least a Pass in all components.

Other accepted qualifications

Please visit our English Language requirements page for more information on our other accepted language qualifications.

You will require GCSE English Language at grade C or grade 4. Alternatively, IGCSE English First Language or English Second Language will be considered at grade C. 

Tuition fees

UK and EU students (2019/20)

Tuition feeDeposit

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 (2019/20)

Tuition feeDeposit

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.

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.

Additional costs

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.

Course structure

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 2019/20 academic year. The final modules will be published by September 2019.

Year one

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 titleModule codeCredits
Elementary Differential EquationsMA100110 credits
Foundations of Mathematics IMA100520 credits
Foundations of Mathematics IIMA100620 credits
Linear Algebra IMA100810 credits
Mechanics and MatterPX112120 credits
Experimental Physics 1PX112310 credits
Electricity, Magnetism and WavesPX122120 credits
Computational Skills for Problem SolvingPX122410 credits

Year two

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 titleModule codeCredits
Calculus of Several VariablesMA200110 credits
Series and TransformsMA200410 credits
Linear Algebra IIMA200820 credits
The Physics of Fields and FlowsPX213120 credits
Introductory Quantum MechanicsPX213210 credits
Thermal and Statistical PhysicsPX223120 credits
OpticsPX223210 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
Modelling with Differential EquationsMA023210 credits
Complex AnalysisMA200310 credits
Real AnalysisMA200610 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).

Module titleModule codeCredits
Study AbroadMA9990120 credits

Year four

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 titleModule codeCredits
Atomic and Nuclear PhysicsPX314120 credits
Particle Physics and Special RelativityPX324120 credits
Physics ProjectPX331520 credits
Module titleModule codeCredits
KnotsMA032210 credits
Fluid DynamicsMA033210 credits
Complex Function TheoryMA300010 credits
CombinatoricsMA300410 credits
Coding TheoryMA300710 credits
Differential Geometry of Curves and SurfacesMA301010 credits
Theoretical and Computational Partial Differential EquationsMA330320 credits
Methods of Applied MathematicsMA330420 credits
Game TheoryMA360410 credits
Mathematical Methods for Data MiningMA370010 credits
The University is committed to providing a wide range of module options where possible, but please be aware that whilst every effort is made to offer choice this may be limited in certain circumstances. This is due to the fact that some modules have limited numbers of places available, which are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, while others have minimum student numbers required before they will run, to ensure that an appropriate quality of education can be delivered; some modules require students to have already taken particular subjects, and others are core or required on the programme you are taking. Modules may also be limited due to timetable clashes, and although the University works to minimise disruption to choice, we advise you to seek advice from the relevant School on the module choices available.

Learning and assessment

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


Career prospects

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.

Studying in Welsh

Up to 17% of this course is available through the medium of Welsh. Please contact the Admissions tutor for more information.

Data from Unistats is not yet available for this course.

Data from Unistats is not yet available for this course.


Next Undergraduate Open Day

Saturday 26 October




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