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Mathematics and Physics (BSc)

Entry year

The interface between Mathematics and Physics is becoming less and less clearly defined.

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Course overview

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.

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).

Distinctive features

This course offers:

  • An opportunity to combine the study of mathematics and physics
  • The involvement of research-active staff in course design and delivery
  • Frequent opportunities to conduct practical work in the School’s laboratory facilities
  • 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 emphasis on independent learning
  • Effective course monitoring and opportunities for student feedback
  • 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 codeFG31
Next intakeSeptember 2019
Duration3 years
ModeFull time
Typical places availableThe School typically has approx 105 places available.
Typical applications receivedThe School typically receives approx 570 applications
  1. School of Mathematics

    Maths and Education Building

    Senghennydd Road


    CF24 4AG

  2. School of Physics and Astronomy

    Queen's Buildings

    5 The Parade

    Newport Road


    CF24 3AA

Entry requirements

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

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.

DD in BTEC plus grade A in Maths A Level.  Science/Engineering related if accompanied by Maths A Level.

Achieve 34-32 overall in the IB Diploma with 6 in HL Maths & 5 in HL Physics or achieve the IB Diploma with 666-665 in 3 HL subjects including 6 in Maths and 5 in Physics

Alternative qualifications may be accepted. For further information on entry requirements, see the School of Mathematics and School of Physics & Astronomy 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.

Additional costs

The School covers the cost of essential equipment, including core course textbooks in the first two years. All other suggested textbooks are available through the University libraries.

Course specific equipment

The University will provide all essential equipment. It currently also provides the core first-year physics textbook. You may choose to buy other textbooks following advice from staff. You may also wish to consider purchasing a personal computer, laptop or tablet device, although specific computing facilities are available on site.


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 degree. The course includes a carefully chosen balance of core modules, along with some optional modules. Modules are worth 10 or 20 credits and you need to earn 120 credits a year.

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

In year one all modules are core (compulsory) and areas of study include essential mathematical topics, along with modules on the theoretical and practical side of physics.

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

Year two of the course continues to build on the core material and some choice is offered among the optional mathematics modules.

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

The modules in year three are more closely aligned to the research interests of the Schools, and some further choice is offered among the mathematical modules. 

You will also undertake a 20-credit physics-related research project under the supervision of an academic member of staff. This may be experimental or theoretical in nature (or a mixture of both) and might involve substantial computing, numerical modelling or analysis.

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
Ordinary Differential EquationsMA301210 credits
Theoretical and Computational Partial Differential EquationsMA330320 credits
Methods of Applied MathematicsMA330420 credits
Fluid DynamicsMA330520 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.

In year one there are regular small-group tutorial sessions in both mathematics and physics.  These sessions continue in physics modules in year two. These meetings will allow you to meet with other students in small groups (typically four or five students to one tutor) and receive feedback on your continuous assessment. In the first year these sessions are usually given on a weekly basis, and in year two they take place fortnightly.

You will take a single physics experimental laboratory module in year one. IT skills are taught in the first year as well as elementary programming using Python, with further computing and numerical-methods modules in later years.

Exercises are an integral part of all lecture-based modules, and these let you apply your knowledge and improve your problem-solving skills. Extra exercise or examples classes are currently held in some physics modules and all mathematics modules. In these a lecturer will discuss additional problems with you, give oral feedback and model solutions for further reflection. 

Year 1

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 2

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




Year 3

Scheduled learning and teaching activities


Guided independent study




How will I be supported?

At the start of each year a guide to module aims, learning outcomes, methods of assessment, module syllabuses, and reading lists will be made available to you. Your main interaction with academic staff will be through lectures, laboratory practical sessions, workshops or small-group teaching sessions (tutorials).

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.

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. Each degree course in the School of Mathematics also has a degree scheme co-ordinator who can advise you on academic issues, and each year of study has a year co-ordinator able to advise on administrative issues. The Undergraduate Office in Mathematics, or the School Office in Physics, can answer most administrative queries immediately.

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.

You will be given access to relevant multimedia materials, presentations, lecture handouts, bibliographies, further links, electronic exercises and discussion circles through the University’s virtual learning environment, Learning Central. Opportunities for you to reflect on your abilities and performance are available through the Learning Central ‘Personal Development Planning’ module.

The University offers a range of services including the Careers Service, the Counselling Service, the Disability and Dyslexia Service, the Student Support Service, and excellent libraries and resource centres.


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. You are encouraged to discuss any queries related to specific modules with individual lecturers.

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is mainly through written examination at the end of a semester, but many 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.

The grade of your final degree is currently based on 30% from your year two studies, 70% from year three.

Assessment methods (2017/18 data)

Year 1

Written exams


Practical exams




Year 2

Written exams


Practical exams




Year 3

Written exams


Practical exams




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
  • Enhance your ability to communicate ideas, principles and theories clearly and concisely, orally and in writing
  • Develop skills that will enable you to sustain a critical argument in writing and through oral presentation
  • 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
  • Use precise calculations in appropriate situations
  • Develop your ability to undertake independent learning and effectively manage your time


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.

Employers included UK and international universities plus a range of organisations such as Rolls Royce, European Space Agency, National Instruments and Barclays.


  • Lecturer
  • Research Scientist
  • Research Development Leader
  • Medical Physicist

Studying in Welsh

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


Next Undergraduate Open Day

Spring 2020




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How to apply