Undergraduate Course Summary 201718
Degree Programmes
 Physics BSc & MPhys
 Astrophysics BSc & MPhys
 Theoretical Physics MPhys
 Theoretical Physics and Mathematics MPhys
 Physics and Computer Science BSc
 Physics and Philosophy BSc
 Physics and Chemistry MSci
 Physics and Mathematics BSc
 Gateway to Physics and Astronomy BSc and MPhys
Level one or level two entry
Entrants with good Advanced Highers or Alevels in both physics and mathematics may start in leveltwo to take some of the above programmes leading to the honours BSc degree in three years, or the MPhys in four. It is the degrees within the School and the joint degrees with Mathematics that are available for leveltwo entry, which is sometimes referred to as "direct entry" or "accelerated entry". Physics modules at leveltwo are designed to be at an appropriate level for those entering with good Advanced Highers or A levels in physics and maths. By "good" we mean A grades, and for Alevel candidates we would wish to see at least one mechanics module in their Alevel mathematics study. For candidates for the joint degrees with Mathematics who will have entry based on Alevel qualifications an A grade is also needed in Further Mathematics for direct entry to second year. In recent years about 3040% of students in our level two physics module have taken direct entry to this level.
Those BSc and MPhys students opting for leveltwo entry will in their entryyear normally take the two leveltwo physics modules along with at least 30 credits of leveltwo mathematics. Astrophysics students add astrophysics modules to this, and all students need 120 credits in the year. In the preadvising document on the School's Students and Staff web page we give suggestions for various combinations of modules.
Levelone entry, on the other hand, is particularly suitable for students who are entering directly from Highers and those wishing to take advantage of the broad Scottish first year. Levelone entry is the only entry route available for the joint degrees with Computer Science, Philosophy, and Chemistry. Significant numbers of those who were qualified to take level two entry chose, for various reasons, to take level one entry instead. A final decision on the level of entry need not be made until the discussion with your adviser of studies in the week before the start of your degree progamme.
Choices
There is considerable flexibility in the choice of degree finally taken, depending on the choice of subjects in the initial years. There are also two main exit points, with students leaving with an honours BSc or an honours MPhys degree. Students who have done sufficiently well in years two and three are given the option of continuing after the end of yearfour for a further MPhys year; more details on these procedures are in the honours handbook. The MPhys "Integrated Masters" degree is still a first degree, but is more advanced than the BSc honours degree. The project undertaken by students in the MPhys year is more substantial than the one taken by BSc students in their final year, and the lecture courses in this year are at a more advanced level.
In years one and two other topics (including mathematics) are studied in addition to modules within this School. Most modules last for one semester (one half of the academic session) and are assessed at the end of the semester in which they are taught, and/or continuously. Most yearone modules are each worth 20 credits. In yeartwo many modules are each worth 30 credits, though the yeartwo modules in maths are each worth 15 credits. In both years the selection of modules depends primarily on the degree in view and on the student's own interests. Guidance on the former, and details of many of the modules are in the online handbooks in this website, or in the University's course catalogue.
Gateway to Physics and Astronomy
Demand for the traditional programmes is so high that our asking rates have had to rise to a level that means that even very talented pupils in many parts of the country may find it difficult to gain entry (eg AAAA is the typical asking rate at Higher for entry to Physics and Astronomy at St Andrews). To address this issue, we now offer a “Gateway” programme that provides a highlyinteractive first year university education in physics, maths and study skills for suitably qualified students. At the end of first year this will open up progression to secondyear in relevant degree programme possibilities. In this way our institution can recognise the disadvantage experienced by some potential entrants, and provide a means for assisting these people in realising their potential. More details are given via the link below.
Module Tables
The following tables show the routes towards gaining a BSc or MPhys degree involving physics or astrophysics. One "level" normally lasts for one academic year.
Level One
Physics
1A Core module for all 
Physics
1B 
Astronomy
& Astrophysics AS1001 General interest option for physicists; compulsory for astronomers 
Other modules 
Mechanics
I Properties of matter

Quantum phenomena Lasers & optoelectronics Mechanics
II 
The
solar system 
Mathematics
module(s) Wide choice of other modules, to make a total usually of six level 1 modules 
Total ~ 42 lectures, PH1011  Total ~ 42 lectures, PH1012  Total ~ 44 lectures, AS1001  
Six modules are normally taken in first year, allowing combinations directed toward a particular honours course. Chosen modules may include any or all of the above, each of which in this School contains suitably graded practical work and tutorials. For those reading for a degree within this School and entering at level one, Physics 1A and 1B are required modules, along with a mathematics requirement. Intending astronomers entering at this level must also take the Astronomy module. The material in Physics 1A and Physics 1B is designed to be at a level similar to Advanced Higher or Alevel, though it also contains some additional material, such as the lasers and optoelectronics. There is also a module on the Physical Universe, which is designed for students not currently taking one of the above modules, and which is not on the pathway to a degree within this School. 
Level two, continuing students
Physics
2A Core module for all 
Physics
2B Core module for all 
Astronomy
& Astrophysics 2 General interest option for physicists; compulsory for astronomers 
Other Modules 
Classical mechanics, Special relativity, Thermal
physics, 
Classical waves Quantum
mechanics, 
Exoplanets, Stellar structure & evolution, Galactic astronomy, Observational techniques 
To a total of 120 credits, which must include Linear Mathematics MT2501 and Multivariate Calculus MT2503. 
Total ~48 lectures, PH2011  Total ~48 lectures, PH2012  Total ~48 lectures, AS2001  
120 credits are normally taken in leveltwo by continuing students. Each of the above three modules from this School contains practical work and tutorials. As these modules build on the work in levelone, entry to the leveltwo physics modules for continuing students requires passes in first year Physics 1A, Physics 1B and Maths MT1002; a pass in first year Astronomy & Astrophysics is an additional requirement for second year Astronomy & Astrophysics. There are minimum grade requirements in level two modules for progression into the honours programme. 
Level two, directentry students
Physics
2A Core module for all 
Physics
2B Core module for all 
AS1101 
Astronomy
& Astrophysics AS2001 
Other modules 
Classical mechanics, Special relativity, Thermal
physics, 
Classical waves, Quantum
Mechanics, 
A condensed version of the material covered in AS1001  Exoplanets, 
To a total
of 120 credits, which must include Linear Mathematics MT2501 and Multivariate Calculus MT2503.

Total ~48 lectures, PH2011  Total ~48 lectures, PH2012  Total ~44 lectures, AS1001  
All take the Physics 2A and 2B modules, which are designed for those entering with good Advanced Highers or Alevel qualifications. All take MT2501 Linear Mathematics and MT2503 Multivariate Calculus. Direct Entry atrophysicists take a short astrophysics AS1101 module in first semester, and a second level astrophysics module in second semester. This may be AS2001 as shown in the table above, or the shorter AS2101. The Physics 2A, Physics 2B, and Astronomy and Astrophysics AS2001 contain practical work and tutorials. There are minimum grade requirements in level two modules for progression into the honours programme. 
Levels Three, Four, and MPhys
Degrees  Degree titles  

BSc  MPhys  Physics 
BSc  MPhys  Astrophysics 
MPhys  Theoretical physics  
MPhys  Mathematics & theoretical physics  
BSc  Mathematics & physics  
MSci  Chemistry & physics  
BSc  Physics & computer science  
BSc  Physics & philosophy  
All students progressing to yearthree of these degrees will require passes and specified grades in Physics 2A and 2B, and in Mathematics MT2501 and MT2503 (see School handbooks). Entry to Astrophysics degrees additionally requires Astrophysics 2. Degrees which are joint with other Schools have prerequisites with the other School also.  
The honours BSc degree is completed at the end of levelfour. Those who do sufficiently well in levels two and three are given the option of carrying on their studies beyond level four for an additional year to obtain the integrated masters MPhys degree, which is a more advanced first degree than the BSc degree.  
Some of the above programmes contain a substantial amount of choice of modules. Practical work is provided for astrophysics and experimental physics students, and optionally for theoreticians. Small group and wholeclass tutorials allow for further discussion and exploration of the science. A module on transferable skills provides additional development in communication, research, and team skills. All final year students undertake a major experimental or theoretical project, which is often associated with the research interests of the School. 
Last updated BDS 9.17