Physics and Mathematics BSc (Hons)Study level: Undergraduate
This course aims to provide you with a grounding of physics, the queen of the sciences, multiplied by a solid knowledge of mathematics, programming and numerical methods required for understanding the universe.
Year of entry
Coventry University (Coventry)
3 years full-time
4 years sandwich
This physics and mathematics degree combines a thorough education in mathematics with explorations of phenomena at all length scales, from the sub-atomic level (quantum mechanics) to the macroscopic scale (cosmology), and everything in between.
- You will have the opportunity to gain expertise in mathematics and translate concepts in physics into mathematical and computational models, allowing you to solve various physical and real-world problems upon successful completion of the course.
- An essential part of the course relies on understanding numerical and experimental processes and the uncertainties inherent to measurements. As such, there will be ample opportunity for you to engage with real-world data analysis and experimental techniques using activity-led learning, lab-before-lecture and flipped learning techniques, which have formed a long-standing part of Coventry University’s teaching and learning strategy.
- Over the course of your studies, you will have the chance to learn a variety of analytical and numerical tools used by physicists to tackle problems in the field of statistical mechanics, cosmology, or quantum mechanics.
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Why you should study this course
- Studying physics and mathematics degree at Coventry University will provide you with the opportunity to delve into the laws governing the Universe, from a microscopic (particles and atoms) to an astronomical scale (planets and galaxies), and the diverse and beautiful language of mathematics required to describe the laws.
- Technological advances such as the current digital revolution, quantum computing, and holographic screens were driven by the curiosity of generations of scientists investigating the fundamental principles of physics. Future advances, will likewise, depend on our evolving understanding of physics. Since ancient times, critical thinking has been at the heart of all physical theory. You will acquire the core meta skill traditional in physics to question everything, to take nothing for granted, to test theory against experiments until one reaches a coherent and satisfying model of the world around us.
- You will be taught by a teaching team which includes active researchers in physics and applied mathematics with expertise in complex systems, statistical physics and fluid dynamics, who share their research expertise through teaching and supervising projects. The teaching team is passionate about and uniquely oriented towards success and the wellbeing of their students. (Staff may be subject to change).
- Studying physics and mathematics will provide you with the opportunity to develop practical, experimental, and strong problem-solving skills. This may open the door, not only to careers in all areas of science, engineering, and teaching, but thanks to the transferable nature of the skills developed, graduates are also much appreciated in areas as diverse as data science, actuarial science, finance, and banking.
- You’ll also receive one-to-one assistance from sigma, the university’s Centre for Excellence in Mathematics and Statistics Support4.
What you'll study
This course has a common first year.
In the first year, the curriculum is shared across related courses allowing you to gain a broad grounding in the discipline before going on, in the second and third years, to specialist modules in your chosen field.
We want your degree to fit around you, so upon successful completion of your first year, you could swap degrees with another course in your common first year (subject to meeting progression requirements).
Common first-year courses:
- Mathematics BSc (Hons)
- Mathematics and Statistics BSc (Hons)
- Physics and Mathematics BSc (Hons)
Calculus - 20 credits
This module provides core calculus for those undertaking degrees in the mathematics area. The primary aims of the module are to consolidate the material covered in the different A levels and equivalent qualifications and explore some of the advanced concepts needed for an extensive study of mathematics required for the study at level 5 modules.
Algebra - 20 credits
The aim of the module is two-fold. First, to introduce you to modern algebra by taking what you have learned at high school and placing it in the context of university mathematics. Emphasis will be given to the importance of assumption and proof in mathematics. Second, you will encounter one of the fundamental pillars of modern mathematics - linear algebra. You will see the key result of the basis theorem, as well as explore the one-to-one correspondence between linear maps and matrices over a field. This will be key for other areas of mathematics you will see in your undergraduate degree.
Programming 1: Concepts and Algorithms - 20 credits
In order to explore mathematics in a practical way, we often have to rely on computational simulations. This module will guide you through the fundamentals of coding - from structure and syntax to algorithms and functional decomposition - to prepare you to construct your own mathematical software solutions.
Probability and Statistics - 20 credits
This module builds a foundation for the study of statistics in future years. It will introduce you to the concepts of probability, random variables and probability distributions. It will also introduce the concepts of estimation and hypothesis testing, and will develop the necessary theory, methods and concepts for statistical analysis of data.
Mechanics and Numerical Methods - 20 credits
The aim of this module is to introduce Newtonian mechanics and its use, as well as various mathematical modelling tools, with the accent on computational tools, to describe real-world situations. This module will make use of computer software, or/and programming language to help in the visualization and resolution of typical problems. Along with Newtonian mechanics, the module will introduce foundational numerical methods, useful in a variety of practical situations, such as Numerical integration, Matrix Methods for solving systems of linear equations, iterative methods for solving equations, finite differences, Euler-based methods for integration of Newton's 2nd Law problems.
Mathematical Case Studies - 20 credits
The module consists of a series of problem-solving challenges on mathematics; statistics and physics in order to build up your course identity among fellow students. Students from a course will be encouraged to take projects from the corresponding area. Projects are about coming up with creative mathematical models to solve mathematical or physics challenges, developing problem-solving, critical thinking, teamwork, as well as presentation skills.
Year two builds on the acquisition of knowledge from the previous year and will provide you with the opportunity to dive into more technical and complex concepts of both theoretical physics and mathematics. In addition, year two includes Laboratory sessions to support you in further developing experimental skills, working on understanding physical phenomena while testing the validity of their assumptions and estimating errors due to measurements.
Further Calculus and Complex Analysis - 20 credits
This module will build on the earlier module, Calculus. We will extend the ideas from year one to dealing with both scalar fields and vector fields, the concepts with wide applications spanning from theory of fluids through meteorology to traffic control, as well as to functions of complex variables that allow for a very elegant and succinct solution of many classical problems of calculus.
Linear Algebra and Differential Equations - 20 credits
This module continues linear algebra and differential equations from the first year with the overlap between the areas emphasised – in both cases, the general goal will be to explore ways in which one can find a ‘suitable basis’ for a given problem. This is akin a suitable choice of the coordinate system that can hugely simplify the description of physical phenomena. The module will also cover second order ODEs (linear, but with non-constant coefficients), systems of first order ODEs, series solutions and self-adjoint operators.
Labs - 20 credits
The module provides you with opportunities to develop experimental and computational skills including setting up and designing experiments, data collection and data analysis. The module includes performing number of experiments using variety of equipment as well as coding physical and mathematical problem to reach technical solution of complex problems. The aim of the module is to provide you with transferable and critical thinking skills required by a physicist.
Partial Differential Equations and Analytical Mechanics - 20 credits
The module acts as an introduction to the vast fields of Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) and Analytical Mechanics. You will be introduced to standard techniques to solve a range of PDEs. The module also provides key elements relating to variational calculus and focuses on Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formalisms for Analytical Mechanics, which are naturally formulated via PDEs and which find themselves at the very foundation of physics.
Electrodynamics - 20 credits
Starting from electrostatic electric and magnetic force and energy, this module relies on the concepts of vector calculus to explore the mathematics and physics of Maxwell’s equations. Electric fields in dielectric materials, steady electric currents and simple DC circuits are also discussed.
Waves and Optics - 20 credits
This module builds foundations and develops further understanding of physical concepts in waves, optics, atomic structure and electromagnetic radiations. You will also develop an understanding of real-world applications of physical and geometrical optics and the propagation of sound waves. At the end of the module, you should fully understand these fundamentals and how they are applied to an understanding of interference and diffraction, dispersion and wave propagation phenomena. The module also provides an introduction to modern physics via the presentation of key historical problems which lead to the development of Quantum Mechanics.
There’s no better way to find out what you love doing than trying it out for yourself, which is why a work placement2 can often be beneficial. Work placements usually occur between your second and final year of study. They’re a great way to help you explore your potential career path and gain valuable work experience, whilst developing transferable skills for the future.
If you choose to do a work placement year, you will pay a reduced tuition fee3 of £1250. For more information, please go to the fees and funding section. During this time, you will receive guidance from your employer or partner institution, along with your assigned academic mentor who will ensure you have the support you need to complete your placement.
UK Work Placement – 0 credits
This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved placement undertaken during your programme. A placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.
International Study/Work Placement – 0 credits
This module2 provides you with an opportunity to reflect upon and gain experience for an approved international study/work placement undertaken during your programme. A work/study placement should usually be at least 26 weeks or equivalent; however, each placement will be considered on its own merits, having regard to the ability to achieve the learning outcomes.
The final year will deepen your specialist knowledge by developing further expertise in physics and applied mathematics. You will study fundamental topics of quantum mechanics, and statistical physics and thermodynamics, as well as get in-depth familiarity with cutting edge methodologies such as that of computational physics and quantum information. You will also do an in-depth research project on physics and mathematics in a field that interests you, under a tailored supervision of a research active academic.
Computational Physics - 20 credits
The module provides you with knowledge of advanced methods and algorithms to study and model complex systems. After completion, you will be able to discuss the most appropriate methods to apply, in order to minimize numerical errors, biases and instabilities when studying such systems.
Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics - 20 credits
The purpose of this module is to provide you with a grounding in thermodynamics and statistical physics. In this module you will learn how macroscopic thermodynamic phenomena arise from the statistics of systems with very many constituent particles. You will obtain a basic understanding of how this proceeds, giving an introduction to thermodynamics then covering Maxwell-Boltzmann, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics and their applications to gases, liquids and solids. This module builds on the probability and calculus studied at level 4.
Quantum Mechanics - 20 credits
You will be Introduced to foundations of QM; functional analysis on finite and infinite dimensional Hilbert spaces; study fundamental physical systems such as spin systems, the harmonic oscillator, and the hydrogen atom. More generally, this module introduces you to Quantum Mechanics as a fundamental theory that describes physical properties of nature at atomic length scales. The mathematical framework for QM is introduced and applied first to finite dimensional systems such as quantum spin systems and the two-level system and second to infinite dimensional systems such as a particle in a potential well, the harmonic oscillator and the hydrogen atom. You will acquire knowledge in the fundamental theory and its applications to modern real-world problems.
Quantum Information and Quantum Computation - 20 credits
This module offers you a comprehensive introduction to the main ideas and techniques of the field of quantum computation and quantum information. The required physical, mathematical, and computational frameworks are briefly introduced and effects such as fast quantum algorithms, quantum teleportation, quantum cryptography, quantum error-correction, quantum Fourier transform, and quantum searches are discussed. You will acquire a working understanding of the fundamental tools and results in the field and will be able to engage with contemporary software and applications.
Advanced Topics in Physics - 20 credits
This module aims to provide you with an introduction to a selection of advanced ideas in Physics, such as phase transitions and critical phenomena, and emergence and complexity. The module is based on the world-renowned research expertise of the team and will therefore provide you with a cutting-edge research-led learning experience. Where appropriate, relevant programming tools will be used.
Project - 20 credits
This module forms a major individual study at the honours level in areas related to physics or applied mathematics. You will take the responsibility of managing such a study through all its stages. The project will build upon your knowledge and skills developed in previous years. It will further develop your skills of enquiry, research and innovation and will enhance your critical and communication skills.
We regularly review our course content, to make it relevant and current for the benefit of our students. For these reasons, course modules may be updated.
How you'll learn
Learning will be facilitated through a variety of methods which may include lectures, seminars, lab, workshops, online activities and group work. Students are expected to engage in both class and online activities and discussions. This module also requires students to participate in additional guided reading and self-directed study to reinforce the learning gained from timetabled sessions.
Formative feedback will be used to prepare students for summative assessment and give students an early indication of their progress towards the module's intended learning outcomes. A portion of this module’s contact time will be dedicated to course support sessions. The course support sessions are weekly, timetabled sessions where students can explore areas of the course which they find challenging or get support with personal projects and employability efforts (subject to availability).
Teaching contact hours
We understand that everyone learns differently, so each of our courses will consist of structured teaching sessions, which can include:
- On campus lectures, seminars and workshops
- Group work
- Self-directed learning
- Work placement opportunities2.
The number of full-time contact hours may vary from semester to semester, however, on average, it is likely to be around 12 contact hours per week. Additionally, you will be expected to undertake significant self-directed study each week of more than 30 hours, depending on the demands of individual modules.
The contact hours may be made up of a combination of face-to-face teaching, individual and group tutorials, and online classes and tutorials.
As an innovative and enterprising institution, the University may seek to utilise emerging technologies within the student experience. For all courses (whether on-campus, blended, or distance learning), the University may deliver certain contact hours and assessments via online technologies and methods.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are prepared for courses due to start in or after the 2023/2024 academic year to be delivered in a variety of forms. The form of delivery will be determined in accordance with Government and Public Health guidance. Whether on campus or online, our key priority is staff and student safety.
This course will be assessed using a variety of methods which will vary depending upon the module.
Assessment methods include:
- Formal examinations
- Phase tests
- Group work
- Individual assignments
The Coventry University Group assessment strategy ensures that our courses are fairly assessed and allows us to monitor student progression towards the achieving the intended learning outcomes.
Typical offer for 2023/24 entry.
|Requirement||What we're looking for|
|A level||BBB to include Mathematics at Grade B or above. Excludes General Studies.|
|GCSE||Minimum 5 GCSEs graded 4 / C or above including English and Mathematics.|
|BTEC||Considered on an individual basis.|
|IB Diploma||31 points to include 5 points in Mathematics at Higher level.|
|Access to HE||Considered on an individual basis|
For information regarding specific requirements, please fill in our request information form.
Are you eligible for the Fair Access Scheme?
We believe every student should have the opportunity to dream big, reach their potential and succeed, regardless of their background. Find out more about our Fair Access Scheme.
Select your region to find detailed information about entry requirements:
You can view our full list of country specific entry requirements on our Entry requirements page.
Alternatively, visit our International hub for further advice and guidance on finding in-country agents and representatives, joining our in-country events and how to apply.
English language requirements
- IELTS: 6.0 overall (with at least 5.5 in each component area)
If you don't meet the English language requirements, you can achieve the level you need by successfully completing a pre-sessional English programme before you start your course.
For more information on our approved English language tests visit our English language requirements page.
Not got the required grades? We offer this degree with an integrated foundation year.
Fees and funding
2023/24 tuition fees.
|UK, Ireland*, Channel Islands or Isle of Man||£9,250 per year||Not available|
|EU|| £9,250 per year with EU support bursary**
£19,850 per year without EU support bursary**
|International||£19,850 per year||Not available|
If you choose to do a work placement2, you should consider travel and living costs to cover this. There is also a tuition fee3 of £1,250 that will cover your academic support throughout your placement year.
For advice and guidance on tuition fees and student loans visit our Undergraduate Finance page and see The University’s Tuition Fee and Refund Terms and Conditions.
We offer a range of International scholarships to students all over the world. For more information, visit our International Scholarships page.
Tuition fees cover the cost of your teaching, assessments, facilities and support services. There may be additional costs not covered by this fee such as accommodation and living costs, recommended reading books, stationery, printing and re-assessments should you need them. Find out what's included in your tuition costs.
The following are additional costs not included in the tuition fees:
- Optional international ﬁeld trips: £400+ per trip.
- Any costs associated with securing, attending or completing a placement (whether in the UK or abroad).
*Irish student fees
The rights of Irish residents to study in the UK are preserved under the Common Travel Area arrangement. If you are an Irish student and meet the residency criteria, you can study in England, pay the same level of tuition fees as English students and utilise the Tuition Fee Loan.
**EU support bursary
Following the UK's exit from the European Union, we are offering financial support to all eligible EU students who wish to study an undergraduate or a postgraduate degree with us full-time. This bursary will be used to offset the cost of your tuition fees to bring them in-line with that of UK students. Students studying a Degree with a Foundation Year with us are not eligible for the bursary.
How do you know if you need to pay UK or international tuition fees?
We carry out an initial fee status assessment based on the information you provide in your application. Your fee status determines your tuition fees, and what financial support and scholarships may be available to you. The rules about who pays UK (home) or international (overseas) fees for higher education courses in England are set by the government's Department for Education. The regulations identify all the different categories of student who can insist on paying the home rate. The regulations can be difficult to understand, so the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) has provided fee status guidance to help you identify whether you are eligible to pay the home or overseas rate.
If you meet all the criteria required by any one category, including any residence requirements, your institution must charge you the home rate. You only need to find one category that you fit into.
The School of Computing, Mathematics and Data Science is based in the Engineering and Computing Building, and the attached Beatrice Shilling Building. Both buildings are high-specification learning environments which benefit from extensive social learning facilities4, well-appointed laboratories, lecturing facilities and classrooms, facilitating our innovative teaching methods across a diverse suite of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
The Sigma Centre is an award-winning mathematics support centre, which provides a wide range of learning resources in mathematics and statistics. Students can make use of drop-in sessions or one-to-one appointments.
Informal study areas
You will have plenty of computer access to all the specialist software required for your studies. There are also bookable spaces where students can meet with academics or work in small groups.
Careers and opportunities
Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:
- Apply physical principles to diverse areas of Physics and Mathematics
- Solve problems in Physics by choosing appropriate mathematical and physical techniques
- Make appropriate approximations when solving problems
- Critically analyse experimental results and place them in their context
- Use mathematical or computational techniques to model physical phenomena
- Communicate scientific information in a clear and accurate way
- Work cooperatively on a project
- Create working solutions to a variety of computational and real-world problems using an appropriate programming language (or languages) for the task
- Plan and execute an open-ended but supervised research project.
Studying physics and mathematics aims to give you the opportunity to help you to develop skills in logical thinking and demonstrates to employers your advanced numerical and analytical ability.
It may also give you an advantage in the job market upon successful completion, opening a wide range of career opportunities in industry, banking, data science, computer analysis and scientific research. You may be employed in a wide variety of roles, for example, as a research scientist, actuary, computer programmer, data analyst or teacher.
Where our graduates work
Previous students on our Mathematics and Physics BSc (Hons) degree have worked at a wide range of employers including, for example IBM, GSK, Pfizer, Cummins, Scottish Power and Warner Bros.
How to apply
Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 can apply for this course through UCAS from 6 September 2022. Read our application pages to find out your next steps to apply.
Part-time students should apply directly to the university.
If you'd like further support or more information about your course get in touch with us today.
Full-time students applying to start in September 2023 should apply directly to the university.How to apply
For further support for international applicants applying for an undergraduate degree view our International hub.
You can also download our International guide which contains lots of useful information about our courses, accommodation and tips for travel.
Get in touch with us today for further advice and guidance.
Coventry University together with Coventry University London Campus, CU Coventry, CU London, CU Scarborough and Coventry University Online come together to form part of the Coventry University Group (the “University”) with all degrees awarded by Coventry University.
The majority of our courses have been formally recognised by professional bodies, which means the courses have been reviewed and tested to ensure they reach a set standard. In some instances, studying on an accredited course can give you additional benefits such as exemptions from professional exams (subject to availability, fees may apply). Accreditations, partnerships, exemptions and memberships shall be renewed in accordance with the relevant bodies’ standard review process and subject to the university maintaining the same high standards of course delivery.
2UK and international opportunities
Please note that we are unable to guarantee any UK or International opportunities (whether required or optional) such as internships, work experience, field trips, conferences, placements or study abroad opportunities and that all such opportunities may be subject to additional costs (which could include, but is not limited to, equipment, materials, bench fees, studio or facilities hire, travel, accommodation and visas), competitive application, availability and/or meeting any applicable travel COVID and visa requirements. To ensure that you fully understand the visa requirements, please contact the International Office.
The University will charge the tuition fees that are stated in the above table for the first Academic Year of study. The University will review tuition fees each year. For UK (home) students, if Parliament permit an increase in tuition fees, the University may increase fees for each subsequent year of study in line with any such changes. Note that any increase is expected to be in line with inflation.
For International Students, we may increase fees each year but such increases will be no more than 5% above inflation. If you defer your course start date or have to extend your studies beyond the normal duration of the course (e.g. to repeat a year or resit examinations) the University reserves the right to charge you fees at a higher rate and/or in accordance with any legislative changes during the additional period of study.
Due to COVID-19, some facilities (including some teaching and learning spaces) and some non-academic offerings (particularly in relation to international experiences), may vary from those advertised and may have reduced availability or restrictions on their use.
By accepting your offer of a place and enrolling with us, a Student Contract will be formed between you and the university. A copy of the 2023/24 contract can be found here. The Contract details your rights and the obligations you will be bound by during your time as a student and contains the obligations that the university will owe to you. You should read the Contract before you accept an offer of a place and before you enrol at the university.