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Physics with Studies in North America

MPhys (Hons)

School - School of Computing, Science & Engineering

Subject area - Physics

UCAS Code: F304

Start Date(s): September


Four years full-time
five years with placement


UK - £9,250 per year

International - £14,400 per year

In Brief:

  • This programme is accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP) and benefits from regular lectures from visiting industry professionals
  • Wide range of exciting specialisms and career options
  • Third year of study in the United States
  • Overseas study available
  • International students can apply

Course Summary

Physics underpins much in our everyday lives from the structure of the universe to your digital watch. Basic magnetism has led to life saving equipment such as CAT and MRI scanners and photonics research has led to CFDs, LEDs and barcode scanners. In fact, much of today’s technology is founded in  physics.

Our physics courses combine a fundamental understanding of the laws of physics that govern the behaviour of all systems from the very small to the very large, with applications in modern technologies underpinned by these laws. The course is built around a core of compulsory modules giving a thorough grounding in physics. You will also take part in group projects that will allow you to develop your team working, problem solving, communication and presentation skills; all desirable within the industrial and research communities.

Physics is widely considered to be a challenging subject and so here at Salford we place great emphasis on small group teaching so that you feel fully supported and able to ask questions, after all, all the best physicists have enquiring minds.

A unique part of our physics degree is our emphasis on employer engagement. We consulted professional physicists from industry when we designed this course to ensure that the content we are teaching you is robust and will prepare you for the world of work. Additionally, physicists working in industry also drop by to give guest seminars and set real life problems for you to work on. Due to the analytical and problem solving nature of physics, this degree opens doors to a wide range of careers. Previous graduates have commonly found employment in the following sectors: medical physics, defence, finance, research, education, engineering and nuclear. As a Salford graduate you will  have no shortage of skills to take you into a successful, exciting career.

This pathway will offer you the opportunity to study your third year at the University of Toledo in Ohio. We have been sending students to North America for over 10 years and all have found it a positive and rewarding experience that helped them to build confidence and widen their cultural experience. You will also graduate with a Masters level degree.

Foundation Year available

Awards and Accreditation

Course Details

In the first year you will be introduced to the whole breadth of physics including classical physics, quantum physics, particle physics and relativity. In addition you will study further mathematical techniques and the use of computers to solve mathematical problems. Lectures and tutorial classes are complemented by practical laboratories used to reinforce an understanding of the laws of physics and their application. This teaching is further complemented by exposure to possible careers in physics through weekly seminars delivered by employers of physics graduates. These seminars are complemented by a problem based learning laboratory where you will embark on open ended group based exercises designed to enhance problem solving skills.

In your second year you will study topics in physics at an advanced level including classical and quantum wave phenomena, statistical physics and the properties of matter and electromagnetism. You will learn how to use computers to solve problems in physics as well as interfacing computers to experiments. In the practical laboratory you will undertake experiments linked to the curricula as well as undertaking a group project with the aim of designing, building and demonstrating a piece of physics related equipment. Optional modules include astrophysics, acoustics and a foreign language.

The third year of the course is spent at our exchange partner university – The University of Toledo, USA. Here you will undertake modules equivalent to the third year core curricula at Salford as well as have the opportunity to study specialist options in eg. Astronomy and Astrophysics which utilise facilities in the Ritter Observatory (a research grade telescope on campus) or Photovoltaics. There are opportunities to spend the summer as a research intern in the areas of photovoltaics or medical physics.

In the final year you return to Salford and will take further advanced modules in subjects including quantum mechanics and solid state physics as well as modules reflecting research specialisms at Salford including Thin Film Technologies and Materials Characterisation. These modules have lecture, tutorial and laboratory based components. A significant part of the final year is a Research project, this can be theoretical, computational or practical, and is undertaken in collaboration with active researchers utilising research equipment.

You can opt to take an industrial placement year in between the second and third year of your degree course. You will arrange your placement with our support. Placements have a number of benefits: 

  • You will improve your employment prospects after graduation
  • You get to see the physics you have learned in action
  • Positions are often paid
  • Many of our industrial placement students ultimately improve their degree classification over their second year results to receive top class degrees.

Year 1

Delivered through lectures, problem-based learning and laboratory sessions, in this module you will be introduced to the following subjects: classical dynamics, static and dynamic charges, fundamentals of quantum mechanics, fundamentals of relativity and atomic and nuclear physics.
Delivered through key note lectures, tutorial and problem-based learning classes and practical laboratory sessions, in this module you will be introduced to the following subjects: thermodynamics, microscopic and macroscopic properties of matter, fundamentals of waves and geometrical optics and wave optics.
Being able to apply your scientific knowledge and thinking to unfamiliar problems is a key skill for success in industry and research. By introducing you to this skill, along with other important skills identified by our industrial and academic partners, they will become second nature, giving you a head start in your chosen career.
An understanding of and ability to use mathematics are essential skills for success in physics. This module will review A level mathematics covering the following subjects: algebra, trigonometry, functions, geometry, vectors, complex numbers and calculus, with emphasis on their applications to physics.
Building on the subject knowledge from the Mathematics module, you will further your knowledge of differential equations and series with emphasis on their applications to physics and develop your awareness of the importance of mathematics in a quantitative description of physics. You will be introduced to the use spreadsheets, computing programming and symbolic computing.

Year 2

Select one module from below:

Year 3

Year in Toledo

Year 4

In this module you will be introduced to use of group theoretic methods in quantum mechanical problems and instructed in formal statement of symmetry properties and their use to label states and formulate selection rules. Subjects include: many particle wavefunctions, quasiparticles, matrix formulation of quantum mechanics, and angular momentum and intrinsic spin.

Please note that it may not be possible to deliver the full list of options every year as this will depend on factors such as how many students choose a particular option. Exact modules may also vary in order to keep content current. When accepting your offer of a place to study on this programme, you should be aware that not all optional modules will be running each year. Your tutor will be able to advise you as to the available options on or before the start of the programme. Whilst the University tries to ensure that you are able to undertake your preferred options, it cannot guarantee this.

Entry Requirements

Qualification Entry requirements
You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below.
English Language and Maths at grade C or above
UCAS tariff points 120-128 points
GCE A level 120-128 points including grade B in Mathematics and Physics. A Pass in the Practical Element of Science A levels must be achieved.
BTEC National Diploma DDD
Scottish Highers 120-128 points; Advanced Mathematics and Physics.
Irish Leaving Certificate 120-128 points including Physics, Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at Higher level.
International Baccalaureate 32 points, 6 points each from Mathematics and Physics at Higher level

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to pursue the course successfully. Once we have received your application we will assess it and recommend it for SAES if you are an eligible candidate.

There are two different routes through the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme and applicants will be directed to the one appropriate for their course. Assessment will either be through a review of prior learning or through a formal test.

English Language Requirements

International applicants will be required to show a proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0 (no element below 5.5) is proof of this.

Applicant profile

We are looking for students who have solid results in physics and mathematics, and have a keen and enquiring mind. You will be eager to broaden your horizons and cultural experience by taking this study abroad option in North America.

We positively welcome applications from students who may not meet the stated entry criteria but who can demonstrate their ability to successfully pursue a programme of study in higher education. Students who do not have formal entry qualifications are required to sit a written assessment which is designed for this purpose. Support in preparing for the written assessment is available from the University. Please contact Jos Hirst the Director of Admissions for further information.

Fees and Funding


Fees 2018-19

Type of Study Fee
Full-time £9,250 per year
Part-time Your annual fee will be calculated pro rata to the full-time fee according to the number of credits you are studying.
Full-time International £14,400 per year

Additional costs

You should also consider further costs which may include books, stationery, printing, binding and general subsistence on trips and visits.


You will learn in a variety of ways including:
  • Lectures – lectures are used to teach you essential information, typically you will be given prior reading tasks which facilitates an interactive approach to enhance understanding.
  • Tutorials – here you will enhance your problem solving skills through a number of exercises.
  • Laboratory Classes – following being taught basic laboratory skills you will undertake experiments in physics designed to both enhance practical skills and further understanding.
  • Problem Based Learning – the first year Frontiers of Physics module is carried out in a problem based learning laboratory. Here you will embark on open ended physics based problems as part of a group. Activities are designed to enhance your employability skills alongside exploring applications of physics.
  • Seminars – throughout the year guest speakers from a range of physics employers and sectors will expose you to possible career paths.
  • Projects – there are elements of project work in all years, including group projects in first and second years and individual projects in later years. Projects can be tailored to your interests.


  • Exams - 70%
  • Continual assessment (tests, coursework and lab reports) - 30%


Due to the analytical and problem solving nature of physics, this degree opens doors to a wide range of careers. Previous graduates have commonly found employment in the following sectors: medical physics, defence, finance, research, education, engineering and nuclear.

Recent employers of graduates from this course include: ADT, British Nuclear Fuels, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS) Astrium, Gabriel Scientific Consultancy and the Royal Air Force.

Links with Industry

The following companies are partnered with Salford Physics courses. Not only do they consult on the development of the course but they also contribute annual seminars, research project opportunities and work placements: Atkins Global, Technium OpTIC, Pilkington, Nuvia, Royal Navy, Astrium, BPD Acoustics, Nanoco Technologies, Salford Royal Hospital, BAE Systems, Centre for Alternative Technology, IOP (Institute of Physics) Publishing, NPower, Serco and TDA (Training and Development Agency for Schools).

These companies give added value to the course, making industrial skills and knowledge from a wide range of industries available to you from the very start of your degree. An industrial placement, usually taken between the second and third year of your degree, is an excellent way to improve your employability after graduation.

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