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Pure and Applied Physics

BSc (Hons)

School - School of Computing, Science & Engineering

Subject area - Physics

UCAS Code: F310

Start Date(s): September


BSc Three years full-time
four 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 with associated case study problems
  • Wide range of exciting specialisms and career options
  • Ideal if you need extra support with your maths
  • 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.

This course is specially designed for students from a non-standard mathematics background. You can choose to follow any of the physics degree courses that we offer within the first year of this degree. For example, you may opt to pursue the single-subject Physics degree. The only difference with Pure And Applied Physics is the additional mathematics help you will receive during your first year (and a more relaxed assessment regime - to let you catch up without worrying about end-of-semester mathematics exams).

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.

Foundation Year available

Awards and Accreditation

Course Details

In your 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. Students on this course also attend additional small group tutorial classes in mathematics allowing tailored study plans to further support understanding and learning. The mathematics assessment regime will be based on continuous assessment including short tests designed to let you learn at their own pace. 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 whose aims are to design, build and demonstrate a piece of physics related equipment. Optional modules include astrophysics, acoustics and a foreign language.

In the final year you will study topics including the quantum mechanics of atoms, molecules and solids, nuclear physics, particle physics, relativity, electromagnetic theory and wave optics. Optional courses include photonics, nanotechnology, theoretical physics, musical acoustics and a foreign language.  You will also undertake a significant final year project that can be practical, theoretical or computational in nature (or a mix). Projects can be tailored to your interests or career ambitions.

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    

Year 2    

Plus one optional module from below:    

Year 3    

Plus one optional module from below:    

You will be introduced to speech production and modelling, speech analysis and synthesis with particular reference to the application of speech technology in modern communication devices. You will develop a systematic understanding of human perception of sound and its application in a musical context.            

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 104-112 points including A level grade C in Physics. You must have some post GCSE study of Maths. A Pass in the Practical Element of Science A levels must be achieved.
BTEC National Diploma DMM
International Baccalaureate 25 points, 5 points from Physics at higher level and 4 points from Mathematics 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 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 Ian Morrison for more 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%


Andy Glover- BSc Physics graduate, Nuvia Ltd

"I currently work in the field of radiation protection, for five years working in the shielding assessment section of BNFL (now Sellafield ltd) using monte carlo and point kernel codes to simulate the effects of shielding on radioactive sources, and more recently working for Nuvia Ltd at Windscale as a health physicist, part of the Approved Dosimetry Service for the National Nuclear Laboratory facility on site and radiation protection training courses.

The Physics course at Salford University was very interesting and inspiring. As well as giving a common grounding in physics, from electrodynamics and optics, to nuclear physics, it also presented them in a practical and interesting light. For my final year project I was able to investigate the feasibility of an electromagnetic launcher for space applications, constructing a launcher which could fire projectiles successfully using capacitors discharging through electromagnetic coils. In my current role of radiation protection at Windscale, the principles learnt throughout the course are put to daily use."

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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