Undergraduate BSc (Hons)

Physics with Acoustics

School of Science, Engineering and Environment



With placement


Three year

Four year

Next enrolment

September 2020


In a nutshell

Physics underpins everyday life, from the structure of the universe to the smartphone in your hand. A degree in physics with Salford will put you in position to discover the next scientific breakthroughs and technological innovations that will shape life in the future.

Our fascinating course, accredited by the Institute of Physics, provides a specialised blend physics and acoustics modules. You will advance your knowledge of sound using world-renowned facilities including our anechoic chamber - the quietest place in north-west England.

In the NSS 2020 survey, Physics courses received 90% overall satisfaction [University of Salford analysis of unpublished NSS 2020 data].

You will:
  • Explore acoustics, including acoustic impedance, reflection, absorption and sound behaviour
  • Develop a systematic understanding of human perception of sound and how this impacts on the design and delivery of audio outputs
  • Strengthen your knowledge and analytical technique around the principles associated with electrons and physics
  • Experience laboratory sessions that apply numerical methods and techniques frequently encountered in physical and engineering challenges

options available


students accepted

This is for you if...


You have an enquiring mind, with a strong academic background in physics and mathematics


You're passionate about physics, with a keen interest in the science behind sound


You want to learn in a nurturing environment with world-class facilities

Course details

All about the course

Our physics courses combine a fundamental understanding of the laws of physics that govern the behaviour of systems of all sizes, alongside an understanding of their applications in modern industry. The course is built around a core of compulsory modules that give you a thorough grounding in physics. We place great emphasis on small group teaching to make you feel fully supported and able to ask the questions.You'll also take part in group projects that will enable you to develop desirable industrial and research skills in team working, problem-solving, communication and presentation skills.

In year one, you'll explore the fundamentals of physics and the connecting mathematical principles. In year two, you will progress to develop an understanding of physics specialisms including classical and quantum waves and properties of matter. You’ll also learn the principles of acoustics.

In your final year, you'll explore modules in nuclear and particle physics, Maxwell’s equation and quantum mechanics. You can also choose to focus on speech and music or computer simulation for acoustics. You'll also complete a research project in acoustics, based on theoretical, computational or practical and completed in collaboration with active acoustics researchers using world-class facilities such as our anechoic chamber.


Placements are a great way to expand you knowledge and apply theory to real-life practice. On this course, you'll have the option to take an industrial placement year between year two and three. Although you'll be responsible for securing your placement, a tutor will support you, monitor your progress and assess your final placement report. Industry placements have a number of benefits. You can improve your employment prospects after graduation, see physics in action and receive a salary. Evidence suggests that many of our students who choose an industry placement year improve their final degree classification.

Year one

Fundamentals of Physics A

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.

Fundamentals of Physics B

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.

Frontiers of Physics and Entrepreneurial Skills

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.

Fundamentals of Physics C

In this module you will develop the knowledge and understanding in the area of Electricity, Electronics, Optics and Optoelectronics including the origin and limitations of the associated laws. You will also develop analytical, numerical and computer based problem solving skills in the above areas. This module will also develop your practical laboratory skills.

Mathematics and Computing

Building on the subject knowledge from the Mathematics module you will further you 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 of spreadsheets, computing programming and symbolic computing.


An understanding 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.

Year two

Mathematical Methods and Applications

In this module you will develop a knowledge and critical understanding in the area of Mathematics Methods for Physics including the origin and limitations of the associated laws. You will also develop analytical, numerical and computer based problem solving skills in the area of Mathematical Methods for Physics.

Properties of Matter

Through this module you will develop a knowledge and critical understanding in the area of the properties of matter including the origin and limitations of the associated laws. You will also develop analytical and numerical problem solving skills in the area of the properties of matter.

Digital Signal Processing

This module gives a thorough grounding in the techniques and applications of digital technology in the acquisition, processing, storage and transmission of acoustic signals.

Classical and Quantum Waves

You will develop a knowledge and critical understanding in the area of classical and quantum waves including the origin and limitations of the associated laws. You will also gain analytical and numerical problem solving skills in this topic.

Physics Laboratory

Gain breadth and depth in experimental techniques in the Physics laboratory. You will strengthen you knowledge and analytical technique around the physical principles associated with electrons and physics. You will develop your team-work skills within the context of project-based experiments and acquire effective and impactful report writing skills.

Principles of Acoustics

You will build on your knowledge and skills from the Introduction to acoustics module, to give you a thorough understanding of the fundamentals of acoustics. Subjects include: Fourier's theorem, solutions of 1-D wave equation, acoustic impedance, reflection factor and absorption coefficient, 3-D wave equation, radiation impedance, and behaviour of sound in 3D enclosures.

Year three

Speech and Musical Acoustics

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.

Project in Physics

This project will allow you to carry out a research or development project individually, under the guidance of a personal supervisor.

Maxwell's Equat and Wave Optics

You will develop a knowledge and systematic understanding in the area of Maxwell’s Equations and Wave Optics, including the origin and limitations of the associated laws. You will also develop expertise in analytical, numerical and computer based problem solving skills in the area of Maxwell’s Equations and Wave Optics.

Quantum Mechanics Atoms Mole and Solid

Develop your knowledge and systematic understanding in quantum mechanics of atoms, molecules and solids including the origin and limitations of the associated laws. You will develop expertise in analytical, numerical and computer based problem solving skills in quantum mechanics of atoms, molecules and solids.

Nuclear and Particle Physics

You will receive an overview of Nuclear Physics and gain an understanding of nuclear stability in terms of the Liquid Drop Model and of nuclear reactions involving neutrons, protons, electrons and neutrinos, and major experimental techniques and practical applications. The particle physics element will cover the basic discoveries of modern Particle Physics and introduce the ideas of Grand Unified Theory.

Computer Simulation for Acoustics (year one for part time)

You will learn the fundamental principles of computer simulation techniques: geometric room acoustics, finite element method, and boundary element method using COMSOL and related software packages. You will undertake practical problem solving using computer modelling of acoustical systems and assess the field of application, accuracy and limitations of the computer simulation methods.

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.

What will I be doing?


You will develop your knowledge and skills through a blend of theoretical, collaborative and practical methods:

  • Lectures
  • Tutorials
  • Practical activities

Lectures and tutorial classes are complemented by practical laboratories which reinforce your understanding of the laws of physics and their application. 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. You;ll also have opportunities to learn about future careers in physics in weekly seminars delivered by physics graduates and industry professionals.


You will be assessed through a combination of formats:

  • Lab exercises
  • Examinations
  • Reports


From cyber security to biomedicine to architecture, our expanding suite of multidisciplinary courses shapes the next generation of scientists, engineers, consultants and conservationists. Through advanced research, we’re pioneering robotics and AI, smart environments and the appliance of data. With a team of over 200 dedicated academic, technical and administrative staff, you’ll experience a supportive, professional environment where you can realise your potential.


We’re serious about science at Salford, and we have some great facilities to help you get to grips with Physics. Dedicated teaching facilities include specialist laboratories for electronics, optics, lasers, computing and composite materials. The Joule Physics Laboratories include a purpose-built suite of large, open-space teaching spaces.

We have a full range of world-class acoustics facilities and specialist test chambers, including: a full anechoic chamber, two semi-anechoic chambers, transmission suite, two large and one small reverberation chambers, ITU standard listening room equipped with a 96 channel Wave Field Synthesis system, 3D Ambisonic listening booth, audiometric test facilities and a range of modern instrumentation and equipment.

Employment and stats

What about after uni?

As a Salford physics graduate, you'll have no shortage of exciting career options. Due to the analytical and problem-solving nature of physics, this degree can open doors to a wide range of career paths. Typical employment sectors, including medical physics, defence, finance, research, education, engineering and the nuclear industry.

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.


We offer a range of specialism postgraduate study paths to help you take your career even further. We even offer a sizeable fee discount to our graduates and alumni.

A taste of what you could become

A geophysicist

An acoustics consultant

A teacher

A research scientist

A radiation practitioner

And more...

Career Links

We work with a range of organisations to ensure the course content remains relevant, but they also contribute annual seminars, research project opportunities and work placements. Recent organisations include:

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 organisations add value to the course by sharing industrial skills and knowledge with you from the very start of your degree.


What you need to know


This course is designed for someone who is passionate about physics and science in general, but also looking to explore the science behind sound. We're looking for applicants with an aptitude for mathematics and problem-solving.


If English is not your first language, you must demonstrate proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 6.0, with no band below 5.5, is proof of this.


Please note: The entry criteria below are related to entry onto this course in the 2020/2021 academic year. If you’re interested in a future intake year, please check the course entry on UCAS.


Standard entry requirements


English Language and Maths at grade C/level 4 or above (or equivalent). You must fulfil our GCSE entry requirements as well as one of the requirements listed below

UCAS tariff points

104-112 points, including grade C or above in Mathematics and Physics.

A Levels

104-112 points, including grade C or above in Mathematics and Physics. You must have a Pass in the practical element of Science A Levels.

BTEC National Diploma


BTEC Higher National Diploma

DMM in Engineering or Science (Science must include Physics and Mathematics)

Foundation Degree

104-112 points

Scottish Highers

104-112 UCAS points, including grade C in physics and mathematics at Advanced Higher level. 

Irish Leaving Certificate

104-112 UCAS points, including physics and mathematics at Higher level. 

European Baccalaureate

Pass in Diploma of at least 60% from Science or Engineering

International Baccalaureate

30 points including grade 5 in physics and mathematics at Higher level. 

Access to HE

Pass with 104-112 UCAS points from a QAA-approved Science or Engineering course.

Other Qualifications

104-112 points

Alternative entry requirements

Salford Alternative Entry Scheme (SAES)

We positively 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 receive your application, we'll 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.

To be considered for the Salford Alternative Entry Scheme you must have already achieved or be working towards GCSE Maths and English Grade C/4 (or equivalent).

Please contact Admissions for further information.

How much?

Type of study Year Fees
Full-time home 2020/21 £9,250per year
Full-time international 2020/21 £15,240per year
Additional costs

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

Scholarships for International students 2020/21

To celebrate the University of Salford's expertise and industry links in Computing and Engineering, high achieving international students may be eligible for our Computing, Science and Engineering International Excellence Scholarship of £3,500.

For more information go to International Scholarships.

Apply now

All set? Let's apply

Enrolment dates

September 2020

UCAS information

Course ID F384

Institution S03

If you want to start this course in 2020, apply online through Clearing or call our team on 0300 555 5030.

Interested in starting university in September 2021? Book your place on our next Open Day – we’re holding events in October and November.