School of Physics and Astronomy

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Physics student at Leeds

Why physics at Leeds

Physics touches on many different aspects of our day-to-day lives, as well as the more fundamental nature of how the world around us “works”. At Leeds, we are a research-focused physics department with high-quality teaching staff who are passionate about bringing their understanding of the cutting edge of physics into their teaching. We also believe in giving you the opportunity to use advanced experimental equipment as you progress through your course, to understand exactly how research is carried out. 

We think you will find the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Leeds a dynamic and exciting place to learn physics as well as being a friendly department in a very lively city. But don't take our word for it - why not visit us on an Open Day? You'll find plenty of current undergraduates to chat with, as well as the admissions staff to answer all the queries you might have. 

Watch a video of our students talking about why they chose to study physics.

Make the Course Your Own

You will find plenty of opportunity to tailor your course to your academic interests, as well as having the opportunity to spend time abroad, on a summer placement in our research labs, in industry, or expand on your research skills in an industrial environment with the Group Industrial Project. All of these options are open to all of our undergraduates to apply for once they arrive in Leeds.

After covering the fundamental basics of modern physics, you'll have the opportunity to study advanced modules in topics that reflect the research strengths of our staff such as Star and Planet Formation, Superconductivity, Quantum Optics, Bionanaophysics or Liquid Crystals. You'll find our courses will take you from the fundamentals of classical mechanics to the frontiers of nano-scale physics, from the nature of quantum entanglement to the study of the Universe itself, from applications of physics into biology and medicine to the abstract theories of particle physics.

You will be as much a part of the School from day one as anyone else.  As well as wanting to give you the best experience possible, we greatly value the contribution you make to the School. This could be through being elected as a student representative, and helping make the student voice clear to us, or through acting as a Student Ambassador, helping with events and outreach, or as a Peer Mentor, providing assistance to new first year students, or simply by joining the Physics Society and taking advantage of the events they organise, both scientific and social, and helping to contribute to the friendly environment we aim to cultivate amongst all staff and students here at Leeds.   

Dynamic teaching

Our courses have been rebuilt to integrate not only the subject matter but a variety of teaching and learning methods designed to give you the best chance of excelling. We are very keen on ‘doing’ physics and in addition to your lectures, you'll find plenty of laboratories, workshops, and tutorials where the interaction with staff is at its highest levels.

Experimental physics is taught with an emphasis on individual learning - you have your own apparatus and you have ready access to a demonstrator as the ratio is only 6-8 to one depending on the experiment. Our final year projects are research based and often students work with members of a group pursuing real research - the evidence can be seen in the unusually large numbers of our research papers that feature the work (and the name!) of our undergraduates.

Our commitment to our teaching is shown in the results of the National Student Survey where we rate in the top 10 nationwide for the “Satisfied with your Teaching” category, and both our BSc and MPhys students rate us equally highly. Our teaching is accredited by the Institute of Physics.  In their last visit they especially praised the quality of our practical work (vital if you want to go on to work in industry), the fact that we cover the core Physics well in our first two years, the support provided by all staff and our willingness to respond to feedback from our students.

Throughout your studies, your practical and transferable skills will be enhanced, making you fully equipped with the necessary skills a graduate needs. 

Hear from one of our research staff about some of the research which is used in our teaching.

More about teaching and assessment ›

Summer placements

We are very keen on involving undergraduates with our work as quickly as possible. For many years we have been employing second and third year undergraduates as research assistants in our groups.  We have one of the largest such programmes of any School of Physics in the UK.

You can read more about its success here.

A Problem Solving Discipline – Excellent for Career Prospects 

Our courses are designed to equip you with the skills of modern physics - experimental techniques and mathematical methods - enabling you to tackle complex problems with a critical formulation leading to quantitative solutions. These problem-solving skills are valued by many and our graduates find their way into interesting, valued professions (see careers).  

More than any other discipline at University level, physics undergraduates go on to study for a research degree.  Our course is designed to let you see for yourself whether this is the right choice for you.  The other main destinations for our graduates are in Industry/Engineering, IT and Finance, all areas where the problem solving skills you have developed both mathematically and practically give you a head start on the competition.   

A City Centre Campus Experience

The University of Leeds has only one campus, in the middle of the city.  Many of the halls of residence (and in later years student flats) are located within walking distance of the campus, and the city centre itself.  That means everything you need to study is close by, but also that all of the attractions of the vibrant city centre are on your doorstep. 

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