BSc Hons Mathematics & Physics
ApplyKey facts
- UCAS Code: GF13
- Accreditation: Institute of Physics
Second year entry: available
Part-time study: available
Study with us
- learn how to combine maths and physics to help identify and find solutions to important problems in the world
- develop knowledge of mathematical analysis, mechanics, waves and optics, electromagnetism, quantum physics and numerical analysis
- accredited by the Institute of Physics
- benefit from flexibility to transfer between courses
- opportunity to study abroad
- option to undertake final-year project in either subject
Why this course?
Mathematics is everywhere: weather forecasting, cash machines, secure websites, electronic games, liquid crystal displays and statistical data analysis.
Physics is used to help us answer some of the important questions which arise in the world around us. Once we understand the processes involved in these problems, we need to translate our ideas into mathematics to find the solutions.
Our flexible degree structure enables transfer between courses with the opportunity to study abroad.
What you’ll study
This is a four-year joint Honours programme. Each year contains compulsory classes and some years contain either optional classes which relate to different areas of mathematics and physics and/or elective classes from other subject areas in the University.
Years 1 & 2
You’ll take basic classes in both disciplines. In addition to the study of core mathematical methods, you’ll learn calculus, geometry, applied analysis, mechanics, numerical analysis and probability and statistics. Physics classes cover mechanics, waves and optics, electromagnetism and quantum physics, together with experimental physics.
In Years 3 & 4
You’ll choose from the wide range of Mathematics & Physics classes available. It is possible to focus on an area in computational physics, or lasers and optics, or theoretical physics, such as quantum theory, while still developing mathematical skills. Your final-year project may be undertaken in either subject.
The Department of Mathematics & Statistics
At the heart of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics is the University’s aim of developing useful learning. Our research emphasises how mathematics and statistics can be applied in the real world and have societal impact. We're an applied department with many links to industry and government, bridging the gap between academia and real life. Many of the academic staff hold joint appointments with, or are funded by, other organisations, such as APHA, Public Health and Intelligence (Health Protection Scotland), NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS).
Facilities
You’ll have access to well-equipped, modern computing laboratories and teaching rooms, as well as 24-hour access to an advanced computer information network and a sophisticated virtual e-learning environment. We have also an undergraduate common room which gives you a modern and flexible area that's used for individual and group study work and is also a relaxing social space.
Accreditation
Accredited by the Institute of Physics for the purpose of partially meeting the educational requirement for Chartered Physicist.
Study abroad
You will have the opportunity to spend time studying abroad, normally in the third year of the course. We have links with European and non-European universities, which include:
- University of Limerick, Republic of Ireland
- Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria
- Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark
- University of Toronto, Canada
- Queen's University at Kingston, Canada
- George Institute of Technology, USA
- Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia
- University of Otago, New Zealand
- Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Pop Physics!
Our students work with the Institute of Physics to carry out experiments demonstrating some of the core principles of physics and how they relate to our lives and the world around us.
Take a look at the videos on YouTube to learn more about physics!
Staff in the maths and physics departments are supportive and organised in teaching classes and provide plenty of resources for studying. I have also had the opportunity to be part of the Strath Science Scouts, an outreach programme which promotes the study of science. I have had fun visiting schools to run activities and give talks.
BSc Mathematics & Physics
Compulsory modules
Mathematics
Introduction to Calculus (20 credits)
You'll study the basic concepts and standard methods of mathematical notation and proof, polynomial equations and inequalities, sequences and series, functions, limits and continuity, differentiation and integration.
Applications of Calculus (20 credits)
The fundamental concepts of calculus (differentiation and integration) presented in Applications of Calculus will be examined in more detail, extended to a larger class of functions by means of more sophisticated methods, including an introduction to complex numbers and variables. These will all be demonstrated in application to practical problems including solving basic first and second-order differential equations.
Geometry & Algebra (10 credits)
This module will introduce you to vectors and matrices.
Essential Statistics (10 credits)
This module will introduce basic ideas and techniques of statistics.
Physics
Experimental Physics (20 credits)
This module is an introduction to working in a laboratory environment. You'll learn how to design and undertake simple experiments related to the taught components of the first-year physics curriculum. By the end of the course you will be able to write a formal report, perform simple uncertainty analysis, make dimensional analysis of physical systems, and perform simple data analysis with Python.
Mechanics & Waves (20 credits)
This module will provide you with an understanding of motion of simple mechanical systems, gravitation and simple harmonic motion. You'll also learn about the fundamentals of wave propagation and the superposition of waves as well simple optical phenomena such as diffraction.
Quantum Physics & Electromagnetism (20 credits)
This module is designed to introduce you to quantum mechanics and electromagnetism. It highlights experimental observations that resulted in the development of quantum mechanics, such as the photoelectric effect and blackbody radiation. In terms of electromagnetism, you'll cover basic electrostatics and magnetostatics and develop an understanding of Maxwell’s equations and the Lorentz force law.
Compulsory modules
Mathematics
Linear Algebra & Differential Equations (20 credits)
This module will introduce you to the basic ideas of linear algebra, such as matrices and determinants, vector spaces, bases, eigenvalues and eigenvectors. You'll study various standard methods for solving ordinary differential equations and understand their relevance.
Advanced Calculus (20 credits)
This module will present basic ideas, techniques and results for calculus of two and three variables, along with differentiation and integration over curves, surfaces and volumes of both scalar and vector fields.
Mathematical & Statistical Computing (20 credits)
This module will introduce you to the R computing environment. It'll enable you to use R to import data and perform statistical tests, allow you to understand the concept of an algorithm and what makes a good algorithm and will equip you for implementing simple algorithms in R.
Physics
Mechanics & Waves (20 credits)
This module builds on Mechanics and Waves from year 1. You'll be introduced to special relativity, the vector treatment of rotational motion and the behaviour of systems when forced to oscillate. To extend your understanding of wave phenomena you'll be introduced to the wave equation, Fresnel and Fraunhofer diffraction, interference, geometrical optics, and the operation of lasers.
Quantum Physics & Electromagnetism (20 credits)
This module builds on the material you learned in year 1. You'll be introduced to the probabilistic nature of quantum mechanics, including wave particle duality and Heisenberg uncertainty principle. You'll learn about AC theory, covering inductors, capacitors and transmission lines. You’ll extend your knowledge of Maxwell’s equations to develop a vector model of electromagnetism and the theory of the plane electromagnetic wave in vacuum.
In third year you will study compulsory and optional modules totalling 120 credits.
Compulsory classes
Complex Variables & Integral Transforms (20 credits)
This module will introduce functions of a complex variable, define concepts such as continuity, differentiability, analyticity, line integration, singular points, etc. You will examine some important properties of such functions and consider some applications of them, for example, conformal mappings and the evaluation of real integrals using the Residue Theorem. You will also be introduced to Fourier and Laplace transform methods for solving linear ordinary differential equations and convolution type integral equations.
Differential Equations (20 credits)
In this module we’ll introduce you to analytical methods for solving ordinary and partial differential equations, so you'll develop an understanding along with technical skills in this area.
Quantum Physics & Electromagnetism (20 credits)
Building on what you learned in year 2, this module will extend your understanding of quantum mechanics. We'll introduce operators, expectation values and commutation relationships, and advanced concepts like time independent perturbation theory. In electromagnetism you will exploring the wave like nature of electromagnetism as predicted by Maxwell's equations, Poynting’s theorem, reflection and transmission at a dielectric interface, potentials and gauge transformations, and retarded potentials.
Condensed Matter Physics (20 credits)
Here you'll cover condensed matter physics and be introduced to concepts such as the Fermi surface, superconductors, phonons and other forms of collective excitations.
Gases, Liquids & Thermodynamics (20 credits)
This module covers the physics of gases and liquids and the fundamentals of thermodynamics. This includes the ideal gas law, hydrostatics, isothermal and adiabatic processes, and the laws of thermodynamics. We also present the basic principles of statistical mechanics, and various distributions such as Maxwellian, Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein.
Optional classes
Linear Algebra (20 credits)
In this module we'll introduce basic algebraic structures, with particular emphasis on those pertaining to finite dimensional linear spaces and deepen your understanding of linear mappings. We'll also provide an introduction to inner product spaces and bilinear forms.
Mechanics of Rigid Bodies & Fluids (20 credits)
This module will:
- convey the generalisation of the mechanics of single-particle systems to many-particle systems
- convey the central ideas of a continuum description of material behaviour and to understand relevant constraints
- ground students in the basic principles governing three-dimensional motions of rigid bodies
- convey how the ideas of continuum theory are applied to static and inviscid fluids
Numerical Analysis (20 credits)
This module will motivate the need for numerical algorithms to approximate the solution of problems that can’t be solved with pen and paper. You’ll develop your skills in performing detailed analysis of the performance of numerical methods and will continue to develop your skills in the implementation of numerical algorithms using R.
Computational Physics (20 credits)
During this module, you’ll be introduced to the best practises in software development, and the numerical methods that are most commonly used to solve physical problems including linear algebra, partial, ordinary and stochastic differential equations, and Fourier methods. To undertake this module, a prior understanding of Python is required.
In fourth year you will study compulsory and optional modules totalling 120 credits.
Compulsory modules
Communicating Mathematics & Statistics (20 credits)
This module provides you with experience of the skills required to undertake project work, and to communicate the findings in written and oral form using a variety of sources, such as books, journals and the internet. You will undertake an individual research project, researching a mathematical or statistical topic and writing a short report on it.
Or
Physics project (40 credits)
The aim of this module is to help you develop as an enquiring, independent physicist, by undertaking a research project. You'll be under the supervision of a member of staff from the department.
Optional modules
Mathematics
Modelling & Simulation with Applications to Financial Derivatives (20 credits)
In this module you'll get an introduction to ideas in mathematics and statistics that can be used to model real systems, with an emphasis on the valuation of financial derivatives. This module places equal emphasis on deterministic analysis (calculus, differential equations) and stochastic analysis (Brownian motion, birth and death processes). In both cases, in addition to theoretical analysis, appropriate computational algorithms are introduced.
The first half of the module introduces general modelling and simulation tools, and the second half focuses on the specific application of valuing financial derivatives, including the celebrated Black-Scholes theory.
Applicable Analysis 3 (20 credits)
This module will present the main results in Functional Analysis. You will also be introduced to linear operators on Banach and Hilbert spaces and study applications to integral and differential equations.
Statistical Modelling & Analysis (20 credits)
You will be provided with a range of applied statistical techniques that can be used in professional life. This module provides you with the fundamental principles of statistical modelling through experimental design and multivariate analysis.
Fluids & Waves (20 credits)
In this module you'll be introduced to the theory of Newtonian fluids and its application to flow problems and the dynamics of waves on water and in other contexts.
Finite Element Methods for Boundary Value Problems & Approximation (20 credits)
In this module you'll be presented with the basic theory and practice of finite element methods and polynomial and piecewise polynomial approximation theory.
Applied Statistics in Society (20 credits)
In this module you'll be introduced to a range of modern statistical methods and practices used in industry, commerce and research, and you will develop skills in your application and presentation.
Mathematical Biology & Marine Population Modelling (20 credits)
In this module, you'll learn the application of mathematical models to a variety of problems in biology, medicine, and ecology. The module will show:
- the application of ordinary differential equations to simple biological and medical problems
- the use of mathematical modelling in biochemical reactions
- the application of partial differential equations in describing spatial processes such as cancer growth and pattern formation in embryonic development
- the use of delay-differential equations in physiological processes.
The marine population modelling element will introduce the use of difference models to represent population processes through applications to fisheries, and the use of coupled ODE system to represent ecosystems. Practical work will include example class case studies that will explore a real-world application of an ecosystem model.
Mathematical Introduction to Networks (20 credits)
This module will demonstrate the central role network theory plays in mathematical modelling. It'll also show the intimate connection between linear algebra and graph theory and how to use this connection to develop a sound theoretical understanding of network theory. Finally, it'll apply this theory as a tool for revealing structure in networks.
Medical Statistics (20 credits)
This module will cover the application of classical statistical methods to data collected for health care research. There will be an emphasis on the use of real data and the interpretation of statistical analyses in the context of the research hypothesis under investigation. Topics covered will include:
- survival analysis
- experimental design and sampling
- categorical data analysis
- clinical measurement
Physics
Topics in Solid State Physics (20 credits)
Here you'll track the development of key concepts in solid state physics and how these concepts can be exploited to form functional optical and electronic devices. You will look at the chemistry and physics of crystalline and amorphous materials, with a focus on semiconductor materials, optical activity in solid-state materials, the interaction of semiconductors with light, transistors (bipolar and unipolar), quantum wells and microstructured materials.
Topics in Physics (20 credits)
Here you'll be introduced to state-of-the-art developments in generation and use of charged particles in various forms such as free electron beams, plasmas and astrophysical plasmas. This will include basic plasma physics theory (particle orbit theory, fluid equations, ideal and magnetohydrodynamics, wave equations and kinetic theory), electron optics and electron microscopes, free electron devices and radiation sources. You will also look at the history and geography of our galactic environment, red giants, white dwarfs, supernovae, neutron stars, black holes and physics of the Big Bang.
Topics in Nanoscience (20 credits)
This module will provide an overview of modern nanoscience. It will discuss basic physics related to low dimensional nanostructures and nanoclusters, nanofabrication including top-down and bottom up approaches, characteristics techniques including electron spectroscopy and microscopy, scanning probe microscopy, and optical spectroscopy and microscopy. Noble metal nanoparticles, quantum dots, carbon nanomaterials will be introduced. In particular it will cover the physical and chemical properties of nanoparticles, their production, applications in physics, chemistry and medicine along with issues relating to nanotoxicity and the ethics of medical nanoscience.
Topics in Photonics (20 credits)
During this module you'll gain an insight into laser physics, laser optics and nonlinear optics as used in many photonic laboratories. This will include properties of laser radiation, beam propagation and ray transfer matrices, nonlinear polarization, and second and third order nonlinear effects such as second harmonic generation and the optical Kerr effect.
Topics in Theoretical Physics (20 credits)
In this module we’ll demonstrate the large-scale structure of space-time. You will develop the necessary mathematical concepts (4-vectors, the metric tensor, covariant derivatives, connection coefficients and the Riemann curvature tensor) and use them to derive Einstein's gravitational field equation and look at idealized cosmological solutions for the large-scale structure of the universe, including the standard model. You will study gravitational collapse and the properties of black holes.
Topics in Atomic, Molecular & Nuclear Physics (20 credits)
This module aims to give a general overview and understanding of atomic and molecular physics and relate these to practical applications and related fields of study. You will learn about optical selection rules, atomic structure, and atom-light interactions, and applications such as Atomic Clocks; Laser Cooling; Ion Traps; Magnetic Trapping; Optical Trapping; Quantum Degenerate Gases; Atom Interferometry; Laser frequency calibration and combs. In molecular physics you will learn about: Diatomic molecules; Rotational Modes; Vibrational Modes; Symmetries and Selection Rules.
Topics in Quantum Physics (20 credits)
This module will provide a broad foundation in concepts and techniques from quantum mechanics, and provide experience in the practical application of these techniques to describing state-of-the-art experiments and quantum technologies.
Topics in Complex and Nonlinear Systems (20 credits)
During this module you will learn about simple systems that exhibit non-linear and complex behaviour. You will find how to analyse non-linear systems and find stationary points, learn to analyse bifurcation diagrams and identify key features on these diagrams, look at periodic solutions to non-linear systems and recognise oscillations, and key features of these oscillations, and understand the origin of deterministic chaos and explain key features relating to chaos.
Applied High Performance Computing (20 credits)
This module provides an up-to-date introduction to High Performance Computing (HPC) and the use of modern parallel computers to tackle the most demanding problems in science in general and Physics in particular. It provides an overview of the basic building blocks of High-Performance Computers and how they can be utilised effectively. The practical use of HPC will be demonstrated using application examples drawn from several areas of relevance to 4th year modules offered by the Department.
Learning & teaching
The following teaching methods are used in Mathematics & Physics: lectures (using a variety of media including electronic presentations and computer demonstrations), tutorials, computer laboratories, coursework and projects.
You’ll also learn through structured group work in problem-solving and student presentations.
Physics teaching methods include lectures, tutorials, interactive learning and laboratory work. You’ll also undertake group-based and learning and self-paced project work.
On completion of the programme, you’ll be able to:
- demonstrate knowledge in the main areas of mathematics and physics
- show an understanding of the principal mathematical and educational theories and a critical understanding of one or more specialised areas
- demonstrate skills in identifying relevant physical principles and laws and calculation skills
- develop and evaluate logical arguments, presenting them and their conclusions clearly and accurately
- demonstrate problem-solving skills, for example, abstracting the essentials of problems, formulating them mathematically and finding appropriate solutions
- undertake a critical analysis of data and draw conclusions from the data
- demonstrate a range of general skills, including IT competency
Assessment
Knowledge, understanding and subject-specific skills are assessed by coursework, assignment, reports, presentations and written exams.
Entry requirements
Required subjects are shown in brackets.
Highers |
Year 1 entry: AABB/ABBBC (Maths A, Physics B; Advanced Higher Maths and Physics recommended) BBBB (including Maths at B, Physics at B and 70% in Strathclyde Summer School Mathematics) or ABBB (Maths A, Physics B) |
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Advanced Highers | Year 2 entry: AB (Maths A, Physics B) |
A Levels | Standard entry requirements*: Year 1 entry: BBB (Maths B, Physics B) Year 2 entry: ABB (Maths A, Physics B) |
International Baccalaureate | Standard entry requirements*: Year 1 entry: 30 (Mathematics HL5, Physics HL5) (Mathematics HL6, Physics HL6) |
HNC | Year 1 entry: relevant HNC with strong mathematical content, B in Graded Unit, plus Higher Maths at A or 70% in Strathclyde Summer School Mathematics |
International students | View the entry requirements for your country. |
Deferred entry | Accepted |
*Standard entry requirements
Offers are made in accordance with specified entry requirements although admission to undergraduate programmes is considered on a competitive basis and entry requirements stated are normally the minimum level required for entry.
Whilst offers are made primarily on the basis of an applicant meeting or exceeding the stated entry criteria, admission to the University is granted on the basis of merit, and the potential to succeed. As such, a range of information is considered in determining suitability.
In exceptional cases, where an applicant does not meet the competitive entry standard, evidence may be sought in the personal statement or reference to account for performance which was affected by exceptional circumstances, and which in the view of the judgement of the selector would give confidence that the applicant is capable of completing the programme of study successfully.
**Minimum entry requirements
Contextual Admissions for Widening Access
We want to increase opportunities for people from every background.
Strathclyde selects our students based on merit, potential, and the ability to benefit from the education we offer. We look for more than just your grades. We consider the circumstances of your education and will make lower offers to certain applicants as a result.
University preparation programme for international students
We offer international students (non-UK/Ireland) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation Programme in Business and Social Sciences at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.
Upon successful completion, you can progress to your chosen degree at the University of Strathclyde.
International students
We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 140 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.
Fees & funding
All fees quoted are for full-time courses and per academic year unless stated otherwise.
Fees may be subject to updates to maintain accuracy. Tuition fees will be notified in your offer letter.
All fees are in £ sterling, unless otherwise stated, and may be subject to revision.
Annual revision of fees
Students on programmes of study of more than one year (or studying standalone modules) should be aware that tuition fees are revised annually and may increase in subsequent years of study. Annual increases will generally reflect UK inflation rates and increases to programme delivery costs.
Scotland | £1,820 Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland are subject to confirmation by the Scottish Funding Council. Scottish undergraduate students undertaking an exchange for a semester/year will continue to pay their normal tuition fees at Strathclyde and will not be charged fees by the overseas institution. |
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England, Wales & Northern Ireland | £9,250 Assuming no change in fees policy over the period, the total amount payable by undergraduate students will be capped. For students commencing study in 2024/25, this is capped at £27,750 (with the exception of the MPharm and integrated Masters programmes), MPharm students pay £9,250 for each of the four years. Students studying on integrated Masters degree programmes pay an additional £9,250 for the Masters year with the exception of those undertaking a full-year industrial placement where a separate placement fee will apply. |
International | £19,600 |
Additional costs | International studentsInternational students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information. MathematicsCourse materials & costs Class materials (lecture notes and exercise sheets) for the majority of Mathematics & Statistics classes are available free to download. For some classes, students may need access to a textbook. Textbook costs are typically in the £20 to £60 price range. These prices are dependent on format (e-book, soft or hardback) and whether bought new or second hand. PVG scheme (Protection of Vulnerable Groups) Third-year Maths and Teaching students will need to pay for the full price of a PVG membership scheme. PhysicsCourse materials & costs At present, the department charges students £5 for lecture notes in PH 151 and PH 152. These notes are supplied by the University printers. Digital copies of notes are published on MyPlace for students to download. A recommended textbook that comes with an online homework system is priced at £75 and covers both first and second-year material. If students don't wish to buy this text, the department issues the homework in paper copy for students to hand in for marking. This process is currently under review, as the department are considering moving to an online textbook. This will be priced at £30 and accessed through MyPlace. Other costs The department supplies students with lab books (£1) for recording data through years 1 to 3. First-year students are supplied with USB keys (£10) for the collection of data. Personal response handsets are also available at lectures. |
University preparation programme fees | International students can find out more about the costs and payments of studying a university preparation programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre. |
Available scholarships | Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities. |
Please note: All fees shown are annual and may be subject to an increase each year. Find out more about fees.
How can I fund my studies?
Students from Scotland
Fees for students who meet the relevant residence requirements in Scotland, you may be able to apply to the Student Award Agency Scotland (SAAS) to have your tuition fees paid by the Scottish government. Scottish students may also be eligible for a bursary and loan to help cover living costs while at University.
For more information on funding your studies have a look at our University Funding page.
Students from England, Wales & Northern Ireland
We have a generous package of bursaries on offer for students from England, Northern Ireland and Wales:
You don’t need to make a separate application for these. When your place is confirmed at Strathclyde, we’ll assess your eligibility. Take a look at our scholarships search for funding opportunities.
International Students
We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.
Glasgow is Scotland's biggest & most cosmopolitan city
Our campus is based right in the very heart of Glasgow. We're in the city centre, next to the Merchant City, both of which are great locations for sightseeing, shopping and socialising alongside your studies.
Careers
Graduates in Mathematics enter a wide range of employment, from the manufacturing and service industries, the actuarial, accountancy and banking professions, commerce and government, consultancy and education.
Our graduates go on to become investment analysts, numerical analysts, statisticians, actuaries, managers and teachers.
Physics graduates have a range of mathematical and analytical skills which allows them to enter a diverse range of sectors.
Recent graduates have entered engineering, the NHS and education. Many graduates continue to study beyond degree level, studying taught or research-based postgraduate courses.
How much will I earn?
The median salary of a mathematical sciences graduate in full-time work one year after graduating is £29,000 (compared with the graduate average of £26,000), rising to £37,600 after five years (30% greater than the graduate average of £28,800). (Based on information in graduate outcome surveys from HESA.ac.uk and Gov.UK.)
Salary potential depends on the industry you choose to work in. With experience, actuaries can earn more than £70,000, and investment analysts can earn up to £100,000 plus bonuses. (Based on information from prospects.ac.uk, September 2023)
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Start date:
Mathematics & Physics (1 year entry)
Start date:
Mathematics & Physics (2 year entry)
Start date: Sep 2024
Mathematics & Physics (1 year entry)
Start date: Sep 2024
Mathematics & Physics (2 year entry)
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