BSc Hons Physics with Teaching

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Key facts

  • UCAS Code: F3XC
  • Accreditation: Institute of Physics; General Teaching Council for Scotland
  • Placement: school placement

Study with us

Studying a BSc (Hons) Physics at the University of Strathclyde, you'll be learning at an award-winning academic institution - the only University to have won the Times Higher Education University of the Year award twice (2012 and 2019).

  • combines physics with teaching methods and practice to prepare you to be a physics teacher in secondary schools
  • cover the core syllabus of the relevant degree, plus the curriculum and classroom experience required for General Teaching Council for Scotland recognition
  • learn with Scotland’s largest provider of Initial Teacher Education
  • become eligible to enter the paid probationary year in teaching

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Why this course?

There is a shortage of physics teachers across the UK. This 4-years degree is offered in conjunction with the School of Education within the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science and it is a qualification designed to prepare graduates to become teachers of physics in secondary schools and fill this gap.

This degree not only covers the same core physics syllabus as the BSc Physics degree but also allows students the time to acquire the educational theory and classroom practice necessary for registration with General Teaching Council recognition.

There is a strong emphasis on laboratory work and this will help you develop a sound understanding of experimental physics and instrumentation.

In your fourth year you will join the School of Education and undertake a number of modules designed to prepare you to be a secondary school teacher. This will include a number of placements in schools.

Accreditation

Accredited by the:

Laser reflecting on optic table in quantum laboratory

THE Awards 2019: UK University of the Year Winner

What you’ll study

Year 1

All classes are compulsory and you'll study the foundations of physics. Classes will cover mathematics, mechanics and waves, electromagnetism and quantum physics. You'll undertake practical work in the teaching laboratory. In addition to this, you'll also be introduced to the programming language Python and start to learn the basis of computational physics.

Year 2

All classes are compulsory and will increase your understanding of physics and mathematics topics developed in first year. You'll extend your knowledge of scientific computing and the laboratory work becomes more sophisticated, recognising your growing maturity as a physicist.

Year 3

In addition to extending your study of quantum physics and electromagnetism you will be introduced to new topics centred on solid state physics, and gases and liquids and the fundamentals of thermodynamics. All students undertake some laboratory work in Year 3, aimed at further developing your laboratory skills. You can also choose from optional modules that are designed to enhance your communication skills, mathematical physics techniques, or computational skills.  

Year 4

In this year you will take classes that develop the pedagogy of teaching.

Alongside these classes, a major part of year 4 in the School of Education at Strathclyde is school placements in Scottish secondary schools. There are 18 weeks of placement in total with one placement in each semester of the programme.

Placement one operates on a model of solo teaching, team teaching and observation of your colleagues within the science department in which you are based. This progression is designed to support you in developing your confidence at this early stage of your teaching journey.

The second placement is longer with greater expectations on you in terms of planning for greater periods of responsibility, becoming an active member in your science department and gaining the confidence to get involved in the wider life of the school. The aim here is to see you become a rounded practitioner ready for your own classroom.

Placement is your chance to put what you are learning into practice, and you will be encouraged to explore your own teaching style, learn new techniques and develop relationships with your pupils. You will be assessed during placements and school and University staff will assist your professional development in ways that should help you meet the ‘Standard for Provisional Registration’ set by the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS). Successful completion of the course will see you enter a guaranteed probationary year in a Scottish local authority school where you will be supported further with mentoring and a reduced timetable in your first year.

 

I liked the tutorial classes in first and second year, they were always fun and a good way to apply what we had been learning. Furthermore, I like that we all have a PDA (Personal Development Advisor), who is someone you can go to with any issues you may be having about the course, or just life in general that may be affecting your studies or situation.

Jade Jardine

Physics with Teaching student Sam Templeton smiles at the camera while working at a computer in a physics laboratory
I looked at lots of different options and decided pretty quickly that, although I wanted a degree in physics, I didn’t want to work in a lab or research. I've always enjoyed sharing my knowledge with others so teaching is a career that has always appealed to me. Completing a degree with a PGDE allows me to go straight into the classroom after graduation.
Sam Templeton
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Course content

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.

Mathematics (40 credits)

We will introduce you to the mathematics necessary to support the physics curriculum. The modules will cover topics ranging from differentiation and integration, complex numbers, an introduction to linear algebra and vectors. You will learn how to apply your mathematical knowledge to related problems in physics.

Computational & Physics Skills (20 credits)

This module will introduce you to the Python programming language and you will start to use Python to write simple programmes to model physical systems. You will also develop your study and communication skills, and interact with the careers service to develop your employability skills. This module will involve a group project.

Experimental Physics (20 credits)

This module is an extension of Experimental Physics from year 1. You'll undertake more complex experiments that are related to the taught components of the second-year curriculum. You'll see the statistical origin for experimental uncertainties.

Mechanics, Optics & 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.

Mathematics (40 credits)

The topics covered in these modules will extend the mathematics seen in first year. You will cover many different topics including probability distributions, ordinary and partial differential equations, Fourier series and transforms, linear algebra, and complex variables. You will learn how to solve problems relating to the topics covered in your physics modules and build appropriate physical models.

Computational & Physics Skills (20 credits)

In this module you will build on the Python programming seen in year 1 and be introduced to a range of computational techniques that will make modelling and solving physical system straightforward. Again there will be a group project which will be used to enhance your skills and there will be further interactions with the Careers Service to enhance your employability skills.

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 binding forces in solids, bulk material properties, phonons and other forms of collective excitations, crystal structure, elementary concepts of band structure, semi-conductors, magnetic materials and the origins of magnetism, and superconductors.

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.

Choose either Experimental Physics I or Experimental Physics II, below.

Experimental Physics I (40 credits)

This module extends the laboratory work developed in years 1 and 2 and involves experiments covering a range of topics relevant to the 3rd year Physics UG taught syllabus. The laboratory work is open ended so you're able to fully explore the experiments in preparation for the final year project. You will develop advanced measurement, data recording and analysis skills and learn how to report experimental outcomes in the form of a journal paper. This module covers 4 experiments.

Experimental Physics II (20 credits)

This module extends the laboratory work developed in years 1 and 2 and involves experiments covering a range of topics relevant to the 3rd year Physics UG taught syllabus. The laboratory work is open ended so you're able to fully explore the experiments in preparation for the final year project. You will develop advanced measurement, data recording and analysis skills and learn how to report experimental outcomes in the form of a journal paper. This module covers 2 experiments.

Optional modules:

If you choose Experimental Physics I then you are required to choose one optional module and if you choose Experimental Physics II then you are required to choose two optional modules from the following:

Communicating Physics (20 credits)

This module will develop your knowledge base and transferable skills in preparation for the project undertaken in years 4 and 5 of the course. It focuses on effective and concise communication of complex information through oral, written and graphical presentations, literature and group-work skills.

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.

Mathematical Physics (20 credits)

This module focuses on introducing new techniques in mathematical physics. You will develop your problem-solving skills through a series of challenging tutorial problems addressing advanced problems both from the topics addressed in this module and from the other core third year modules including quantum mechanics, statistical mechanics and thermal physics, solid state physics and electrodynamics. You will gain an appreciation for how advanced mathematical techniques can be used to aid in solving challenging physics problems and become proficient in applying the techniques you will learn to solve more advanced and previously unseen problems.

Educational Studies; Professional Values

This class will explore the theoretical underpinnings of education: its nature and purpose, its ethical and political significance in terms of social justice, equality and the environment, and the expression of these ideas in policy and legislation.

Professional Learning Through Enquiry

Professional Learning through Enquiry aims to develop students as enquiring, self-reflective practitioners who are able to work collaboratively to develop skills, knowledge and expertise in an area of professional practice that will benefit children and young people throughout Scotland and beyond.

Professional Skills – Professional Practice

In this class you'll explore, experience and extend the links between effective pedagogy, the curriculum and the learner’s experience in a secondary school environment.

Professional Skills; Curriculum and Pedagogy Physics 1

The class will provide active and collaborative opportunities for students to explore how to plan discrete, integrated, and interdisciplinary curricular learning with a particular focus on the teaching of physics and general science.

Learning & teaching

Teaching methods include lectures, tutorials, interactive learning using both personal response systems and web-based teaching resources, directed laboratory work, group-based learning and self-paced project work.

Assessment

Assessment methods include exams, continuous assessment, written reports, moderated peer assessment in tutorials and workshops, talks and poster sessions. You’ll undertake in-school training through placements during year 4 of the course.

Aerial view of students sitting around coffee tables

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.

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

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Entry requirements

Entry requirements are for September 2023 entry.

Required subjects are shown in brackets.

Highers

Standard entry requirements*:

AABB/ ABBBB

(Physics B, Mathematics B, English C)

Minimum entry requirements**:

BBBB

(Physics B, Mathematics B, English C)

A Levels

Standard entry requirements:

BBB

(Physics B, Mathematics B, GCSE English Language 4/C and Literature 4/C)

International Baccalaureate

Standard entry requirements*:

Year 1 entry: 30
(Physics HL5, Mathematics HL5, English SL6)

Year 2 entry: 32
(Physics HL6, Mathematics HL6, English SL6)

HNC/HND

Considered on an individual basis; please contact us for advice.

International students

View the entry requirements for your country.

Deferred entry

Accepted

Additional Information

  • in sixth year it is advisable to take both Advanced Higher Physics and Mathematics
  • students are required to register with the Scottish Government’s Protecting Vulnerable Groups scheme (PVG) before they start year 4 of the programme
  • please note that applicants who are made an offer of study will be required to attend and pass an interview

*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

Find out if you can benefit from this type of offer.

Degree preparation course for international students

We offer international students (non-EU/UK) who do not meet the academic entry requirements for an undergraduate degree at Strathclyde the option of completing an Undergraduate Foundation year programme at the University of Strathclyde International Study Centre.

Upon successful completion, you'll be able to progress to this degree course at the University of Strathclyde.

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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 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.

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Scotland

2023/24: TBC

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.

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 2023/24, 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

£22,450

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.

Additional costs

Placements

Travel to placement schools: costs vary depending on distance to school. Students using their own transport may incur additional insurance costs.

PVG scheme (Protection of Vulnerable Groups)

Third-year teaching students will need to pay for the full price of a PVG membership scheme (£59).

Course materials & costs 

At present, the department provides free electronic access for up to three years to the recommended textbook for first year physics. All core module material is available on MyPlace for students to download.  

Other costs

The department supplies students with lab books (£1) for recording data through years 1-3. First-year students are supplied with USB keys (£10) for the collection of data. Personal response handsets are also available at lectures. 

Visa & immigration

International students may have associated visa and immigration costs. Please see student visa guidance for more information.

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?

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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.

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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. Have a look at our scholarship search for any more funding opportunities.

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International Students

We have a number of scholarships available to international students. Take a look at our scholarship search to find out more.

International students

We've a thriving international community with students coming here to study from over 100 countries across the world. Find out all you need to know about studying in Glasgow at Strathclyde and hear from students about their experiences.

Visit our international students' section

Map of the world.

Kimberly Nicholson, Physics with Teaching student
I enjoy the wide range of modules that Strathclyde provides, from all the theoretical subjects to computational and experimental physics. Strathclyde gives you a taste of a wide range of subjects and allowing you to specialise in an area in your final years.
Kimberly Nicholson

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.

Life in Glasgow

Gallery of Modern Art, Royal Exchange Square.

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Careers

Graduates will follow the course with the paid probationary year in schools which is part of the professional training for secondary teaching.

Graduates will follow the course with the paid probationary year in schools which is part of the professional training for secondary teaching.

How much will I earn?

The starting annual salary for a probationer teacher in Scotland is £28,113. Once you’re fully registered, your salary will rise by annual increments over the first five years from £33,729 to £42,336.*

Where are they now?

100% of our graduates are in work or further study.**

Job titles include:

  • Physics Teacher

* More information is available on the Teach in Scotland website.

**Based on the national Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education survey.

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Apply

International students should apply to BSc Physics with Teaching (International)

Start date:

Physics with Teaching (1 year entry)

Start date:

Physics with Teaching (2 year entry)

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