- 3 Years (Full time)
- Typical A-level offer
- UCAS code
From studying planets around other stars to the most distant galaxies, astrophysics explores the wonders of the universe and our place in it. This field is constantly evolving, with new inventions and discoveries happening every day, which is why it’s still such a highly sought-after and relevant discipline.
Studying physics with astrophysics at Leeds will give you the chance to delve deep into the fundamental laws that govern the universe and learn leading techniques in observation and simulation by active researchers who’re using them to uncover new mysteries in the cosmos. During your final year, you’ll also have the chance to collaborate with our astrophysicists on current research projects.
Throughout your degree, you’ll have access to specialised facilities right here on campus, including the School’s observatory on the roof of the Sir William Henry Bragg Building. Here, you’ll have chance to get hands-on training in using optical telescopes and modern detectors, preparing you for working in industry.
Our close industry links and innovative research activity ensure this course reflects the latest advancements and applications in physics and astrophysics. You'll graduate with the specialist knowledge, skills and experience necessary to launch a successful career in this highly valued profession, with a wide range of career options available to you.
Accreditation is the assurance that a university course meets the quality standards established by the relevant professional body.
This course is accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP).
This integrated Masters degree (MPhys, BSc) guarantees you eligibility for IOP membership and is accredited as fully meeting the academic requirement for registration as a registered scientist (RSci) and to qualify as a chartered physicist (CPhys).
We are currently reviewing our curriculum as part of a university-wide process. As a result, we are unable to publish module information for this course at this time. The information below provides an overview of what you’ll study and our approach to teaching and assessment. We will update this page as soon as the changes are confirmed. Read more in our terms and conditions.
This content was last updated on 3 April 2023.
We've designed this course to enable you to develop your physics and astrophysics knowledge alongside the mathematical, computational and experimental methods that are needed to become qualified as a physicist. From the outset, you’ll learn about stars and galaxies before delving into details on the birth, lives and death of stars, extremely energetic phenomena and the evolution of the whole universe.
As you move through the programme, you'll increasingly build on your solid foundation to learn about and work on the latest developments in the subject, based on our research expertise.
Throughout your degree, you’ll get hands-on experience through project work. This gives you the opportunity to explore your subject further as well as developing valuable skills in problem solving, communication and teamwork.
We also take a competency-based approach to assessment, to enable you to demonstrate your skills and knowledge across a range of activities.
Discovery modules are available in the first year of your degree.
Each academic year, you'll take a total of 120 credits.
Years 1 and 2
You’ll learn the foundations of astrophysics in terms of the properties of stars and galaxies, before gaining in-depth knowledge on how they evolve and can lead to extreme environments such as black holes. You'll also gain knowledge and skills in physics and learn how to apply them to solve problems across fundamental areas including electrodynamics, thermal physics, classical mechanics, quantum physics, solid state physics, waves, optics, contemporary physics, astrophysics and physics for sustainable development. We’ll also cover topics such as ethics, philosophy and career options in physics.
Throughout years 1 and 2, you’ll use specialist undergraduate teaching laboratories for experimental physics classes. In year 2, you’ll work in our Scriven Bolton Observatory which houses two 35 cm optical telescopes which you’ll use to train in the technique of multi-colour imaging with CCD detectors.
During year 1, you’ll take the 100-credit physics compulsory module, alongside 20 credits of discovery modules. Year 2, compulsory modules make up 80 of the credits plus 40 credits of astrophysics.
In your third year, your work will be closely linked to current research. How stars and planets actually form is a key topic, as well as the evolution of the universe via studying cosmology. Other advanced modules on physics research topics are also available, such as: spintronics, quantum optics and photonics, bionanophysics, quantum information, molecular simulation, advanced mechanics, medical physics, and physics education research.
We also offer work-related modules that involve innovation projects or short work placements. Our students are also able to study higher-level modules offered by the Schools of Medicine, Mathematics, Earth and Environment, Chemical Engineering, and Philosophy.
To prepare you for your final year research project, year 3 features a course on advanced observational and numerical astrophysical techniques, which emphasises open-ended investigations and includes written and verbal presentations.
Your year 3 credits equate to 120 throughout the year. You’ll take 40 credits of advanced techniques, 40 credits of advanced astrophysics and 40 credits of optional modules.
For your final year project, you'll work as part of an internationally recognised research team on an open-ended project. You'll plan and organise your work, follow it through and present your results. This is a wonderful opportunity to take part and contribute to the latest astrophysics research. Some of our students even get to publish their research project in peer-reviewed journals.
You'll also get to study how violent phenomena shape the galaxies we see today. A range of other specialist Masters modules are available that will take you to the forefront of research in topics such as: general relativity and black holes, quantum field theory, liquid crystals, superconductivity and the physics of biological systems.
Your research project makes up 60 credits, plus you’ll take 60 credits of optional modules from 4 optional blocks.
One-year optional work placement or study abroad
During your course, you’ll be given the opportunity to advance your skill set and experience further. You can apply to either undertake a one-year work placement or study abroad for a year, choosing from a selection of universities we’re in partnership with worldwide.
As well as a deep understanding of physics, by the end of your degree, you’ll have developed the following skills:
Throughout your degree you will benefit from a range of opportunities to expand your intellectual horizons outside or within your subject area.
This course gives you the opportunity to choose from a range of discovery modules. They’re a great way to tailor your study around your interests or career aspirations and help you stand out from the crowd when you graduate. Find out more about discovery modules on our Broadening webpages.
We have an integrated approach to the teaching on our programmes, bringing together theoretical and practical learning to train you to become a physicist. You'll be taught through several different approaches, including lectures, workshops, small-group tutorials, laboratory work, project work and digitally enhanced learning.
In the first two years, our teaching is delivered using interactive in-person lectures, small group tutorials and larger workshops, where you'll develop your problem-solving skills. In later years, the lecturer will usually support their own specialist material through a combination of lectures and workshops.
Experimental physics and astrophysics is an essential part of our teaching. It provides you with the opportunity to develop your verbal and written communication skills through performing experiments individually, and as part of a group. Computer programming is an integral part of physics, and during the first two years, you'll be taught the programming skills that you need, using Python.
All students are assigned a personal tutor. During year 1, your personal tutor will also host your weekly tutorials, so you'll really get to know them well, alongside a small group of other students, which really helps our students to settle into university study. Your personal tutor is there to offer advice, monitor your progress, and be your first point of contact throughout your years of study.
We also have a peer assisted learning scheme, where higher year students meet weekly with first years to support their learning and help them to settle into university life.
There are many facilities that will support your studies including extensive computer clusters and study areas.
Our Virtual Learning Environment will help to support your studies: it’s a central place where you can find all the information and resources for your programme and modules.
You can also benefit from support to develop your academic skills, within the curriculum and through online resources, workshops, one-to-one appointments and drop-in sessions.
Watch our taster lectures to get a flavour of what it’s like to study at Leeds:
On this course you’ll be taught by our expert academics, from lecturers through to professors. You may also be taught by industry professionals with years of experience, as well as trained postgraduate researchers, connecting you to some of the brightest minds on campus.
The initial two years of the programme employ a holistic and comprehensive assessment approach that uses a combination of competency-based evaluations to gauge your mastery of the basic learning outcomes of the course and grading assessments. This approach provides multiple opportunities for you to demonstrate your skills and knowledge.
Once you have successfully passed the competency assessments (to pass the module) you'll then complete grading assessments, where a full range of marks can be achieved through various forms of assessment such as written reports, open-book exams, online tests, and presentations.
In years 3 and 4, the programme features a mandatory course on advanced techniques, which emphasises open-ended investigations and includes written and verbal presentations in the third year, and a research project with a written report, presentation, and viva in the fourth year.
The remaining modules will utilise a variety of assessment methods, including written exams, reports, and presentations, as specified in the module catalogue. Additionally, the programme places emphasis on the development of teamwork skills, as they are becoming increasingly important in today's workplaces, thus group work opportunities are an integral part of the programme.
A-level: AAB including Physics and Mathematics.
Excludes A Level General Studies and Critical Thinking.
Where an A Level science subject is taken, we require a pass in the practical science element, alongside the achievement of the A Level at the stated grade.
Extended Project Qualification (EPQ), International Project Qualification (IPQ) and Welsh Baccalaureate Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (ASCC): We recognise the value of these qualifications and the effort and enthusiasm that applicants put into them, and where an applicant offers an A in the EPQ, IPQ or ASCC we may make an offer of ABB at A-Level.
GCSE: English Language at grade C (4) or above, or an appropriate English language qualification. We will accept Level 2 Functional Skills English in lieu of GCSE English.
Overall pass of the Access to HE, with 45 credits at level 3. Of these 45 credits, 30 level 3 credits must be in Physics and Mathematics and must be passed with Distinction.
BTEC qualifications in relevant disciplines are considered in combination with A Level Physics and Mathematics. Applicants should contact the School to discuss.
D3 M1 M2 to include Physics and Mathematics.
35 points overall with 15 points at Higher Level to include 5 in Higher Level Physics and 5 in Higher Level Mathematics.
AB at Advanced Higher in Physics and Mathematics with AABBB at Higher.
Read more about UK and Republic of Ireland accepted qualifications or contact the Schools Undergraduate Admissions Team.
Were committed to identifying the best possible applicants, regardless of personal circumstances or background.
Access to Leeds is an alternative admissions scheme which accepts applications from individuals who might be from low income households, in the first generation of their immediate family to apply to higher education, or have had their studies disrupted.
Find out more about Access to Leeds and alternative admissions.
Typical Access to Leeds A Level offer: BBB including physics and mathematics. Excluding General Studies and Critical Thinking.
If you do not have the formal qualifications for immediate entry to one of our degrees, you may be able to progress through a foundation year. We offer a Studies in Science with Foundation Year BSc for students without a science background at A-level and an Interdisciplinary Science with Foundation Year BSc for applicants who meet specific widening participation criteria.
International students who do not meet the academic requirements for undergraduate study may be able to study the University of Leeds International Foundation Year. This gives you the opportunity to study on campus, be taught by University of Leeds academics and progress onto a wide range of Leeds undergraduate courses. Find out more about International Foundation Year programmes.
IELTS 6.0 overall, with no less than 5.5 in any one component. For other English qualifications, read English language equivalent qualifications.
Improve your English
If you're an international student and you don't meet the English language requirements for this programme, you may be able to study our undergraduate pre-sessional English course, to help improve your English language level.
UK: To be confirmed
International: To be confirmed
Tuition fees for UK undergraduate students starting in 2023/24 and 2024/25
Tuition fees for UK full-time undergraduate students are set by the UK Government and will remain capped at £9,250 for 2023/24 and 2024/25. The fee may increase in future years of your course in line with inflation only as a consequence of future changes in Government legislation and as permitted by law.
Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2023/24
Tuition fees for international students for 2023/24 are available on individual course pages.
Tuition fees for international undergraduate students starting in 2024/25
Tuition fees for international students for 2024/25 will be available on individual course pages from September 2023.
Tuition fees for a study abroad or work placement year
If you take a study abroad or work placement year, you’ll pay a reduced tuition fee during this period. For more information, see Study abroad and work placement tuition fees and loans.
Read more about paying fees and charges.
Whilst there are no compulsory additional costs, it would be helpful to bring your own calculator. You’ll have access to all the recommended texts and a vast supply of books and academic journals from the university libraries.
You’ll also have access to the extensive IT facilities on campus including 24/7 computer clusters with everything you need to complete your work.
However, you may wish to purchase your own books and/or computer.
There may be additional costs related to your course or programme of study, or related to being a student at the University of Leeds. Read more about additional costs.
If you have the talent and drive, we want you to be able to study with us, whatever your financial circumstances. There is help for students in the form of loans and non-repayable grants from the University and from the government. Find out more in our Undergraduate funding overview.
Apply to this course through UCAS. Check the deadline for applications on the UCAS website.
We may consider applications submitted after the deadline. Availability of courses in UCAS Extra will be detailed on UCAS at the appropriate stage in the cycle.
Read our guidance about applying and writing your personal statement.
International students apply through UCAS in the same way as UK students. Our network of international representatives can help you with your application. If you’re unsure about the application process, contact the admissions team for help.
Read about visas, immigration and other information in International students. We recommend that international students apply as early as possible to ensure that they have time to apply for their visa.
University of Leeds Taught Admissions Policy 2023
School of Physics and Astronomy
School of Physics and Astronomy Undergraduate Admissions Enquiries
There are extensive employment opportunities in the field of physics across numerous industries, which is why physics graduates are in demand for some of the highest paid and most satisfying roles in employment.
Plus, University of Leeds students are among the top 10 most targeted by top employers according to The Graduate Market 2023, High Fliers Research, meaning our graduates are highly sought after by some of the most reputable companies in the field.
Qualifying with a degree in physics from Leeds will set you up with the numerical, analytical and problem-solving skills and specialist subject knowledge needed to pursue an exciting career across a wide range of sectors, including:
Throughout your course – especially in your final year research project – you'll have the chance to advance your knowledge and experience, whilst developing widely transferable skills desirable to employers including teamwork, independent research, analysis and communication.
Here’s an insight into the job roles some of our most recent physics graduates have obtained:
Read our alumni profiles to find out more about where our students are working.
At Leeds, we help you to prepare for your future from day one. Our Leeds for Life initiative is designed to help you develop and demonstrate the skills and experience you need for when you graduate. We will help you to access opportunities across the University and record your key achievements so you are able to articulate them clearly and confidently.
You'll be supported throughout your studies by our dedicated Employability team, who will provide you with specialist support and advice to help you find relevant work experience, internships and industrial placements, as well as graduate positions. You’ll benefit from timetabled employability sessions, support during internships and placements, and presentations and workshops delivered by employers.
We’re also an active partner in the White Rose Industrial Physics Academy, where we hold the UK’s largest annual Physics Careers Fair, with employers looking exclusively for physicists.
You'll also have full access to the University’s Careers Centre, which is one of the largest in the country.
Studying abroad is a unique opportunity to explore the world, whilst gaining invaluable skills and experience that could enhance your future employability and career prospects too.
From Europe to Asia, the USA to Australasia, we have many University partners worldwide you can apply to, spanning across some of the most popular destinations for students.
This programme offers you the option to spend time abroad as an extra academic year and will extend your studies by 12 months.
Once you’ve successfully completed your year abroad, you'll be awarded the ‘international’ variant in your degree title which demonstrates your added experience to future employers.
Find out more about Study abroad.
A placement year is a great way to help you decide on a career path when you graduate. You’ll develop your skills and gain a real insight into working life in a particular company or sector. It will also help you to stand out in a competitive graduate jobs market and improve your chances of securing the career you want.
Benefits of a work placement year:
If you decide to undertake a placement year, this will extend your period of study by 12 months and, on successful completion, you'll be awarded the ‘industrial’ variant in your degree title to demonstrate your added experience to future employers.
With the help and support of our dedicated Employability team, you can find the right placement to suit you and your future career goals.
Here are some examples of placements our students have recently completed:
Find out more about Industrial placements.
I really enjoy how much practical work there is. You’re not just sat in lecture theatres for hours on end. You will be applying the knowledge you’ve gained from lectures.Find out more about James Cooney's time at Leeds