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Sept 2020

Start date


UCAS code

3 Years



UCAS points
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UCAS points
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Dr Elisabetta Canetta
Dr Elisabetta Canetta

Programme Director - Applied Physics
020 8240 4095

Apply to transfer

Please note: this degree is only accepting applications to transfer directly into the second or third year of the programme for 2020 entry.

Applied Physics is essential for innovation. This degree provides an opportunity for engagement in physics that will shape our future world.

Applied Physics video

Why study Applied Physics?

Applied Physics focuses on the engineering aspect of physics, meaning that greater emphasis is given to the real life applications of what you are taught.

The course is based on active, problem-based. learning. You will learn about a range of topics that are considered important to future technology and - more importantly - humanity. The degree aims to equip you with all the skills needed to be highly employable.

Collaborations with local industries (such as the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) and Culham Centre for Fusion Energy) in areas ranging from nanotechnology to medical physics, will aid your development and ensure you're well prepared to pursue a career in academia or industry after graduating.

Why St Mary's?

Lectures and tutorials are blended with practical classes to give to you a robust and well-rounded education in physics. A very strong emphasis is given to applications of physics in our daily lives, with the aim of developing the next generation of talented applied physicists.

Throughout the degree, you will undertake individual and group project work either within the Applied Physics department or with one of our industry partners. You will also have the opportunity to learn popular programme languages (including Matlab and Python) for advanced data analysis and modelling.

Specific modules are designed to develop industry-standard skills in computing and programming, including data processing. Specialist content in the final year of the course is strongly influenced by research expertise within the Applied Physics Department and our industry partners.

Throughout the year, our Applied Physics department hosts range of outreach and public engagement events, including in recent years the transit of mercury and the solar eclipse.

Key facts

  • The degree offers the opportunity to undertake work placements in the London area and research projects in industries and research institutes, providing you with key skills that employers look for
  • Student-centred approach to teaching and learning; you will have the opportunity to tailor your own studies by choosing from a variety of optional modules
  • Graduates go on to work in the Research & Development departments of high profile industries and research institutes
  • Many Applied Physics graduates go on to study a Master's degree in a variety of physics subjects ranging from space engineering to theoretical physics
  • Taught on our historic Strawberry Hill campus in South West London

Course content

Year one

  • Practical Physics: Experimental Techniques, Data Measurement and Analysis Core
  • Particles, Waves and Quanta Core
  • Electricity and Magnetism Electronics Core
  • Heat and Thermodynamics Matter and Materials Core
  • Mathematical Methods 1: Computing Core
  • Environmental Physics and Nanotechnology Core

Year two

  • Practical Physics: Instrumentation and Monitoring, Effects and Techniques Core
  • Atomic and Nuclear Physics Core
  • Electromagnetism Electronics, Metrology and Standards Core
  • Solid State Physics Core
  • Mathematical Methods 2: Advanced Computing and Statistical Mechanics Core
  • Biomechanics and Medical Physics Optional
  • Experience and Employment in Education Optional
  • Experience and Employment in Business Optional
  • Experience and Employment in Sport Optional

Year three

  • Research Project Core
  • Mathematical Methods 3: Special and General Relativity Core
  • Solid State Physics: Low Temperature Physics Core
  • Nanotechnology and Nanodevice Physics Optional
  • Medical Physics Optional
  • Space Physics Optional
  • 3D Manufacturing Optional
Please refer to the programme specification document for a summary of the programme.

Career opportunities

The main goal of the Applied Physics degree programme is to train you to become highly skilled and, therefore, a highly employable scientist in a variety of fields, including:

  • Environmental physics
  • Biophysics and medical physics 
  • Space physics
  • Telecommunications
  • Nanodevices 
  • 3D manufacturing

Graduates in Physics have rewarding and successful careers because physics methods and insights are widely applicable. Physicists are widely sought in almost every scientific field and beyond, such as:

  • Transport
  • TV
  • Music
  • Sport
  • Videogames
  • Education
  • Patent attorney
  • Finance
  • Structural engineering
  • Healthcare
  • Energy
  • Space
  • Environment and climate
  • Nanotechnology

The Careers Service has more information on careers and postgraduate study options available to Applied Physics students who have started their studies at St Mary’s.

There is also the opportunity to undertake a work placement as part of your degree. The Centre for Workplace Learning offers work-related modules that can be embedded within your studies.

How the degree is taught

Teaching methods

A variety of teaching methods are used including lectures, problem-solving tutorials, practical classes, seminars delivered by professional physicists, visits to research laboratories and research projects (both individual and as part of a team).

The methods are designed to encourage active learning and enhancement of your learning experience, enabling you to gain transferable skills - such as communication and independent working - as well as a knowledge and understanding of Physics and its most applied branches.

Class sizes range from 10 to 15 students.

Assessment methods

A diverse range of assessment methods are used to ensure continuous assessment throughout your studies. These include coursework, scientific reports, lab books, oral and poster presentations, and exams.

Each of these methods will enable you to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of Physics, but will also help you to use them as learning tools to improve your academic performance, to learn new skills - such as scientific writing and communication - and enhance your learning experience.


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Fees and funding

2020/21 fees

  • Home/EU: £9,250*
  • International: £12,250

2019/20 fees

  • Home/EU: £9,250*
  • International: £11,750

* Please note: These fees are annual and may increase in line with inflation each year subject to the Governments review of Higher Education Funding.

Information about tuition fees, student loans and funding your studies can be found within our fees and funding section.

The UK Government has confirmed that EU applicants starting in 2019 or 2020 remain eligible for 'home fee status' and can access financial support.

Additional costs

Your tuition fees will cover the cost of all mandatory elements of your programme.

Additional costs could be incurred should you choose to buy copies of the core textbooks rather than loan from our library, which will amount to around £150 throughout your degree.

Further information

UCAS Application Timeline