Frequently Asked Questions

Should I take the BSc or MSci?

Can I study abroad?

What does studying Physics at University involve?

How will I be taught?

How is the academic year structured?

Can I take modules from outside of the School of Physics and Astronomy?

Who can I go to for advice and help?

If I want to be considered for an excellence scholarship do I need to make an application to the School of Physics and Astronomy?

What teaching facilities are available for experimental modules?

 

Should I take the BSc or MSci?

We offer two different types of qualification: BSc or MSci. The BSc takes 3 years to complete whilst the MSci takes 4 years. An MSci will provide you with more advanced training and project experience which could lead to a PhD or provide you with an advantage if you wish to enter a career at a higher level. The BSc and MSci courses have common programmes and options over the first two years and transfer between the programmes is possible during this time, subject to satisfactory performance.

In the final year of the MSci you will have the opportunity to take modules selected from a large range of current research topics in physics. This year is taught as an intercollegiate year and you will be able to take modules taught by lecturers from Colleges throughout the University of London.

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Can I study abroad?

Queen Mary students can take part in an international exchange programme spending either the autumn semester or full academic year at one of our partner institutions. The academic work completed abroad is credited towards your Queen Mary degree. Tuition fees will still be paid to Queen Mary for your period abroad and you do not have to pay tuition fees at the host institution but you are still responsible for all travel, accommodation and living expenses. Full eligibility details and other conditions for participation in this programme are laid out on our website.

Our partner universities with physics specialities are:

  • Hunter College (City University of New York)
  • University of Miami
  • University of Richmond
  • University of California (with several campuses and different specialities)

It is also possible to study in Europe within the Erasmus programme. Queen Mary enjoys close links with Europe through its participation in the SOCRATES ERASMUS programme and believes this presents a great opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the language, lifestyle and culture of another country. Students are selected by their academic school at Queen Mary and the criteria for selection include academic ability, proficiency in the language of the host country and the desire to participate in an exchange. The Language Learning Unit provides courses to give students practical skills in a foreign language and help prepare them for the exchange. Students are given credit for courses passed at the host institution. More information can be found on the British Council website.

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What does studying Physics at University involve?

You will be expected to devote yourself full-time to your studies. With regards to your timetabled hours, in the first semester of your first year you should expect to spend on average each week:

• 3 or 4 hours in lectures for each module

• 3-6 hours in the laboratory

• 3 hours in exercise classes or tutorials

However, overall you should be devoting around 40 hours a week to your degree. This will include your timetabled lessons, studying and preparation for laboratory sessions and exercise classes.

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How will I be taught?

The teaching in the School of Physics and Astronomy is carried out through lectures and exercise classes backed up by a practical element.  Lectures take place in various locations around the campus and will not always be held in the School of Physics and Astronomy. This will give you a chance to get to know the different areas of the College.

Tutorials and exercise classes are used to support the lectures. These classes will be taken by the lecturer and postgraduate students They are an opportunity for you to ask questions and work through any problems you have with the material.

We have laboratories that are reserved solely for the use of our undergraduate students. In the first year you are required to take the module Scientific Measurement,  which will illustrate the basic concepts in physics: you will carry out experiments and interpret results. This gives you valuable knowledge on how certain laboratory instruments work and it will also give you the opportunity to develop your time management and reporting skills. You are supported in these laboratory sessions by dedicated technicians, academic staff and postgraduate students.

Find more information on our teaching page.

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How is the academic year structured?

You will take four modules in each of the two semesters in every year of study. The academic year runs from September to June. There are typically 3 or 4 lectures per week for each module. You will also have 1 or 2 hours scheduled for tutorial work for each module. You are expected to do some independent study outside of your timetabled hours. Modules often have an element of coursework to them therefore you will be expected to spend time preparing your hand-ins and these count towards your final mark. Some modules have a class test and most have an end of year examination which makes up the bulk of your mark for that module.

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Can I take modules from outside of the School of Physics?

You will have a number of options available to you each year, but the exact number will depend on which degree programme you are registered on. Our modular system allows you take a subject from another academic school which will still count towards your degree. For example, you may choose to study a language with choices from beginner to advanced level in a variety of languages. Visit the Language and Learning Unit website for more details www.languageandlearning.qmul.ac.uk

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Who can I go to for advice and help?

When you start at Queen Mary, you will be allocated an Academic Adviser. This person will talk to you about your module options and will discuss with you what is best for your needs before registering you on the appropriate modules. If you need support or advice on personal or academic matters, then your Adviser is there to help you.

We have a full-time Student Support Administrator (SSA) who acts as the first point of contact for any student concerns, be they academic or pastoral. The SSA is available to provide advice and guidance on matters such as Student Funding, Bursaries and Financial Support, Accommodation and Welfare concerns, help with special exam arrangements for those students in need to additional support and offers advice on careers and further study.

If you wish to you will be able to take part in a supplemental study program in your first year of study. The Peer Assisted Study Support (PASS) scheme supports new students through weekly one hour sessions led by second and third year students.

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If I want to be considered for an excellence scholarship do I need to make an application to the School of Physics?

No, all students are considered for this. Three awards of £3,000 per annum are made to UK and European students whilst for overseas students we have scholarships of £1,000 per annum available. We look at your record once we have received your examination results and a decision is based on the following criteria:

  • They are given to students with the highest A-level UCAS tariff
  • Grade A is expected at A-level or a minimum of 60% in Physics qualification for overseas students
  • Offered to students who place us as their firm choice
  • Progression criterion of 70% is placed
  • Minimum of 70% attendance is required

If you are interested in the Hemera scholarship, however, then you do need to make an application.

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What teaching facilities are available for experimental modules?

Our undergraduate teaching laboratories have recently been refurbished and contain a main lab with 46 spacious work stations, two optics rooms providing a further 11 work stations and 4 specialist vibration free surfaces for sensitive experiments. The laboratories are open access and we have two members of staff offering technical support for all physics students during normal working hours. Each work station has a PC with internet access and has an adjustable height function. It is a well funded resource with a mix of traditional and modern equipment. The modules Scientific Measurement and Physics Laboratory are taught here.

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Juno Champion

The school holds Juno Champion status, the highest award of this IoP scheme to recognise and reward departments that can demonstrate they have taken action to address the under-representation of women in university physics and to encourage better practice for both women and men.