Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology BSc (Hons)


95% of the universe exists in a form we still don't understand. Explore stars, galaxies, black holes and gravitational waves – joining an international community looking for answers.

On this Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology degree course, you’ll deepen your understanding of the fundamental laws of physics, and apply this knowledge to the structure and behaviour of some of the largest and smallest elements of existence.

You'll be taught by and study alongside researchers from the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation (ICG) who play leading roles in major international projects, such as the European Space Agency Euclid satellite. You’ll graduate with mathematical and computational knowledge sought after by employers in many industries, from aerospace to finance.

What you’ll experience

  • See physics theory in practice through visits to aerospace companies such as BAE Systems, Airbus Defence and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL)
  • Access Hampshire Astronomical Group facilities at Clanfield Observatory, including various telescopes such as a 24-inch reflector, to observe the stars and galaxies and collect project data
  • Study alongside researchers from the University's physics research teams (and contribute to their work in your final project), whose research was ranked in the top 10 nationally for quality of research outputs
  • Use advanced technical equipment with the help of expert technical staff, including x-ray diffraction, x-ray fluorescence, electron and atomic force microscopes, various types of spectroscopy and the SCIAMA supercomputer
  • Develop the professional skills and standards you need as a practicing physicist, through a major research project in your final year

Work experience and career planning

Get experience while you study with support to find part-time jobs, volunteering opportunities and work experience. Towards the end of your degree and after graduation, you'll get 1-to-1 support from our Graduate Recruitment Consultancy to find your perfect role.

Placement year (optional)

To give you the best chance of securing a great job when you graduate, we can help you identify placements, internships and voluntary opportunities that will complement your studies.

After your second year, you can do an optional work placement year to get valuable longer-term work experience in the industry. In your placement year, you can also set up a business on your own or in a group. We'll give you all the support you need to find a placement that prepares you for your career, and we'll continue to mentor you throughout your placement.

Previous students have taken placement roles such as:

  • flight physics intern
  • medical and health physicists
  • data engineer
  • physics engineer in defense sector
  • industrial placement estimating
  • Vulcan laser beam diagnostics physicist
  • advanced laser technology and applications development scientist

They've completed placements at organisations including:

  • MBDA Systems
  • BAE Systems
  • Airbus
  • Reaction Engines Ltd
  • STFC
  • QinetiQ

You may be able to do a summer placement through the South East Physics Network (SEPnet) Bursary Scheme. This 8-week placement includes a £2,500 bursary.

Module Details

Each module on this course is worth a certain number of credits.

In each year, you need to study modules worth a total of 120 credits. For example, four modules worth 20 credits and one module worth 40 credits.

We use the best and most current research and professional practice alongside feedback from our students to make sure course content is relevant to your future career or further studies.

Therefore, some course content may change over time to reflect changes in the discipline or industry and some optional modules may not run every year. If a module doesn’t run, we’ll let you know as soon as possible and help you choose an alternative module.

Programme Assessment

Teaching methods on this course include:

  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • laboratory work
  • problem-based learning exercises
  • computational physics workshops
  • external site visits
  • project work

You’ll be assessed through:

  • laboratory reports
  • individual or group presentations and posters
  • coursework problem sheets
  • computer modelling reports
  • open and closed book examination

You’ll be able to test your skills and knowledge informally before you do assessments that count towards your final mark.

You can get feedback on all practice and formal assessments so you can improve in the future.

The way you're assessed will depend on the modules you select throughout your course. Here's an example from a previous academic year of how students on this course were typically assessed:BSc students only:

  • Year 1 students: 28% by written exams and 72% by coursework
  • Year 2 students: 47% by written exams, 4% by practical exams and 49% by coursework
  • Year 3 students: 43% by written exams, 7% by practical exams and 50% by coursework

Student Destinations

The UK government has an ambitious plan to double investment in the space economy by 2030 which means there's now high demand for skilled people to meet this growth. In fact, the sector is currently recruiting more graduates that before, and giving further training internally.

Physics and astronomy graduates are earning an average of £33,500 5 years after graduation, and you've got the potential to reach a salary in the range of £40,000 to £75,000 as a senior professional, professor or researcher.

What jobs can you do with a physics, astrophysics and cosmology degree?

You could apply your skills and knowledge in areas such as:

  • cosmology
  • astrophysics
  • astronomy and theoretical physics
  • space systems and aerospace industry
  • education
  • scientific journalism
  • medical physics
  • finance
  • data analysis

After the course you could also continue your studies to a PhD or other postgraduate qualification. Discover our world-leading physics research and Arthur's journey to a PhD in Astrophysics and Cosmology.

BSc (Hons) Award
September Start
Full-time, Sandwich Study Mode
3 years Duration

Entry Requirements For This Course

  • 112-128 points to include a minimum of 2 A levels, or equivalent, with 32 points from A level Mathematics, Physics, or Electronics.
  • English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.0 with no component score below 5.5.

University of Portsmouth in Pictures

Latest Updates from University of Portsmouth

Location of University of Portsmouth