How to Get Into Imperial for Physics

Physics is one of the most competitive courses at Imperial College London. Just 1 in every 8 applicants are successful in receiving an offer to study Physics and the application process is designed to be challenging.

If you’re thinking of applying for Physics or just curious about what it takes to get into one of the best universities for Physics in the UK, this guide contains everything you need to know – from entry requirements to tips on how to prepare from our expert Physics admissions tutors.

The Profs’ Physics admissions tutors have first-hand experience of the admissions process and what is required to succeed at each stage. Thanks to our expert support, 95% of students who work with The Profs receive an offer from their first or second choice university. Reach out to our team today to maximise your chances of success.

What is the Physics course at Imperial like?

Imperial College London is ranked as the third best university in the UK for Physics (behind only Cambridge and Oxford). Its undergraduate Physics course is designed to give all students a solid grounding in Physics, Mathematics and experimental methods, and prepare them for advanced study in later years.

Imperial’s Physics course consists of core modules for the first two years, before allowing you to tailor the course to your interests as you enter your third year.
The topics covered in the first and second year include:

  • Mathematics
  • Mechanics
  • Electromagnetism
  • Quantum physics
  • Relativity
  • Optics
  • Thermodynamics

Some of the areas you can choose to study in year three include:

  • Astrophysics
  • Medical imaging
  • Plasma physics
  • Cosmology
  • Laser technology
  • X-rays and ultrasound
  • Nuclear diagnostics and MRI

What are the entry requirements for Physics?

Physics is an extremely competitive course at Imperial and requires applicants to achieve excellent grades and show great potential. The table below shows the entry requirements for Physics:

QualificationGradesSubject requirements
A LevelsA*A*AA* in Mathematics
A*/A in Physics
A*/A in another subject (Further Mathematics is recommended, but not essential)
Chemistry, although not essential, is considered to be a useful third subject for developing knowledge and understanding of the course.
International Baccalaureate (IB)40 points overall7, 6, 6 including Mathematics and Physics at Higher Level.

Worried that you won’t achieve the necessary grades to study Physics at Imperial? The Profs’ A level and IB tutors can help. We have extensive experience helping students excel in their coursework and final exams and achieve the entry grades for this competitive course. Reach out to our team for support.

Which admissions test do you need for Physics at Imperial?

Applicants to Imperial’s Physics course who pass the initial screening round will be required to take the Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT). You will need to prepare in order to ensure you achieve the best score possible.

We will be releasing an article on the ESAT shortly, so please keep an eye out. Information regarding the ESAT is available here. You can contact our expert admissions test tutors for tailored support.

We recommend that you also work with a specialist tutor who has in-depth knowledge of Imperial’s specific Physics admissions test and the wider application process in order to maximise your chances.

How hard is it to get into Physics at Imperial?

Getting into Imperial to study Physics is no mean feat. Not only do you need to achieve the grade requirements (A*A*A or equivalent), but you also need to score highly in the ESAT. In 2021, for every 8 applicants to Imperial’s Physics course, only 1 successfully received an offer, so it’s important to prepare for every stage of the admissions process.

95% of students who work with The Profs’ admissions tutors get into their first or second choice university, and we have successfully helped many students get into Imperial College London. We have the very latest and best knowledge on what Imperial is looking for in top Physics applicants. Get in touch with us today to chat with a member of our team about how we can help you.

What are the fees for Physics at Imperial?

The table below shows the fees for Imperial’s Physics course for both home (UK) and overseas students:

Student statusCourse fees (per year)

You can find out more information about what fees you will pay on Imperial’s fee status page. You can also use Imperial’s fees and funding page to see the funding options available to you.

4 tips on how to get into Physics at Imperial

1. Prepare thoroughly for each stage of the admissions process

When applying to study Physics at Imperial, there are many stages of the admissions process to consider, and you should prepare for each one thoroughly.

  • Your grades – preparation for your Physics application really starts from the moment you start studying for your A-levels (or equivalent). Excellent grades are essential in order to be considered for a place at Imperial, so you should be aiming for A*A*A in your A-levels (or equivalent) as a minimum.
  • Your UCAS application – the first official stage of your Physics application is completing your UCAS application online. As well as your grades, this includes your personal statement. This is the first chance you’ll get to showcase your suitability for Physics and prove to Imperial that you are interested and committed to the subject areas.
  • The admissions test –  It’s important that you prepare for the Engineering and Science Admissions Test (ESAT). We advise reaching out to one of our specialised admissions tutors for more tailored guidance and preparation support.

2. Show your passion and aptitude for Physics and Mathematics

Although excellent grades and a great performance in the ESAT are important, you’ll need to do more than that to stand out from the hundreds of other strong applicants. One way to do this is to demonstrate your passion for the subjects you’re going to be studying.

There are many ways you can show your passion for Physics and Mathematics in your personal statement, including:

  • Wider reading on particular topics, theories and academics – referencing topics and theories that you are particularly interested in in your personal statement is a great way to show that you have gone beyond the expected school-level Physics study.
  • Getting work experience at a Physics-related company – this shows that you are motivated and dedicated to the subject area outside of a school setting. It also gives you real-life insights and experience of what a career in the sciences might involve and which skills are important to succeed.
  • Relevant volunteering – there are many volunteering opportunities that will show your passion and aptitude for Maths, Physics, and related subjects. For example, you might volunteer helping older people with their computer skills or tutoring young children in Maths or Science, both of which show your quantitative skills beyond the school curriculum.
  • Participating in relevant competitions, clubs or challenges – we recommend showcasing your mathematical ability by participating in Maths competitions such as UK Maths Challenge, as this is a great way to help your application stand out and prove that your academic ability goes beyond the school setting.

Note that all students applying to university for 2023, 2024 or 2025 will still be required to submit a UCAS personal statement as normal. However, from January 2025 onwards (October 2024, for Oxbridge applicants), there will be changes to the UCAS application process and students will no longer be required to write a personal statement. Instead, all applicants will answer a series of shorter, more tailored questions provided by UCAS.

3. Have a 5-year plan

Another factor that can set you aside from other applicants is having a 5-year plan. This doesn’t have to be a plan that you necessarily stick to – in fact, it is expected that your interests and ambitions change as your knowledge and experience grows. Having a plan is simply a great way of demonstrating to Imperial that you are committed to the subject and that you are motivated to succeed at your degree.

The first step to having a plan is to develop an understanding of the industries a degree in Physics can lead to and the specific areas of Physics you can specialise in. For example, identifying that you are interested in Astrophysics or the applications of Nuclear Diagnostics can show that you are a forward-thinking candidate who is serious about getting a job after graduation. You can, of course, also state that you are interested in a PhD and becoming a researcher, backing up your career claims with some knowledge of your chosen field.

4. Seek help from an expert Physics admissions tutor

Physics is one of the most competitive courses at Imperial and requires you to perform well in multiple stages to be in with a chance of securing an offer. Unfortunately, schools and colleges are oftentimes not equipped to provide specialist Physics application preparation due to a lack of experience, expertise or resources. As a result, we advise seeking a professional Physics admissions tutor to help you through the process.

The Profs’ Physics admissions tutors have many years of experience helping students develop their academic profiles, tailor their application to Imperial’s admissions criteria and prepare for the admissions exam.

95% of applicants who work with one of The Profs’ tutors receive an offer from their first or second choice university, and many of our clients have gotten into Imperial and other top London universities. You’ll also gain invaluable independent study skills that will prepare you for study at an elite UK university, as well as a deeper and broader understanding of the quantitative skills and scientific and mathematical knowledge needed to study Physics at degree-level. Reach out to our experienced team today to get started.