The Best Universities for Physics in the UK

Why study Physics at university?

Physics is a subject that helps us understand space, time, and the universe around us, from the smallest particles to the largest structures. It is an excellent subject choice for students interested in STEM. Studying Physics at university will equip you with analytical, mathematical, and problem-solving skills, which are highly valued in many industries.

For undergraduate studies:

Undergraduate students should graduate within three or four years with a Bachelor of Science (BSc).

For postgraduate studies:

If you complete a Masters in Physics, you will graduate within one year with a Master of Physics (MPhys) or a Master of Science (MSci). You can also embark on a four-year journey to earn a PhD and become a Doctor of Physics.

If you’re interested in studying Physics at university but need some help meeting the entry requirements for degree-level Physics, then have no fear. Our dedicated and friendly team at The Profs can match you with expert Physics tutors.

What career can I use a Physics degree for?

Physics is a highly respected degree and can open up a wide range of career opportunities. Physics graduates are sought after in industries such as engineering, finance, research, and healthcare. Some popular career choices for physics graduates include:

  • Research Scientist
  • Data Analyst
  • Aerospace Engineer
  • Medical Physicist
  • Software Developer
  • Astronomer
  • Nanotechnologist
  • Radiation Protection Practitioner
  • Research Scientist
  • Teacher or Lecturer
  • Sound Engineer

What are the most popular Physics programmes?

Physics is a broad subject area that covers many different fields. Within your degree, you might be able to select modules in focussed areas that interest you. If you pursue a postgraduate in Physics, you might be able to select a more specialised degree title. Some of the most popular degree programmes for Physics include:

  • Mathematical Physics
  • Theoretical Physics
  • Astrophysics
  • Biological Physics
  • Advanced Physics
  • Physics and Astronomy
  • Medical Physics
  • Quantum Physics

What are the best universities in the UK for Physics?

The UK offers a wide range of prestigious universities with impressive academic rankings and excellent Physics faculties.

Below is a list of the top UK universities for Physics; they often perform well on league tables and have the best-rated Physics departments. All of them have outstanding reputations for research and teaching, and their graduates are highly sought after by employers. If you’re interested in studying Physics at any of these universities, but feel intimidated by the high entry requirements and competitive application process, reach out to our helpful admissions team at The Profs.

All that said, make sure that you look beyond league tables. Choose a university suited to you, that makes you happy. Consider location, societies, activities, and learning style to ensure that you choose an institution that matches your interests.

Take a look at the highest-ranking universities in the UK for Physics:

University of Cambridge

Cambridge is home to some of the best laboratory work, including the Cavendish Laboratory, where many groundbreaking discoveries in physics were made. Cambridge University offers a flexible course structure with opportunities for interdisciplinary study and ranks 5th for Physics worldwide (2023). Cambridge has a strong history of producing world-leading physicists including Isaac Newton, James Clerk Maxwell, and Paul Dirac.

The Physics course at Cambridge is currently ranked:

The entry requirements for studying Physics at Cambridge are A*A*A* A levels (equivalent qualifications are also accepted). Further information can be found here.

University of Oxford

Oxford’s Physics department emphasises fundamental research and has strong experimental and theoretical groups. Oxford has over a century of experience in delivering world-class Physics education. In fact, Oxford even ranks 3rd for Physics worldwide (2023)! Oxford’s collegiate system provides a close-knit community and opportunities for mentorship.

The Physics course at Oxford is currently ranked:

The entry requirements for studying Physics at Oxford are A*AA A levels, with an A* in Physics, Maths or Further Maths (equivalent qualifications are also accepted). Further information can be found here.

Imperial College London

Imperial College is a science and engineering powerhouse, ranking 12th for Physics worldwide (2023). Imperial’s physicists conduct impactful research across a wide range of topics from String Theory to Medical Physics. Imperial’s location in London provides access to major scientific facilities and opportunities for collaboration.

The Physics course at Imperial College London is currently ranked:

The A level entry requirements for studying Physics at Imperial are an A* in Maths, an A* in Physics, and an A in another subject, except General Studies and Critical Thinking (equivalent qualifications are also accepted). Further information can be found here.

University of Edinburgh

Edinburgh has a long tradition of excellence in Physics with over 200 years of teaching experience. Edinburgh’s picturesque campus provides an inspirational setting for learning and discovery. Edinburgh encourages creativity and risk-taking in Physics research leading to high-impact outputs.

The Physics course at the University of Edinburgh is currently ranked:

The A level entry requirements for studying Physics at Edinburgh University are AAA to ABB with an A in Maths and a B in Physics (equivalent qualifications are also accepted). Further information can be found here.

Manchester University

Manchester is a leading institution for Physics renowned for its historic contributions to Nuclear and Particle Physics. Manchester is at the forefront of Physics research conducting world-leading studies in Quantum Technologies, 2D Materials, and Biophysics. Manchester provides modern facilities including its £60 million research institute.

The Physics course at Manchester University is currently ranked:

The A level entry requirements for studying Physics at Edinburgh University are A*AA including both Maths and Physics with an A* in one of these two subjects (equivalent qualifications are also accepted). Further information can be found here.

University of St Andrews

St Andrews offers a close-knit Physics community with strong mentorship in a stunning coastal location. St Andrews emphasises fundamental Physics research and interdisciplinary collaboration across its science departments. St Andrews provides a supportive environment for students to develop into independent researchers.

The Physics course at St Andrews is currently ranked:

The A level entry requirements for studying Physics at St Andrews University are AAAA, to AAAB including an A in Maths and Physics (equivalent qualifications are also accepted). Further information can be found here.

Durham University

Durham provides high-quality Physics teaching in a historic collegiate setting. Durham delivers a well-rounded education with opportunities to pursue Physics alongside Arts and Humanities subjects. Durham has a dedicated Physics building and observatory, with students gaining hands-on experience through lab work and projects.

The Physics course at Durham University is currently ranked:

The entry requirements for studying Physics at Durham are A*A*A* A levels (equivalent qualifications are also accepted). Further information can be found here.

Other excellent universities in the United Kingdom for Physics include University College London (UCL), Lancaster University, the University of Warwick, and Bristol University. These also place among the top league tables for Physics.

How do I get into one of these top universities for Physics?

Getting into one of the top universities for physics is competitive, but there are things you can do to improve your chances. Here are some tips:

  • Study hard and achieve high grades in Mathematics and Physics at A level, or equivalent.
  • Get involved in extracurricular activities related to Physics, such as science clubs or competitions.
  • Put time and effort into your university application, tasks, and interviews.
  • Consider seeking advice from The Profs.

If you are interested in studying Physics at one of the top universities in the UK, The Profs are here to help. We offer excellent Physics tutors, as well as expert guidance on university applications, including personal statement writing and interview preparation. Reach out to our friendly team today!

FAQ

Where is the best place to study Physics in the UK?

The University of Cambridge is considered one of the best places to study Physics in the UK, according to university rankings and reputation. Other top universities for Physics include the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, and the University of Edinburgh. Read this article for more information.

What university has the best Physics program in the UK?

The University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford consistently rank highly for their Physics programs in the UK. More highly ranked universities for Physics can be found on the Complete University Guide, Times Higher Education and QS World University Rankings.

What career opportunities are available for Physics graduates?

Physics graduates are highly sought after in industries such as engineering, finance, research, and healthcare. Some popular career choices for Physics graduates include research scientist, data analyst, aerospace engineer, medical physicist, and software developer.

What are the entry requirements for a Physics degree?

Entry requirements vary depending on the university and the course. Generally, you will need to have studied Mathematics and Physics at A level, or equivalent, and achieved high grades. Some universities may also require applicants to have studied further Mathematics.

What is the difference between a BSc and an MPhys degree in Physics?

A BSc degree in physics is a three or four-year undergraduate degree, while an MPhys degree is an additional one or two years of study at a postgraduate level. An MPhys degree is generally more research-focused and may be required for certain careers in Physics.

Can you do Physics at university without Maths?

While it is not typically possible to study Physics at university without Maths, some universities may offer foundation courses or other introductory programs to help students who do not have a strong background in Mathematics. It is important to check the entry requirements for individual universities to determine their specific requirements for studying Physics.

That said, don’t let your struggle with Maths limit your opportunities. Here at The Profs, we have an expert team of Maths tutors who can help you meet the requirements of your chosen university.