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Physics and Philosophy

The course is both a physics and a philosophy degree, not just a degree in the philosophy of physics (although philosophy of physics is a central component). You study core and optional papers in each subject, and in the fourth year you can choose to specialize in either physics or philosophy (or to continue to combine the two). In recent years Physics and Philosophy students have gone on to graduate study in both philosophy and physics. The degree also leaves you very well equipped for a career outside of academia. Employers in many fields, including IT, finance, the law, the civil service, and the media, are keen to recruit people who combine the numeracy and puzzle-solving skills one learns from physics with the analytical skills and literacy one gains from philosophy.

Oriel offers excellent resources to those studying Physics and Philosophy. Unusually we have three tutorial fellows in each subject. The College is also one of the few undergraduate colleges with a Philosophy fellow (Oliver Pooley) who specializes in the philosophy of physics.

The Physics and Philosophy degree is demanding. On the Physics side, the emphasis is on the more theoretical aspects of the subject. To be admitted you will need to convince physics admissions tutors that you have at least as much potential and ability as those admitted to read for single honours Physics.

Admission Criteria

Typical offers: A*AA at A-Level (or equivalent) including A*, A in Physics and Maths. Applying for Physics and Philosophy, rather than for Physics, will not reduce your chance of admission. Applicants for both degrees are considered as a gathered field and applicants to Oriel for Physics and Philosophy are automatically considered for a place to read straight Physics. All applicants must take the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) in school or at a test centre in early November.

 

Number of places

2

Departments

Department of Physics

Faculty of Philosophy

Teaching Staff

Organising Tutor
Dr Luca Castagnoli

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Clarendon Fellow in Ancient Greek Philosophy | Tutor in Philosophy & Classics

Organising Tutor
Dr Oliver Pooley

Fellow & Tutor in Philosophy

Organising Tutor
Professor Andrew Boothroyd

Professor of Physics | Fellow & Tutor in Physics

Organising Tutor
Professor Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra

Colin Prestige Fellow & Tutor in Philosophy | Senior Tutor

Dr Julien Devriendt

Fellow & Tutor in Physics

Dr Emily Qureshi-Hurst

College Lecturer in Philosophy

Alexander Roberts

Leverhulme Junior Research Fellow in Philosophy

Sebastian Saner

College Lecturer in Physics

Dr Andrew Wells

Tutor & Fellow in Physics

OTHER COURSES YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN

Classics (Literae Humaniores)
Number of places 6 for Literae Humaniores (Classics), Classics, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Classical Archaeology and Ancient History. There are additionally 1 place for Classics and English and 1 (usually) for Classics and Modern Languages. Admission Criteria All candidates must take the Classics Admissions Test (CAT). Candidates will also be asked to submit two pieces of written work in English. The standard offer is AAA at A Level or equivalent. More information can be found on the Classics Faculty website.

Computer Science
Number of places 4 Admission Criteria Candidates sit a written Mathematics test in schools before being shortlisted for interview. Conditional offers: usually A*AA at A-level (or equivalent), including Mathematics and Further Mathematics if taken, with the A* in Mathematics, Further Mathematics or Computing/Computer Science.

Computer Science and Philosophy
Admission Criteria Candidates sit a written Mathematics test in schools before being shortlisted for interview. Conditional offers: usually A*AA at A-level (or equivalent), including Mathematics and Further Mathematics if taken, with the A* in Mathematics, Further Mathematics or Computing/Computer Science.

Mathematics
Number of places 6 Admission Criteria All candidates must sit the Admissions Test for Mathematics. Conditional offers: A*A*A at A-Level (or equivalent) with the A*s in Mathematics and Further Mathematics (if taken). The majority of entrants have two A-Levels in mathematics. Applicants with only one mathematics A-level are not at a disadvantage in the competition for places, but successful candidates have more preparation to do over the summer before they start their course.

Mathematics and Computer Science
Number of places 2 Admission Criteria Conditional offers: usually A*AA at A-level (or equivalent), including Mathematics and Further Mathematics if taken, with the A* in Mathematics or Further Mathematics.

Mathematics and Philosophy
Number of places 1 or 2 Admission Criteria A-levels or equivalent: A*A*A with the A*s in Mathematics and Further Mathematics (if taken).

Philosophy (Joint Honours)
Admission Criteria The admissions criteria for each course involving philosophy can be found on the dedicated course page. For all courses, applicants invited to interview will be given a philosophy interview, or an interview with a philosophy component. At interview, we will not test whether you are already familiar with philosophical texts or arguments. Instead we are interested in your aptitude and potential for precise analytical thought, and in whether you enjoy abstract reasoning.

Philosophy and Modern Languages
Number of places 1 or 2, taken from the Modern Languages quota of 9 Admission Criteria All candidates must take the Modern Languages Admissions Tests (MLAT), normally at their own school or college, in November, in addition to the written work specified on the university's website. Separate registration for this test is required and it is the responsibility of the candidate to ensure that they are registered for this test. Candidates will need to take two sections of the MLAT: one for their chosen language, and one for Philosophy. Conditional offers: AAA at A-level (or equivalent), with A grades required for any language to be studied (except ab initio languages).

Philosophy and Theology
Number of places 3 or 4 Admission Criteria Typical offer: AAA at A-level (or equivalent). Candidates are required to submit one piece of written work for Theology (no work is required for Philosophy). Applicants should also complete the Philosophy admissions test, which is usually taken in November each year.

Philosophy, Politics and Economics
Number of places 9 Admission Criteria Conditional offers: normally AAA at A-level (or equivalent). Applicants are not required to submit written work. All candidates must take the Thinking Skills Assessment (TSA) in early November, normally at their own schools or colleges. Separate registration for this test is required and prospective applicants should refer to the test website for further information.

Physics
Number of places 5 or 6 Admission Criteria All applicants must take the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) in school or at a test centre in early November. No written work required. Typical offers: A*AA at A-Level (or equivalent) including A*, A in Physics and Maths.

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