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Physics

The courses at Oxford cover all the major areas of contemporary physics, ranging from sub-atomic particles, lasers and condensed matter, to climate and cosmology, and include new developments such as biophysics, financial physics and quantum computation. What makes a good physicist? A desire for understanding rather than facts, a natural curiosity, and good mathematical ability.

Oriel College offers an excellent environment for studying physics, and most students study for the 4-year MPhys. Oriel’s well-stocked library is an excellent information resource for physics, and students are supplied with personal copies of the main text books which they may keep for the duration of the course. As well as being experienced teachers, the Oriel physics tutors are engaged in internationally-leading research, with interests in cosmology, climate physics, superconductivity and magnetism. An added incentive for excellence among Oriel’s physics students is provided by the John Sanders Scholarship, awarded each year for an outstanding performance in the first year examinations.

Physics students acquire a wide range of important skills, making them highly sought-after in the jobs market. They learn to divide problems into elementary parts and to solve them using logical arguments based on firm evidence. Many Oriel graduates continue into physics research, but others have pursued a variety of careers in areas such as industry, patent law, banking, teaching, and the media.

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.

Number of places

5 or 6

Departments

Department of Physics

Teaching Staff

Organising Tutor
Professor Andrew Boothroyd

Professor of Physics | Fellow & Tutor in Physics

Dr Julien Devriendt

Fellow & Tutor in Physics

Mr Jack Harrison

Graduate Teaching and Research Scholar in Physics

Sebastian Saner

College Lecturer in Physics

Dr Andrew Wells

Tutor & Fellow in Physics

OTHER COURSES YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN

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.

Engineering Science
Admission Criteria All candidates for the Engineering course must take the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT), usually in November each year. Conditional offers are usually Grades A*A*A at A-Level (or equivalent) including Mathematics and Physics. The A*s must be obtained in Mathematics, Physics or Further Mathematics if taken.

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).

Physics and Philosophy
Number of places 2 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.  

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