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Physics & Philosophy BSc

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Overview

Our challenging Physics & Philosophy BSc will enable you to investigate the fascinating connections between these two subjects. You will study the fundamental aspects of physics, including relativity, quantum mechanics, fields and waves, electromagnetism and nuclear physics. At the same time, studying philosophy will help you to develop your understanding of reality and our knowledge of it, as well as develop skills in reasoning and argument.

The course information sheet is a printable version of the information on this web page, which you can download here.

Physics

  • Award winning – six former staff and students in the department have won Nobel Prizes.
  • Internationally-renowned academic staff in the fields of cosmology, nanotechnology, and the interface between physics and biology.
  • Friendly and supportive learning environment.
  • Central location gives you easy access to major libraries and many leading societies, including the Institute of Physics.
  • 90 per cent of research in the Department of Physics was classed as world-leading or internationally excellent in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.
  • One of the largest and most distinguished philosophy departments in the country.
  • The Department is ranked as one of the top- three UK philosophy departments in the 2014 Research Excellence framework for both the quality of our research and research power.
  • We offer an exceptionally wide range of optional courses, covering all areas of the history of philosophy and contemporary philosophy.
  • Our emphasis on small-group teaching ensures you acquire critical thinking skills.

Philosophy

  • One of the largest and most distinguished philosophy departments in the country.
  • The Department is ranked as one of the top- three UK philosophy departments in the 2014 Research Excellence framework for both the quality of our research and research power.
  • We offer an exceptionally wide range of optional courses, covering all areas of the history of philosophy and contemporary philosophy.
  • Our emphasis on small-group teaching ensures you acquire critical thinking skills.

Key information

UCAS code FV35

Duration Three years

Study mode Full-time

Course type Joint honours

Course accreditations Recognised by the Institute of Physics

Further details

Awarding institution King's College London

Faculty Faculty of Natural & Mathematical Sciences

Department Department of Philosophy Department of Physics

Locations

 

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Course detail

Description

We have designed our joint honours Physics & Philosophy BSc to offer you the opportunity to study both subjects at degree level. The course is split equally between physics and philosophy modules, but you can specialise in one discipline in your final year if you choose. Ours is one of the few physics and philosophy joint honours courses that follows an integrated approach to the two subjects, with modules in the philosophy of physics and philosophy of science offering you a deeper understanding and alternative perspective on some of the conceptual puzzles that you will encounter in your physics courses.

The physics section of the course covers core theoretical aspects of physics and includes areas such as relativity, quantum mechanics, fields and waves, electromagnetism and nuclear physics.

This will give you important numerical and analytical skills, as well as prepare you for further study in theoretical physics.

In the philosophy section of the course, you will learn to tackle difficult questions about the world, our knowledge of it, and our values. This will give you highly transferable and valuable skills in reasoning and argument. We have designed our first-year philosophy modules to give you a good grounding in a range of important philosophical topics. In your second and particularly third year, you are free to choose from the exceptionally broad range of philosophical topics that we offer. At the same time, modules in the Philosophy of Spacetime Physics, the Philosophy of Quantum Mechanics and the Philosophy of Science offer you the opportunity to apply your reasoning skills to physics and to explore some of the fascinating problems encountered in interpreting modern physics.

Problem solving and project work is very important for us, as it teaches you team-work, group organisation, and the skills of oral and poster presentations. We also allow you to work with a school, to experience teaching and to develop the skill of presenting information at an understandable level.

Teaching

We will teach you through a combination of lectures and laboratory classes, seminars, tutorials and project work. All of our academic staff are involved with the undergraduate teaching course.

You are expected to spend approximately 10 hours work per credit for each module you attend in your degree, e.g. 150 hours work for a 15 credit module. These hours cover every aspect of the module.

Assessment

We assess our modules through written exams and essays, with some class testing, assignment reports and oral presentations.

Course accreditation

This course is recognised by the Institute of Physics (IOP).

Structure

Year 1

Courses are divided into modules. In each year you will normally take modules totalling 120 credits.

In your first year you will take 75 credits in Physics and 45 credits in Philosophy.

Required Modules

Physics

You are required to take:

  • Mathematics & Computation for Physics (30 credits)
  • Classical Physics (30 credits)
  • Introduction to Modern Physics (15 credits)

Philosophy

You are required to take two modules, one from each of the following groups:

Group A

  • Elementary Logic (15 credits)
  • Methodology (15 credits)

Group B

  • Metaphysics I (15 credits)
  • Epistemology I(15 credits)
Optional Modules

Physics

There are no optional Physics modules for this course in your first year.

Philosophy

In addition, you are required to take one module from a range of optional modules, which may typically include:

  • Greek Philosophy I (15 credits)
  • Ethics I (15 credits)
  • Modern Philosophy I (15 credits)
  • Political Philosophy I (15 credits)
  • Any of the required philosophy modules listed above

Year 2

In your second year you will take 75 credits in Physics and 60 credits in Philosophy.

Required Modules

Physics

You are required to take:

  • Mathematical Methods for Physics (15 credits)
  • Thermal Physics & Properties of Matter (15 credits)
  • Quantum Mechanics I (15 credits)
  • Electromagnetism (15 credits)
  • Relativity & Sub-atomic Physics (15 credits)

Philosophy

Required modules

You are required to take:

  • Philosophy of Physics I: Space & Time (15 credits)
  • Philosophy of Science (15 credits)

 

Optional Modules

Physics

There are no optional Physics modules in your second year.

Philosophy

In addition, you are required to take two modules from at least two of the following groups which offer a range of optional modules, which may typically include:

Group A

  • Greek Philosophy II: Plato (15 credits)
  • Greek Philosophy II: Aristotle (15 credits)
  • Modern Philosophy II: Locke & Berkeley (15 credits)
    • Modern Philosophy II: Spinoza & Leibniz (15 credits)

Group B

  • Ethics II: History of Ethical Philosophy (15 credits)
  • Ethics II: Contemporary Ethical Philosophy (15 credits)
  • Political Philosophy II: History of Political Philosophy (15 credits)
  • Topics in Applied Ethics & Politics (15 credits)

Group C

  • Epistemology II (15 credits)
  • Metaphysics II (15 credits)
  • Philosophy of Language (15 credits)
  • Philosophy of Mind (15 credits)
  • Intermediate Logic (15 credits)

Year 3

Required Modules

Physics

You are required to take:

  • Statistical Mechanics (15 credits)
  • Quantum Mechanics II (15 credits)
  • Third Year Project in Physics (15 credits)
Optional Modules

Physics

In addition, you are required to take up to a maximum of two modules from a range of optional modules, which may typically include:

  • University Ambassadors Scheme (15 credits)
  • Advanced Mathematical Methods for Theoretical Physics (15 credits)
  • Fundamentals of Nanotechnology (15 credits)
  • General Relativity & Cosmology (15 credits)
  • Optics (15 credits)
  • Condensed Matter Physics I (15 credits)
  • Particle Physics (15 credits)

Philosophy

Take sufficient credits to bring your total for the year to 120, from a range of optional Philosophy modules.

If you take 45 philosophy credits, you must select at least 30 credits from the range of Level 6 (Year 3) optional modules.

If you are taking 60 to 75 philosophy credits, you must select at least 45 credits from the Level 6 (Year 3) optional modules. You may select your remaining credits from either Level 6 (Year 3) or Level 5 (Year 2) optional modules. The range of optional Level 6 modules may typically include:

  • Dissertation (30 credits)
  • Philosophy of Physics II: Quantum Mechanics (15credits)
  • Indian Philosophy: The Orthodox Schools (15 credits)
  • Indian Philosophy: The Heterodox Schools (15 credits)
  • Kant’s Epistemology & Metaphysics (15 credits)
  • Philosophy of Mathematics (15 credits)
  • Philosophy of Psychology I (15 credits)
  • Set Theory (15 credits)
  • 19th Century Continental Philosophy (15 credits)
  • Aesthetics (15 credits)
  • Topics in Greek Philosophy (15 credits)
  • Topics in Modern Philosophy (15 credits)
  • Topics in Political Philosophy (15 credits)
  • Medieval Philosophy (15 credits)
  • Philosophy of Religion (15 credits)
  • Ethics & Politics of Science & Technology (15 credits)
  • Modal Logic (15 credits)
  • Topics in the Philosophy of Mind (15 credits)
  • Gender & Philosophy (15 credits)
  • Philosophy of Race (15 credits)
  • Philosophy of Psychology II (15 credits)
  • Topics in Metaphysics (15 credits)
  • Philosophy of Biology (15 credits)
  • First-Order Logic (15 credits)
  • Utilitarianism (15 credits)
  • Neoplatonism (15 credits)
  • Morality & Convention (15 credits)
  • Mathematical Logic: Limitative Results (15 credits)

For the list of Level 5 optional modules, see Year 2. The groups do not apply in your final year.

King’s College London reviews the modules offered on a regular basis to provide up-to-date, innovative and relevant programmes of study. Therefore, modules offered may change. We suggest you keep an eye on the course finder on our website for updates.

Entry requirements

 

Required grades

AAB

Please note that A-level General Studies, Critical Thinking, Thinking Skills and Global Perspectives are not accepted by King's as one of your A-levels. However, if offered the grade achieved may be taken into account when considering whether or not to accept a candidate who has just fallen short of the conditions of their offer.

Required grades

35 points overall (including TOK/EE) with three Higher Level subjects at 665

Required grades

45 Level 3 credits: 33 must be from units awarded at Distinction, with the remaining Level 3 credits at Merit

Required grades

D3 D3 M2

Combinations of Pre-U principal subjects and other qualifications (such as A-levels).

Required grades

Further information below

If you are taking the new RQF BTEC Nationals (2016), you will not be required to fulfil the module requirement stipulated above - you will only need to get the right overall grade. If you are taking the QCF BTEC Nationals (2010), you must achieve both the required overall grade and the specified module grades. If you are unsure which BTEC you are studying, your teacher or school/college counsellor should be able to tell you.

Required grades

Further information below

If you are taking the new RQF BTEC Nationals (2016), you will not be required to fulfil the module requirement stipulated above - you will only need to get the right overall grade. If you are taking the QCF BTEC Nationals (2010), you must achieve both the required overall grade and the specified module grades. If you are unsure which BTEC you are studying, your teacher or school/college counsellor should be able to tell you.

Required grades

Further information below

If you are taking the new RQF BTEC Nationals (2016), you will not be required to fulfil the module requirement stipulated above - you will only need to get the right overall grade. If you are taking the QCF BTEC Nationals (2010), you must achieve both the required overall grade and the specified module grades. If you are unsure which BTEC you are studying, your teacher or school/college counsellor should be able to tell you.

Required grades

80% overall

Required grades

Visit our admissions webpages to view our international entry requirements and English language entry requirements.

Required subjects

Physics and Mathematics

Applicants having studied Maths and Further Maths but not Physics, may be considered on a case-by-case basis following an interview with the admissions tutor

Preferred subjects

None

Further information and other requirements

Entry requirements
A-Level  AAB 

Must include grade A in Mathematics and Physics.

Please note that A-level General Studies, Critical Thinking, Thinking Skills and Global Perspectives are not accepted by King's as one of your A levels. However, if offered the grade achieved may be taken into account when considering whether or not to accept a candidate who has just fallen short of the conditions of their offer.

NOTE: If you are taking linear A levels in England, you will be required to pass the practical endorsement in all science subjects.

Access to HE Diploma 

D: 33 credits

M: 12 credits

P: 0 credits

Access to Science Diploma (or similar subject) with 45 Level 3 credits: 33 must be from units awarded at Distinction, with the remaining Level 3 credits at Merit.

Must include substantial focus at Level 3 (with Distinction) on both Mathematics and Physics.

Cambridge Pre-U D3 D3 M2

Must include grade D3 in Mathematics and Physics. 

Combinations of Pre-U principal subjects and other qualifications (such as A-levels) considered.

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (QCF from 2010)  

Extended Diploma in Applied Science at DDD with 12 Distinctions and Mathematics A-level at grade A.

NOTE: In order to satisfy the physics requirement if you have BTECs, you need to offer the following modules at Distinction: 6, 7, 8, 9 and one of 14, 17, 20 or 44.

BTEC Level 3 Diploma (QCF from 2010)  

Diploma in Applied Physics at DD with eight Distinctions and Mathematics A-level at grade A.

NOTE: In order to satisfy the physics requirement if you have BTECs, you would need to offer the following modules at Distinction: 6, 7, 8, 9 and one of 14, 17, 20 or 44.

BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma (QCF from 2010)  

D with four modules at Distinction and two A-levels at grades AB, including grade A in both Mathematics and Physics

Scottish Highers & Advanced Highers

AAB at Highers

and

AB at Advanced Highers

Must include Advanced Higher Maths and Physics.

Must be a combination of three Scottish Highers and two Scottish Advanced Highers. We do not count the Higher and Advanced Higher in the same subject.

International Baccalaureate 35 points

Including 6,6,5 at Higher Level, and including grade 6 at Higher Level in Mathematics and Physics. The total point score of 35 includes TOK/EE. 

Note: IB students studying the new Maths curriculum would be required to study Analysis and Approaches at Higher Level to meet the subject requirement for this programme

Other International Qualifications   Visit our admissions webpages to view our international entry requirements.
English Language requirements Band E Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

 

Selection procedure

Application deadline: January 15th 2019

Fees and funding

Full time tuition fees UK:

The UK tuition fee for the 2019-2020 academic year is currently £9,250 per year. This is based on the UK Government’s cap.

Full time tuition fees EU:

Students starting their programme in 2019/20 (September 2019) who are eligible to pay EU fees will pay the same rate of tuition fees as UK students. This will apply for the duration of their programme, but may be subject to change by the UK Government for subsequent cohorts from 2020/21.

The UK tuition fee for the 2019-2020 academic year is currently £9,250 per year. This is based on the UK Government’s cap.

Full time tuition fees International:

The International tuition fee for the 2019-2020 academic year is £18,900 per year.

Please note that the International tuition fee is subject to annual increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

All International applicants to Undergraduate programmes are required to pay a deposit of £2,000 against their first year’s tuition fee. This deposit is payable when you firmly accept an unconditional offer to study with us, and will be offset against your tuition fees when you join King’s.

 

Additional costs/expenses

In addition to your tuition costs, you can also expect to pay for: 

  • Books if you choose to buy your own copies 
  • Clothing for optional course related events and competitions 
  • Library fees and fines 
  • Personal photocopies 
  • Printing course handouts 
  • Society membership fees 
  • Stationery 
  • Travel costs for travel around London and between campuses
  • Graduation costs 

For further information, please visit our fees and funding pages.

Financial help and support

Visit the fees and funding webpages to find out more about bursaries, scholarships, grants, tuition fees, living expenses, student loans and other financial help available at King's.

Career prospects

Our Physics and philosophy graduates are in high demand because employers recognise the wide range of skills that they possess. We train physicists to be good problem solvers, to think logically and to apply mathematical and computational techniques to real problems.

Career destinations

Recent graduates have found employment as:

  • Actuarial Analyst, Willis
  • Physics Tutor, Tutoring Agency
  • Project Engineer, Cryogenic Ltd
  • Publishing Editor, Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Researcher, Cornell University
  • Risk Analyst, City Index
  • Performance Manager, Bradford Commerce

Testimonials

Next steps

View our undergraduate prospectus

Learn more about undergraduate degree programmes at King's. Download or view our prospectus in PDF format.

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