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Physics & Philosophy MSci

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Overview

Our Physics & Philosophy MSci will enable you to investigate the connection between these two subjects and take this study to master’s level in both. You’ll study the fundamental aspects of physics, including relativity, quantum mechanics, fields and waves, electromagnetism and nuclear physics. Studying philosophy will develop your understanding of reality and our knowledge of it, as well as develop your skills in reasoning and arguments. 

Key benefits

  • Award winning – six former staff and students in the Physics department have won Nobel Prizes.
  • Research-led teaching: 90% of research in the Physics department was classed as world-leading or internationally excellent (Research Excellence Framework 2014), and the Philosophy department is ranked as one of the top 3 philosophy departments for research (REF 2014).
  • Internationally renowned physicists in the fields of cosmology, nanotechnology, and the interface between physics and biology, and one of the most distinguished Philosophy departments in the country. 
  • You can choose from a wide range of optional courses, covering all areas of the history of philosophy and contemporary philosophy.  

Key information

UCAS code VF53

Duration Four Years

Study mode Full-time

Course type Joint honours

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 MSci to offer you the opportunity to study both subjects at master’s level. The course is initially split equally between physics and philosophy modules, with the opportunity to specialise in one discipline in the final years 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 of 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, including 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 preparing you for further study in theoretical physics. 

In the philosophy section of the course you will learn to address 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 philosophy modules during the first year to give you a good grounding in a range of important philosophical concepts. Later on you will be free to choose from an exceptionally broad range of philosophical topics. 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. 

In the final year, you will undertake a Physics project and research and write a Philosophy dissertation to explore your own academic interests. You will also be able to choose from a wide range of modules from either discipline, including modules offered by other University of London colleges. 

Teaching

We will teach you through lectures, seminars, laboratory classes, tutorials and project work. All 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. 

Structure

Year 1

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

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. 

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

You are required to take: 

Physics 

  • 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

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

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 

You are required to take: 

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

  • Philosophy of Science (15 credits) 

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 Logic & Language (15 credits) 

  • Philosophy of Mind (15 credits) 

  • Intermediate Logic (15 credits) 

Optional Modules

There are no optional Physics or Philosophy modules in your second year. 

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) 

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 Ambassador 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) 

 

 

Optional Modules

Philosophy 

In addition, you are required to 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 (15 credits) 

  • Hellenistic Philosophy (15 credits) 

  • 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 range of optional Level 5 modules, see Year 2. The groups do not apply in your final year. 

Year 4

Required Modules

Physics 

You are required to take: 

  • Physics Project (30 credits) 

Philosophy 

There are no required modules for Philosophy in your fourth year. 

Optional Modules

Physics 

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

  • Advanced Photonics (15 credits) 

  • Experimental Techniques in Condensed Matter (15 credits) 

  • Bio and Nanomaterials in the Virtual Lab (15 credits) 

  • Standard Model Physics & Beyond (15 credits) 

  • Condensed Matter Physics II (15 credits) 

  • Modelling Quantum Many-body Systems (15 credits) 

  • Dark Matter and Dark Energy (15 credits) 

  • Scientific Communications (15 credits) 

  • Modules available at other University of London Colleges 

Philosophy 

  • Introduction to Chinese Philosophy (20 credits) 

  • Kant I: Critique of Pure Reason (20 credits) 

  • Kant II: Moral Philosophy (20 credits) 

  • Mathematical Logic: Limitative Results (20 credits) 

  • Morality and Convention (20 credits) 

  • Medieval Philosophy (20 credits) 

  • Metaphysics (20 credits) 

  • Philosophy, Literature and Method (20 credits) 

  • 19th Century Continental Philosophy (20 credits) 

  • 20th Century Continental Philosophy (20 credits) 

  • Perspectives on Death & Killing (20 credits) 

  • Philosophy of Mathematics (20 credits) 

  • Philosophy of Biology (20 credits) 

  • Philosophy of Medicine (20 credits) 

  • Philosophy of Language (20 credits) 

  • Philosophy of Mind (20 credits) 

  • Philosophy of Mind II: Special Topics (20 credits) 

  • Philosophy of Psychology I (20 credits) 

  • Philosophy of Psychology II (20 credits) 

  • Philosophy of Religion (20 credits) 

  • Political Philosophy (20 credits) 

  • The Concept of Mental Disorder (20 credits) 

  • The Philosophy of the Vienna Circle (20 credits) 

Please note: if you didn’t take the Philosophy Dissertation module in your third year you have to complete dissertation in your fourth year. 

Students may not take modules in which the syllabus overlaps substantially with modules taken in year two and year three. Personal tutors and module tutors will determine what constitutes substantial overlap. 

Entry requirements

 

Required grades

AAA

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) and three Higher Level subjects at 666

Required grades

45 Level 3 credits: 36 must be awarded at Distinction, with the remaining Level 3 credits at Merit

Required grades

D3 D3 D3

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

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

85% 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 

AAA

or

A*AB 

Must include grade A in both Mathematics and Physics

or

Must include grade A* in Mathematics and A in Physics

or

Must include grade A* in Physics and A in Mathematics

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: 36 credits

M: 9 credits

P: 0 credits

Access to Science Diploma (or similar subject) with 45 Level 3 credits: 36 must be from units awarded at Distinction, with the remaining Level 3 credits at Merit. This must include substantial focus at Level 3 (with Distinction) on both Mathematics and Physics.

Cambridge Pre-U

D3 D3 D3

or 

D2 D3 M2

Must include grade D3 in both Mathematics and Physics

or

Must include grade D2 in Mathematics and D3 in Physics

or

Must include grade D2 in Physics and D3 in Mathematics

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 OR Extended Diploma in Applied Science at DDM with 11 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 OR Diploma in Applied Physics at DM with six 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 Subsidiary Diploma (QCF from 2010)  

D with four modules at Distinction and two A-levels at grades AA, including grade A in both Mathematics and Physics OR M and two A-levels at grades A*A, including grade A* in Physics and grade A in Mathematics OR M and two A-levels at grades A*A, including grade A* in Mathematics and grade A in Physics.

Scottish Highers & Advanced Highers

AAB at Highers

and

AA at Advanced Highers

Must include grade A in Advanced Higher Mathematics 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

Must include 666 at Higher Level including 6 in both Mathematics and Physics at Higher Level

or

Must include 765 at Higher Level including 7 in Mathematics and 6 in Physics at Higher Level

or 

Must include 765 at Higher Level including 7 in Physics and 6 in Mathematics at Higher Level

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 D Visit our admissions webpages to view our English language entry requirements.

 

Selection procedure

Application deadline: January 15th 2020.

ATAS  An ATAS certificate is required for successful applicants applying for this course whose nationality is outside the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland. For further guidance on obtaining an ATAS certificate can be found on our International Student Advice pages.

Fees and funding

Full time tuition fees UK:

The UK tuition fee for the 2020-2021 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 2020/21 (September 2020) 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 2021/22.

The UK tuition fee for the 2020-2021 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 2020-2021 academic year is £19,800 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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