Lancaster University, in partnership with the Open University, offers a flexible route to a degree in physics for prospective students whose circumstances prevent them from obtaining traditional qualifications such as A levels.
Typically, you would spend two or three years studying with the Open University, allowing you to combine study with full-time employment.
Successful completion of the Open University component allows you to directly transfer to the second year of one of our full-time degree courses. You can then study for a further two years as a full-time student at Lancaster with the aim of graduating with a Lancaster University BSc degree. Students who do particularly well can also choose to study for an additional year and graduate with an MPhys degree, the usual qualification for a professional physicist and the recommended route to PhD study.
How Does it Work?
During your part-time study with the OU (studying 'foundation year' and 'year one' courses) you will get a thorough grounding in physics and mathematics via excellent distance-learning courses. Experimental work is included in residential courses that give you the experience and background knowledge necessary to undertake laboratory work in physics at degree level. On successful completion of all the OU courses, you will be equipped to become a full-time second-year student on one of our BSc or MPhys degrees. The required courses are typical:
- MST124 - Essential Mathematics 1
- MST224 - Mathematical Methods
- SS001 - Skills for Practical Science
- S217 - Physics: from classical to quantum
- SXPA288 - Practical Science: Physics and Astronomy
Once you arrive at Lancaster, fundamental topics are explained further and you will be given training in advanced mathematical techniques. You will also be introduced to more advanced physics topics in areas such as relativity and nuclei and particles. A useful transferable skill learnt in year 2 is the object-oriented computer programming language Java, an essential tool for later projects and a useful ability for future employment. In year 3, you will see further applications of quantum mechanics in core courses, as well as taking optional lecture courses from a selection covering many of the most recent areas of discovery in physics, allowing you to explore and enjoy the range and depth of physics knowledge. If you stay with us for a further year, you will hear more about the frontier topics in physics and undertake a significant research-based project.
It is also possible for you to spend a year overseas as part of the study abroad scheme; if you wish to pursue this option or if you are interested in the Theoretical Physics with Mathematics degree, please make your intentions clear when you first contact us.