What is A-Level Physics?

From the birth and death of stars to the fleeting interactions of tiny particles, Physics examines how our world works. To do this it uses ideas ranging from Force and Energy (easily understood and every day) to Strangeness and Charm (rather more abstract and fanciful). It is a fascinating subject, driven by the desire to find out how and why matter behaves the way it does.

Physics is not only interesting, it is also highly marketable. A strong A level in Physics demonstrates that you possess a wide range of key skill – exactly what employers and universities are looking for today. Indeed there can be few subjects at A level that cover such a wide range of transferable skills: the use of IT in data-logging experiments, the numerical skills which form the bedrock of the subject (essential in problem-solving and in practical work) and skills in written expression needed to produce clear, concise explanations.

What you'll do

First Year

  • Foundations of Physics
  • Forces and motion
  • Electrons, waves and photons

Second Year

  • Newtonian World and Astrophysics
  • Particles and Medical Physics

Throughout the two years, we also develop students’ practical skills and understanding of how to handle data. For students taking the full A level, this contributes to the A level Practical Endorsement, which is awarded alongside their A level grade.

Whom does this subject suit?

Physics suits anyone who is fascinated by how things work, by fundamental questions about the way the world is and by the exactness of science.

Studying the subject you will feel that what you learn builds upon what you did at GCSE but in a more mathematical way. You must practice the use of maths in the subject so that it becomes natural to you so you can begin to concentrate on the ideas themselves as they become more complex.

What might the subject lead to?

Physics is very well regarded by universities and is important if you want to study Engineering (whether for a general or a specialised course). It is also useful for Economics, Dentistry, Veterinary Science and Computing to name just a few degree subjects.  Many of our Physics students have gone on to study Physics, Economics, Computing, Mathematics and Engineering at universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, King’s College London, Imperial College and Bristol.