lauranussbaum
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I am applying for uni entry in 2020 and I want to do a course in Physics, but more specifically Theoretical or Astrophysics. I am finding it impossible to find one of these courses, at a decent uni, that doesn't require Maths A-Level. I take Biology, Art and Physics. Does anyone know of any universities that are relatively lenient on having Maths, or is it a hard requirement everywhere? Thanks.
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username4499734
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I’m pretty sure it’s a hard requirement.
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esrever
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Can you at least do AS maths?
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JJJJJAAAAMES
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It is very silly to do A level physics without maths at A level, and even more so to go to university to do degree level physics without having taken A levels maths and further maths.

I don't know of any university that doesn't have A level maths as a requirement.
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squeakysquirrel
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(Original post by lauranussbaum)
I am applying for uni entry in 2020 and I want to do a course in Physics, but more specifically Theoretical or Astrophysics. I am finding it impossible to find one of these courses, at a decent uni, that doesn't require Maths A-Level. I take Biology, Art and Physics. Does anyone know of any universities that are relatively lenient on having Maths, or is it a hard requirement everywhere? Thanks.
My son did physics at A Level. He had Maths A level but wished that he had done further maths too - as he had to teach himself in the first year virtually.

I think you will really struggle at a decent university. What you could do is a foundation year maybe
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ajj2000
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You wont find a physics degree which doesn't require maths A level. Could you stay on at school for a year and take maths a level in a year? Alternatively look at foundation courses.
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Mabey
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I've never seen a physics degree that doesn't require maths at A level. Sounds like you'll have to do a foundation year degree(or do A level maths in one year next year) if you definitely have your mind set on physics. A quick search on google can show you some examples e.g. https://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/unde...iminary-study/
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lauranussbaum
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(Original post by Mabey)
I've never seen a physics degree that doesn't require maths at A level. Sounds like you'll have to do a foundation year degree(or do A level maths in one year next year) if you definitely have your mind set on physics. A quick search on google can show you some examples e.g. https://www.bristol.ac.uk/study/unde...iminary-study/
This was really helpful, thank you!
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Sinnoh
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Theoretical physics and astrophysics tend to have an even heavier emphasis on maths ability than standard physics courses. Either you restart year 12 (the cheaper option) or you take a foundation course.
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artful_lounger
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So, to summarise as noted, most courses in physics require A-level Maths. A handful accept just A-level Physics (e.g. Portsmouth), and many are available with a foundation year (such as at Southampton) - however, critically, all these courses will teach you all of the A-level Maths content in the course. If you are unable to cope with that kind of content then you won't be able to cope with a physics degree.

If however you just didn't realise you would need to take A-level Maths but otherwise are good at and enjoy maths and working mathematically, then you have some options. I would suggest you look at, as above, physics with foundation year courses; these will cover all the requisite mathematics (and any other material necessary) in a preliminary year 0 course, and subject to meeting progression criteria you will continue in to join the first year of the course. Alternately you can take a gap year and take A-level Maths; I would probably suggest you also try and take AS Further Maths if you go that route.

As far as theoretical physics goes, this isn't something you specialise in per se as an undergraduate (in spite of a number of degrees named "theoretical physics"). Any physics degree will cover more or less the same core content (in much the same way). You will only really specialise as a "theoretical physicist" in your PhD. If that is the direction you want to go in, just take any physics degree offered by a well established department (look for the ones which have a wide range of optional modules, not just in the area you want, at the undergraduate level; these usually indicate they are larger, have been around longer, and have more money) and take any optional modules you can in advanced maths courses. Some background in computational methods and/or programming might also be useful (usually this is covered to some extent in the core though)/

Typically the only difference is theoretical physics courses make core what are optional courses for regular physics students. Either way, you can normally take those same modules. Some theoretical physics courses cut out the experimental content, which is of debatable merit; since theoretical physics, fundamentally, is in support of regular (experimental) physics, it's important to understand the limitations of instrumentation currently available and a good understand of experimental principles and method.

Southampton would be worth considering, as they have several "flagship" degrees in the physics department which allow the top performing students to undertake their final year doing pure research at CERN, the Harvard-Smithsonian Observatory, or in a similar environment (the former two are established programmes though). These should be available to MPhys Physics with Foundation students as well. You may also want to generally consider Birmingham (I don't know if they offer a foundation year specifically though), as they have a good department and a unique option to "intercalate" for a year in computer science (following the second year computer science course between years two and three of the physics degree), which is quite useful background for a prospective theoretical physicist. Some other notable universities to consider that (I believe) offer foundation years include Manchester, Bristol, and Durham.
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Keele Student Ambassador1
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(Original post by lauranussbaum)
I am applying for uni entry in 2020 and I want to do a course in Physics, but more specifically Theoretical or Astrophysics. I am finding it impossible to find one of these courses, at a decent uni, that doesn't require Maths A-Level. I take Biology, Art and Physics. Does anyone know of any universities that are relatively lenient on having Maths, or is it a hard requirement everywhere? Thanks.
Hi, I study Physics with Astrophysics at Keele university. I took Physics, Chemistry and Maths at A level because I knew I wanted to do Physics at university for a very long time! The entry requirements say that A levels Maths is needed to study Physics or Astrophysics at university level, however I have a few course mates who did not take Maths at A level but study Physics now (most of them are combined honours students), so this might be worth looking into. I would email the universities personally to figure out what my options are. However, the Physics and Astrophysics modules taught as Keele are very Maths heavy, as I am sure will be the case at any university, and someone who has not done A level Maths might struggle with it in the beginning. Although, if you are persistent and work hard you will quickly get the hang of it. I know that my course mates did! Also, the Keele Physics and Astrophysics students have a compulsory maths lecture every week, followed by a tutorial. Here, we go through the Maths bits we require in the Physics and Astrophysics modules and I am sure this helped the students who did not have A level Maths knowledge too! Hope this helps in some way!
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