This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll start Stage 1 with a 60-credit introductory science module followed by two 30-credit mathematics modules.
- Next, in Stage 2, you’ll study two 60-credit modules – one in physics and one in mathematics.
- Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll complete your degree with four 30-credit modules – two in physics and two in mathematics.
You’ll start with a module that encompasses all branches of natural science, followed by two modules that cover the fundamentals of pure and applied mathematics.
In your first stage 2 module, you’ll deepen your understanding of physics. In your second module, you’ll study further associated applied mathematics.
You’ll choose four areas to focus on in detail – two from physics and two from mathematics.
We regularly review our curriculum; therefore, the qualification described on this page – including its availability, its structure, and available modules – may change over time. If we make changes to this qualification, we’ll update this page as soon as possible. Once you’ve registered or are studying this qualification, where practicable, we’ll inform you in good time of any upcoming changes. If you’d like to know more about the circumstances in which the University might make changes to the curriculum, see our Academic Regulations or contact us. This description was last updated on 15 March 2021.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- using and producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- in some modules undertaking small amounts of practical work or working in a group with other students
- some modules may require you to use specialist mathematical or statistical software
- face-to-face tutorials/day schools and/or online tutorials
- continuous and end-of-module assessment in the form of short and long answer questions, and in most cases an examination
- using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor and using this feedback to improve your performance
- engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – time management will be needed during your studies and the University will help you to develop these skills throughout your qualification.
For more detailed information, see the Accessibility Statements on individual module descriptions. If you feel you may need additional support, visit Disability support to find more about what we offer.
Learning outcomes, teaching and assessment
This qualification develops your learning in four main areas:
- Knowledge and understanding
- Cognitive skills
- Practical and professional skills
- Key skills
The level and depth of your learning gradually increases as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; elearning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
If you have already studied at university level, you may be able to count it towards your Open University qualification – which could save you time and money by reducing the number of modules you need to study. At the OU we call this credit transfer.
It’s not just university study that can be considered, you can also transfer study from a wide range of professional or vocational qualifications such as HNCs and HNDs.
You should apply for credit transfer before you register, at least 4 weeks before the registration closing date. We will need to know what you studied, where and when and you will need to provide evidence of your previous study.
For more details of when you will need to apply by and to download an application form, visit our Credit Transfer website.
Classification of your degree
On successfully completing this course, we’ll award you our BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics.
The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 2 and 3.
You’ll have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
If you intend to use your Open University qualifications to seek work or undertake further study outside the UK, we recommend checking whether your intended qualification will meet local requirements for your chosen career. Find out more about international recognition of Open University qualifications.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the qualification-specific regulations below and the academic regulations that are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.
There is no formal pre-requisite study, but you must have the required mathematical skills to study the compulsory module Essential mathematics 1 (MST124), including:
- algebraic manipulation and solving equations
- quadratics and parabolas
- geometry and trigonometry
- exponentials and logarithms.
You can check you’re ready for MST124 and see the topics it covers here.
If you don’t feel you have the required mathematical skills, you can study an additional module, Discovering mathematics (MU123), to give you the knowledge and skills you need. Contact us to find out more.
You need no knowledge of science. However, to study the compulsory science module Questions in science (S111), you must be able to write clearly and concisely, structuring short pieces of writing so that they flow coherently.
You can check you’re ready for S111 here.
Talk to an advisor if you’re not sure you’re ready.
How much time do I need?
This depends on your level of prior knowledge of mathematics and, in general, it is recommend that you build up your pace of study slowly to ensure you gain a good understanding of the more basic topics. How many credits you can complete in a year will depend on your study situation, and this qualification is designed to enable you to vary your study intensity from year to year.
- Most of our students study part time, completing 60 credits a year.
- This will usually mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Find out if you have enough time to study with our time planner
Preparing for study with an Access module
Students who start their study with an Access module are more likely to be successful when they advance to Stage 1 of their qualification. They’re specially designed to give you a gentle introduction to OU study, boost confidence in your study skills, and help you gain a broad overview of your chosen subject area.
You’ll also benefit from:
- feedback from your tutor through regular one-to-one phone tutorials
- support from a dedicated team throughout your study
- detailed written feedback on your work.
The Access module we’d recommend studying in preparation for this qualification is our:
Science, technology and maths Access module
What you will study
This multidisciplinary module is an ideal starting point if you have little or no previous knowledge of the sciences, technology and mathematics. It’ll help develop your study skills in advance of your OU qualification, and you get to explore a number of STEM subjects including science, engineering and design, environment, mathematics, and computing and IT.
View full details of Science, technology and maths Access module
Skills for career development
Graduates of this combined degree course will be able to demonstrate that they are multi-skilled and adaptable, with the ability to work effectively in a multidisciplinary environment. The degree will help you develop a variety of transferable skills that are highly valued in the labour market, including analytical, numerical and communication skills, teamwork, problem solving and proficiency in using relevant software.
Graduates of this degree are well placed to enter both scientific and non-scientific jobs. The logical, reasoned approach needed for science study is relevant to a wide range of financial, business and public sector employment. For this reason science graduates – particularly those who have good communication and interpersonal skills – are very much in demand.
Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
- Accredited by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) – this degree will contribute to you gaining all grades of membership, from Student Membership to Chartered Mathematician status.
- Recognised by the Institute of Physics (IOP) – this degree meets the educational requirements for Associate Membership of the Institute and provides a route to full Institute Membership following appropriate professional experience.
Exploring your options
Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.
In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that most careers will require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):
- aeronautical engineer
- financial services professional
- laboratory technician
- research scientist
- secondary school teacher
- software developer
- systems developer.