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An image to illustrate the BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics
Course type
Degree  

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Credits
360  

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
Part-time study – 6 years
Full-time study – 3 years*
Time limit – 16 years
*See How much time do I need?
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements
Find out more about
Entry requirements

BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics

Course code: Q77

Develop your knowledge and understanding of theoretical physics and the underpinning mathematics. This degree will teach you how to use essential techniques and relevant software. Explore fundamental physics concepts, including Newtonian mechanics, special relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics. Use applied mathematics tools, including mathematical methods, modelling and numerical techniques. You’ll also learn skills in communicating clear and concise arguments and conclusions. A mathematics and physics degree can let you access professional training or entry-level roles in various career areas, such as data analysis, research and development, science communication, and teaching.

Stages 1 and 2 of this degree are the same as our Diploma of Higher Education in Mathematics and Physics (W22). Stage 1 is the same as our Certificate of Higher Education in Mathematics and Physics (T53)

Course type
Degree  

Degree

  • Also known as an undergraduate or bachelors degree.
  • Internationally respected, universally understood.
  • An essential requirement for many high-level jobs.
  • Gain a thorough understanding of your subject – and the tools to investigate, think critically, form reasoned arguments, solve problems and communicate effectively in new contexts.
  • Progress to higher level study, such as a postgraduate diploma or masters degree.
Credits
360  

Credits

  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
How long it takes
Part-time study – 6 years
Full-time study – 3 years*
Time limit – 16 years
*See How much time do I need?
Study method
Distance learning
Entry requirements

Find out more about Entry requirements

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • In Stage 1, you’ll study 120 credits from the standard start or basic mathematics start.
  • In Stage 2, you’ll study two 60-credit modules.
  • In Stage 3, you’ll choose two 30-credit physics modules and two 30-credit mathematics modules.

Prepare for OU study with an Access module

We offer different starting points depending on how confident you are or how long it’s been since you last studied. Choose to dive straight in at Stage 1, or if you’d prefer some extra preparation, you can get started with an optional Access module. See Entry requirements for more details.

You’ll study 120 credits from the standard or basic mathematics start. Read the Entry requirements to decide which start is right for you.

Standard start

Standard start
ModulesCredits
You'll study all three of the following:
Questions in science (S111)60
Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)30
Essential mathematics 2 (MST125)30

Basic mathematics start

Basic mathematics start
ModulesCredits
You'll study all four of the following:
Discovering mathematics (MU123)30
Essential mathematics 1 (MST124)30
Essential mathematics 2 (MST125)30
Physics and space (SM123)30

You’ll study two 60-credit modules.

Stage 2 modules
ModulesCredits
You'll study both of the following:
Physics: from classical to quantum (S217)60
Mathematical methods, models and modelling (MST210)60

You’ll choose two 30-credit physics modules and two 30-credit mathematics modules.


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 19 March 2024.


Accessibility

Our qualifications are as accessible as possible, and we have a comprehensive range of support services. Our BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics uses a variety of study materials and includes the following elements:

  • Online study – most modules are online; some have a mix of printed and online material. Online learning resources could include websites, audio/video, and interactive activities
  • Pre-determined schedules – we’ll help you to develop your time-management skills
  • Assessment in the form of short-answer questions, essays, and examinations
  • Feedback – continuous assessment includes feedback from your tutor and using this to improve your performance
  • Using and producing diagrams and screenshots
  • Finding external/third-party material online
  • Accessing online catalogues and databases
  • Specialist material
  • Specialist software
  • Mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • Online tutorials
  • Group-work
  • Practical work

Every module has its own Accessibility Statement with more detailed accessibility information – you’ll find these on individual module descriptions.

Visit our Disability support page to learn about our services.


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.
Read the detailed learning outcomes here

Credit transfer

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.

International recognition

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.

Regulations

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. 


Compare this course

There are no formal entry requirements for this qualification.

At The Open University we believe education should be open to all, so we provide a high-quality university education to anyone who wishes to realise their ambitions and fulfil their potential.

Even though there are no entry requirements, there are some skills that you’ll need to succeed. If you’re not quite ready for OU study we can guide you to resources that prepare you, many of which are free.

Answer a few quick questions to check whether you’re ready for study success

This course has two starts:

Standard start
We recommend the standard start if you have a GCSE grade 4 or above in mathematics (or equivalent). This start provides an interdisciplinary foundation before you focus on physics.

The standard start begins with Questions in science (S111) and Essential mathematics 1 (MST124):

Basic mathematics start
We recommend the basic mathematics start if you don’t have a GCSE grade 4 or above in mathematics (or equivalent). This start develops your maths skills from a basic level to prepare you for more advanced study.

The basic mathematics start begins with Discovering mathematics (MU123):

How much time do I need?

This depends on your level of prior knowledge of mathematics and, in general, we 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, normally 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

Your full-time equivalent study intensity options in Stage 1 depend on which start you choose.

Standard start
To complete Stage 1 in one year, you must begin with S111. You may start MST124 at the same time (or the following February if you start S111 in October); the same goes for MST125. However, you cannot begin MST125 before MST124.

Basic mathematics start
You cannot complete Stage 1 in one year. You may only begin MST124 after you finish MU123.

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

Fees and funding in England

80% of our students pay nothing upfront by financing their studies with a student loan.

In this section:
Tuition fee
What are my funding options?
Other costs to think about
Additional support

Tuition fee

BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics

Years of  study

3 years 6 years

Current fee per year in England

£7,272* £3,636*

How we worked out the cost

A degree is worth 360 credits. The fee per year is based on studying 60 credits per year for 6 years. A degree is worth 360 credits. The fee per year is based on studying 120 credits per year for 3 years.

Total fee for qualification at current prices

£21,816*

You’ll fund your modules as you study them – you won’t have to pay for your whole qualification up front

That’s 21% less than the cost of an equivalent qualification offered at most other universities in England.

See comparison table

*The fee information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2025. Fees typically increase annually. In England, fees are subject to the part-time fee limit, as set out in section C of the University's Fee Rules.


What are my funding options?

There are several ways to fund your study, often without paying anything upfront.

Student loan

The most common way for our students to fund their study

  • A student loan is used by 80% of our students.
  • It’s not means-tested and there’s no age limit.
  • You don’t pay anything upfront. Student Finance England pay your fees directly to the OU for you.
  • You won’t pay back a penny until you earn over £25,000.
  • The amount you repay is tied to how much you earn. For example, if you earn £27,000 you’ll pay just £15.00 per month.

Other options

Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA)

Repay in monthly instalments while you study.


Credit/debit card or bank transfer

Pay before each module starts. You can also combine card or bank transfer payments with other payment methods.


Employer sponsorship

More than 1 in 10 OU students are sponsored by their employer.


Enhanced Learning Credits (ELCs)

If you’re a serving member of the British Armed Forces (or you’ve recently left), you may be eligible to use ELCs to cover up to 100% of your course fees.

Which funding options could I be eligible for?



Other costs to think about

Your course fees cover your tuition, assessment and study materials, but there are still a few additional costs that can come with studying. If your income is less than £25,000 or you receive a qualifying benefit, you could get help with some of these costs after you start studying.

  • You’ll need a computer and the internet to access our learning resources and to participate in online tutorials.

Additional support

You may be eligible for:

  • help with study-related costs like set books and internet access
  • a free introductory Access module to build your confidence and skills
  • funding to study an OU qualification for free from our Carers’ Scholarships Fund if you are, or have recently been, an unpaid carer
  • a Carers’ Bursary towards study-related costs if you provide unpaid care to a friend or family member
  • a Care Experienced Bursary of £250 towards study-related costs if you’ve previously been, or are currently, in care
  • a Care Experienced Scholarship to study an OU qualification for free if you're care experienced and aged 25 and under
  • a Sanctuary Scholarship to study an OU qualification for free if you’ve been displaced from your homeland for political, economic, ethnic, environmental, or human rights pressures
  • funding from our Scholarship for Black Students to study an OU qualification for free if you identify as being from a Black background

If you have a disability

  • The Disabled Students’ Allowance (DSA) is a government grant to cover study support costs if you have a disability. It’s not means-tested, and there’s no age limit. Visit our Supporting students with disabilities page to find out more.
  • If your disability is a result of being injured in, or due to, military service, you could be eligible for our Disabled Veterans’ Scholarship Fund.

Need more information?

Talk through your funding options with one of our advisors

Contact us

How will I study this course?

With our unique approach to distance learning, you can study from home, work or on the move.

You’ll have some assessment deadlines to meet, but otherwise, you’ll be free to study at the times that suit you, fitting your learning around work, family, and social life.

For each of your modules, you’ll use either just online resources or a mix of online and printed materials.

Each module you study will have a module website with

  • a week-by-week study planner, giving you a step-by-step guide through your studies
  • course materials such as reading, videos, recordings, and self-assessed activities
  • module forums for discussions and collaborative activities with other students
  • details of each assignment and their due dates
  • a tutorial booking system, online tutorial rooms, and your tutor’s contact details
  • online versions of some printed module materials and resources.

If you have additional needs, we can also provide most module materials in alternative formats. Find out more about materials on our accessibility webpage.


Tutor support

You’ll have a tutor for each module, who will introduce themselves before the module begins.

Throughout the module, they will:

  • mark your assignments and give feedback to help you improve
  • guide you to learning resources
  • support you, whether with general study skills or help with a specific topic.

Tutorials

Tutorials usually take place online, and they’re always optional.

Online tutorials are live presentations with module tutors in dedicated online tutorial rooms and are sometimes recorded.


Assessment

Our assessments are all designed to reinforce your learning and help you show your understanding of the topics. The mix of assessment methods will vary between modules.

Computer-Marked Assignments

  • Usually, a series of online, multiple-choice questions.

Tutor-Marked Assignments

  • You’ll have a number of these throughout each module, each with a submission deadline.
  • They can be made up of essays, questions, experiments or something else to test your understanding of what you have learned.
  • Your tutor will mark and return them to you with detailed feedback.

End-of-Module Assessments

  • The final, marked piece of work on most modules.
  • Modules with an end-of-module assessment won’t usually have an exam.

Exams

  • Some modules end with an exam. You’ll be given time to revise and prepare.
  • You’ll be given your exam date at least 5 months in advance.
  • Most exams take place remotely, and you will complete them at home or at an alternative location.
  • If a module requires you to take a face-to-face exam, this will be made clear in the module description, and you will be required to take your exam in person at one of our exam centres.

Progressing to a point where I felt more comfortable writing my assignments, and having my scores reflecting that, made me quite happy because it showed the hard work was being rewarded.

Patrick ‘Ricky’ Skene, BSc (Hons) Sport, Fitness and Coaching

Other support and resources

Throughout your studies, you’ll have access to our subject-specific Student Support Teams.

They’ll help you with any general questions about your study and updates to your OU account.

To help with your studies, you’ll also have access to:

  • our online library, with high-quality online resources to support your study
  • other university libraries in the UK and Ireland
  • the online Help Centre, which has general information about OU study and support, along with study skills advice
  • free Microsoft Office 365 software
  • IT and computing support from our Computing Helpdesk.

Find out more about student support and being a part of the OU community.

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.

Career relevance

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.

Accreditation

  • 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.
IMA logoIoP logo

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
  • lecturer
  • meteorologist
  • research scientist
  • secondary school teacher
  • software developer
  • systems developer.

Register for this course

Start dates

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Our prospectuses help you choose your course, understand what it's like to be an OU student and register for study.

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