This integrated masters degree has four stages, each comprising 120 credits.
- You’ll begin Stage 1 by choosing one of three starts: standard start, basic maths start or advanced start. Read the entry requirements section to decide which start is right for you.
- Next, in Stage 2, you’ll study a 60-credit module covering general physics concepts and a 30-credit module looking at the underpinning applied mathematics. Plus, a 30-credit practical module that uses our OpenSTEM Labs.
- Next, in Stage 3, you’ll study a 30-credit electromagnetism module and a 30-credit quantum physics module. Plus, a further 60 credits relevant to your chosen specialism.
- Finally, in Stage 4, you’ll study the last 60 credits relevant to your chosen specialism, plus a 60-credit extended project module where you’ll engage in original research.
At Stage 1, you’ll choose from the standard start, basic maths start or advanced start. Read the entry requirements
to decide which start is right for you.
In Stage 2, you’ll study a 60-credit physics module, a 30-credit mathematics module and a 30-credit practical module.
In Stage 3, you’ll first study two 30-credit physics modules. Then, pick your specialism: Astrophysics with space science or Physics. You’ll study 60 credits in your chosen specialism.
Astrophysics with space science
|You'll study both of the following:|
|Astrophysics of stars and exoplanets (S384) – planned for Oct 2023||30|
|Cosmology and the distant Universe (S385) – planned for Oct 2023||30|
At Stage 4, you’ll study another 60 credits associated with your chosen specialism, followed by a 60-credit project module.
|You'll study the following:|
|Project for Master of Physics (S841) – planned for Nov 2023||60|
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 2022.
We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. This qualification uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:
- online study – some modules have a mixture of printed and online material, and others are entirely online. Online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
- face-to-face tutorials/day schools/workshops and online tutorials
- using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
- using and/or producing diagrams and/or screenshots
- using specialist software and a programming language
- using technology for research purposes involving access to catalogues and databases online
- using feedback: continuous assessment involves receiving detailed feedback on your work from your tutor
- engagement with learning and assessment within a pre-determined schedule or timetable – you’ll need time management during your studies. The university will help you develop these skills throughout your degree.
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:
Read the detailed learning outcomes here
- Knowledge and understanding.
- Cognitive skills.
- Practical and professional skills.
- Key skills.
If you’ve already completed some university-level study somewhere else, you may be able to count it towards this 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. For more details 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 Master of Physics.
If you choose a specialist route, your degree title will show that:
- Master of Physics (Astrophysics with Space Science)
The class of honours (first, upper-second, lower-second or third) will depend on your grades at Stages 3 and 4.
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 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 three starts, you should think carefully about which start to choose:
The standard start gives you an overview of a breadth of scientific topics and the skills needed to study science successfully.
The standard start begins with the key introductory module Questions in science (S111) and the OU level 1 module Essential mathematics 1 (MST124). Check you’re ready for S111 and MST124 at the following links:
Note: S111 will develop your mathematical skills and advise on preparing for MST124.
Basic maths start
The basic maths start develops your maths skills from basic to Essential mathematics 1 (MST124) and Essential mathematics 2 (MST125).
The basic maths start begins with the key introductory module Discovering mathematics (MU123). Check you’re ready for MU123 at the following link:
Note: you must study these modules sequentially, affecting your study rate.
The advanced start is an accelerated route that includes OU level 2 modules in Stage 1. It’s particularly suitable if you have A level or Scottish Higher qualifications in mathematics or physics.
The advanced start begins with the OU level 1 modules Essential mathematics 1 (MST124) and Physics and space (SM123). Check you’re ready for MST124 and SM123 at the following links:
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 an OU level 1 module. 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
By the time you achieve your qualification, you’ll be an adaptable graduate with a range of transferable skills highly valued in the labour market. Examples include analytical, numerical, communication, team-working, and problem-solving skills. You’ll also gain proficiency in computing and IT, including the use of a programming language. In addition, you’ll acquire first-hand research skills through the independent research project on a topic at the forefront of the discipline and demonstrate the originality of your research or interpretation.
You’ll have a good understanding of where your strengths and interests lie and be well prepared for your next step – whether it’s further study or employment.
Physics graduates are suited to scientific and non-scientific jobs. The logical, reasoned approach for physics study is relevant to a wide range of financial, business and public sector employment. So physics graduates – particularly those with good communication and interpersonal skills – are in demand. And the MPhys qualification is commonly regarded as a pre-requisite for starting a postgraduate research degree.
Employers include engineering companies, renewable energy companies, central government, the financial sector, IT companies, the NHS, and universities – in roles such as:
- research and investigation
- product design and development
- analysis and diagnostics
- information management
- data analysis and processing
- scientific sales
- medical physics
- computer programming and modelling
Potential growth areas are energy and sustainability, healthcare, telecommunications, bioinformatics, technology transfer (transfer of scientific expertise to commercial products), and the space sector.
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 and Employability Services for a wide range of careers information, advice and guidance – including online forums, our comprehensive website, access to interview simulations and feedback, and a vacancy service, as well as the option to email or speak to a Careers and Employability Consultant.
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 some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.
- aerospace engineer
- computer programmer
- data analyst
- medical physicist
- nuclear engineer
- patent attorney
- renewable energy specialist
- science communicator
- science teacher
- software engineer
- university lecturer.