Course Title AS/A Level Physics
Level: 3
Code MS029

Overview of the Course

Physics will enable you to develop an understanding of how the world around you functions. This is from the extremely large (the Cosmos); right down to the extremely small (the Quantum world). You will learn about a whole variety of topics such as the fundamental forces in nature, event horizons of black holes, quantum physics and particle physics. Many of these topics have links to some of the outstanding Scientific brains the world has produced and we get to some of their work in a little more detail. This course enables you to improve your problem solving ability and it will help you to analyse information and reach conclusions about what you have witnessed during practical work.

What are the career opportunities?

All A Level Study Programme subjects will develop your English and communication skills. Many will also develop technical and numerical skills. All of these are transferable to any higher education and employment fields. Numerical and problem solving skills are particularly valuable in any Physics related career such as Physicist, engineer, teaching to name but a few. In addition, an A Level Study Programme can develop your critical thinking skills more effectively than any other course of study. You will be exposed to a wide range of complex concepts and ideas to provoke and stimulate you, and you will have high level thinking skills that are valued in all employment fields and that will support your higher education and career goals. Physics students from Bury College have gone onto study a wide range of degrees including Physics, Mathematics, Computing, Medicine and various engineering courses.

What are the entry requirements?

To study three AS Levels or two AS Levels and one Applied Qualification then the entry requirements are six GCSEs at or above grade C/4 including three subjects or more at or above grade C/5. To study Physics your grades must include two GCSE grades A*-B (9-6) in Sciences (Combined Science/Separate Sciences including Physics); and grade 9-6 (A*-B) in GCSE Maths and 9-5 (A*-C) in GCSE English. Should you wish to study four AS Levels the entry requirements are six GCSEs at or above grade C/4 including two subjects or more at or above grade C/5 and two subjects or more at or above B/6. Please note: A Level Maths or Level 3 Core Maths must be taken alongside Physics A Level.

How long is the course and when can I start?

This course will start in September and you will study for two years to achieve the full A Level.

How is the course structured and how will I be assessed?

The course is 100% exam based. AS will consist of two exams (1.5 hours), each worth 50% of your final AS grade. A2 will consist of three exams (2 hours) covering all A Level content. You will study a course that covers all the AS topics (Measurements and Errors, Particle and Quantum, Waves, Mechanics, Materials, Waves) and integrated into that will be the practical skills elements that are required by Ofqual. If you progress to second year you will cover the remaining topics (Circular motion, Simple harmonic motion, Fields, Thermal physics, Nuclear physics and Astrophysics) as well as any further practical skills elements of the course.

What employability skills will I develop on this course?

Physics will help you to build up a range of transferrable skills such as problem solving, research, numerical, analytical and communication skills. With these skills you’ll be able to test out new ideas plus question and investigate other people’s theories, which is useful for any kind of job that involves research, debate or analysis. Many employers see candidates with excellent problem solving and analytical skills in a positive light because many jobs in Science, Engineering IT, Accountancy and Banking require these skills.

Work experience

Work experience is an essential element of your Study Programme and you will be supported to secure a five day work experience placement. This will hopefully allow you to gain first hand exposure to the sector you wish to work in, start to develop key employability skills and most importantly confirm your career goals. It will also enhance your UCAS application if you gain some work experience or voluntary work. Universities will want you to contribute as much as possible to the extra-curricular life of the University.

Study programme enrichment opportunities

There are various enrichment opportunities including university visits to see Physics at higher education level. Previous trips include a visit to the Cambridge University Physics department and Jodrell Bank observatory. There will also be the opportunity to visit European Centre for Nuclear Research (CERN) to see particle physics at a fundamental level. You will see how our understanding of the very small has developed over the 20th century and you will also rub shoulders with some of the world’s leading minds. You also get to explore Geneva, which truly is an amazing city.

Are there any additional costs or requirements?

We would recommend purchasing a textbook (£25) or revision guide (£5) to supplement learning that is taking place throughout the year. A high-spec USB memory stick is advisable.

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