Find a Degree Undergraduate Natural Philosophy (Physics)

Natural Philosophy (Physics) at Aberdeen consists of both Physics and Philosophy courses, with Physics the major component of the degree.

Why Aberdeen?

  • A modern modular degree structure
  • Balance of physics and philosophy courses for the thoughtful student
  • Long tradition of teaching natural philosophy, combined with superb textual resources in the history of science
  • Good balance between understanding basic areas and showing how physics principles can be applied to other subjects
  • Emphasis on generic skills useful in a wide range of careers


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BSc Physics with Philosophy, Philosophy, Physics and Mathematics

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The Aberdeen Difference

The opportunity to take Enhanced Study options as part of your degree and participate in co-curricular activities. See for more information.

Physics is the major component of the degree, and you will acquire a knowledge of its theory and practice, sufficient to equip you for a physics career if you choose. If you would like to emphasise the philosophical side of the subject, you can tailor your syllabus at levels 1 and 2 to give yourself the choice at the end of the second year of Philosophy-Physics or Single Honours Philosophy. Alternatively, if you have a stronger interest in Mathematics you can take options that allow you to choose Mathematics - Physics at the end of level 2.

First Year

The Physical Universe gives an overview of some of the aims and achievements of physics, including 24 lectures on Astronomy. You are also introduced to the fundamental subjects of Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism, and practical work covering Experimental Physics and Physical Computing. The mathematics component includes Calculus and Algebra and the philosophical component includes Formal Logic 1 & 2, a study of the logical relations that underlie the concept of proof, and Truth & Reason.

Second Year

Physics concentrates on the following areas: Dynamical Phenomena, including oscillations and waves, and an introduction to Quantum Mechanics and Relativity. An extended course on Advanced Philosophy is taken along with an independent course on the History & Philosophy of Science, covering science from the 18th to 20th centuries. You have two optional subject courses, which can be chosen from a wide range of subjects, but it is common to take two additional physics courses from the selection Light Science, Space Science & Remote Sensing or Practical Optics & Electronics.

Third and Fourth Year (Honours)

The Honours years are 75% Physics and 25% Philosophy and related subjects. A balanced selection of pure and applied physics topics are chosen from those available for Honours physics students. There is less emphasis on laboratory work than in the Science degree. A choice of Philosophy courses includes further study of either Logic or The Theory of Knowledge. Everyone undertakes a final year project from a choice of subjects that usually covers the History of Physics, the Philosophy of Physics or, simply, Physics.

Teaching and Assessment

All topics involve some continuous assessment. The proportion of continuous assessment and project work increases through the four year Honours programme.


Natural Philosophy graduates have become professional scientists in industry, research institutes and universities. You can command high salaries in the computing and financial sectors. In addition, there is a shortage of physics teachers in schools throughout the UK. In some specialist areas (e.g. medical physics, meteorology, space science) it is usual to study for an MSc degree to obtain further knowledge. Continuing academic study in your chosen field to the level of PhD is an option taken by graduates with a good degree.

Finding your direction

There are many opportunities at the University of Aberdeen to develop your knowledge, gain experience and build a competitive set of skills to enhance your employability. This is essential for your future career success.  The Careers Service can help you to plan your career and support your choices throughout your time with us – from first to final year – and beyond.

Minimum Entrance Requirements

SQA Highers - AABB*
A Levels - BBB*
IB - 32 points, including 5,5,5 at HL*
*SQA Higher or GCE A Level or equivalent qualification in Mathematics and Physics are required.

Advanced entry is considered on an individual basis depending on prior qualifications and experience. Applicants wishing to be considered for advanced entry should contact directly the Director of Studies (Admissions) at our Student Recruitment and Admissions Service office

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Further Information

Student Recruitment & Admissions Service
University of Aberdeen
The Hub
King's College

Tel: +44 (0)1224 272090 / +44 (0)1224 272091
Fax: +44 (0)1224 272576