A level

Course Level

Level 3


2 years full-time




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How did the universe begin? How will it end? Are we alone? A-level Physics is about analysing the world around us by asking fundamental questions and using experiments and mathematics to try to answer them.

University College Birmingham has thriving engineering, digital and sustainable construction departments, which provide an exciting learning experience for our A-level physicists. Successful scientists are creative and innovative, and we develop those skills with demonstrations using industry-standard equipment in state-of-the-art robotic labs. Through our well-established industry links, talks from our specialist university lecturers, engaging trips and hands-on activities, we provide a unique learning environment for physics students. 

Many physics concepts are taught through experiments and practical activities. To help you conquer more challenging aspects of the course, we make use of advanced educational technology such as Panopto to record lectures, together with small and focused learning workshops led by teachers and undergraduate student mentors. You will also have full access to our extensive book and digital library with all course textbooks and physics journals and eBooks – allowing you to stand out from the field when applying to future universities, apprenticeships and employment. 

Why choose A-levels at our sixth form centre?

  • PREPARE FOR UNIVERSITY AT A UNIVERSITY – We can provide you with relevant work placements, masterclasses, guest speakers, trips and more
  • AWARD-WINNING SUPPORT – We have won national awards for our student support, which our sixth form students can tap into, from tailored academic support to financial assistance and health and wellbeing services
  • OUTSTANDING LEARNING FACILITIES - We have invested £5.5 million into our brand-new sixth form centre, which includes lecture theatres, classrooms, science and computer labs, practical training facilities and open study spaces
  • MOVE UP TO UNIVERSITY – Want to keep studying at a higher level? This A-level will support your progression to degree level
Find out more about our sixth form centre and our vision for our A-level students. View video.

Course breakdown

To achieve your Physics A-level, you must study the following topics:

Measurements and their errors

  • Physical quantities and units 
  • Making measurements and analysing data

Electrons, waves and photons 

  • Waves 
  • Particles and their interactions 
  • Materials 
  • Electricity 

Forces and motion 

  • Force, energy and momentum 
  • Newton’s law of motion 
  • Work, energy and power 

Newtonian world and astrophysics 

  • Thermal physics 
  • Circular motion 
  • Gravitational fields 
  • Astrophysics and cosmology 

Particles and medical physics

  • Capacitators 
  • Electric fields 
  • Nuclear and particle physics 
  • Medical imaging 

Entry requirements

Academic requirements

  • You will need 4 GCSE at grade 5 or above, including a grade 5 in GCSE Science and a grade 6 in GCSE Maths to study this A-level.

Supporting documents required

  • School applicants will be required to provide a school report, which must include attendance. This will be assessed in conjunction with your qualifications and application during the confirmation of your place at University College Birmingham.

Guaranteed progression

Students who achieve 56 UCAS points or more from this qualification will automatically be guaranteed a place on a degree course at University College Birmingham. Some undergraduate courses require additional entry requirements, so applicants are advised to check entry requirements before applying.

Key information

Teaching and assessment

You will be assessed through three written examination papers (Summer of Year 2) plus a practical endorsement for physics. 

Exam papers contain questions that will also test your understanding of experimental work and mathematical skills.  

Over the two-year course, you are expected to complete a mandatory set of experiments, and you will gain a certificate as evidence of your competency, the Practical Endorsement.  

Our teaching and assessment is underpinned by our Teaching, Learning and Assessment Strategy 2021-2024.

Enhanced Learning Opportunity - Core Maths

To support and extend your learning experience at the sixth form centre, we are offering students on this particular A-level course the additional opportunity to study Core Maths. 

Level 3 Mathematical Studies (Core Maths)  

Core Maths, a one-year course equivalent to an AS-level (half an A-level), is an engaging and diverse course that gives you an excellent preparation for your future. It is about using maths to solve meaningful, real-life problems, as well as developing your data handling and critical analysis skills, equipping you with the essential quantitative skills you need for many careers and degrees. 

We are creating something unique and special for Birmingham and I am delighted you are considering us for your next steps. Studying A-levels requires discipline and determination, but it is also incredibly rewarding, offering you a deep insight into the subjects you choose to study. Sixth form is also an opportunity for you to discover what’s important to you and how you want to make your mark on the world. Our aim is to support and challenge you through this, while developing your character and widening your horizons so you flourish, professionally and personally. 

Rebecca Tigue Sixth Form Centre Principal

What will this course prepare you for? 

From creating models that predict climate change for the MET Office to designing the next Fortnite in a games studio, from architecture to laser surgery to robotics and AI, physics is one of the most sought-after subjects in thousands of careers.  

A-level Physics is preferred for degrees such as engineering and astronomy, and it can lead to research roles across any of the sciences. It is highly useful for health-related careers such as biomechanics and radiotherapy, as well as business, finance and IT. 

The example roles and salaries below are intended as a guide only.


Average Salary: £36,000


Average Salary: £38,000

Games Designer

Average Salary: £40,000


Average Salary: £40,000


Average Salary: £40,000

Robotics engineer

Average Salary: £60,000


We are here to support your career goals every step of the way. 


Find out more

Our new sixth form centre

University College Birmingham is to begin offering a range of A-level courses as part of a major multi-million-pound investment in a brand-new sixth form centre.

Read Story

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