BSc in Mathematics and Physics (Honours)

The Open University

Program Description

BSc in Mathematics and Physics (Honours)

The Open University

Studying mathematics and physics to degree level will change the way you think about the world. Discoveries being made now in mathematics and physics have the potential to transform our lives – this course enables you to take part in the intellectual adventure.

You’ll develop knowledge and understanding of key physical concepts and their underpinning mathematical theory, learn how to use essential methods and relevant software, and acquire skills in communicating arguments and conclusions clearly and concisely.

Key features of the course

  • Explores the concepts of modern physics, including Newtonian mechanics, special relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics
  • Gives the opportunity to get plenty of practice with the tools of applied mathematics, including mathematical methods, mathematical modelling and numerical analysis
  • Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are developed throughout
  • Accredited by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA)
  • Recognised by the Institute of Physics (IOP)

Course details

This degree has three stages, each comprising 120 credits.

  • You’ll start Stage 1 with a 60-credit introductory science module followed by two 30-credit mathematics modules.
  • Next, in Stage 2, you’ll build on the broad introduction to science and mathematics you met at Stage 1 and study two 60-credit modules focusing on core topics in physics and applied mathematics.
  • Finally, in Stage 3, you’ll complete your degree with two 30-credit physics modules and two 30-credit mathematics modules, from a choice of options.


We make all our qualifications as accessible as possible and have a comprehensive range of services to support all our students. The BSc (Honours) Mathematics and Physics uses a variety of study materials and has the following elements:

  • using mathematical and scientific expressions, notations and associated techniques
  • using and producing diagrams and/or screenshots
  • studying a mixture of printed and online material – online learning resources may include websites, audio/video media clips, and interactive activities such as online quizzes
  • in some modules undertaking small amounts of practical work or working in a group with other students
  • some modules may require you to use specialist mathematical or statistical software.

All qualifications require you to complete learning and assessment activities within a required timescale and according to pre-determined deadlines. You will, therefore, need to manage your time effectively during your studies and the University will help you to develop this skill throughout your degree. Information on assessment will be available to you at the start of each module.

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

The level and depth of your learning gradually increase as you work through the qualification. You’ll be supported throughout by the OU’s unique style of teaching and assessment – which includes a personal tutor to guide and comment on your work; top quality course texts; e-learning resources like podcasts, interactive media and online materials; tutorial groups and community forums.

Entry requirements

There are no formal entry requirements to study this qualification, but it’s very important you’re well prepared to study mathematics at this level.

You need no previous knowledge of science; however, you must be able to:

  • write clearly and concisely, structuring short pieces of writing so that they flow coherently;
  • log on to the internet, find websites and communicate by email;
  • create, save and retrieve documents using basic word processing skills.

You do need experience in mathematics – you should have a working knowledge of most of the following topics:

  • arithmetic of whole numbers, decimals and fractions (including negative numbers, powers and roots);
  • algebraic manipulation, such as multiplying out brackets, factorising simple expressions, solving linear and quadratic equations, manipulating algebraic fractions and manipulating powers of variables;
  • percentages, ratio and proportion;
  • coordinates of points in the plane, and the equations of straight lines and parabolas;
  • the geometry of plane figures, such as the sizes of angles, alternate and corresponding angles, the areas of shapes, similar and congruent shapes, and the properties of triangles, rectangles and circles;
  • the geometry of solid figures, such as volumes and other properties of cuboids and cylinders;
  • simple inequalities;
  • trigonometric ratios – sine, cosine and tangent;
  • logarithms and the rules for manipulating them.

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 the 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.


  • 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.
This school offers programs in:
  • English
The Open University

Last updated January 22, 2018
Duration & Price
This course is Online
Start Date
Start date
3 - 16 years
Part time
Full time