The second-year course provides a common core for both the BA and MPhys degrees, developing the techniques and knowledge acquired in the first year. Electromagnetism, optics and mathematical methods are extended and further core topics such as quantum physics and thermal physics are covered in some depth. A short optional subject is studied towards the end of the year. Current subjects include energy studies, more advanced theoretical topics, a language or teaching option.
Practicals occupy two days a fortnight in the second and third years. Students normally do a total of 12 days, but there are a number of alternatives for some of it. For example, the Teaching Physics in Schools short option involves working with a physics teacher in a local school for one half-day each week, and research into the learning of school-level physics. Half the practical work may be substituted by a second short option. It is also possible to do extra practical work, as additional experiments, or as a mini-project, in place of a short option.
Second year exams (part A)
The part A exam at the end of the second year comprises three written papers on the core topics, a short option paper, an individual presentation and practical work.