The course

UCAS code
4 years
Delivery type


  • Contact

    Dr David Townsend

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 131 451 3794

  • Email


The Chemical Physics degree course spans the interface between chemistry and physics. The course incorporates all the core elements of a physics degree as well as key chemistry concepts relating to the structure and properties of atoms, molecules and materials. The interdisciplinary nature of the course ensures students will develop a wide range of skills and expertise. In the final Level students will undertake a research project, working closely with a member of staff.

Chemical Physics is well suited to students with interests in the atomic and molecular applications of physics and the more physical and mathematical aspects of chemistry.


This honours degree in Chemical Physics is accredited by the Institute of Physics (IOP).

Detailed course information

Course content

Detailed course guide

Year 1

Topics studied will include Mechanics and Waves; Principles of Chemistry; Fields and Forces; Chemical Reactivity; Mathematics; Physics and Chemistry Laboratory Work.

Year 2

Topics studied will include Photonics and Optics; Introduction to Spectroscopy; Chemical Kinetics; Thermodynamics; Atomic Structure and Molecular Bonding; Mathematics; Communication Skills; Physics and Chemistry Laboratory Work.

Year 3

Concentrates on core Physics with topics studied including Electromagnetism; Advanced Mathematics; Solid State Physics; Circuits and Analysis; Quantum Theory and Spectroscopy; Classical Dynamics; and Laboratory Work..

Year 4

Topics will include Advanced Chemical Kinetics; Lasers; Numerical Modelling and Data Analysis; Large Scale Chemical Systems; Nuclear and Particle Physics; Advanced Quantum Mechanics; Advanced Problem Solving; Chemical Physics BSc Research Project.


Work and study

This is what our BSc (Hons) Chemical Physics students are doing six months after graduating:

  • 42% are working
  • 53% are studying
  • 0% are working and studying.

Managerial/professional position

  • 45% of those working are in a professional/managerial position six months after graduating.


  • The average salary of students six months after graduating: £20000
  • The average UK salary of students six months after graduating from a similar course: £23000


These are the most common jobs students go into six months after graduating:

  • Engineering professionals
  • Business, research and administrative professionals
  • Business and public service associate professionals
  • Administrative occupations
  • Sales occupations
  • Elementary occupations
  • Managers, directors and senior officials
  • Skilled trades occupations
  • Customer service occupations

Entry requirements

Year 1

Standard entry requirements
  • Highers AAAB or ABBBB (including Physics or Mathematics at A)
  • A-Levels BBC (including Physics and Mathematics BB)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 29 points (with Higher Level Physics and Mathematics)
  • BTEC DDM (in relevant subject)
  • HNC B in graded unit (in relevant HNC)

Minimum entry requirements*

  • Highers BBBC (including Physics and Mathematics BB)
  • A-Levels BCC (including Physics and Mathematics)

* Minimum: under our Fair Access Policy, we will relax our standard entry requirements for some Scottish students depending on their circumstances. Our minimum requirements will apply if you:

  • live in an area within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation lowest 20% (SIMD20), or
  • are care experienced.

We can also make exceptions for some Scottish students with grades above minimum but below standard. Read more about our Minimum and standard entry requirements

Year 2

  • Advanced Highers BB (Physics and Mathematics plus Highers AAAB/ABBBB)
  • A-Levels AAB (including Physics and Mathematics AA)
  • Int. Baccalaureate 32 points (with Higher Level Physics and Mathematics at 6)
  • HNC A in graded unit (in a relevant HNC)
  • HND BB in graded units (in relevant HND)
  • BTEC DDD (in relevant subject)

Additional information

  • Please note that the Chemical Physics programmes also require a relevant Chemistry qualification appropriate to the Level (for example, A-Levels or Highers at grade C for Level 1, A-Levels or Advanced Highers at grade B for Level 2)
  • For all years, applications are welcomed from holders of non-school qualificationsmature candidates and overseas students.
  • If you do not see your qualifications here please contact us at
  • Please check that you meet our University-wide National 5/GCSE (or equivalent) English and Maths requirements.

English language requirements

  • If English is not your first language, you have to show that your English is good enough to succeed on your course. Please see our English language requirements.


Tuition fees for 2019 entry (by residency status)
Status* Scotland / EU** England / Northern Ireland / Wales*** International
Fee Paid by SAAS £9,250 £18,480

* Your residency 'status' is usually defined as the country where you have been ordinarily resident for the three years before the start of your course. Find out more about tuition fees.

** European Union countries (not including England, Northern Ireland or Wales).

*** 'Rest of the UK' (RUK) students entering at Level 1 receive a fee waiver of one year's tuition fee. Normally this will be the final year, or a year during which students study abroad (either at a partnership institution, or at one of Heriot-Watt's overseas campuses).

Additional costs

You may incur additional costs in the course of your studies at Heriot-Watt over and above tuition fees in an academic year. Depending on your programme of study, these may include: protective equipment, field trips, professional memberships, studio fees, required course texts or other study resources.

Scholarships and bursaries

Featured scholarships

Bursaries for students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales starting undergraduate degree courses in 2020

In addition to government loans and grants towards the costs of fees and living costs, we are offering generous financial support to attract and support eligible students from England, Northern Ireland or Wales:

Merit Awards for international students starting undergraduate degree courses in 2019

If you are an international fee-paying, self-funded applicant and have achieved, or are on course to achieve, the minimum entry requirements for the programme you wish to study you may be eligible for:

View our full range of undergraduate scholarships.