Exam Board - AQA


What is Physics A level and why study it?

Physicists look for all the hidden laws that explain why all matter (that’s every physical thing) and energy in the known universe exists, where it comes from and why it behaves the way it does. Physicists use the laws they uncover to develop new materials, machinery, and technology to improve our lives and help us explore the universe further, from computers to telescopes and spacecraft. Physicists ask some big questions, but they specialise in different areas and their work can be varied. For example, nuclear physicists study the tiniest particles of matter to discover what the universe is made of, whereas astrophysicists’ study some of the largest things – stars, planets and celestial bodies.


Topics studied include:

  • Particles & Radiation
  • Waves
  • Mechanics & Materials
  • Electricity
  • Thermal & Nuclear Physics


Students will also study on of the optional units which could include:

  • Astrophysics
  • Medical Physics
  • Engineering Physics
  • Electronics


Many physicists also combine their work with the other sciences (Chemistry and Biology) to study things like Meteorology (the atmosphere) and Geophysics (the structure of the earth). Physics will help you to build up your problem solving, research, and analytical skills. With these skills you’ll be able to test out new ideas plus question and investigate other people’s theories, which is useful for any kind of job that involves research or debate.


Where next?

Physics is a useful subject for the majority of STEM careers and you’ll find physicists everywhere, in industry, transport, government, universities, the armed forces, the secret service, games companies, research labs and more. Physics is especially helpful for jobs that involve building things and developing new technologies, including: Engineering (flight, buildings, space, etc), Astronomy, Robotics, Renewable Energies, Computer Science, Communications, Space Exploration, science writing, Sports and Games Technology, research and Nanotechnology (that’s engineering on a tiny molecular scale).


Physics A level has been named as a facilitating subject by the Russell Group of universities, which means it can be useful for getting onto a wide range of university courses. Physics is also part of the group of four subjects which includes Maths, Chemistry and Biology – that you usually need to pick at least two from at A level to do a range of science degrees, including Medicine and Engineering. Physics is especially highly recommended for the physical sciences, which involves the study non-living objects. A level Physics is usually required for degree courses in: Engineering (general, aeronautical, civil, electrical, mechanical, sometimes chemical), and Physics.


What are the entrance requirements?

Grade 6 in GCSE Physics. Combined Science Grade 7-6.


Grade 5 in GCSE English language, Grade 7 in GCSE Maths.


Who do I need to see for more information?

Mr D Golinski, Head of Physics