This page contains answers to some of the most common questions the Department of Physics is asked about what we look for in applications, our interviews, and offers.

Please note that due to the high volume of applications received, the Physics Department cannot provide feedback on individual applications.

International applicants should also read our information for international applicants.

Please read our competency standards for Physics.

Information on this page last updated:  October 2020



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A Levels

A Level entry requirements

For 2021 entry the typical offer to study Physics at Imperial College London is  A*A*A in three full A Levels - including A* in Mathematics and A*A in Physics and another subject (excluding General Studies or Critical Thinking).  This is the most common offer but we reserve the right to vary the offer in some circumstances, for example where one or more A Levels have been taken a year early.  The practical part of any science A-Level must be passed.   A grade B or 6 in GCSE English will satisfy the College English language requirements (see below) which all applicants, including native speakers, are required to meet.

A Level subject selection

Mathematics and Physics are compulsory.  Further Mathematics and Chemistry are the most common third subjects, both of which will be useful to physicists, but we recognise that some applicants will wish to have a broader education and so we place no restriction on the third A Level subject.  We do not accept General Studies or Critical Thinking as meeting our entry requirements.

Further Mathematics

Further Mathematics is not a requirement but we are happy to encourage those who wish to take it either to AS or A Level as our students find that any more challenging mathematical experience they have acquired is helpful to them when they start our courses.  We are aware that not all schools are able to offer Further Mathematics.

A Levels taken a year early

We often receive applications where at least one A Level (usually Mathematics) has been completed a year early in Year 12.  Where an A* in Mathematics has been achieved this will definitely count towards satisfying that condition in our entry requirements.  However, we want to be sure that applicants are undertaking a full programme of studies in their final year at school as a lightly loaded year would not be a good preparation for the demands on your time that you will face at university.  Thus we may decide to make an offer requiring three A Levels from your final year at school.  Each such application is assessed individually.  We will not automatically reject an application where an A in Mathematics has been achieved in Year 12 provided all other aspects of the application are strong.  Such applicants should plan to resit.  Depending on the competition for places we may consider an offer requiring an A* in Further Mathematics.

Acceptance of AS and A Level resits

We recognise that applicants can occasionally have a one-off bad exam so will not automatically reject applications which show that some modules will be retaken provided all other aspects of the application are strong and, in particular, when the grade is a near miss and only one or two modules are affected.  If there are extenuating circumstances to explain your retakes please ask your school to comment in their reference.

Alternative qualifications

The requirements shown for each qualification below are the minimum we will ask for 2020 entry.  We assess each application on its individual merits and in some circumstances may make offers that are higher than quoted here.  These are the most common qualifications presented by applicants from the UK and the Republic of Ireland.  View entry requirements based on the more common international qualifications.

International Baccalaureate

Grade of 7,6,6 are required in three Higher Level subjects including at least 6 in both Mathematics and Physics, and a minimum of 40 points overall.  For the  English language requirements please see below.

Cambridge Pre-U

Distinction grades of D2,D2,D3 are required in three principal subjects including D2 in Mathematics and D3 in Physics.

Scottish Advanced Highers

We require an A grade in Mathematics, A in Physics and A in any third subject.  A grade of 2 in Standard Grade English Language will satisfy the College English language requirements (see below).

Irish Leaving Certificate

A grades are required in six subjects including A1 in Mathematics and A1 in Physics at higher level and a further 2  subjects with H1 and 2 other subjects  with H2.  A grade B in English Language in the Irish Junior Certificate will satisfy the College English language requirements (see below).

Additional requirements for the MSci Physics with a Year Abroad (F309)

‌‌A grade B/6 at GCSE in a modern European language (French, German, Italian or Spanish) is required, or in an equivalent qualification, such as Scottish Standard Grade.  Fluent speakers of these languages are exempt from this requirement but may require to be assessed at the start of the course to confirm their exemption from the language classes.‌

English language requirements for all applicants

‌‌All applicants, including native speakers, are required to hold an accepted English language qualification.  For the majority of UK applicants this is satisfied by already holding at least a grade B or 6 in GCSE English Language.  Those who have not achieved this or an accepted equivalent qualification will need to take one of the accepted English language tests: a full list of these can be found under here.  Results must be received by the College by the 16 July 2020  for students applying for entry in 2020 UCAS cycle.

English Language Requirements for Undergraduates




Selection for Offers

Entry to study physics at Imperial is highly competitive.  We look at all aspects of applications including predicted grades, results already achieved at GCSE and AS Level, personal statement and school reference.

Due to the current Covid-19 situation, we will not be interviewing applicants for the 2020/21 application cycle.  Applications will be considered and offers will be made solely on the strength of what’s written in the UCAS application form.   

When will offers be made?

You will be notified of your offer through the  UCAS Track after the 15 January 2021.  Inevitably there are some applicants whom we are not able to make offers to immediately but whom it is appropriate to hold in a pool until all applications have been received in January.  This is so that we can be fair to all applicants while at the same time not exceeding the number of places we are allowed to offer.  We review this pool at regular intervals so that we do not delay offers once it is clear that they can be made and so that we do not keep unsuccessful applicants waiting for long periods once we are sure that an offer cannot be made.  The Admissions Tutor’s decision on offers is final.

Where do Original Certificates or Certified copies need to be sent?

For most applicants taking A Levels and IB courses we will be able to confirm your examination results in the summer through UCAS.  However, if your offer asks you to send certificates for A levels already completed or you are taking qualifications that cannot be verified through UCAS then you may need to send us  original certificates or certified copies duly signed and stamped by your school.  These need to be sent to Registry and NOT to the Physics Department. The address to send them to is:

Natural Science Admissions Team, Registry, South Kensington Campus, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK.

Unfortunately Registry does not accept scanned copies or photocopies. If you wish Registry to send the certificates back to your current address, please state this in a cover letter.


The Department of Physics will not be conducting  interviews for the academic year starting  in 2021.  Places will be selected purely on information provided in the UCAS form.  We will  assess each application on its individual merits.