Specific FAQ topics

General FAQs

When does term start or finish?

Consult the Registry website.  For returning Year 2, 3 and 4 students, in Term 1 teaching does not start until the Thursday of the first week to allow you to be involved with Freshers Week events.  In Terms 2 and 3, all students should expect classes to begin immediately on the first day of term.

What are the differences between the standard MSci and BSc Physics programmes and the MSci and BSc with Theoretical Physics?

In Year 1, students on the "with Theoretical Physics" programmes must take the Mathematical Analysis course and do not take the Advanced Electronics course.  They must take the Basic Electronics course
In Year 2, students on the "with Theoretical Physics" programmes must take the Mathematical Methods course.  Students on the standard programmes can also choose Mathematical Methods but also have alternative choices of Sun, Stars & Planets, Communicating Physics, Environmental Physics or one from a selection of Imperial Horizons courses.  Mathematical Methods requires students on all degree programmes to get at least 65% in the Year 1 Maths course. All students, including "with Theoretical Physics", take the second year laboratory course.
BSc Physics with Theoretical Physics students must take a minimum of 12 ECTS of theoretical physics option courses in Year 3.  They do not attend the third year lab course and undertake a one-term theoretical physics project or essay project.  Students on the standard BSc Physics have a free choice from the available standard and theoretical options.  They must do the third year lab course and undertake a one-term physics project or essay project with no restriction on the area of physics.
MSci Physics with Theoretical Physics students must take a minimum of 36 ECTS of theoretical physics options spread between Years 3 and 4 - most take three in each year.  They do not attend the third year lab course and undertake a two-term theoretical physics project in Year 4.  Students on the standard MSci Physics have a free choice from the available standard and theoretical options in both Years 3 and 4.  They must do the third year lab course and undertake a two-term physics project in Year 4 with no restriction on the area of physics.

I want to transfer onto MSci or BSc with Theoretical Physics. When and how can I do it?

This is possible at any time up to the start of Year 3 provided that you have taken the Mathematical Methods option in Year 2.  Note that if you are on a BSc and want to transfer to an MSci it is generally better done in Year 1.  Students requesting a transfer to the "with Theoretical Physics" programmes must demonstrate their capabilities by a strong performance in the exams. Transfers will only be considered after consultation with your personal tutor, who must inform the senior tutor.

You can find many answers to degree programme swapping questions in this document written by Dr Tymms.

I am on the standard MSci or BSc Physics programmes. Does this prevent me from taking theoretical physics option courses in Years 3 and 4?

No. The theoretical option courses in Years 3 and 4 are open to all students, irrespective of the degree programme they are registered on.  Those on the MSci or BSc with Theoretical Physics have to take a minimum number of theoretical options (most are 6 ECTS), usually three per year.  Any other student can take as few or as many as they wish depending on their confidence and ability in mathematics.  (BSc students must choose between 15-18 ECTS of options in Year 3 and MSci students 5 free choices in each of Years 3 and 4.)  You should consult your personal tutor before making a final decision.

I am on the MSci Physics with a Year in Europe programme. How does this differ from students on the other programmes when I am at Imperial?

In Year 1, Year in Europe students must attend a language course in Terms 1 and 2, appropriate to their planned host country, unless they are already fluent.  However, they must undertake a project in Term 3. Fluent students have a choice of either Maths Analysis or Advanced Electronics.
In Year 2, Year in Europe students again attend a language course in Terms 1 and 2 unless fluent and do not take a Level 2 (FHEQ 5) physics option in Term 2.  Students who obtain at least 65% in the Year 1 Mathematics course can, if they wish, drop the second year lab course at the end of Term 1 and take the Mathematical Methods course in Term 2 - the marks from the half lab and Mathematical Methods are combined into a single module.  Fluent students follow an identical programme to those on the standard MSci Physics, including the choice of a Level 2 option.
Having spent Year 3 in Europe, Year in Europe students in Year 4 have a significant degree of choice between courses from Years 3 and 4 of the standard MSci programme.  They must sit the Comprehensive Papers, which other students do in Year 3, and attend third year tutorials in preparation.  A minimum of 18 ECTS of option courses have to be of Level 4 (FHEQ 7) standard, others can be at Level 3 (FHEQ 6) and up to one at Level 2.  The 'Imperial Core' course are optional for Year in Europe students. Most Year in Europe students attend the third year lab course in Year 4 but those with strong maths can opt out of this, if they wish, provided that they take at least 18 ECTS of theoretical physics options.

I'm considering a swap from a MSci degree to a BSc degree, when is the latest I can do it?

College regulations state that the latest a student can swap between degree programmes is the end of March of your third year. Here in Physics we normally ask students to decide before the last day of term 2. This gives students time to change their minds before the final College deadline. To be able to swap between MSci and BSc degree in the third year, you muse take a standard BSc project or an Essay Project as an option in Year 3.

Do I lose marks if I have a poor attendance record?

We keep a record of attendance in lab, tutorials and project meetings. We occasionally take the register in a lecture. You will not lose marks for poor attendance, but your record might be mentioned when your Personal Tutor writes a reference for you.

I'm a Year 1 student and I'd like to swap to the Msci Physics with Year in Europe degree (F309). When can I do this?

Year 1 students wishing to make this transfer must complete it before the end of week 2, term 1. You need to have passed a GCSE level (or above) in one of the Western European languages (Italian, French, German, Spanish) in order to qualify. To get further information about the programme, the students can contact the YiE academic coordinator (i.mueller-wodarg@imperial.ac.uk). If you would like to transfer to F309, you should first discuss it with your personal tutor. Then you should email the YiE academic coordinator mentioning their language education (e.g., GCSE, AS or A level successfully passed and specify the language) as well as mentioning the language selected for the year abroad. If the transfer to F309 is approved, the students should contact the language coordinator at the Center for Languages, Culture and Communication to enrol in a language course asap. A workshop aimed at Year 1 YiE students is timetabled in week 2 of term 1.

How do I find out information about Commemoration Day?

Students can contact the Graduation Team to get details of the ceremony or tickets at http://www3.imperial.ac.uk/graduation.

Who should I contact if I have a visa problem?

If you are a Tier 4 student, changes to your course of study may have implications for your immigration status in the UK. Imperial College has a team of dedicated immigration advisers who can provide advice and guidance to you if your course is changing due to your exam results. Please ensure that you contact them for advice on international@imperial.ac.uk

On a Tier 4 Visa and transferring from MSci to BSc

If your current visa was issued for an Undergraduate Masters programme, and you are not able to continue on that route and you move to a Bachelor degree, you may need to leave the UK and apply for a new Tier 4 visa for your new course of study.

Whether you have to make a new Tier 4 application depends on when your current visa was issued.

  • If your current visa was issued before 6 November 2014, you do not have to make a visa application to change your course from an Undergraduate Masters to a Bachelors.
  • If your current visa was issued after 6 November 2014, you will have to make a new Tier 4 application from your home country in order to change your course from an undergraduate Masters to a Bachelors.  

If you are changing your course of study and you are currently on a Tier 4 visa, it is essential that you seek advice about your situation from the International Student Support Office at the College. Please contact them on international@imperial.ac.uk in the first instance.

I would like to change degree. What do I have to consider as a Tier 4 holder?

If you currently hold a Tier 4 visa and your course of study changes you may be required to return to your home country to make a new Tier 4 application. These changes include:

  • If you undertake a work placement as part of the course and this extends your course end date
  • If you undertake a study abroad placement as part of the course and this extends your course end date
  • If you move from BEng to MEng / BSc to MSci and this extends your course end date
  • You need additional time to complete your course of study for any other reason

If your current Tier 4 visa was issued BEFORE 6th April 2016, you can make the new Tier 4 application from your home country at any stage. If your current visa was issued AFTER 6 April 2016, you have to make your Tier 4 application from your home country BEFORE your course changes.

it is essential that you seek advice about your situation from the International Student Support Office at the College. Please contact them on international@imperial.ac.uk in the first instance.