Music student with instrumentUCAS code: F3W3
ECTS: 309 credits
Start date: October 2017
Duration: 4 years full-time

LocationSouth Kensington

Our four-year BSc Physics and Music Performance degree provides an excellent opportunity to achieve a degree level education in both physics and music performance, delivered jointly by Imperial College London and the Royal College of Music (RCM).

About the course


Our four-year MSci Physics and Music Performance course offers a unique opportunity to combine your education in physics with a passion for music performance, preparing you for a professional career in either field.

This course is taught jointly by Imperial College London and the Royal College of Music. You will study all the core material of the standard three-year BSc Physics degree as well as some optional modules to ensure that you graduate as a fully qualified physicist.

In parallel, you will complete the main performance elements of the RCM's BMus degree on one principal instrument. Because of the demanding workload the course is spread out over four years.

How to apply

Please see the 'How to apply' section of this page for further information on how to apply to this course.

Lars-Erik Larsson Trombone Concertino (3rd movement)

Watch BSc Physics and Musical Performance student Sam Sankey performing at the 2010 Postgraduate Awards ceremony in the Royal Albert Hall.
Watch BSc Physics and Musical Performance student Sam Sankey performing at the 2010 Postgraduate Awards ceremony in the Royal Albert Hall.


Modules shown are for the current academic year, and are subject to change depending on your year of entry.

Year 1

In your first year you complete a pathway of core modules, taking place at both Imperial and the Royal College of Music.

Core modules - Imperial
  • Electricity and Magnetism, Relativity
  • Laboratory and Computing I
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanics, Vibrations and Waves
  • Professional Skills I
  • Quantum Physics and Structure of Matter
Core modules - Royal College of Music
  • Principal Study 1
  • Professional Skills (Alexander Technique)

Year 2

You continue to complete a pathway of core modules in your second year.

Core modules - Imperial
  • Atomic , Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Mathematics and Statistics of Measurement 
  • Professional Skills II
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Solid State Physics
  • Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
Core modules - Royal College of Music
  • Aural Training
  • Historical Studies Level 4 1
  • Principal Study 2

Year 3

You study a combination of core and optional modules

Core modules - Imperial
  • Electromagnetism and Optics
  • Project/ Essay Project
  • Comprehensive Physics
  • Professional Skills III
Core modules - Royal College of Music
  • Principle Study 3
  • Practical Musicianship Level 4
Optional modules - Imperial

You choose optional modules in the third year. There is not a fixed number of optional modules that you must take, instead you can make one choice each from Group 1 and 3. You can choose modules from Group 2, where you either choose one or two1.

Group 1
  • Environmental Physics
  • Mathematical Methods
  • Sun, Stars and Planets
Group 2
  • Advanced Hydrodynamics1
  • Advanced Particle Physics
  • Atmospheric Physics
  • Computational Neuroscience
  • Cosmology
  • General Relativity
  • Information Theory1
  • Laser Technology
  • Nanotechnology in Consumer Electronics1
  • Optical Communications1
  • Plasmonics and Metamaterials
  • Quantum Field Theory
  • Quantum Information
  • Quantum Optics
  • Quantum Theory of Matter
  • Space Physics
  • Unification

1 You normally select one module, however for modules marked (1) you choose two modules, both marked (1)

Group 3 - Humanities and Business

Year 4

Core module - Royal College of Music
  • Principle Study
Optional modules - Imperial

You choose between two and four optional modules, because each module has a different amount of ECTS credit.

  • Advanced Classical Physics
  • Astrophysics
  • Communicating Physics
  • Complexity and Networks
  • Computational Physics
  • Fluid Dynamics
  • Foundations of Quantum Mechanics
  • Group Theory
  • Imaging and Biophotonics
  • Lasers
  • Light and Matter
  • Medical Imaging: Nuclear Diagnostics and MRI
  • Medical Imaging: X-Rays and Ultrasound
  • Physics of the Universe
  • Plasma Physics
  • Principles of Instrumentation
  • Statistical Mechanics
Third year modules

You can choose a module from Year 3 Groups 1, 2 and 3. It is possible to choose one module from each group, providing that you did not choose one module from that group in the third year.

Teaching and assessment


You will be taught through a combination of lectures, tutorials, laboratory classes and computing labs. You will be able to utilise the office hours of staff from the department to discuss your progress.

There will also be group and individual project work, in order to ensure our degrees provide a strong set of additional skills, such as presentational and communicative skills.


Our Physics degrees use a variety of assessment methods, the below list provides a guide to what you can expect:

  • Written examinations
  • Assessed problem sheets
  • Laboratory and project reports
  • Continuous assessments, e.g. essay writing
  • Group and individual presentations

Key Information Set (KIS)

Additional details about how this course is taught and assessed are provided in the KIS (Key Information Set).

The KIS is a set of statistics which all universities use to describe how their courses are taught and assessed. This allows students to compare similar courses at different institutions.

The KIS describes the percentage of time which students typically spend in timetabled activity and in independent study for each year of their course as well the percentage of assessment which is exams, coursework or practical. An overview of the KIS is shown in the widget at the bottom of the page and further detail (including a year-by-year breakdown) is available via unistats.

Entry requirements

We welcome students from all over the world and consider all applicants on an individual basis. If your qualifications are not listed here, please see our academic requirements by country page, which gives the minimum entry requirements for a range of international qualifications.


For entry to Physics and Music Performance, you need to meet the requirements of both Imperial and the Royal College of Music. These are:

For the Physics component from Imperial the minimum offer is A*A*A to include:

  • A* in Mathematics
  • A*/A in Physics
  • A*/A in another subject

For the music component from Royal College of Music:

  • Grade 8 with Distinction in a suitable musical instrument in the ABRSM examination or equivalent (RCM take into account all examinations and grades), usually by age 15 – this age requirement may be waived for strong applicants. Suitable applicants will be invited to audition.
Practical endorsement (practical science assessment)

If you are made an offer you will be required to achieve a pass in the practical endorsement in all science subjects that form part of the offer.

International Baccalaureate

We require a score of 39 points overall, to include:

  • 7, 6, 6 at higher level, which must include Mathematics and Physics

Additional requirements (all applicants)

Applicants also need to pass the Royal College of Music BMus audition, although only on one instrument, where they will be required to present a set piece (other than in exceptional circumstances).

Candidates invited for audition normally have a grounding in the academic aspects of music and have passed the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) examination at grade 8 with Distinction.

Other qualifications

We also welcome applications from candidates with Scottish Advanced Highers, the International, European and French Baccalaureates, the German Abitur and certain other qualifications giving university entrance in other countries.

English language requirements (all applicants)

All candidates must demonstrate a minimum level of English language proficiency for admission to the College.

For admission to this course, you must achieve the standard College requirement in the appropriate English language qualification. For details of the minimum grades required to achieve this requirement, please see the English language requirements for undergraduate applicants.

Selection process

If your UCAS application shows that you are suitable you will be invited for an interview. Because we receive many more excellent applications than we have places available, our interviews will involve some technical discussions so that we can assess candidates with similar academic records and predictions.

You will be given the opportunity to have lunch with our undergraduates, and you will meet with a member of the admissions team. This meeting will help you find out more about the course, our Department and College facilities, and social life in general. It also gives us the chance to assess your suitability for the course, to learn about your interests and motivation, and to decide whether to offer you a place.

If you have not decided exactly which of the courses you want to apply for you can use the interview to discuss your choice with us. You will normally be able to see one of the labs and something of the research work.

Candidates who are unable (for travel reasons) to attend an interview will be assessed on the basis of their UCAS applications but we are keen to interview candidates whenever this is possible.

Tuition fees and funding

Home and EU students

2017 entry:

£9,250 per year

The UK government has confirmed that universities that have achieved a ‘meet expectations’ award – which includes Imperial – will, under the first year of the new Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF), be able to raise their fees in 2017. The rise is an inflationary amount of 2.8% to a maximum of £9,250. The measure of inflation used is RPI-X (the retail price index, excluding mortgage interest payments). You should expect the fee to increase beyond 2017 for each year that your course lasts, subject to UK government regulations on fee increases.

The UK government has also confirmed that EU students starting or continuing their studies in the 2017–18 academic year will continue to pay the Home rate of tuition fees for the duration of their course. EU students will also remain eligible for the same government funding support as they are now, including the Tuition Fee Loan. This access to government funding will continue throughout your course, even if the UK exits the EU during this time. 

Islands and overseas students

2017 entry:

£27,000 per year

Please note that the tuition fee amount you will pay may increase each year.

Government funding

The level of tuition fees you pay is based on your fee status, which we assess based on UK government legislation. Find out more about fee status assessments.

Home and EU students (with the exception of Graduate Medicine students) can apply for a Tuition Fee Loan from the Government to cover the full cost of their fees each year.

Home students may also be eligible for a Maintenance Loan to help with their living costs.

Bursaries and scholarships

Imperial Bursary

The Imperial Bursary is available to any Imperial Home undergraduate student (except Graduate Medicine students) whose household income falls below £60,000 per year.

It is designed to ease the cost of London living by providing support on a sliding scale, from £2,000 up to £5,000 per year.

As long as your household income remains below £60,000 you will automatically qualify for a bursary for every year of undergraduate study.

The bursary is paid on top of any government loans to which you are entitled and does not need to be paid back. Find out more about the Imperial Bursary.


Our President’s Undergraduate scholarships are available to all undergraduate applicants studying an undergraduate degree for the first time who have applied to the College by 15 October.

They’re worth £1,000 for each undergraduate year of study. There are up to 112 awards available for students starting their studies in 2017–18.

A wide range of other scholarships is also available. Find out which scholarships you may be eligible for by using our scholarships search tool.

To find out more about the range of financial support available please see our Fees and Funding website.

How to apply

UCAS Apply system

To apply to study at Imperial you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS).

The UCAS code for Imperial College London is I50.

Application deadlines

All applications which include choices for medicine at Imperial must be submitted to UCAS by 18.00 (UK time) on 15 October 2016 for entry in October 2017. 

The deadline for other courses at Imperial starting in 2017 is 18.00 (UK time) on 15 January 2017.

How to apply

First, apply for Imperial through the UCAS system, addressing Physics in your personal statement.

Then, in a separate email to or by post, outline:

  • what instrument you play
  • when you started playing
  • qualifications achieved so far
  • repertoire

Imperial will then pass this information on to the Royal College of Music for shortlisting. Auditions are typically held in November or December and we aim to hold the Physics interview on the same day.

In the event that you are not shortlisted for audition at the Royal College of Music but demonstrate that you are a strong candidate for Physics study on your UCAS form, we will automatically consider your application for all other undergraduate courses within the Department.

Students at a school/college registered with UCAS

All UK schools and colleges and a small number of EU and international institutions are registered with UCAS.

To make it clear which school or college you are applying from you will need to ask one of your teachers or advisers for the UCAS buzzword. You will need to enter this in UCAS’s Apply system when you register.

See our How to apply section for further guidance.

Independent applicants and students at schools/colleges not registered with UCAS

If you’re applying independently or from a school/college not registered with UCAS you will still need to use UCAS’s Apply system. You will not need a UCAS buzzword.

See our How to apply section for further guidance.

Academic Technology Approval Scheme

An ATAS certificate is not required for overseas students applying for this course.

For more information about the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS), please see the International Student Support team website.

Tracking your application

Once you’ve completed your application and it’s been submitted through UCAS’s Apply system, you can use UCAS’ Track system to follow its progress and manage your choices.

Professional accreditation and associateship


All of our Physics degrees are accredited by the Institute of Physics.


They also lead to the award of the Associateship of the Royal College of Science (ARCS).

What our graduates do

Imperial's Physics graduates are sought after by a wide range of employers – for example, the electronics industry needs physicists to design next-generation display technologies, lasers, optical fibres, and advanced semiconductor devices. Increasingly, the energy sector looks to physicists to improve photovoltiac cells for solar energy generation, to optimise wave and wind power technologies, and to improve the efficiency of electrical components.

Recent graduates of the Department have become:

  • Research Analyst, National Physical Laboratory
  • R&D Engineer, BBC
  • Technology Consultant, IBM
  • Graduate Trainee, European Space Agency
  • Software Engineer, Ocado Technology