Dr John Magorrian , a fellow and the tutor in physics, teaches advanced mathematics, quantum mechanics and general relativity. His research focuses on astrophysics, specifically galaxy dynamics, supermassive black holes and the interstellar medium.
Professor Yulin Chen  is a fellow and tutor in physics whose teaching focuses on statistical mechanics. His research interests are in the development of photoemission spectroscopy to study the electronic structure of new types of quantum matter.
Dr Malcolm John  is a fellow and tutor in physics who teaches mathematics, relativity and particle physics. He is a Royal Society research fellow, working on quark-flavour particle physics, CP violation, and the development of future pixel detectors.
About the Course
Unlike most other universities, at Oxford academic responsibilities are divided between the University and the College. In this respect, physics is like other subjects in Oxford. Thus the lectures are arranged on a University basis, and students from the different colleges attend them together. Similarly, the examinations and laboratory work are University activities. On the other hand, your accommodation is arranged through the College, and most students eat the majority of their meals in the College Hall. Your immediate social circle will probably be centred on the College, but because of the college system, your friends will have a wide variety of academic interest, not be restricted to your own pursuit. Weekly tutorials are also a College matter and over the years, you are likely to grow stimulating academic relationships with your tutors The College contains ample opportunities for a wide variety of sports and activities in addition to the many societies and clubs organised at a University level.
Physics at Oxford
There are two physics degree courses at Oxford: a three year BA and a four year MPhys. The first two years are common to both but students wishing to continue with a career in physics after their undergraduate degree are expected to complete the MPhys course. From the very beginning, you will be a physicist and must demonstrate on a daily basis intelligence and self-motivation, problem solving and apply critical reasoning. If you are sure that you wish to study physics to the highest level, Oxford has a great deal to offer. You will receive a world-class grounding in the foundations of modern physics, guided by leaders of contemporary world-class research, The physics course contains many options in the later years, and so you can tailor your University experience to the aspects that particularly interest you.
Preliminary University examinations are taken at the end of the first year. They do not count towards your final classification but a distinction in the first year is still highly coveted and well regarded by research groups and employers offering summer internships. Final examinations, that count towards your degree classification, are taken at the end of the second, third and fourth years. In addition, project work undertaken during the fourth year is assessed as part of Finals. It is on the basis of your Finals result alone that you obtain your Honours Degree. The second and third years are weighted roughly 41% : 59% for BA candidates. For the MPhys course, the second : third : fourth years weights are approximately 23% : 35% : 42%.
Every student has at least one tutorial a week. Extra tutorials are arranged for students taking special subjects, and in the first year there are two tutorials each week (one each in physics and in mathematics). In general, first, second and third year tutorials are in pairs or small classes, and sometimes you have tutorials on your own. Such close attention to your academic success is one of the great advantages of studying at Oxford. The fourth year needs highly specialist teaching so the physics department arranges classes with experts in their field.
At Jesus College there are three permanent physics fellows who are regularly joined by two or three external tutors to cover all the main branches of modern physics. The benefit is that most Jesus physics tutorials are given by a familiar College tutor, who knows the students personally and is interested in their progress and welfare. This has helped Jesus College students achieve excellent results, amongst the very best in the University. Because the tutorials are given to just one or two undergraduates at a time, they can be matched to the individual student’s interests and needs. Their purpose is to guide you through the course, to ensure that you are making the progress of which you are capable, and to help you enjoy your academic emergence and the widest choice of professional career.
Typically, your tutor will set you work to do one week in advance to be handed in and discussed during the next tutorial. You are encouraged to bring any problems that you have encountered, any points from lectures or books that are obscure, topics that particularly interest you, etc. Your tutor is, of course, also there to help during stressful times and talk though choices related to the University course and beyond.
There are no Joint Schools for Physics offered at Jesus College.
As there is a strong bias towards mathematics in the course, it is essential to study both physics and mathematics to A2 level. A good number of successful students have also taken further mathematics at A2; although this is desirable, it is not essential. Mechanics and statistics modules are the most helpful if you have the choice. Candidates are selected on performance in a written test (PAT) and interview if shortlisted, as well as on the basis of academic record (e.g. GCSEs) and potential, as shown by their UCAS reference,
All candidates will be required to sit the Physics Aptitude Test (PAT) at their school on the 4 November 2015. The PAT consists of two one-hour written tests (one in maths, one in physics) and is administered by the Admissions Testing Service. Registration is obligatory and the deadline is the 15 October 2015. For further details please see About the Physics Aptitude Test . The PAT consists of two one-hour written tests (one in Maths, one in Physics) at school in early November. Occasionally, candidates may be asked to bring examples of school work to the interview.
In the annual Jesus College entry of about 100 undergraduates, 8 are offered places to read physics. Conditional offers made to pre-A level candidates will be A*AA at A2 level, including grade A in Physics and grade A in Mathematics. The A* must be in either Physics or Mathematics. [NB We do not require a grade A in Further Maths if taken, although many of our students will achieve this]. Offers to post-A level candidates will be unconditional. Jesus College physics students consistently perform at an excellent standard and we look forward to continuing this tradition, welcoming new students of the highest calibre.
The College's friendly atmosphere ensures that new students meet those in higher years, and can benefit from their experience too. This might be over dinner, in the library, the JCR or at one of our dedicated subject events. In addition, Jesus College hosts about a dozen graduate students working for their doctorate degrees in physics and there are plenty of occasions to meet them too. Many of these graduate students were Jesus College undergraduates, so can be an excellent source of experience and advice.
Deferred Entry: Applications for deferred entry to Jesus College are welcomed. You must apply for deferred entry at the time of application: you cannot change your mind after an offer has been made. You should be aware that applicants who are offered places for deferred entry will be among the strongest of the applicants. We only accept a deferral for one year and are unlikely to offer more than one or two deferred places per subject in order not to disadvantage the following year's candidates. In some cases, an applicant for deferred entry may be offered a place for non-deferred entry instead; please read your offer carefully. If you require any further advice, please contact the Admissions Officer .
Postgraduate Studies and Careers
Research in the Department of Physics is organised in six sub-departments. The following postgraduate degrees are offered:
- DPhil Astrophysics
- DPhil Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics
- DPhil Atomic and Laser Physics
- DPhil Condensed Matter Physics
- DPhil Particle Physics
- DPhil Theoretical Physics
All Oxford physics graduates either go on to further study (at Oxford or elsewhere) or find immediate employment in an enormous variety of careers. About 40% continue with higher degrees and Oxford physicists are in strong demand in almost all professions that require numerate problem-solving skills (IT, finance, technical industry, consultancy, etc).
Preliminary Reading and Further Information
Last updated June 2015