Why study Environmental Physics at Reading?

A physics degree with an emphasis on the Earth System

The natural world around us is a fascinating environment for the study of physics. The atmosphere, oceans, ice sheets and the space environment are all governed by relevant scientific principles, and many of today's most pressing environmental issues such as atmospheric pollution and climate change can only be understood and tackled through an understanding of the relevant physics.

Our Environmental Physics degree is designed to appeal to those with a strong interest in applying their knowledge of physics and mathematics to the Earth system, and in particular to environmental issues which are affecting us now and will continue to do so into the future.

At Reading, the School of Mathematics and Physical Sciences comprises a large group of scientific experts in many different fields of environmental physics, including space weather and its impact on the Earth's electric and magnetic fields, the global atmosphere and oceans, ice sheets, hydrology, atmospheric chemistry and pollution and the impact of urban areas on their local weather and climate. Over the past few years we have invested heavily in the recruitment of academic staff in these and related areas with 28 new appointments in space physics, climate and environmental sciences.

Our degree in Environmental Physics aims to equip you with the knowledge and skills to become a professional scientist in a wide range of applied physics and environment related careers, from practical field-work using scientific instruments, through computer modelling of environmental systems to research and teaching.

Here is the course programme specification and also more detailed module descriptions.

  • Our teaching staff of about 45 academics includes many scientists recognised as world experts in their subjects, including three Fellows of the Royal Society.
  • Our degree course is truly interdisciplinary, studying the fundamental physics and interaction of many elements of the Earth system such as the atmosphere, oceans, ice sheets, rivers, vegetation and space.
  • The breadth of our research covers virtually every aspect of environmental and climate science, from small scale weather patterns and pollution associated with urban areas right up to global climate change and even the weather in space. This means that whatever topics you choose to cover on your course, you will be taught by experts in the field.
  • Our department offers a staff:student ratio of about 1:2. Most of your teaching will be in small groups and our students are able to get to know all staff members well.
  • Our unrivalled atmospheric observatory, fluid dynamics laboratory and instruments workshop provide excellent facilities for the essential practical elements of the course.

QUOTE: 'The challenge of living in a sustainable manner on Planet Earth is one that demands the best physicists: this is what the course will aim to produce.'

Sir Brian Hoskins, Professor at the University of Reading, and Chairman of the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London

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