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Levelling Up: Aspire Higher Physics Programme


Please note that applications for our 2021 programme are now closed 


How does the Physics Programme work?

There are three main aspects of the programme:

  • Academic tuition and support to stretch and challenge you in your chosen subject;
  • Mentoring and support to develop the skills required to successfully apply for and succeed in Higher Education;
  • Becoming a part of the academic community at Durham University so you know what to expect when you begin post-A-level study.

Academic tuition and support

You will receive high quality materials and a structured study programme in three-week cycles.

Each cycle will include an introductory session, structured self-study and a one-hour tutorial.

The programme runs across Year 12 and Year 13 with a different topic discussed every cycle, designed to align with your A-level course.

You will also learn about real-life applications of the science and links to research. 

Mentoring and support 

You will receive small group mentor sessions, these provide opportunities to discuss University life, University applications and provide a consistent supportive environment where you can address any concerns about your studies.

There will also be the opportunity for an onsite/virtual visit (Covid-19 dependent), to include a tour of Durham University’s Physics department.

Online guest lectures, given by renowned academics, in a range of STEM subjects will provide information of many different aspects and applications of a wide range of STEM careers.

Becoming a part of the academic community

You will have the opportunity to get to know and work with members of the Durham University community including your tutors, mentors and guest lecturers.


Levelling Up: Aspire Higher Physics Programme 

Similar Physics programmes will also be taking place at the University of Birmingham along with other universities (tbc). If you apply from outside the North East of England, you may be invited to take part in one of these programmes.

Upon successful placement on the programme, you will be allocated: 

  • A tutorial group (approximately six students per group);
  • A Programme Tutor (with experience of tutoring A-level physics students);
  • A Programme Support Mentor (a current student at university).

Following an online introductory session in February 2021, there will be a weekly programme of activities. These vary slightly to fit term times and exams but will roughly follow the pattern of:

  • In week one you would spend 30-90 minutes on self-study materials – like some problems, puzzles or background reading to prepare for your tutorial; 
  • These self-study weeks will be followed by a one hour online tutorial the following week where you can discuss the topic in more detail; 
  • In the third week there will be a mentor session when you get together as a group to talk about different topics related to university life and discuss any questions or concerns you might have.

It is therefore desirable that you commit an average of one hour per week to the programme. 

The programme, will start in February 2021 to June 2022, and run throughout school term times. 

Please note, to participate in the Physics programme, you must be studying the following A-level (or equivalent) subjects:   A-level Physics and A-level Maths.


Please note that applications for our 2021 programme are now closed