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Levelling Up: Aspire Higher Physics Programme


How does the Physics Programme work?

There are three main aspects of the programme:

  • Academic tuition and support to stretch and challenge you in areas of physics and associated mathematics;
  • 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.

Each cycle will include structured self-study and a one-hour tutorial on that material.

The programme runs from March of Year 12 through Year 13, with a different topic discussed every cycle; all topics are taken from and will support your A-level course.

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

Mentoring and support 

You will attend small group mentor sessions, to 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.

You will be invited to online guest lectures given by renowned academics in a range of STEM subjects. These will demonstrate how different aspects of the subjects are applied in a wide variety 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.


What will I do on the programme?

Similar Physics programmes will also be taking place at the University of Birmingham and Imperial College London. 

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

  • A tutorial group (approximately six students per group);
  • A programme tutor;
  • A programme support mentor (a current student at university).


Following an online introductory session in March 2022, 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 some weeks of the programme you will be given self-study materials on which you should try to spend 60 minutes looking at some problems, puzzles or background reading to prepare for the following 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 some weeks, 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 March 2022 and run through much of the 2022/23 academic year, throughout school term times.


Entry requirements for the Physics Programme

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. 

Further information about eligibility is on our Eligibility Criteria page.