School of Physical Sciences and Computing

School of Physical Sciences and Computing

Students working on an experiment 

Our students benefit from our approach that makes their learning relevant to real applications –in business, industry or research. By linking our work to the interests of industry, the wider community or international research, we equip our graduates with the knowledge and skills to progress in their chosen careers. Our teaching is underpinned with internationally excellent research and public engagement, and an excellent experience that supports and challenges our students to excel.

About the School

Our computing courses produce creative professionals with the skills to work with rapidly changing technology. Most courses focus on aspects of software development, but Computer Network Technology emphasizes network design and management while Forensic Computing emphasizes the prevention and investigation of computer misuse. Our courses develop the human skills necessary to apply technology effectively. To enhance their employability with valuable experience, we help students undertake an industrial placement.

Our research in agile software development and interaction design, including the internationally-recognised Centre for Child-Computer Interaction, and our industrial links underline our practical approach.

Our courses in Astrophysics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics are rigorous programmes equipping students with sought-after knowledge and skills they can apply in industry. These disciplines are strongly defined by research pursued in Universities, and our staff engage in their subjects to the highest levels. 

All teaching teams include staff who participated in the 2015 nation-wide Research Excellence Framework, with our work rated Internationally Excellent and World Leading following extensive scrutiny. We are involved in international research programmes, including the chemistry of fire safety, the formation, structure and evolution of stars and planets, nanomaterials for many practical applications, analytical modelling of fundamental processes such as sound transmission, the evolution of galaxies and galaxy clusters, as well as the Sun and its impact on Earth. In 2015 we established a significant model theory group within the Mathematics team.

The School offers the only BSc(Hons) Astronomy degree available by distance learning. Students connect from across the globe in a unique online programme.

Professional recognition

The School works with a number of professional bodies and learned societies in supporting teaching, research and commercial activities. Most courses are accredited by the relevant professional body, while staff and students are professional members of these bodies. Many have local branches, holding talks and other events in the area, for example UCLan host an IMA talk annually. We are involved in the national and international activities of these bodies, promoting the subjects and developing their impact.

Professional accreditation is currently held by the following bodies for the appropriate courses:

The British Computer Society (BCS)

BCS is the leading professional body for those working in IT. It has over 65,000 members in more than 100 countries and is the qualifying body for Chartered IT Professionals (CITP).

The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA)

The Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) is the UK's learned and professional society for mathematics and its applications. Founded in 1964, it was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1990 and subsequently granted the right to award Chartered Mathematician designation. The IMA also award the Chartered Scientist designation and the Chartered Mathematics Teacher designation.

Institute of Physics(IOP)

A scientific charity devoted to increasing the practice, understanding and application of physics. It has a worldwide membership of over 36,000 and is a leading communicator of physics-related science to all audiences, from specialists through to government and the general public.

Royal Astronomical Society (RAS)

Founded in 1820, RAS encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organizes scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognizes outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally.

Royal Society for Chemistry (RSC)

Founded in 1848 and now the world’s leading chemistry community, advancing excellence in the chemical sciences.

School research 


The School hosts three established research centres spanning our academic activities:

Students on both undergraduate and taught postgraduate courses have opportunities to work alongside researchers during their degree course, as well as formal research internships, and research students become part of a research group during their time with us. Our research collaborations touch every continent, and projects have attracted funding from several research councils, the EU and a range of charities and businesses. We emphasise real-world applications - from cancer therapy to space weather.