Applications for the experience week 2023 are now closed!

About the Physics | Mathematics Experience Week

Every February half term, NUSTEM coordinates an “Experience Week” for a limited number of Y12 students from local schools. We deliberately run this week in February as our own university students are on campus and our participants can have a better experience of what life at university is really like. 
We started in 2018 with a ”Physics Experience Week” and in 2022 expanded into to two strands: Physics and the Mathematics. Our aim moving forward is to be able to add other strands to our Experience Week.
During a typical Experience Week, participants will:
    • Attend a first year university lecture of our physics/mathematics undergraduate programmes;
    • Interview an academic researcher or postgraduate student;
    • Create and showcase a research poster;
    • Visit laboratories, specialist facilities and get a guided tour of our campus;
    • Experience student life at university.
Student engagement with research is embedded in our teaching practice at Northumbria University and broaden careers knowledge of those who attend the “Experience Week”. Over the past years  colleagues of the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Electrical Engineering (MPEE) have kindly facilitated short poster projects in many research areas including:
    • Applied Statistics
    • Quantum and Molecular Photonics
    • Mathematics of Complex and Nonlinear Phenomena
    • Solar Physics
    • Renewable Energy Technologies and Materials
    • Smart Materials & Surfaces
Staff at Northumbria University are often part of multidisciplinary research teams, and some of the proposed projects often draw from other disciplines such as Engineering and Geography and colleagues from other universities.
By the end of the week participants will have developed their ability to interpret academic research, problem solving and collaborative group work.

How and when to apply to the Experience Week

Application for the Experience Week often open during the autumn and close just before Christmas. Below you can find more details regarding the process.

Applications for February 2023 are now closed.

Here are few tips and things to consider before applying:

  1. The Experience Week was designed for Y12 students from local schools with a genuine interest in understanding what it’s like to study Physics and/or Mathematics at University level.
  2. The Experience Week will take place from the 20th to 24th of February 2023.
  3. Make sure to provide us with an email address you check on a regular basis, as this is the only way we’ll have to get in touch with you.
  4. Provide us with the correct email address of your teacher. as this is the only way we’ll have to contact them to ask them to act as your referee.
  5. It is your responsibility to notify your teacher that you are using them as your referee.
  6. You can apply for both strands (Physics or Mathematics) of the Experience Week.
  7. You should write one application for each strand you apply for.
  8. If  are accepted in one strand, you will not be allowed to swap strands, sorry.
  9. This is a non-residential week. Regrettably we are not able to cover for travel or accommodation costs.
  10. Application deadline: 16th December 2022.

If you prefer a different application format (for example .pdf or .doc file, large print or braille) please get in touch with  Dr. Antonio Portas at

Your application will be assessed against the following assessment matrix

  1. Applications are ranked according to their scores and offers are made to applicants with the highest scores. The number of places per strand depends on several factors (e.g. staff & research projects available, room capacity). We aim to offer 14 to 16 places per strand for the 2023 edition of the “Experience Week”. In case of a tie we will also take into consideration the reference provided by the applicant’s teacher.
  2. Remaining applicants are kept on a “waiting list,” and will be offered a place in case of any drop-outs.

Any queries regarding the assessment of applications should be sent to Dr. Antonio Portas at

  1. You will get a confirmation from this website acknowledging your application!
  2. Deadline for applications is 16th of December 2022. We may have mentioned that already.
  3. We will contact your referee during the week of 19th of December 2022. Please make sure that you notify them.
  4. We will inform you of the outcome of your application no later than 13th of January 2023.
  5. Between 13th of January 2023 and 20th of February 2023, successful applications will receive additional information regarding the Experience Week.

If you have any questions regarding your application, please email contact Dr. Antonio Portas on

Experience Week 2022

In February 2022 we ran a Physics and a Mathematics Experience Week.

We had 37 participants from 26 schools and colleges working on 23 different projects.

Below are what some of our participants had to say about their experience:

“The experience week was an insightful and very much enjoyable experience, which took my interest and passion for physics to another level. I would recommend this week to anyone who is thinking about studying Physics post sixth form because it’s a really fun opportunity to meet like-minded people and know what it’s like to be a uni student.

“The whole experience was exciting and new, it gave me a whole new understanding of what research is like and what mathematics is truly like.

“This experience week is a very commendable asset to anyone who plans to study mathematics or physics. You really get to know what student life is like.

Below you can find some of the research posters produced in 2022.

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