Module code: PHY3002

Module Overview

This 30 credit project module is designed to give students the opportunity to explore an area of interest in physics in some depth, either through experimental, theoretical or computational means, or in the form of a literature survey.  The module also develops generic professional skills such as teamwork, scientific writing and professional ethics. 

The module involves writing a dissertation and a formal presentation of the dissertation content.


Module provider


Module Leader

SEAR Richard (Physics)

Number of Credits: 30

ECTS Credits: 15

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Workshop Hours: 4

Independent Learning Hours: 289

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

An original research project carried out during Semester 2 with some preparatory work during Semester 1 and over the Christmas vacation.  During Semester 1, students select a research project involving new research or an application or development of their academic work of the previous years or of work carried out while on professional placement.  Throughout Semester 2, they will work half-time on their research project under the supervision of a member of staff.  A wide choice of project topics are offered to cater for students with theoretical, experimental and computational physics interests.  Students may also propose their own projects.

Project Choice:

The projects offered will be advertised on the departmental website from November.  A Project Fair will be organised at which most of the projects and supervisors will be represented. Students will be notified of the exact date. Students are encouraged to discuss projects with the supervisor before deciding which are of interest. When they have decided on three projects, students will enter this information on the project webpage.  Projects will then be assigned by the Module Leader, and we are normally able to satisfy preferences but this cannot be guaranteed.  Members of staff will be allowed to supervise a maximum of 3 students per session.  If a student would like to suggest their own project, it should be discussed at an early stage with the Module Leader and a member of staff with an interest in that area.  Project reports from previous years are kept in the Departmental Library (29BB03) and can be viewed to gain some idea of their range and scope.


Students will be assigned a project by mid December and should then have preliminary discussions with your supervisor.  During the remainder of Semester 1 and particularly over the Christmas vacation, some preparatory work is essential.  Ordering of equipment for an experimental project well in advance may be necessary, and a certain amount of preliminary reading should be carried out under the supervisor's guidance.

Students should work on your project half-time throughout Semester 2.  In addition, there will be a timetabled one hour meeting every week in order to monitor the advancement of the project.  During the early weeks of Semester 2, students will have a progress meeting with their supervisor and another member of staff, for which you will be required to produce a one-page report.  This meeting is not assessed in any way and is arranged to enable the student  to explain their understanding of the project so as to ascertain any obstacles remaining.


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) PROJECT REPORT 80
Oral exam or presentation PROJECT VIVA 20

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate


·         Successful undertaking of the project

·         An understanding of the literature relevant to the project

·         Good scientific writing skills, including production of figures and referencing, and writing for a specific audience


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         Assessment of the project write-up in the form of a dissertation, with a deadline of week 12, to be marked by two members of the academic staff not including the project supervisor. (80% weight)

·         A viva with two members of staff in approximately week 9. The student will present their work and answer questions on it, to assess what they have achieved and learnt during the project. (20% weight)


Formative assessment and feedback

Students receive verbal feedback in regular meetings with their supervisors throughout the duration of the project. They will receive written comments from the two members of academic staff that mark their work.

Module aims

  • stimulate and reinforce experimental and/or theoretical physics skills by application to an extended investigation in mathematical, computational or experimental physics.
  • stimulate the use of communication and presentation skills through the production of an extended piece of scientific writing.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
1 Demonstrate that they have performed an advanced experimental, theoretical or literature research project. P
2 Present a well-written, accurate and full (but selective) dissertation, in the style of a scientific journal article. PT
3 Demonstrate analytic, design, numerical and organisational skills required in undertaking an extended project within time constraints. PT
4 Demonstrate a degree of independence and self-sufficiency, and to convey a high level of understanding in the dissertation. The specific skills and knowledge gained will vary according to the choice of the experiments and supervisors P

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

  • allow students to explore an area of interest in physics to a greater depth than in other modules

  • develop a range of professional skills including scientific writing, time-management, teamwork and communication

The learning and teaching methods include:

  • regular meeting with supervisors (typically 1h/week) and other researchers for those whose projects are part of a larger research activity in a departmental research group

  • guidance on scientific dissertation writing

  • other methods dependent on the specific nature of the project (e.g. specialist guidance on journal searching for a literature review project, training in use of specialist lab equipment)


Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PHY3002

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Physics BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics with Astronomy BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Mathematics and Physics BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Physics with Quantum Technologies BSc (Hons) 2 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2019/0 academic year.