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 an oral assessment


Module provider

Mathematics & Physics

Module Leader

SEAR Richard (Maths & Phys)

Number of Credits: 30

ECTS Credits: 15

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 252

Tutorial Hours: 4

Guided Learning: 44

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.  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. It can also be a literature review. 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 to the students will be advertised to the students in semester one. Students are encouraged to discuss projects with the supervisor before deciding which are of interest. Projects are assigned by the Module Leader. 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.


Students should work on your project half-time throughout Semester 2. Each student has a supervisor and they typically meet with this supervisor around once per week.


Assessment pattern

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

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:

  • An oral assessment 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)

  • 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)

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
001 Demonstrate that they have performed an advanced experimental, theoretical or literature research project. KCP
002 Present a well-written, accurate and full (but selective) dissertation, in the style of a scientific journal article. KCPT
003 Demonstrate analytic, design, numerical and organisational skills required in undertaking an extended project within time constraints. PT
004 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

Other information

The School of Mathematics and Physics is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills, and capabilities in the following areas: 

Employability Students are given more responsibility for planning the project work (experimental, theoretical or literature review), including the relevant health and safety and technical aspects and work to produce a report on the work. There is also an oral assessment, providing help/experience for future job interviews. The module, therefore, represents a key opportunity to practise and develop problem solving skills.   

Digital Capabilities Throughout the module students will be searching the scientific literature, and forming judgments on this. Depending on the project (students undertake a diverse range of projects) they may also be writing code, analysing and presenting data.

Global and Cultural Capabilities There are diverse range of projects and the range varies from year to year but past projects have given students the opportunity to do projects with relevance to aspects ranging from global challenges such as global warming through to cultural issues such as those faced by minorities in science careers. Within the longer project students are encouraged to diversify their knowledge and reflect upon what they are learning in this project. 

Resourcefulness and Resilience Problem solving is a key component of this module with students given the opportunity to tackle more involved problems in Physics with more freedom and over a longer period of time than in previous work - this is a double module. Students will be required draw upon individual resourcefulness and develop a problem-solving mindset as they risk assess, adapt and respond to challenges faced over a 10-week project.

Sustainability There are diverse range of projects and the range varies from year to year but past projects have given students the opportunity to do projects looking at how science can address challenges such as global warming, how science can develop more sustainable products such as packaging, and reduce pollution.

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 Astronomy 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 Quantum Computing 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

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 2025/6 academic year.