Module code: PHYM051

Module Overview

The work for this module takes place in semester 1 of the student’s fourth academic year, i.e. in the second half of their Research Year placement. During this time, students work under the supervision of a supervisor, using their developed research skills and implementing their project through practical, theoretical or modelling work, along with analysis and presentation of results.


The exact programme of study will depend on the nature of the project and the environment in which it is carried out. The environment will normally be at a University Laboratory but may equally be at a major international government laboratory such as the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory or at regional hospital, or a company with a physics-based research programme.

Module provider

Mathematics & Physics

Module Leader

GINOSSAR Eran (Maths & Phys)

Number of Credits: 60

ECTS Credits: 30

Framework: FHEQ Level 7

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

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 579

Seminar Hours: 2

Tutorial Hours: 9

Guided Learning: 10

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

PHY3062 Research Year Interim Dissertation

Module content

Indicative content includes:

  • either an experimental or theoretical research project, carried out independently by the student under the direct supervision of a local project supervisor. The work is anticipated to cover approximately 600 hours over semester 1 of Year 4 (FHEQ Level 7).


Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation Oral Presentation at MPhys Symposium 20
Project (Group/Individual/Dissertation) Dissertation 80

Alternative Assessment


Assessment Strategy

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

core competencies in an advanced research topic, with evidence of good scientific communication skills


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • A substantial final dissertation (of up to 100 pages, including the literature review from PHY3052 which should be included to make a standalone document) to demonstrate research-level physics work.This is due at 4pm on Tuesday of week 12.

  • An oral presentation of 15 minutes length (12m speaking, 3m for questions) at the MPhys Symposium.

Formative assessment


The student will have regular meetings with a supervisor or designate, and will be visited by a Surrey-based visiting tutor who will provide feedback


Module aims

  • To provide the student with an opportunity to develop and demonstrate research practice at an advanced level in a graduate research environment, including detailed use of equipment, software, and/or theoretical techniques. In addition, a strong emphasis will also be placed on the communication of research carried out during the project, the analysis of research data, and the presentation of the research outcomes via a written dissertation.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Carry out a detailed and advanced Research project of circa 5-6 months duration to be carried out in a graduate research environment under the direction of a research supervisor; including appropriate note keeping, typically in the form of a laboratory handbook KCPT
002 Know how to operate/understand instrumentation and/or software and/or theory appropriate to the project. K
003 Understand Health and Safety issues and/or ethical issues related to research in the chosen field PT
004 Demonstrate detailed understanding of the topic and state of the art in their research topic. K
005 Demonstrate written and oral presentation skills to a high standard PT
006 Team working: it is expected that most students will work as part of a graduate research group. T

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  increase students’ critical understanding of a specialist area of physics, and throughout this module students are encouraged to learn through independent study.


The learning and teaching methods include:


  • independent study

  • working, under the supervision of a research supervisor, both individually and in a team


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: PHYM051

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 apply their developed undergraduate physics skills to a novel research problem, working within an industrial or academic research environment.

Resourcefulness and Resilience: Students are responsible for the delivery of their dissertation, requiring time management and project adaption throughout the placement. Working within a professional environment, students gain experience of real-world team working and problem solving. 


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Physics with Nuclear Astrophysics MPhys 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Physics with Astronomy MPhys 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Physics MPhys 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% is required to pass the module
Physics with Quantum Computing MPhys 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 50% 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.