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2022/23 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

PHYS3160 Joint Honours (Science): Project

20 creditsClass Size: 10

Module manager: Dr Peter Adams

Taught: Semesters 1 & 2 (Sep to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2022/23

This module is mutually exclusive with

PHYS3001Advanced Techniques in Experimental Physics
PHYS3002Advanced Techniques in Astrophysics
PHYS3003Advanced Techniques in Theoretical Physics
PHYS3004Advanced Techniques in Physics (Joint Honours)
PHYS5014MResearch Project

This module is not approved as a discovery module


For all projects, the student should:
- Carry out an independent research programme, under the supervision of one or more members of staff within one of the existing research groups of the School.
- Prepare and plan out a programme of research (experimental/ computing/ theoretical/ education) or an extended review of the literature (dissertation) in Physics or a related discipline under the guidance of the supervisor.
- Carry out some analysis of data from the literature or new data generated during the project.
- Execute this programme of work independently.

Learning outcomes
There are two different types of projects: (a) research projects or (b) dissertation projects. These have slightly different but highly related learning objectives.

For research projects:
- Use of the existing research literature to explain the scientific background to the project, and how this may have similarities or differences to published work.
- Perform experiments and/or computations and/or simulations and/or educational research. Assess the value of any results found and interpret their basic meaning throughout the project and on a deeper level in the final report, including evaluating the level of uncertainty in results and comparison with theoretical predictions or published data and suggestion of how future work might improve on this. Design apparatus and/or software and/or critically appraise existing apparatus for physical measurements.
- Write a well-structured report (approx. 3500 words) on the scientific results from their work in precise scientific language, ideally in the style of a refereed journal in the field.

For dissertation projects:
- Conduct an extensive search of the literature to find and catalogue the most important publications within a field (both ground-breaking early papers and the current state-of-the-art)
- Critically assess the current state of research in the topic under review, including the theoretical framework and conclusions of current research.
- Performed some qualitative analysis (e.g., critical comparison) or quantitative analysis (e.g., numerical calculations) which may use data from the literature or data generated by the student.
- Write a well-structured report (approx. 5000 words) on that explains, summarizes and critically appraises this literature and suggests possible knowledge gaps which remain in the field. Re-analyze existing data and/or provide new knowledge and/or novel findings from analysis of the literature. This report should use in precise scientific language, ideally in the style of a refereed review article for a journal in the field.

Skills outcomes
For all projects, the student should gain the following skills:
- Planning and executing experimental/computing/theoretical/literary projects.
- Confidence in report writing and ability to present work to a small group of peers through an audiovisual presentation.


I) Research Projects:
Selection of project; literature search; laboratory/computational/theoretical/educational research to carry out project; preparation of draft report; preparation of final report (approximately 3,500 words); oral presentation.

II) Dissertations:
Selection of dissertation topic; comprehensive literature search and critical analysis; preparation of draft report; preparation of final report (approximately 5,000 words); oral presentation.

Note: Physics with Astrophysics students carry out projects in astrophysics.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent Learning402.0080.00
Private study hours115.00
Total Contact hours85.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

“Private study” includes the following aspects:
- Report writing: 95 hours
- Preparation for oral presentation: 20 hours.

“Independent Learning” comprises the planning and carrying out the Experimental/Computing/Theoretical/Educational research or Literature analysis and dissertation development

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

- Weekly meetings with the supervisor in Semester 1 and Semester 2 until Easter break
- Feedback on draft reports and draft presentation slides from the supervisor in Semesters 1 and 2.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
In-course AssessmentContinuous assessment during Semester 135.00
ReportFinal project report45.00
Oral PresentationOral presentation20.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Regarding “resits” and “mitigating circumstances”: if students have undertaken project work then an extension may be granted for them to write up the final report and deliver oral presentations. If they have not undertaken any or enough work to write up, then ask them to undertake new project (usually a dissertation-type project as a re-sit. In either case, students pay for this as a resit. Students are required to submit ALL elements of the coursework in order to pass the module including the “project notebook” (sometimes called a “lab book” or a “weekly progress notebook”).

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 29/04/2022 15:31:38


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