Physics Research Project - PHYS7000

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Module delivery information

Location Term Level1 Credits (ECTS)2 Current Convenor3 2021 to 2022
Combined Autumn and Spring Terms 7 60 (30) Michael Smith checkmark-circle


To provide an experience of open-ended research work.
To begin to prepare students for postgraduate work towards degrees by research or for careers in R&D in industrial or government/national laboratories.
To deepen knowledge in a specialised field and be able to communicate that knowledge orally and in writing.


All MPhys students undertake a laboratory, theoretical or computationally-based project related to their degree specialism. These projects may also be undertaken by Diploma students. A list of available project areas is made available during Stage 3, but may be augmented/revised at any time up to and including Week 1 of Stage 4. As far as possible, projects will be assigned on the basis of students' preferences – but this is not always possible: however, the project abstracts are regarded as 'flexible' in the sense that significant modification is possible (subject only to mutual consent between student and supervisor). The projects involve a combination of some or all of: literature search and critique, laboratory work, theoretical work, computational physics and data reduction/analysis. The majority of the projects are directly related to the research conducted in the department and are undertaken within the various SPS research teams.


Contact hours

Total contact hours: 40
Private study hours: 560
Total study hours: 600


This is not available as a wild module.

Method of assessment

Project progress (i.e. supervisor assessment of performance) (15%)
Project report (55%), max. 12,000 words
Viva voce (15%)
Presentation (15%), duration 15 minutes

Indicative reading

None; appropriate background reading will be suggested by individual project supervisors

See the library reading list for this module (Canterbury)

Learning outcomes

The intended subject specific learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
An ability to identify relevant principles and laws when dealing with problems, and to make approximations necessary to obtain solutions.
An ability to solve problems in physics using appropriate mathematical tools.
An ability to execute and analyse critically the results of an experiment or investigation and draw valid conclusions. To evaluate the level of uncertainty in these results and compare them with expected outcomes, theoretical predictions or with published data; thereby to evaluate the significance of their results in this context.
An ability to interpret mathematical descriptions of physical phenomena.
An ability to plan an experiment or investigation under supervision and to understand the significance of error analysis.
A working knowledge of a variety of experimental, mathematical and/or computational techniques applicable to current research within physics.
An ability to present and interpret information graphically.
An ability to communicate scientific information, in particular to produce clear and accurate scientific reports.
A familiarity with laboratory apparatus (including relevant aspects of Health & Safety), theories and techniques.
The systematic and reliable recording of experimental data or derivation of theoretical results.
An ability to make use of appropriate texts, research-based materials or other learning resources as part of managing their own learning.
C&IT skills which show fluency at the level and range needed for project work such as familiarity with a programming language, simulation software or the use of mathematical packages for manipulation and numerical solution of equations.
An ability to communicate complex scientific ideas, the conclusion of an experiment, investigation or project concisely, accurately and informatively.
Experimental skills showing the competent use of specialised equipment, the ability to identify appropriate pieces of equipment and to master new techniques and equipment.
An ability to make use of research articles and other primary sources.

The intended generic learning outcomes. On successfully completing the module students will be able to:
Have a knowledge and understanding of:
Problem-solving skills, in the context of both problems with well-defined solutions and open-ended problems; an ability to formulate problems in precise terms and to identify key issues, and the confidence to try different approaches in order to make progress on challenging problems. Numeracy is subsumed within this area.
Investigative skills in the context of independent investigation including the use of textbooks and other available literature, databases, and the interaction with colleagues to extract important information.
Communication skills in the area of dealing with surprising ideas and difficult concepts, including listening carefully, reading demanding texts and presenting complex information in a clear and concise manner. C&IT skills are an important element to this.
Analytical skills – associated with the need to pay attention to detail and to develop an ability to manipulate precise and intricate ideas, to construct logical arguments and to use technical language correctly.
Personal skills – the ability to work independently, to use initiative, to organise oneself to meet deadlines and to interact constructively with other people.


  1. Credit level 7. Undergraduate or postgraduate masters level module.
  2. ECTS credits are recognised throughout the EU and allow you to transfer credit easily from one university to another.
  3. The named convenor is the convenor for the current academic session.
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