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Unit information: Physics Project 333 in 2020/21

Unit name Physics Project 333
Unit code PHYS39330
Credit points 30
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Gersen
Open unit status Not open

120 credit points at Level I/5 of any BSc single honours or joint honours Physics programme.



School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science


This project is an opportunity for students to take a topic in physics, either experimental or theoretical, and carry out an investigation, usually associated with one of the research areas in the department. Experimental projects are usually done in pairs. The project is student-led and leads to a substantial report detailing the project, how it was approached and the results obtained.


The project is a substantial exercise where the student learns and demonstrates initiative and independence, bringing a diversity of knowledge and skills to bear on a particular topic. It is also intended that the student will gain insight into tackling real problems rather than simply acquisition of knowledge.

Intended learning outcomes

The student will:

  • learn how to bring a diversity of knowledge and skills to bear on a specific problem,
  • learn how to identify skills and knowledge needed to carry a project forward and how to acquire them,
  • learn how to present material clearly and concisely both verbally and in manuscript,
  • produce a clear and coherent report representing a significant academic document about the topic.

Teaching details

Experimental projects are laboratory-based while theoretical projects will be library-based. Both involve a supervisor and an assessor, both of whom will be involved during the duration of the project. Generally the student and supervisor will meet weekly.

Assessment Details

Assessment is through an interim presentation at the start of spring term and a final report or dissertation of about 6,000 words at the start of summer term. The interim presentation is 10 minutes long followed by 2 minutes of questions. The presentations are given individually, attended by an assessor and small group (typically 5-10) of other project or dissertation students. The presentation is jointly marked by the assessor and your peers. The final project report or dissertation must be produced independently, even if the work was done in pairs. The report or dissertation will be independently marked by an assessor and your supervisor, and you will have an approximately 30 minute interview to discuss your project or dissertation. The final assessment is based on day-to-day performance, the quality of the report, the results and analysis. Marks will be awarded for technical ability, diligence, motivation and an understanding of the science of the project or dissertation. The marks will be agreed upon by the assessor and supervisor.

The final unit mark is made up of two coursework components weighted as follows

Interim presentation (10%) Final project report or dissertation and interview (90%)

Reading and References

This will depend on the specific project but may include textbooks, research journals, previous project reports and web-based material.