Module Details

The information contained in this module specification was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change, either during the session because of unforeseen circumstances, or following review of the module at the end of the session. Queries about the module should be directed to the member of staff with responsibility for the module.
Code PHYS355
Coordinator Dr C Copperwheat
Year CATS Level Semester CATS Value
Session 2021-22 Level 6 FHEQ Second Semester 7.5


To provide a background in Geophysics and solar system planetary science towards the understanding of exoplanet system research; to introduce methods of exoplanet detection, and current physical understanding of exoplanet systems.

Learning Outcomes

(LO1) Understanding of the principles of physics applied to understanding the interior of the Earth.

(LO2) Understanding of theories of solar system formation and evolution, including orbital evolution.

(LO3) Understanding of models of the interiors, atmospheres and magnetospheres of planets in the solar system.

(LO4) Understanding and application of methods of exoplanet detection.

(LO5) Introduction to planetary study of non-solar system bodies.

(S1) Problem solving skills.

(S2) Numeracy.

(S3) IT skills.



Solar System: Formation and composition. Orbits, two- and three-body problem. Internal structure and composition of planets, moment of inertia, heat flow, shape and gravity, magnetic fields Extra-solar planets: Direct and indirect detection methods. Statistical characteristics of planetary systems. Interior stucture, atmospheres, habitable zone.

Teaching and Learning Strategies

Teaching Method 1 - Lecture
Description: Delivery depends on teaching guidelines at the time: either in person or remote/asynchronous. Note that since the module leader is a member of staff at LJMU different guidelines may apply and so his portion of the material may have to be delivered remotely even if UoL are allowing in-person teaching.
Attendance Recorded: Yes, if delivered in person

Teaching Method 2 - Laboratory Work
Description: Three practical session; two on geophysics/planetary science and one on exoplanets. Delivery depends on teaching guidelines at the time: either in person or remote/synchronous.
Attendance Recorded: Yes
Notes: Completion of problem sheets and practical reports.
Unscheduled Directed Student Hours (time spent away from the timetabled sessions but directed by the teaching staff): 18

The module will be delivered remotely in 2021. Asynchronous learning materials (notes/videos/exercises etc) will be made availabl e to students through the VLE. The module will have regular synchronous sessions in active learning mode.
We are planning no changes to module content compared to previous years, and expect students to spend a similar amount of time-on-task compared to previous years. These changes will mainly constitute a rebalancing of hours from scheduled directed learning hours to unscheduled directed learning hours as students will have some flexibility as to when they access asynchronous materials.

Teaching Schedule

  Lectures Seminars Tutorials Lab Practicals Fieldwork Placement Other TOTAL
Study Hours 18



Timetable (if known)              
Private Study 33


EXAM Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
time-controlled open book, online examination  90 minutes    60       
CONTINUOUS Duration Timing
% of
Penalty for late
Assessment 1 There is a resit opportunity. Standard UoL penalty applies for late submission. This is not an anonymous assessment. Assessment Schedule (When) : first one due by week 4 of course,  2 problem sheets / p    40       

Recommended Texts

Reading lists are managed at Click here to access the reading lists for this module.