Astrophysics MPhys Add to your prospectus

  • Offers study abroad opportunities Offers study abroad opportunities
  • Opportunity to study for a year in China Offers a Year in China
  • This degree is accreditedAccredited

Key information


  • Course length: 4 years
  • UCAS code: F521
  • Year of entry: 2018
  • Typical offer: A-level : AAB / IB : 35 / BTEC : Applications considered
physics-6

Module details

Programme Year One

The first year starts with a one week project to familiarise you with the staff and other students. There will be two Maths modules in each of the first two years, these are designed to provide the Mathematical skills required by Physics students.

Year One Compulsory Modules

  • Newtonian Dynamics (PHYS101)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
    Aims
    • To introduce the fundamental concepts and principles of classical mechanics at an elementary level.
    • To provide an introduction to the study of fluids.
    • To introduce the use of elementary vector algebra in the context of mechanics.
    Learning Outcomes

    Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the laws of classical mechanics, and understand physical quantities with magnitudes, directions (where applicable), units and uncertainties.

    • understand physical quantities with magnitudes, directions (where applicable), units and uncertainties.
    • apply the laws of mechanics to statics, linear motion, motion in a plane, rotational motion, simple harmonic motion and gravitation.

    Apply the laws of mechanics to unseen situations and solve problems.

    Develop a knowledge and understanding of the analysis of linear and rotational motion.

    ​Develop a knowledge and understanding of the analysis of orbits, gravity, simple harmonic motion and fluid flow.

  • Thermal Physics (PHYS102)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
    Aims

    The module aims to make the student familiar with

    • The concepts of Thermal Physics
    • The zeroth, first and second laws of Thermodynamics
    • Heat engines
    • The kinetic theory of gasses
    • Entropy
    • The equation of state
    • Van der Waals equation
    • States of matter and state changes
    • The basis of statistical mechanics
    Learning Outcomes

    Construct a temperature scale and understand how to calibrate a thermometer with that scale

    ​Calculate the heat flow into and work done by a system and how that is constrained by the first law of Thermodynamics

    ​Analyse the expected performance of heat engines, heat pumps and refrigerators

    ​Relate the second law of thermodynamics to the operation of heat engines, particularly the Carnot engine

    ​Understand the kinetic theory of gases and calculate properties of gases including the heat capacity and mean free path

    ​Use the theory of equipartition to relate the structure of the molecules to the measured heat capacity

    ​Calculate the linear and volume thermal expansions of materials

    ​Understand the basis of entropy and relate this to the second law of thermodynamics andcalculate entropy changes

    ​Relate the equation of state for a material to the macroscopic properties of the material

    ​Understand the PV and PT diagrams for materials and the phase transitions that occur when changing the state variables for materials

    ​Be able to link the microscopic view of a system to its macroscopic state variables
  • Wave Phenomena (PHYS103)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
    Aims
    • To introduce the fundamental concepts and principles of wave phenomena.
    • To highlight the many diverse areas of physics in which an understanding of waves is crucial.
    • To introduce the concepts of interference and diffraction.
    Learning Outcomes

    At the end of the module the student should be able to:

    • Demonstrate an understanding of oscillators.
    • Understand the fundamental principles underlying wave phenomena.
    • Apply those principles to diverse phenomena.
    • Understand wave reflection and transmission, superposition of waves.
    • Solve problems on the behaviour of electromagnetic waves in vacuo and in dielectric materials.
    • Understand linear and circular polarisation.
    • Understand inteference and diffraction effects.
    • Understand lenses and optical instruments.
    • Apply Fourier techniques and understand their link to diffraction patterns.
    • Understand the basic principles of lasers.
  • Foundations of Modern Physics (PHYS104)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting60:40
    Aims
    • To introduce the theory of special relativity and its experimental proofs.
    • To carry out calculations using relativity and visualise them.
    • To introduce the concepts and the experimental foundations of quantum theory.
    • To carry out simple calculations related to quantum mechanical problem tasks.
    • To show the impact of relativity and quantum theory on contemporary science and society.
    Learning Outcomes

    An understanding why classical mechanics must have failed to describe the properties of light, the motion of objects with speeds close to the speed of light and the properties of microspopic systems.

    ​A basic knowledge on the experimental and theoretical concepts which founded modern physics, i.e. that either relativity or quantum theory or both are needed to explain certain phenomena.​

    ​A knowledge of the postulates of special relativity.​

    ​An understanding of the concept of spacetime, of the relativity of length, time and velocity.​

    An ability to apply the Lorentz transformation and the concept of Lorentz invariance to simple cases​

    ​An ability to apply the equations of relativistic energy, momentum and rest mass.​

    ​An understanding of the Doppler effect for light and visualisation of relativistic effects.​

    ​An ability to solve problems based on special relativity.​

    ​An understanding why quantum theory is the conceptual framework to understand the microscopic properties of the universe.​

    ​An understanding of the quantum theory of light and the ability to apply the energy-momentum conservation for light, e.g. photo-electric effect, Compton effect.​

    ​An understanding of the structure of atoms and its experimental foundations.

    ​An understanding of Bohr''s theory of the atom and its application to the H-atom including the concept of principal quantum numbers.​

    ​An understanding of de Broglie waves and their statistical interpretation.​

    ​An ability to explain the experimental evidence of de Broglie waves with scattering experiments of electrons, X-rays and neutrons.​

    ​An understanding of the principles of quantum mechanical measurements and Heisenberg''s uncertainty principle.​

    ​An understanding of the identity principle of microscopic particles and the basic idea of quantum (Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein) statistics.​

    ​A basic knowledge of contemporary applications of quantum theory and relativity, e.g. nuclear reactor and nuclear fissions, and the impact on our society.​

  • Working With Physics I (PHYS105)
    Level1
    Credit level7.5
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims
    • To develop skills with spreadsheets
    • To develop skills in using computers to perform mathematical calculations
    • To illustrate the insight into physics which can be obtained by exploiting computational software packages
    • To improve science students'' skills in communicating scientific information in appropriate written and oral formats

     

    Learning Outcomes

    Ability to use spreadsheets and mathematical packages to calculate and graph mathematical equations.

    Ability to apply mathematical software packages to physics problems

    Ability to communicate more confidently

    Understanding of some of the key factors in successful communication

  • Practical Physics I (PHYS106)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterWhole Session
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims
    • To provide a core of essential introductory laboratory methods which overlap and develop from A-Level
    • To introduce the basis of experimental techniques in physical measurement, the use of computer techniques in analysis, and to provide experience in doing experiments, keeping records and writing reports.
    • To compliment the core physics program with experimental examples of material taught in the lecture courses.
    Learning Outcomes

     

    • Experienced the practical nature of physics.

     

    • Developed an awareness of the importance of accurate experimentation, particularly observation, record keeping. 

    • Developed the ability to plan, execute and report on the results of an investigation using appropriate analysis of the data and associated uncertainties

     

    • Developed the practical and technical skill required for physics experimentation and an appreciation of the importance of a systematic approach to experimental measurement.

    • Developed problem solving skills of a practical nature

     

    • Developed analytical skills in the analysis of the data

     

    • Developed communication skills in the presentation of the investigation in a clear and logical manner

    • Developed investgative skills in performing the experiment and extracting information from various sources with which to compare the results

    • Developed the ability to organise their time and meet deadlines

     

    • Understand the interaction between theory and experiment, in particular the ties to the material presented in the lecture courses.
  • Mathematics for Physicists I (PHYS107)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
    Aims

    To provide a foundation for the mathematics required by physical scientists.

    To assist students in acquiring the skills necessary to use the mathematics developed in the module.

    Learning Outcomes

  • a good working knowledge of differential and integral calculus



  • familiarity with some of the elementary functions common in applied mathematics and science



  • an introductory knowledge of functions of several variables


  • manipulation of complex numbers and use them to solve simple problems involving fractional powers


  • an introductory knowledge of series


  • a good rudimentary knowledge of simple problems involving statistics: binomial and Poisson distributions, mean, standard deviation, standard error of mean
  • Mathematics for Physicists II (PHYS108)
    Level1
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
    Aims
    • To consolidate and extend the understanding of mathematics required for the physical sciences.
    • To develop the student’s ability to apply the mathematical techniques developed in the module to the understanding of physical problems.
    Learning OutcomesAbility to manipulate matrices with confidence and use matrix methods to solve simultaneous linear equations.

    ​Familiarity with methods for solving first and second order differential equations in one variable.

    ​A basic knowledge of vector algebra.

    A basic understanding of Fourier series and transforms.

    ​A basic understanding of series methods for the solution of differential equations

Programme Year Two

In year two you will broaden your understanding of Physics, with modules designed to ensure you have mastered the full range of Physics concepts.

Year Two Compulsory Modules

  • Electromagnetism (PHYS201)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
    Aims
    • To introduce the fundamental concepts and principles of electrostatics, magnetostatics, electromagnetism and Maxwell''s equations, and electromagnetic waves.
    • To introduce differential vector analysis in the context of electromagnetism.
    • To introduce circuit principles and analysis (EMF, Ohm''s law, Kirchhoff''s rules, RC and RLC circuits)
    • To introduce the formulation fo Maxwell''s equations in the presence of dielectric and magnetic materials.
    • To develop the ability of students to apply Maxwell''s equations to simple problems involving dielectric and magnetic materials.
    • To develop the concepts of field theories in Physics using electromagnetism as an example.
    • To introduce light as an electromagnetic wave.
    Learning Outcomes

    ​Demonstrate a good knowledge of the laws of electromagnetism and an understanding of the practical meaning of Maxwell''s equations in integral and differential forms.

    ​Apply differential vector analysis to electromagnetism.

    ​Demonstrate simple knowledge and understanding of how the presence of matter affects electrostatics and magnetostatics, and the ability to solve simple problems in these situations.

    ​Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of how the laws are altered in the case of non-static electric and magnetic fields and the ability to solve simple problems in these situations.

  • Condensed Matter Physics (PHYS202)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterFirst Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
    Aims

    The aims of Phys202 are to introduce the most important and basic concepts in condensed matter physics relating to the different materials we commonly see in the world around us. Condensed matter physics is one of the most active areas of research in modern physics, whose scope is extremely broad. The ultimate aim of this course is to introduce its central ideas and methodology to the students.

    Condensed matter refers to both liquids and solids and all kinds of other forms of matter in between those two extremes, generally known as “soft matter". While the course will touch on liquids, the emphasis will be on crystalline solids, including some nano-materials. The reason for focusing on crystals is that the periodicity of a crystal is what allows us to make progress in developing a theory for various phenomena in solids based on first principles. Two important concepts are:

    • the electronic states of electrons in a solid and

    • the vibrations of atoms in the solid.

    The description of these ideas basically refer to the theory of electronic band structure and the theory of phonons. These concepts form the basis for understanding a wide range of phenomena including how the atoms bond together to form the crystal, what are some basic statistical properties like specific heat, how electrons move in solids and electronic transport, why are some materials metals and others semiconductors and insulators, and how do solids interact with electromagnetic fields. The course will also introduce optical and magnetic properties in solids, scattering phenomena, thermal conductivity and effect of defects in solids, semiconductors, magnetism and go beyond the free electron model to touch on intriguing effects such as superconductivity.

    Learning Outcomes

    On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to understand the basic concepts of bonding in solids, establish an understanding of electron configuration in atoms and in the condensed matter in terms of bonding, and relating them to band structure description.

    ​Students will be able to understand how solid structures are described mathematically and how material properties can be predicted​.

    ​Students will be able to establish a foundation in basic crystallography, using Bragg''s law, and understand the concept of the reciprocal lattice.


    ​Students will understand basic transport properties, both electronic and thermal, in solids.

    ​ Students will understand the concept of electron and hole carrier statistics, effective masses and transport in intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors

    ​Students will learn the basics of magnetism, the atomic origin and classical treatment of diamagnetism and paramagnetism, quantization of angular momentum and Hund''s rule, and introduced to weak magnetism in solids.


    ​​Students will become familiar to the general language of condensed matter physics, key theories and concepts, ultimately enebling them to read and understand research papers.


  • Quantum and Atomic Physics (PHYS203)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
    Aims
    • To introduce students to the concepts of quantum theory.
    • To show how Schrodinger''s equation is applied to particle flux and to bound states.
    • To show how quantum ideas provide an understanding of atomic structure.
    Learning Outcomes

    At the end of the module the student should have:

    • An understanding of the reasons why microscopic systems require quantum description and statistical interpretation.
    • Knowledge of the Schrodinger equation and how it is formulated to describe simple physical systems.
    • Understanding of the basic technique of using Schrodinger''s equation and ability to determine solutions in simple cases.
    • Understanding of how orbital angular momentum is described in quantum mechanics and why there is a need for spin.
    • Understanding how the formalism of quantum mechanics describes the structure of atomic hydrogen and, schematically, how more complex atoms are described.
  • Nuclear and Particle Physics (PHYS204)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterSecond Semester
    Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
    Aims
    • To introduce Rutherford and related scattering.
    • To introduce nuclear size, mass and decay modes
    • To provide some applications and examples of nuclear physics
    • To introduce particle physics, including interactions, reactions and decay
    • To show some recent experimental discoveries
    • To introduce relativistic 4-vectors for applications to collision problems
    Learning Outcomes

    At the end of the module the student should have:

    • basic understanding of Rutherford, electron on neutron scattering
    • understanding of the basic principles that determine nuclear size, mass and decay modes
    • knowledge of examples and applications of nuclear physics
    • knowledge of elementary particles and their interactions
    • basic understanding of relativistic 4-vectors
  • Working With Physics II (PHYS205)
    Level2
    Credit level15
    SemesterWhole Session
    Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
    Aims
    • To develop essential research skills
    • To use programming techniques to solve problems in Physics, Nuclear Physics, Astrophysics and/or meduical applciations of physics.
    • To develop skills in modelling the solution to a problem
    • To give students experience iof working in small groups to solve a problem
    • To give students further experience of communicating their results using computer packages
    Learning Outcomes

    Knowledge of programming techniques in Matlab


      ​The ability to solve problems using a computer program​

      ​Mastered a basic set of research skills

      ​Experience of working in a small group​

      ​Improved communication skills written, Oral and Poster

    • Mathematics for Physicists III (PHYS207)
      Level2
      Credit level15
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
      Aims
      • To re-inforce students'' prior knowledge of mathematical techniques
      • To introduce new mathematical techniques for physics modules
      • To enhance students'' problem-solving abilities through structured application of these techniques in physics
      Learning Outcomes

      At the end of the module the student should be able to:

      • Have knowledge of a range of mathematical techniques necessary for physics and astrophysics programmes
      • Be able to apply these mathematical techniques in a range of physics and astrophysics programmes
    • Mathematics for Physicists IV (PHYS208)
      Level2
      Credit level15
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
      Aims
      • To re-inforce students'' prior knowledge of mathematical techniques
      • To introduce new mathematical techniques for physics modules
      • To enhance students'' problem-solving abilities through structured application of these techniques in physics
      Learning Outcomes

      At the end of the module the student should be able to:

      • Have knowledge of a range of advanced mathematical techniques necessary for physics and astrophysics programmes
      • Be able to apply these mathematical techniques in a range of physics and astrophysics programmes
    • Practical Astrophysics I (PHYS216)
      Level2
      Credit level15
      SemesterWhole Session
      Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
      Aims
      • Setting up and calibrating equipment
      • Become familiar with equipment used in later modules
      • Taking reliable and reproducible data
      • Develop understanding of various techniques of data gathering and analysis in modern astrophysics
      • Calculating experimental results and their associated uncertainties
      • Using computer software, including specific astrophysical software, to analyse data
      • Writing a coherent account of the experimental procedure and conclusions
      • Understanding physics in depth by performing specific experiments
      • Developing practical, technical and computing skills required for later modules
      Learning Outcomes

        Improved practical skills and experience.

      ​A detailed understanding of the fundamental physics and/or astrophysics behind the experiments.

      ​Increased confidence in setting up and calibrating equipment.

      ​Familiarity with IT package for calculating, displaying and presenting results

      ​Familiarity with subject specific astrophysics data analysis software.

      ​Enhanced ability to plan, execute and report the results of an investigation.

      ​Knowledge of the methods employed in the detection and analysis of light at optical wavelengths from astrophysical sources.

      ​A clear understanding of the methods employed in astronomical photometry and spectroscopy.

      ​Experience of the acquisition, reduction and analysis of astronomical data.

    • Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Physics (PHYS361)
      Level3
      Credit level15
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
      Aims
      • To build on the second year module on Quantum and Atomic Physics
      • To develop the formalism of quantum mechanics
      • To develop an understanding that atoms are quantum systems
      • To enable the student to follow elementary quantum mechanical arguments in the literature 
      Learning Outcomes​Understanding of the role of wavefunctions, operators, eigenvalue equations, symmetries, compatibility/non-compatibility of observables and perturbation theory in quantum mechanical theory.

      ​An ability to solve straightforward problems - different bound states and perturbing interactions.​

      ​Developed knowledge and understanding of the quantum mechanical description of atoms - single particle levels, coupled angular momentum, fine structure, transition selection rules.​

      ​Developed a working knowledge of interactions, electron configurations and coupling in atoms.​

    Programme Year Three

    With the core physics modules completed in the first two years there is now considerable scope to choose amongst the optional modules available, mostly based around the research interests of the departmental staff.

    Year Three Compulsory Modules

    • Stellar Physics (PHYS351)
      Level3
      Credit level15
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
      Aims
      • To provide students with an understanding of the physical processes which determine all aspects of the structure and evolution of stars, from their birth to their death.
      • To enable students to determine the basic physical properties of stars via observation (e.g. determination of temperatures, masses and radii etc. using continuum fluxes, broad-band colours, line profiles etc).
      Learning Outcomes

      At the end of the module the student should have knowledge of how the basic physical properties of stars can be determined from observation.

      At the end of the module the student should have ​an understanding of how stellar structure can be probed using observable quantities and simple physical principles.​

      ​At the end of the module a student should have an understanding of the changes in structure and energy sources for stars throughout their lives.​

    • Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Physics (PHYS361)
      Level3
      Credit level15
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
      Aims
      • To build on the second year module on Quantum and Atomic Physics
      • To develop the formalism of quantum mechanics
      • To develop an understanding that atoms are quantum systems
      • To enable the student to follow elementary quantum mechanical arguments in the literature 
      Learning Outcomes​Understanding of the role of wavefunctions, operators, eigenvalue equations, symmetries, compatibility/non-compatibility of observables and perturbation theory in quantum mechanical theory.

      ​An ability to solve straightforward problems - different bound states and perturbing interactions.​

      ​Developed knowledge and understanding of the quantum mechanical description of atoms - single particle levels, coupled angular momentum, fine structure, transition selection rules.​

      ​Developed a working knowledge of interactions, electron configurations and coupling in atoms.​

    • Observational Astronomy (PHYS362)
      Level3
      Credit level15
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
      Aims
      • To introduce students to the experimental techniques which enable astrophysicists to use the full range of the electromagnetic spectrum to study the physics of astronomical objects.
      • To become familiar with the design of telescopes across the electromagnetic spectrum.
      • To understand the physical basis of light detection across the spectrum.
      • To understand observing techniques such as photometry, spectroscopy, adaptive optics, interferometry.
      Learning Outcomes

      At the end of the module the student should:

      • Understand and be able to compare and contrast the basic techniques and problems involved in observing all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum
      • Understand and be able to use and experimental concepts, as applied to observational astrophysics, of signal-to-noise ratio, sampling, resolution.
      • Be able to determine the observing technique most appropriate for a given scientific goal.
      • Be able to plan observations at a variety of wavelengths
    • Galaxies (PHYS373)
      Level3
      Credit level15
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting80:20
      Aims
      • To provide students with a broad overview of these complex yet fundamental systems which interact at one end with the physics of stars and the interstellar medium and at the other with cosmology and the nature of large-scale structures in the Universe
      • To develop in students an understanding of how the various distinct components in galaxies evolve and interact
      Learning Outcomes

      At the end of the module the student should have:

      • The ability to describe and discuss the structure and evolution of galaxies and their various components
      • An understanding of and an ability to explain the detailed interplay between these components
      • Knowledge of their cumulative effect on the chemical, dynamical and spectral evolution of the galaxy as a whole
    • Relativity and Cosmology (PHYS374)
      Level3
      Credit level15
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting80:20
      Aims
      • To introduce the ideas of general relativity and demonstrate its relevance to modern astrophysics
      • To provide students with a full and rounded introduction to modern observational cosmology
      • To develop the basic theoretical background required to understand and appreciate the significance of recent results from facilities such as the Hubble Space Telescope and the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe
      Learning Outcomes​The ability to explain the relationship between Newtonian gravity and Einstein''s General Relativity (GR)

      ​Understanding of the concept of curved space time and knowledge of metrics​.

      A broad and up-to-date knowledge of the basic ideas, most important discoveries and outstanding problems in modern cosmology​.

      ​Knowledge of how simple cosmological models of the universe are constructed​.

      The ability to calculate physical parameters and make observational predictions for a range of such models.
    • Nuclear Physics (PHYS375)
      Level3
      Credit level7.5
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
      Aims
      • To build on the second year module involving Nuclear Physics
      • To develop an understanding of the modern view of nuclei, how they are modelled and of nuclear decay processes
      Learning Outcomes

      At the end of the module the student should have:

      • Knowledge of evidence for the shell model of nuclei, its development and the successes and failures of the model in explaining nuclear properties

      ​Knowledge of the collective vibrational and rotational models of nuclei

      ​Basic knowledge of nuclear decay processes, alpha decay and fission, of gamma-ray transitions and internal conversion

      ​Knowledge of electromagnetic transitions in nuclei

    • Introduction to Particle Physics (PHYS377)
      Level3
      Credit level7.5
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
      Aims
      • To build on the second year module involving Nuclear and Particle Physics
      • To develop an understanding of the modern view of particles, of their interactions and the Standard Model
      Learning Outcomes

      At the end of the module the student should have:

      Basic understanding of relativistic kinematics (as applied to collisions, decay processes and cross sections)

      ​Descriptive knowledge of the Standard Model using a non rigorous Feynman diagram approach

      ​Knowledge of the fundamental particles of the Standard Model and the experimental evidence for the Standard Model

      ​Knowledge of conservation laws and discrete symmetries

    Year Three Optional Modules

    • Accelerators and Radioisotopes in Medicine (PHYS246)
      Level2
      Credit level15
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
      Aims
      • To introduce the students to ionising and non ionising radiation including its origins and production.
      • To introduce the various ways in which radiation interacts with materials.
      • To introduce the different accelerators and isotopes used in medicine and to give examples of their use.
      Learning Outcomes


      • A basic knowledge of the origins of radiation and its properties.

      ​​

      • An understanding of ways in which radiation interacts with materials.

      • An understanding of how accelerators operate and how isotopes are produced.

      • Knowledge of applications of the use of accelerators and isotopes in medicine.​​​
    • Stellar Atmospheres (PHYS352)
      Level3
      Credit level7.5
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting80:20
      Aims
      • To provide students with an understanding of the properties of stellar spectra, of the effect of expanding atmospheres and of the relevance for Supernovae.
      • To give students the tools to determine the chemical composition of stars, the physical conditions in the gas and the properties of expanding media (stellar winds: velocity, mass-loss rate; Supernovae: velocity, mass, kinetic energy, nucleosynthesis)
      Learning Outcomes

      At the end of the module the student should have:

      • knowledge of how the physical properties of stars and supernovae can be determined from spectroscopic observations.


      ​an understanding of how the interaction between radiation and matter determines the observable properties of stars.

      ​an understanding of how radiation propagates through a medium (a gas), affecting its properties

    • Planetary Physics (PHYS355)
      Level3
      Credit level7.5
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
      Aims

      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

      Understanding of the principles of physics applied to understanding the interior of the Earth.

      ​Understanding of theories of solar system formation and evolution, including orbital evolution.

      ​Understanding of models of the interiors, atmospheres and magnetospheres of planets in the solar system.

      ​Understanding and application of methods of exoplanet detection.

      ​Introduction to planetary study of non-solar system bodies.

    • Advanced Condensed Matter Physics (PHYS363)
      Level3
      Credit level7.5
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
      Aims
      • To develop concepts introduced in Year 1 and Year 2 modules which relate to solids.
      • To consolidate concepts related to crystal structure.
      • To introduce the concept of reciprocal space and diffraction.
      • To enable the students to apply these concepts to the description of crystals,transport properties and the electronic structure of condensed matter.
      • To illustrate the use of these concepts in scientific research in condensed matter.
      • To introduce various other solids
      Learning Outcomes

      Familiarity with the crystalline nature of both perfect and real materials.

      ​An understanding of the fundamental principles of the properties of condensed matter

      ​An appreciation of the relationship between the real space and the reciprocal space view of the properties of crystalline matter

      ​An ability to describe the crystal structure and electronic structure of matter

      ​An awareness of current physics research in condensed matter.

    • Advanced Electromagnetism (PHYS370)
      Level3
      Credit level15
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
      Aims
      • To build on first and second year modules on electricity, magnetism and waves by understanding a range of electromagnetic phenomena in terms of Maxwell''s equations.
      • To understand the properties of solutions to the wave equation for electromagnetic fields in free space, in matter (non-dispersive and dispersive dielectrics, and conductors).
      • To understand the behaviour of electromagnetic waves at boundaries.
      • To understand the behaviour of electromagnetic waves in cavities, waveguides and transmission lines.
      • To understand the properties of electric dipole radiation.
      • To introduce an explicity covariant formulation of electromagnetism in special relativity.
      • To further develop students'' problem-solving and analytic skills.
      Learning Outcomes

      ​Students should have an understanding of the properties of solutions to the wave equation for electromagnetic fields in free space and in matter (non-dispersive and dispersive dielectrics, and conductors).

      ​Students should have an understanding of the behaviour of electromagnetic waves at boundaries.

      ​Students should have an understanding of the behaviour of electromagnetic waves in cavities, waveguides and transmission lines.

      ​Students should have an understanding of the properties of electric dipole radiation.

      ​Students should have the ability to explain an explicity covariant formulation of electromagnetism in special relativity.

    • Surface Physics (PHYS381)
      Level3
      Credit level7.5
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
      Aims
      • Develop a syllabus to describe the properties of surfaces
      • Convey an understanding of the physical properties of Surfaces
      • Provide knowledge  of a raneg of surface characterisation techniques
      • Illustrate surface processes and their relevance to technologies
      Learning Outcomes

      explain how the presence of the surface alters physical properties such as atomic an electronic structure​

       choose the right characterisation technique to assess different surface properties

       have gained an  appreciation of surface processes and their relevance to the modification of surface properties

      ​be able to describe surface alterations and processes using the right terminology

    • Physics of Life (PHYS382)
      Level3
      Credit level7.5
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
      Aims
      • To explain the constraints on physical forces which are necessary for life to evolve in the Universe
      • To describe the characteristics of life on earth
      • To describe physical techniques used in the study of biological systems
      Learning Outcomes​​​

      At the end of the module the student should have:

      • An understanding of the framework of physical forces within which life is possible

      • An understanding of the nature of life on earth


      • Familiarity with physical techniques used in the study of biological systems​
    • Materials Physics (PHYS387)
      Level3
      Credit level7.5
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
      Aims
      • To teach the properties and methods of preparation of a range of materials of scientific and technological importance
      • To develop an understanding of the experimental techniques of materials characterisation
      • To introduce materials such as amorphous solids, liquid crystals and polymers and to develop an understanding of the relationship between structure and physical properties for such materials
      • To illustrate the concepts and principles by reference to examples
      Learning Outcomes

      At the end of the module the student should have:

      • An understanding of the atomic structure in cyrstalline and amorphous materials
      • Knowledge of the methods used for preparing single crystals and amorphous materials
      • Knowledge of the experimental techniques used in materials characterisation
      • Knowledge of the physical properties of superconducting materials
      • An appreciation of the factors involved in the design of biomaterials
      • The ability to interpret simple phase diagrams of binary systems
    • Physics of Energy Sources (PHYS388)
      Level3
      Credit level15
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
      Aims
      • To develop an ability which allows educated and well informed opinions to be formed by the next generation of physicists on a wide range of issues in the context of the future energy needs of man
      • To describe and understand methods of utilising renewable energy sources such as hydropower, tidal power, wave power, wind power and solar power.
      • To give knowledge and understanding of the design and operation of nuclear reactors
      • To give knowledge and understanding of nuclear fusion as a source of power
      • To give knowledge and understanding relevant to overall safety in the nuclear power industry
      • To describe the origin of environmental radioactivity and understand the effects of radiation on humans
      Learning Outcomes

      At the end of the module the student should have:

      • Learned the fundamental physical principles underlying energy production using conventional and renewable energy sources
      • Learned the fundamental physical principles underlying nuclear fission and fusion reactors
      • Studied the applications of these principles in the design issues power generation
      • An appreciation of the role of mathematics in modelling power generation
      • Learned the fundamental physical principles concerning the origin and consequences of environmental radioactivity
      • Developed an awareness of the safety issues involved in exposure to radiation
      • Developed problem solving skills based on the material presented
      • Developed an appreciation of the problems of supplying the required future energy needs and the scope and issues associated with the different possible methods
    • Semiconductor Applications (PHYS389)
      Level3
      Credit level7.5
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
      Aims
      • To develop the physics concepts describing semiconductors in sufficient details for the purpose of understanding the construction and operation of common semiconductor devices
      Learning Outcomes

      At the end of the module the student should have:

      • Knowledge of the basic theory of p-n junctions
      • Knowledge of the structure and function of a variety of semiconductor devices
      • An overview of semiconductor device manufacturing processes
      • Knowledge of the basic processes involved in the interaction of radiation with matter
      • Understanding the application of semiconductors in Nuclear and Particle physics
    • Communicating Science (PHYS391)
      Level3
      Credit level7.5
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
      Aims
      • To improve science students'' skills in communicating scientific information in a wide range of contexts
      • To develop students'' understanding of some concepts of:
      • Science in general
      • Their particular area of science
      • Other areas of science
      Learning Outcomes

      ​ An ability to communicate more confidently​

      ​ An understanding of some of the key factors in successfulcommunication

      ​An appreciation of the needs of different audiences​

      ​Experience of a variety of written and oral media​

      ​A broader appreciation of science and particular areas ofscience​

    • Statistics in Data Analysis (PHYS392)
      Level3
      Credit level15
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
      Aims

      To give a theoretical and practical understanding of the statistical principles involved in the analysis and interpretation of data.

      Learning Outcomes

      Knowledge of experimental errors and probability distributions

       

      ​The ability to use statistical methods in data analysis

       

      • The ability to apply statistical analysis to data from a range of sources

       

      •  Using statistical information to detemine the validity of a hypothesis or experimental measurement
    • Statistical and Low Temperature Physics (PHYS393)
      Level3
      Credit level15
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
      Aims
      • To build on material presented in earlier Thermal Physics and Quantum Mechanics courses
      • To develop the statistical treatment of quantum systems
      • To use theoretical techniques to predict experimental observables
      • To introduce the basic principles governing the behaviour of liquid helium and superconductors in cooling techniques
      Learning Outcomes

      Understanding of the statistical basis of entropy and temperature

      ​Ability to devise expressions for observables, (heat capacity, magnetisation) from statistical treatment of quantum systems

      ​Understanding of Maxwell Boltzmann, Fermi-Dirac and Bose Einstein gases

      ​Knowledge of cooling techniques

      ​Knowledge and understanding of basic theories of liquid helium behaviour and superconductivity in cooling techniques

    • Practical Astrophysics II (PHYS394)
      Level3
      Credit level15
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
      Aims
      • To provide practice in the planning and execution of a programme of astronomical observations
      • To provide training in the application of astronomical co-ordinate systems
      • To provide competence in the handling of a large astronomical telescope
      • To gain experience in making, calibrating and analysing astronomical measurements using a CCD camera and spectrometer
      • To gain experience in preparing a written report based on the results of astronomical work
      Learning Outcomes

      At the end of the module the student should have:

      • The ability to plan and execute a simple programme of astronomical observations and measurements
      • Familiarity with astronomical coordinate systems and the ability to find astronomical objects in the sky
      • Skills in pointing and adjusting a large, manually controlled astronomical telescope
      • The ability to take, reduce and analyse astronomical data to produce physically meaningful information.
      • Experience of observing at a professional high-altitude observatory
      • Experience of preparing a written report based on the results of astronomical work
    • Classical Mechanics (PHYS470)
      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
      Aims
      1. ​To provide students with an awareness of the physical principles that can be applied to understand important features of classical (i.e. non-quantum) mechanical systems.
      2. To provide students with techniques that can be applied to derive and solve the equations of motion for various types of classical mechanical systems, including systems of particles and fields.
      3. To develop students'' understanding of the fundamental relationship between symmetries and conserved quantities in physics.
      4. To reinforce students’ knowledge of quantum mechanics, by developing and exploring the application of closely-related concepts in classical mechanics.
      Learning Outcomes

      ​Students should know the physical principles underlying the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of classical mechanics, in particular D’Alembert’s principle and Hamilton’s principle, and should be able to explain the significance of these advanced principles in classical and modern physics.

      ​Students should be able to apply the Euler-Lagrange equations and Hamilton’s equations (as appropriate) to derive the equations of motion for specific dynamical systems, including complex nonlinear systems.

      Students should be able to use advanced concepts in classical mechanics to describe the connection between symmetries and conservation laws.

      ​Students should be able to apply advanced techniques, including conservation laws, canonical transformations, generating functions, perturbation theory etc. to describe important features of various dynamical systems (including systems of particles and fields) and to solve the equations of motion in specific cases.

    • Elements of Stellar Dynamics (PHYS484)
      LevelM
      Credit level7.5
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting75:25
      Aims

      To show that there is more to gravity than Newton''s law. This will provide the students with a basic understanding of the dynamics of systems containing millions and billions of point-like gravitating bodies: stars in stellar clusters and galaxies.

      Learning Outcomes

      At the end of the module the student should have the ability to

      • Show how dynamical processes shape the structure of galaxies and stellar clusters
      • Describe the motion of stars in stellar systems
      • Apply orbital analysis to stellar systems
      • Demonstrate an understanding of the implications of the continuity equation
    • Physics of the Radiative Universe (PHYS485)
      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting80:20
      Aims- To see how physical phenomena can be applied and used to explain the appearance and spectra of celestial objects- To introduce Einstein''s A and B coefficients- To introduce several important radiation mechanisms at work in a variety of astronomical sources- To understand the major physical phenomena at work in non-stellar astronomical sources such as  HII regions, giant radio lobes, supernova remnants- To see how important the HI emission line is in astrophysics
      Learning OutcomesAt the end of the module the student should have the ability to- Relate observable quantities to physical conditions and mechanism(s)

      ​- Describe and calculate the emergent flux and spectrum for several mechanisms (e.g.Bremsstrahlung, synchrotron, Compton effect)

      ​- Apply this knowledge to understand the properties and behaviour of different objects (active galaxies, neutron stars, H II regions, gamma-ray bursts)

      ​- Describe the physics of a few important line ratios in HII regions

      ​- Understand several cooling and heating mechanisms in astrophysical plasmas

      ​- Describe and use the concept of Eddington luminosity in several different situations

      ​- Use measurements of the HI 21cm line to deduce astrophysical information

      ​- Understand the basic physics of gamma-ray bursts

    Programme Year Four

    In the final year of the course you will have considerable flexibility to choose between the many optional modules based around various astrophysics and physics research areas. You will also undertake an extended project with a member of staff, normally in their research area in astrophysics.

    Year Four Compulsory Modules

    • Computational Astrophysics (PHYS494)
      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterSecond Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting30:68
      Aims
      • To give students an understanding of Programming Basics
      • To provide students with practical experience of using computational techniques extensively employed by researchers in the physical sciences
      Learning Outcomes

      Obtaining the ability to describe and discuss numerical modelings

      ​Getting familiar with a programming language used by research astronomers and its application in a research context​

      ​Obtaining practical experience of numerical used by scientists in analysis of theoretical problems and experimental data​

    • The Interstellar Medium (PHYS495)
      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterFirst Semester
      Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
      Aims
      • To build upon the student''s appreciation of the role which the interstellar medium (ISM) plays in topics as stellar evolution (star-forming regions to supernova remnants) and galaxy evolution
      • To provide a firm physical framework for this appreciation by investigating in detail the mechanisms which govern the structure and appearance of the ISM
      Learning Outcomes

      At the end of the module the student should have:

      • An understanding of the structure and evolution of the ISM and the relationship between its various components
      • The ability to list the various types of observable phenomena and relate them to the structure of the various phases of the ISM and the physical process at work
      • Knowledge of how observation, specifically spectroscopy, allows astronomers to understand the physical conditions and chemical content of the ISM and thereby construct models of the interstellar medium and its relationship to the formation and evolution of stars and galaxies
    • Modern Astrophysics in Practice (PHYS496)
      LevelM
      Credit level15
      SemesterWhole Session
      Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
      Aims
      • To demonstrate and provide experience of key aspects of professional practice in scientific research-related careers other than the research itself, such as peer review, proposal development, experimental design, and public communication of research results.
      • To provide the opportunity for students to deepen their background understanding of specific astrophysics topics, especially those related to their final-year project.
      • To develop the ability of the student to think critically about published scientific results, dealing with the objective criticism of existing articles, papers and lecture/seminar presentations, as well as the creation of new material and to communicate results and ideas in astrophysics at a range of technical levels.
      • To help students bridge the gap between understanding undergraduate texts and dissecting a journal paper, while at the same time emphasising the importance of being able to communicate ideas concisely and clearly at a simpler level


        Learning OutcomesThe ability to create their own articles, research proposals, journal-club discussions, etc., building on the experience gained during the module, and to use this experience beyond the module content.​

        The critical-thinking skills needed to form evidence-based arguments and communicate these persuasively in a wide range of contexts from peer review and formal proposal writing to holding the attention of a lay audience.

        The ability to understand and objectively critique current arguments in astrophysics and communicate these appropriately at levels ranging from a local newspaper to research seminars and proposals.​

        ​An understanding of professional practice in science research

        A deeper knowledge of current topics in modern astrophysics​

      • Project (mphys) (PHYS498)
        LevelM
        Credit level30
        SemesterWhole Session
        Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
        Aims
        • To give students experience of working independently on an original problem
        • To give students an opportunity to be involved in scientific research
        • To encourage learning, understanding and application of a particular physics subject
        • To give students an opportunity to display qualities such as initiative and ingenuity
        • To improve students ability to keep daily records of the work in hand and its outcomes
        • To develop students'' competence in scientific communication, both in oral and written form
        Learning Outcomes

        At the end of the module the student should have:

        • Experience of participation in planning all aspects of the work
        • Experience researching literature and other sources of relevant information
        • Experience of the practical nature of physics

        ​The student should have improved practical and technical skills to carrying out physics investigations

        ​The student will gain an appreciation of a selected area of current physics research

        ​The student should have an ability to organise and manage time and to plan, execute and report on the results of an investigation

      Year Four Optional Modules

      • Condensed Matter Physics (PHYS202)
        Level2
        Credit level15
        SemesterFirst Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
        Aims

        The aims of Phys202 are to introduce the most important and basic concepts in condensed matter physics relating to the different materials we commonly see in the world around us. Condensed matter physics is one of the most active areas of research in modern physics, whose scope is extremely broad. The ultimate aim of this course is to introduce its central ideas and methodology to the students.

        Condensed matter refers to both liquids and solids and all kinds of other forms of matter in between those two extremes, generally known as “soft matter". While the course will touch on liquids, the emphasis will be on crystalline solids, including some nano-materials. The reason for focusing on crystals is that the periodicity of a crystal is what allows us to make progress in developing a theory for various phenomena in solids based on first principles. Two important concepts are:

        • the electronic states of electrons in a solid and

        • the vibrations of atoms in the solid.

        The description of these ideas basically refer to the theory of electronic band structure and the theory of phonons. These concepts form the basis for understanding a wide range of phenomena including how the atoms bond together to form the crystal, what are some basic statistical properties like specific heat, how electrons move in solids and electronic transport, why are some materials metals and others semiconductors and insulators, and how do solids interact with electromagnetic fields. The course will also introduce optical and magnetic properties in solids, scattering phenomena, thermal conductivity and effect of defects in solids, semiconductors, magnetism and go beyond the free electron model to touch on intriguing effects such as superconductivity.

        Learning Outcomes

        On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to understand the basic concepts of bonding in solids, establish an understanding of electron configuration in atoms and in the condensed matter in terms of bonding, and relating them to band structure description.

        ​Students will be able to understand how solid structures are described mathematically and how material properties can be predicted​.

        ​Students will be able to establish a foundation in basic crystallography, using Bragg''s law, and understand the concept of the reciprocal lattice.


        ​Students will understand basic transport properties, both electronic and thermal, in solids.

        ​ Students will understand the concept of electron and hole carrier statistics, effective masses and transport in intrinsic and extrinsic semiconductors

        ​Students will learn the basics of magnetism, the atomic origin and classical treatment of diamagnetism and paramagnetism, quantization of angular momentum and Hund''s rule, and introduced to weak magnetism in solids.


        ​​Students will become familiar to the general language of condensed matter physics, key theories and concepts, ultimately enebling them to read and understand research papers.


      • Stellar Atmospheres (PHYS352)
        Level3
        Credit level7.5
        SemesterSecond Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting80:20
        Aims
        • To provide students with an understanding of the properties of stellar spectra, of the effect of expanding atmospheres and of the relevance for Supernovae.
        • To give students the tools to determine the chemical composition of stars, the physical conditions in the gas and the properties of expanding media (stellar winds: velocity, mass-loss rate; Supernovae: velocity, mass, kinetic energy, nucleosynthesis)
        Learning Outcomes

        At the end of the module the student should have:

        • knowledge of how the physical properties of stars and supernovae can be determined from spectroscopic observations.


        ​an understanding of how the interaction between radiation and matter determines the observable properties of stars.

        ​an understanding of how radiation propagates through a medium (a gas), affecting its properties

      • Planetary Physics (PHYS355)
        Level3
        Credit level7.5
        SemesterSecond Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
        Aims

        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

        Understanding of the principles of physics applied to understanding the interior of the Earth.

        ​Understanding of theories of solar system formation and evolution, including orbital evolution.

        ​Understanding of models of the interiors, atmospheres and magnetospheres of planets in the solar system.

        ​Understanding and application of methods of exoplanet detection.

        ​Introduction to planetary study of non-solar system bodies.

      • Advanced Electromagnetism (PHYS370)
        Level3
        Credit level15
        SemesterSecond Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
        Aims
        • To build on first and second year modules on electricity, magnetism and waves by understanding a range of electromagnetic phenomena in terms of Maxwell''s equations.
        • To understand the properties of solutions to the wave equation for electromagnetic fields in free space, in matter (non-dispersive and dispersive dielectrics, and conductors).
        • To understand the behaviour of electromagnetic waves at boundaries.
        • To understand the behaviour of electromagnetic waves in cavities, waveguides and transmission lines.
        • To understand the properties of electric dipole radiation.
        • To introduce an explicity covariant formulation of electromagnetism in special relativity.
        • To further develop students'' problem-solving and analytic skills.
        Learning Outcomes

        ​Students should have an understanding of the properties of solutions to the wave equation for electromagnetic fields in free space and in matter (non-dispersive and dispersive dielectrics, and conductors).

        ​Students should have an understanding of the behaviour of electromagnetic waves at boundaries.

        ​Students should have an understanding of the behaviour of electromagnetic waves in cavities, waveguides and transmission lines.

        ​Students should have an understanding of the properties of electric dipole radiation.

        ​Students should have the ability to explain an explicity covariant formulation of electromagnetism in special relativity.

      • Surface Physics (PHYS381)
        Level3
        Credit level7.5
        SemesterSecond Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
        Aims
        • Develop a syllabus to describe the properties of surfaces
        • Convey an understanding of the physical properties of Surfaces
        • Provide knowledge  of a raneg of surface characterisation techniques
        • Illustrate surface processes and their relevance to technologies
        Learning Outcomes

        explain how the presence of the surface alters physical properties such as atomic an electronic structure​

         choose the right characterisation technique to assess different surface properties

         have gained an  appreciation of surface processes and their relevance to the modification of surface properties

        ​be able to describe surface alterations and processes using the right terminology

      • Physics of Life (PHYS382)
        Level3
        Credit level7.5
        SemesterSecond Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
        Aims
        • To explain the constraints on physical forces which are necessary for life to evolve in the Universe
        • To describe the characteristics of life on earth
        • To describe physical techniques used in the study of biological systems
        Learning Outcomes​​​

        At the end of the module the student should have:

        • An understanding of the framework of physical forces within which life is possible

        • An understanding of the nature of life on earth


        • Familiarity with physical techniques used in the study of biological systems​
      • Radiation Therapy Applications (PHYS384)
        Level3
        Credit level15
        SemesterSecond Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting80:20
        Aims
        • To introduce the physics principles of radiation therapy and treatment planning.
        • To understand interactions of radiation with biological materials and detectors.
        • To understand the need for modelling in radiobiological applications.
        • To obtain a knowledge of electron transport.
        • To construct a simple model of a radiation therapy application.
        Learning Outcomes

        to understand the principles of radiotherapy and treatment planning

        to develop a knowledge of radiation transport and the interaction of radiation with biological tissue​

        ​to understand the need for Monte Carlo modelling and beam modelling

        to have a knowledge of electron transport​

        ​to have a basic understanding of radiobiology

        ​to have experience developing a simple radiotherapy treatment plan

      • Physics of Medical Imaging (PHYS385)
        Level3
        Credit level15
        SemesterFirst Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting80:20
        Aims
        • To give students a knowledge of the history of medical imaging.
        • To introduce the physics principles underlying imaging techniques.
        • To familiarise the students with modern imaging techniques.
        • To improve the students communication skills through a poster presentation.
        Learning Outcomes

        At the end of the mdoule the students will:

        • have a knowledge of the history of medical imaging
        • have a knowledge of the physics principles underlying medical imaging
        • be familiar with imaging techniques including X-ray, radioisotope, MRI and ultrasound imaging
        • have knowledge of the different situations in which the different imaging techniques are used
        • be able to describe the instrumentation used in medical imaging
        • have improved skills in presenting medical imaging information in the form of a poster
      • Materials Physics (PHYS387)
        Level3
        Credit level7.5
        SemesterFirst Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
        Aims
        • To teach the properties and methods of preparation of a range of materials of scientific and technological importance
        • To develop an understanding of the experimental techniques of materials characterisation
        • To introduce materials such as amorphous solids, liquid crystals and polymers and to develop an understanding of the relationship between structure and physical properties for such materials
        • To illustrate the concepts and principles by reference to examples
        Learning Outcomes

        At the end of the module the student should have:

        • An understanding of the atomic structure in cyrstalline and amorphous materials
        • Knowledge of the methods used for preparing single crystals and amorphous materials
        • Knowledge of the experimental techniques used in materials characterisation
        • Knowledge of the physical properties of superconducting materials
        • An appreciation of the factors involved in the design of biomaterials
        • The ability to interpret simple phase diagrams of binary systems
      • Physics of Energy Sources (PHYS388)
        Level3
        Credit level15
        SemesterSecond Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
        Aims
        • To develop an ability which allows educated and well informed opinions to be formed by the next generation of physicists on a wide range of issues in the context of the future energy needs of man
        • To describe and understand methods of utilising renewable energy sources such as hydropower, tidal power, wave power, wind power and solar power.
        • To give knowledge and understanding of the design and operation of nuclear reactors
        • To give knowledge and understanding of nuclear fusion as a source of power
        • To give knowledge and understanding relevant to overall safety in the nuclear power industry
        • To describe the origin of environmental radioactivity and understand the effects of radiation on humans
        Learning Outcomes

        At the end of the module the student should have:

        • Learned the fundamental physical principles underlying energy production using conventional and renewable energy sources
        • Learned the fundamental physical principles underlying nuclear fission and fusion reactors
        • Studied the applications of these principles in the design issues power generation
        • An appreciation of the role of mathematics in modelling power generation
        • Learned the fundamental physical principles concerning the origin and consequences of environmental radioactivity
        • Developed an awareness of the safety issues involved in exposure to radiation
        • Developed problem solving skills based on the material presented
        • Developed an appreciation of the problems of supplying the required future energy needs and the scope and issues associated with the different possible methods
      • Semiconductor Applications (PHYS389)
        Level3
        Credit level7.5
        SemesterFirst Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
        Aims
        • To develop the physics concepts describing semiconductors in sufficient details for the purpose of understanding the construction and operation of common semiconductor devices
        Learning Outcomes

        At the end of the module the student should have:

        • Knowledge of the basic theory of p-n junctions
        • Knowledge of the structure and function of a variety of semiconductor devices
        • An overview of semiconductor device manufacturing processes
        • Knowledge of the basic processes involved in the interaction of radiation with matter
        • Understanding the application of semiconductors in Nuclear and Particle physics
      • Statistics in Data Analysis (PHYS392)
        Level3
        Credit level15
        SemesterFirst Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting50:50
        Aims

        To give a theoretical and practical understanding of the statistical principles involved in the analysis and interpretation of data.

        Learning Outcomes

        Knowledge of experimental errors and probability distributions

         

        ​The ability to use statistical methods in data analysis

         

        • The ability to apply statistical analysis to data from a range of sources

         

        •  Using statistical information to detemine the validity of a hypothesis or experimental measurement
      • Statistical and Low Temperature Physics (PHYS393)
        Level3
        Credit level15
        SemesterFirst Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
        Aims
        • To build on material presented in earlier Thermal Physics and Quantum Mechanics courses
        • To develop the statistical treatment of quantum systems
        • To use theoretical techniques to predict experimental observables
        • To introduce the basic principles governing the behaviour of liquid helium and superconductors in cooling techniques
        Learning Outcomes

        Understanding of the statistical basis of entropy and temperature

        ​Ability to devise expressions for observables, (heat capacity, magnetisation) from statistical treatment of quantum systems

        ​Understanding of Maxwell Boltzmann, Fermi-Dirac and Bose Einstein gases

        ​Knowledge of cooling techniques

        ​Knowledge and understanding of basic theories of liquid helium behaviour and superconductivity in cooling techniques

      • Classical Mechanics (PHYS470)
        LevelM
        Credit level15
        SemesterFirst Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
        Aims
        1. ​To provide students with an awareness of the physical principles that can be applied to understand important features of classical (i.e. non-quantum) mechanical systems.
        2. To provide students with techniques that can be applied to derive and solve the equations of motion for various types of classical mechanical systems, including systems of particles and fields.
        3. To develop students'' understanding of the fundamental relationship between symmetries and conserved quantities in physics.
        4. To reinforce students’ knowledge of quantum mechanics, by developing and exploring the application of closely-related concepts in classical mechanics.
        Learning Outcomes

        ​Students should know the physical principles underlying the Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of classical mechanics, in particular D’Alembert’s principle and Hamilton’s principle, and should be able to explain the significance of these advanced principles in classical and modern physics.

        ​Students should be able to apply the Euler-Lagrange equations and Hamilton’s equations (as appropriate) to derive the equations of motion for specific dynamical systems, including complex nonlinear systems.

        Students should be able to use advanced concepts in classical mechanics to describe the connection between symmetries and conservation laws.

        ​Students should be able to apply advanced techniques, including conservation laws, canonical transformations, generating functions, perturbation theory etc. to describe important features of various dynamical systems (including systems of particles and fields) and to solve the equations of motion in specific cases.

      • Advanced Quantum Physics (PHYS480)
        LevelM
        Credit level15
        SemesterFirst Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
        Aims
        • To build on Y3 module on Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Physics with the intention of providing breadth and depth in the understanding of the commonly used aspects of Quantum mechanics.
        • To develop an understanding of the ideas of perturbation theory for complex quantum systems and of Fermi''s Golden Rule.
        • To develop an understanding of the techniques used to describe the scattering of particles.
        • To demonstrate creation and annihilation operators using the harmonic oscillator as an example.
        • To develop skills which enable numerical calculation of real physical quantum problem.
        • To encourage enquiry into the philosophy of quantum theory including its explanation of classical mechanics.
        Learning Outcomes

        At the end of the module the student should have:

        • Understanding of variational techniques.
        • Understanding of perturbation techniques.
        • Understanding of transition and other matrix elements.
        • Understanding of phase space factors.
        • Understanding of partial wave techniques.
        • Understanding of basic cross section calculations

        ​Understanding of examples of state-of-the art quantum physics experiments.

        ​Understanding of the implications of quantum physics in our daily lifes.

      • Accelerator Physics (PHYS481)
        LevelM
        Credit level7.5
        SemesterFirst Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
        Aims
        • To build on modules on electricity, magnetism and waves;
        • To study the functional principle of different types of particle accelerators;
        • To study the generation of ion and electron beams;
        • To study the layout and the design of simple ion and electron optics;
        • To study basic concepts in radio frequency engineering and technology.
        Learning Outcomes

        At the end of the module the student should have:

        • An understanding of the description of the motion of charged particles in complex electromagnetic fields;
        • An understanding of different types of accelerators, in which energy range and for which purposes they are utilised;
        • An understanding of the generation and technical exploitation of synchrotron radiation;
        • An understanding of the concept and the necessity of beam cooling.
      • Stellar Populations (PHYS483)
        LevelM
        Credit level15
        SemesterSecond Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
        Aims
      • To build upon the students'' knowledge of stellar evolution and describe techniques currently employed to investigate the evolution of stellar populations in the universe.

      • To provide the physical background underlying these techniques, and study their application to observations of Galactic and extragalactic stellar systems

      • Learning Outcomes

        An understanding of the evolution with age and chemical composition of the Colour-Magnitude-Diagrams of resolved stellar populations.

        ​​Methods to estimate distances, ages and initial chemical compostions of resolved stellar populations.

        ​An understanding of the evolution with age and chemical composition of the  integrated photometric properties of stellar populations.

        ​An understanding of the evolution of integrated spectral features of stellar populations with age and chemical composition.

        ​Knowledge of age and chemical composition diagnostics from integrated photometry and spectroscopy of stellar populations.

      • Elements of Stellar Dynamics (PHYS484)
        LevelM
        Credit level7.5
        SemesterFirst Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting75:25
        Aims

        To show that there is more to gravity than Newton''s law. This will provide the students with a basic understanding of the dynamics of systems containing millions and billions of point-like gravitating bodies: stars in stellar clusters and galaxies.

        Learning Outcomes

        At the end of the module the student should have the ability to

        • Show how dynamical processes shape the structure of galaxies and stellar clusters
        • Describe the motion of stars in stellar systems
        • Apply orbital analysis to stellar systems
        • Demonstrate an understanding of the implications of the continuity equation
      • Advanced Nuclear Physics (PHYS490)
        LevelM
        Credit level7.5
        SemesterSecond Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
        Aims
        • To build on the year 3 modules on Nuclear Physics
        • To offer an insight into current ideas about the description of atomic nuclei and nuclear matter
        Learning Outcomes

        At the end of the module the student should have:

        • Knowledge of the basic properties of nuclear forces and the experimental evidence upon which these are based
        • Basic knowledge of the factors governing nuclear shapes
        • Understanding of the origin of pairing forces and the effect of these and rotational forces on nuclear behaviour
        • An overview of phenomena observed for exotic nuclei far from the line of nuclear stability
        • Basic knowledge of astrophysical nucleosynthesis processes
        • Basic knowledge of phases of nuclear matter
      • Research Skils (PHYS491)
        LevelM
        Credit level7.5
        SemesterFirst Semester
        Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
        Aims
        This module will help students develop the ability to:
        • Perform literature searches.
        • Plan research projects.
        • Explain research projects to both expert and non-expert audiences.
        • Organise a team of people and work as a group.
        • Assess the broader impact of research projects.
        • Present a proposal as a written document ans orally.
         
          Learning OutcomesExperience in carrying out search of scientific literature.

            Communicating research to non-expert audience.​

          Evaluating the possible broader impact of research.

          Writing a scientific case for an assessment panel.


          ​  First experience with some project management tools.

        1. Advanced Particle Physics (PHYS493)
          LevelM
          Credit level7.5
          SemesterSecond Semester
          Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
          Aims
          • To build on the Year 3 module PHYS377 Particle Physics
          • To give the student a deeper understanding of the Standard Model of Particle Physics and the basic extensions
          • To review the detectors and accelerator technology available to investigate the questions posed by the Standard Model and its extensions
          Learning Outcomes

          At the end of the module the student should have:

          • An understanding of the Standard Model and its extensions. This will be placed in context of the understanding of the origin of the universe, its properties and its physical laws
          • An understanding of how present and future detector and accelerator technology will be applied to investigate the development of the Standard Model
        2. Modern Astrophysics in Practice (PHYS496)
          LevelM
          Credit level15
          SemesterWhole Session
          Exam:Coursework weighting0:100
          Aims
          • To demonstrate and provide experience of key aspects of professional practice in scientific research-related careers other than the research itself, such as peer review, proposal development, experimental design, and public communication of research results.
          • To provide the opportunity for students to deepen their background understanding of specific astrophysics topics, especially those related to their final-year project.
          • To develop the ability of the student to think critically about published scientific results, dealing with the objective criticism of existing articles, papers and lecture/seminar presentations, as well as the creation of new material and to communicate results and ideas in astrophysics at a range of technical levels.
          • To help students bridge the gap between understanding undergraduate texts and dissecting a journal paper, while at the same time emphasising the importance of being able to communicate ideas concisely and clearly at a simpler level


            Learning OutcomesThe ability to create their own articles, research proposals, journal-club discussions, etc., building on the experience gained during the module, and to use this experience beyond the module content.​

            The critical-thinking skills needed to form evidence-based arguments and communicate these persuasively in a wide range of contexts from peer review and formal proposal writing to holding the attention of a lay audience.

            The ability to understand and objectively critique current arguments in astrophysics and communicate these appropriately at levels ranging from a local newspaper to research seminars and proposals.​

            ​An understanding of professional practice in science research

            A deeper knowledge of current topics in modern astrophysics​

          • Magnetic Structure and Function (PHYS497)
            LevelM
            Credit level7.5
            SemesterFirst Semester
            Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
            Aims
            • To build on the third year modules Condensed Matter Physics
            • To develop an understanding of the phenomena and fundamental mechanisms of magnetism in condensed matter
            Learning Outcomes

            At the end of the module the student should have:

            • A basic understanding of the quantum origin of the magnetism and magnetic moments
            • An introduction to the Weiss molecular field theory of ferromagnetism
            • A basic understanding of spin waves in ordered magnets
            • An introduction to the techniques of neutron scattering and magnetic x-ray scattering
            • An appreciation of simple magnetic structures and magnetic excitations
            • An introduction to new magnetic materials
          • Nanoscale Physics and Technology (PHYS499)
            LevelM
            Credit level15
            SemesterSecond Semester
            Exam:Coursework weighting70:30
            Aims
          • Tointroduce the emerging fields of nanoscale physics and nanotechnology
          • To describe experimental techniques for probing physical properties of nanostructured materials

          • Todescribe the novel size-dependent electronic, optical, magnetic and chemicalproperties of nanoscale materials​

          • Todescribe several ‘hot topics'' in nanoscience research​

          • Todevelop students'' problem-solving, investigative, communication and analyticskills through appropriate assignments for tutorials and a literature project. ​

          • Learning Outcomes

            After the module the students should have the ability to explain how and why nanoscalesystems form.

            After the module the students should have the ability to describe how nanoscale systems may be probed experimentally and compare different techniques in terms of strengths and weaknesses.

            After the module the students should have the ability to explain and apply the fundamental principles that govern nanoscale systems.​

            ​After the module the students should have the ability to describe potential applications and to discuss their wider applications.

            ​After the module the students should have enhanced problem-solving, investigative, communication, and analytic skills.

          • Chaos and Dynamical Systems (MATH322)
            Level3
            Credit level15
            SemesterSecond Semester
            Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
            Aims

            To develop expertise in dynamical systems in general and study particular systems in detail.

            Learning Outcomes

            After completing the module students should be able to:

            understand the possible behaviour of dynamical systems with particular attention to chaotic motion;

              

            ​be familiar with techniques for extracting fixed points and exploring the behaviour near such fixed points;

            ​understand how fractal sets arise and how to characterise them.

          • Relativity (MATH326)
            Level3
            Credit level15
            SemesterFirst Semester
            Exam:Coursework weighting100:0
            Aims

            To impart

            (i)              a firm grasp of the physical principles behind Special and General Relativity and their main consequences;

            (ii)           technical competence in the mathematical framework of the subjects - Lorentz transformation, coordinate transformations and geodesics in Riemann space;

            (iii)          knowledge of some of the classical tests of General Relativity - perihelion shift, gravitational deflection of light;

            (iv)          basic concepts of black holes and (if time) relativistic cosmology.

            Learning Outcomes

            After  completing this module students should

            (i)              understand why space-time forms a non-Euclidean four-dimensional manifold;

            (ii)           be proficient at calculations involving Lorentz transformations, energy-momentum conservation, and the Christoffel symbols.

            (iii)          understand the arguments leading to the Einstein''s field equations and how Newton''s law of gravity arises as a limiting case.

            (iv) be able to calculate the trajectories of bodies in a Schwarzschild space-time.

          The programme detail and modules listed are illustrative only and subject to change.


          Teaching and Learning

          Our research-led teaching ensures you are taught the latest advances in cutting-edge physics research. Lectures introduce and provide the details of the various areas of physics and related subjects. You will be working in tutorials and problem-solving workshops, which are another crucial element in the learning process, where you put your knowledge into practice. They help you to develop a working knowledge and understanding of physics. All of the lecturers also perform world class research and use this to enhance their teaching.

          Most work takes place in small groups with a tutor or in a larger class where staff provide help as needed. Practical work is an integral part of the programmes, and ranges from training in basic laboratory skills in the first two years to a research project in the third or fourth year. You will undertake an extended project on a research topic with a member of staff who will mentor you. By the end of the degree you will be well prepared to tackle problems in any area and present yourself and your work both in writing and in person. In the first two years students take maths modules which provide the support all students need to understand the physics topics.