Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2009-2010 (archived)


Department: Physics


Type Open Level 1 Credits 20 Availability Module Cap Location Durham


  • A-Level Mathematics


  • Foundations of Physics 1 (PHYS1122) AND ((Single Mathematics A (MATH1561) and Single Mathematics B (MATH1571)) or Core Mathematics A (MATH1012))

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • This module is designed primarily for students studying Department of Physics or Natural Science degree programmes.
  • It provides and reinforces the basic mathematical skills required to undertake a degree in Physics and related sciences.
  • It provides a large number of practice problems for students transferring from A-level tuition to the independent skills required for a university degree.
  • This module complements Single Mathematics A (MATH1561), Single Mathematics B (MATH1571) and Core Mathematics A (MATH1012) which are the standard maths modules taken by most Physics students. MATH1561, MATH1571 and MATH1012 aim to teach new Mathematics material required by physics students in Level 1 and beyond. Maths Toolkit for Scientists aims to equip the students with the skills they need to utilise the Mathematics learnt at A-level.


  • The syllabus contains:
  • Basic algebra, Functions, Polynomial equations, inequalities, partial fractions and proportionality, Logarithms and exponentials, Trigonometry, Further trigonometry, Complex numbers, Matrices and determinants, Using matrices and determinants to solve equations, Vectors, Differentiation, Techniques and applications of differentiation, Integration, Applications of integration, Sequences and series, Differential equations, Functions of more than one variable and partial differentiation.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Students will consolidate their knowledge of key mathematical concepts including basic algebra, trigonometry, linear algebra, vectors and calculus.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • The students will obtain expertise in key mathematical skills required at all levels of a physics degree.
  • As well as the specific mathematical skills relating to the syllabus content, the students will acquire skills in mathematical manipulation, solving mathematical problems, and the use of key mathematical terms.
Key Skills:

    Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

    • The main mode of teaching will be via independent study – using an on-line database of Mathematics problems.
    • This will be supported by regular support workshops and a module leader.
    • The on-line database will give the students a large number of basic problems which will improve the students’ confidence and expertise in dealing with Mathematics.
    • The support workshops will give support to students who are having difficulties.
    • The material will be explicitly linked to the contents of a single recommended textbook for the module, thus making clear where students can begin their private study.
    • Student performance will be summatively assessed through the on-line problem exercises.
    • The problem exercises and support workshops provide opportunities for feedback, for students to gauge their progress and for staff to monitor progress throughout the duration of the module.

    Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

    Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
    Lectures 1 1 in week 1 1 hour 1
    Drop-in sessions 18 1 per week 1 hour 18
    Private study, preparation and reading 181
    Total 200

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Problem exercises Component Weighting: 100%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Problem exercises 100% Extended set of further problems

    Formative Assessment:

    Problem exercises in the early part of the academic year

    Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University