Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2009-2010 (archived)

Module PHYS4213: PROJECT

Department: Physics


Type Open Level 4 Credits 60 Availability Available in 2009/10 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • Foundations of Physics 3 (PHYS3522) AND ((Laboratory Skills and Practice (PHYS2551) OR Integrative Module (E-Science and Physics) (COMP3361)).)


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This module is designed primarily for students studying Department of Physics or Natural Sciences degree programmes.
  • It provides experience of work in a research environment on a topic at the forefront of developments in a branch of either physics, applied physics, theoretical physics or astronomy, develops transferable skills for the oral and written presentation of research and gives an introduction to the applications of physics in enterprises.


  • The syllabus contains:
  • A research-based project carried out within one of the Department's research groups.
  • In the case of industrially linked projects, some time may be spent at the industrial site.
  • Projects may involve small groups of students working in a team.
  • Enterprise seminars.
  • Presentation and communication skills.
  • Research methods and techniques, scientific writing and presentation, interviews.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Having studied this module students will have an understanding of the techniques used in either theoretical or experimental physics together with an appreciation of their applicability to a research project.
Subject-specific Skills:
    Key Skills:
    • Students will be able to work independently and develop an effective work plan.
    • They will be able to solve problems with originality and be able to complete tasks efficiently.
    • They will be able to resolve complex problems by identifying creative solutions.
    • They will have the facility to express problems and communicate their solution via oral and written means.
    • They will have the confidence to advance and extend knowledge through the development of an independent learning ability and personal responsibility.
    • They will have further developed communication and oral presentation skills.

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

    • The project is based in a research group and may involve extensive private study, work on one or more computers or practical work in one of the research laboratories.
    • In the case of industrially linked projects, some time may be spent at the industrial site.
    • Supervisors monitor progress and provide guidance on the development of the project during weekly meetings.
    • Students will be able to obtain further help in their project by approaching their supervisors and/or other members of the appropriate research group.
    • The seminars provide formal instruction on communication skills, both written and oral, that are then reinforced by the project supervisors during the weekly meetings.
    • Progress is further monitored by a formatively assessed interim project progress report written over the Christmas vacation.
    • Together with the project seminar, this provides opportunities for feedback and for the students to gauge their progress.
    • Student performance is summatively assessed through technical performance during the project, through a formal final report on the project, through the project seminar and via an oral examination on the project report.
    • Guest lecturers are invited to give presentations on the applications of physics in enterprises.

    Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

    Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
    Tutorials 18 1 per week 1 hour 18
    Seminars 18 1 per week 1 hour 18
    Project 72 4 per week 4 hours 288
    Preparation and Reading 276
    Total 600

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    project report 40%
    supervisor assessment 32%
    project seminar 4%
    oral examination 24%

    Formative Assessment:

    Interim project progress report.

    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