Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)


Department: Physics


Type Open Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham


  • Laboratory Skills and Electronics (PHYS2641) AND Foundations of Physics 1 (PHYS1122).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • This module is designed primarily for students studying Department of Physics or Natural Science degree programmes.
  • To develop students’ problem-solving skills in advanced computational physics.
  • To develop computer skills.
  • To reproduce and then extend the results of a classic research paper.
  • To develop transferable skills in researching a topic and making oral and written presentations on the findings.


  • The syllabus contains:
  • Use of a computer to solve problems using a variety of modern computing techniques and the preparation of written and oral presentations.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Having studied this module students will have formed an appreciation of the physics related to a chosen topic.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Students will have gained experience of solving physical problems using modern computing techniques.
  • They will have the skills to plan and carry out an extended project at an advanced level.
  • They will have demonstrated knowledge of scientific background and theoretical considerations.
  • They will have demonstrated the ability to produce a clear, detailed scientific report with appropriate presentation and lay summary.
Key Skills:
  • Students will have the necessary skills to make written and oral presentations on their work.

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

  • Teaching will be by lectures, computer classes and tutorials.
  • The lectures include training on general computing, testing and debugging.
  • The computer classes are designed to allow each student to obtain help and guidance through discussions with computing demonstrators.
  • The skills covered are transferable to a wide range of activities.
  • The tutorials provide support for research into an advanced topic of choice, develop skills in solving problems using modern computing techniques and provide a forum for developing oral and written presentation skills.
  • Students receive guidance and feedback on their presentation to the tutorial group and on their poster.
  • Student performance is formatively assessed through a milestone computer program and summatively assessed through the computing project.
  • The tutorials and computing classes provide opportunity 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 3 1 Hour 3
Tutorials 7 Fortnightly 1 Hour 7
Practicals (drop-in) 8 Fortnightly 2 Hours 16
Preparation and Reading 174
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Computing project Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
computing project report including tutorial contribution 70%
presentation 15%
poster 15%

Formative Assessment:

Milestone computer program, practice poster presentation.

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