Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024

Module PHYS3701: BSc Project

Department: Physics

PHYS3701: BSc Project

Type Tied Level 3 Credits 20 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap Location Durham
Tied to F300
Tied to F300A
Tied to F311
Tied to F304
Tied to F308
Tied to CFG0


  • Foundations of Physics 2A (PHYS2581) AND Discovery Skills in Physics (PHYS1101).


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • PHYS3561 Physics Problem Solving


  • This module is designed primarily for students studying Department of Physics or Natural Sciences degree programmes.
  • To provide experience of a research-led project in physics.
  • To allow students to make an in-depth study of a particular topic, to undertake extensive independent research and to write at length on their chosen subject.
  • To develop transferable skills in researching a topic and making oral and written presentations on the findings.


  • A research-led project, which may take the form of a literature review, allowing students to present the results of individual and independent work (note: an original contribution to scientific knowledge is not required or expected).
  • Students will choose from a wide list of broad possible topics. Each student will be assigned a member of staff as supervisor. Students will devise their own approach to researching and communicating their subject with advice from their supervisor. As part of their work they will be expected to address some of the specific aspects of their subject with the agreement of the supervisor. Students will be expected to work independently, to manage the direction of their work and to employ a significant component of self-directed learning.
  • Projects will not be experimental in nature but may have a formative computational aspect if desired by the student.
  • Presentation and communication skills.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Having studied this module students will have formed a detailed appreciation of the science related to a particular topic.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • In addition to the acquisition of subject knowledge, students will be able to communicate scientific concepts to a non-specialist audience.
  • 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.
Key Skills:
  • They will be able to manage their time effectively.
  • They will demonstrate the ability to advance and extend their knowledge through significant independent learning and research.
  • They will have demonstrated the ability to produce a clear, detailed written report with appropriate presentation, including lay summary, and to make oral presentations on their work.

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

  • An introductory lecture will cover the structure of the project and will provide general advice on research methods, methods of presentation, etc.
  • Thereafter teaching will be by fortnightly supervisor meetings (typically in small groups) and self-directed learning.
  • Students will be expected to work on their project between the supervisor meetings. This work is to be organised by the students themselves, thereby enabling them to demonstrate their time management skills.
  • Students will undertake independent research to further their knowledge of the topic and self-directed learning to further their technical skills.
  • The supervisor meetings provide opportunities for supervisors to monitor progress and to provide feedback and guidance on the development of the project, and for students to gauge their progress throughout the duration of the project.
  • Progress is further monitored by a formatively-assessed interim project progress report written over the Christmas vacation and a practice presentation. These provide opportunities for feedback and for the students to gauge their progress.
  • Student performance will be summatively assessed through a presentation and a written report. The presentation will enable students to demonstrate their verbal communication skills. The written report will enable students to demonstrate their ability to communicate an advanced scientific topic clearly and with appropriate presentation. Both assessment components will enable students to demonstrate a detailed appreciation of the science related to a particular topic.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 1 1 Hour 1
Supervisor meetings 7 Every 2 weeks 1 Hour 7
Preparation and reading 192
Total 200

Summative Assessment

Component: Presentation Component Weighting: 20%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Presentation 100%
Component: Report Component Weighting: 80%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Written report 5000 words 100%

Formative Assessment:

Verbal progress reports during supervisor meetings. Interim project progress report. Practice 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