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BSc Physics with Theoretical Physics

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
Professional Development

Unit code PHYS20811
Credit rating 0
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Department of Physics & Astronomy
Available as a free choice unit? No


Professional Development


        •   To develop the skills of written and oral communication.

         •  To increase awareness of resources for securing work experience in Y2 and beyond.

  • To foster an understanding of ethical issues in science.

         • To increase awareness of equality and diversity issues.

Learning outcomes

This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates
On completion successful students will be able to:
1. Communicate, both orally and in writing, a scientific subject to a scientifically literate audience.
2. Recognise the requirements necessary to produce high quality applications for undergraduate work experience and graduate careers.
3. Recognise and appraise ethical issues associated with their work and the work of others, assess whether action is needed and identify any necessary appropriate actions.


Written Communication

  1. By the end of week 1 of semester 3 all students will be required to complete a short module on Scientific Writing in Blackboard. The topics include Sentence Structure and Punctuation, Word Choice and Grammar, Academic Style, Conventions and Characteristics, Improving Readability, Writing Paragraphs, Critical Reading, Summarising, Paraphrasing and Referencing, Phraseological and Rhetorical Awareness, Review and Revision, and The Process of Writing.
  2. Submission of an essay of between 800 and 1,000 words on a physics-related subject selected from a list or otherwise approved by the course unit leader. The deadline for submission is during Week 7 of Semester 3. The essay should convey knowledge of a physics-related topic of current interest in a measured but informal way at a level to educate and interest a fellow physics student. Students should give a short presentation to their tutorial group on the topic of their essay.
  3. Essays and presentations will be peer marked. This provides an opportunity for students to think critically about other written presentations and to reflect on how they might improve their own writing. If necessary, marks may be moderated by the unit coordinator.

Aspire - Your Future

Students will attend an online session run by the Careers Service. This session will provide an overview of the Aspire survey and provide details of available resources in preparation for work experience. Students will be required to complete the online survey.


Students will be required to complete an online module "Professional Ethics for Physicists" covering plagiarism (briefly) and academic good practice, honesty and data integrity, ethical issues for physicsts (for example the potential sociological or environmental impact of new technologies weapons, nuclear power, nuclear weapons) and whistle-blowing.

Assessment methods

For the full course unit (PHYS20811)

Essay including presentation                                                               50%

Online Advanced Writing Skills module                                               20%

Online Professional Ethics for Physicists module                                20%

Aspire - Your Future: careers sessions and survey                             10%


Feedback methods

Written Feedback will be provided on the essay and presentation. 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 3
Independent study hours
Independent study 70.5

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Scott Kay Unit coordinator

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