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BSc Physics with Theoretical Physics / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
BSc dissertation

Unit code PHYS30880
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 3
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Department of Physics & Astronomy
Available as a free choice unit? No


Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Introduction to Quantum Mechanics PHYS20101 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Electromagnetism PHYS20141 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Wave Optics PHYS20312 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Statistical Mechanics PHYS20352 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Fundamentals of Solid State Physics PHYS20252 Pre-Requisite Compulsory


The educational aims of the BSc dissertation are to:
1. enable students to explore in depth a topic of personal interest in the physical sciences.
2. enhance information search and selection skills specific to a particular project.
3. develop such transferable skills as scientific report writing and oral presentation.
4. facilitate self-reliance and the application of project management skills (i.e. time management, use of resources) to the successful completion of the project.


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. apply knowledge of physical science to the planning and development of a research/technical project.

2. use a range of primary source material including library and on-line resources.

3. critically evaluate information and techniques when deciding upon research methodologies and analysis, using criteria that can be defended.

4. manage time and resources to optimal effect to produce a dissertation to a given deadline.


The project takes place during the first 10 weeks of S5, or the first 10 weeks of S6. It is expected that students will spend 1.2 days per week working on the project. It must be completed and handed in at the end of this ten week period.  Students are assigned at the start of S5 a project selected from their list of choices which is timed to take place when they are free from their experimental programme (PHYS30180/30280). The supervisor will outline possible approaches and offer guidance and advice during the course of the project.

The student will carry out an individual study of a current topic in physics, which should show evidence of original thinking and may take the form of a design element.  The focus of the project should be clearly on the physics, broadly construed; students unsure whether their planned approach meets this criterion should discuss the issue with their supervisor.  The student will write a report or essay along the lines of a scientific article.  The length of the report should be between 4000 and 6000 words.  At the end of the project you give a 5 minute presentation followed by a 25 minute question and answer session.

Example project titles
Power for the 21st century – alternative concepts in magnetically confined fusion
Measuring the Temperature of the Troposphere by Radio-Acoustic Sounding
A Tuning Device for a Musical Instrument
The Physics of traffic jams
The carbon crunch: living for the future
A sunlight health policy
Airships: History and Future Potential
The potential impact of LED based solid state lighting
Ultra-fast dynamics of biological molecules
SETI: the search for extra-terrestrial intelligence
Quantum Computers
Accelerator Driven Sub-Critical Reactors
Deceleration and trapping of polar molecules
Negative index of refraction
Helioseismology: a look inside the Sun
Why is water essential for life?
Recent neutron scattering technology development and its application in bio-research

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Dissertation 100%

Feedback methods

Feedback will be offered by supervisors at each stage of the work, but especially about two weeks prior to submission, when you should discuss the structure and broad content of your dissertation with your supervisor, who will offer oral feedback.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 0

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Yang Xian Unit coordinator

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