University of Exeter Handbook (Physics) Questions/Comments Department (Physics)

Stage 3 of Programmes with a Professional Placement

Preparation for Stage 3 Professional Placements

The Stage 3 Professional Experience Coordinator will assist students to identify and apply for suitable placements and ensure that that the placement arrangements comply with the relevant University Code of Practice. This will normally require:

Students will not be able to count a placement towards their degree unless they have submitted full details of the placement and completed a risk assessment which has been signed off by the Stage 3 Professional Experience Coordinator and returned to the CEMPS Employability Team, as described in these procedures:

The Placement Year (Stage 3)

The professional placement modules are:

Students should aim to start work on 1 August and work 35-37 hours per week for the employer, take normal public and bank holidays plus 4-5 weeks of holidays.

Assessment of Professional Placements

The assessment follows the general scheme used for MPhys projects. Refer to:

for further information.

Academic Support

Each student will be allocated an academic tutor whose responsibilities include making two visits to the student at their place of employment, and providing pastoral guidance by keeping in regular communication by phone/email. Tutoring two students will be equivalent in workload to having a single 'standard' tutorial group. The Coordinator will develop a checklist for visits like the one used for overseas study.

Email and WWW Access

It is essential that students are able to use email and WWW facilities during their placement year. The university webmail service means that only need access to a WWW browser is essential and the Coordinator must ensure that if this is not provided as a standard facility by the employer, some satisfactory alternative arrangement is available. Academic Services has systems for registering students on year-out programmes.

MPhys with Professional Experience (4-Year Programme)

The placement year (Stage 3) of the Physics with Professional Experience programme has been designed to challenge able students. They must balance the workplace demands of the placement provider with the need to learn, through independent study, the core physics that is a pre-requisite for Stage 4 of the programme. Stage 3 comprises the following modules:


This programme requires students to study technical material in relative isolation. The Examination Conventions specify the minimum standard required to remain on the programme. In addition to meeting this standard, students should discuss the Stage 3 requirements with the Programme Coordinator and ensure they fully understand them.

Each 15 credit 'independent study' module requires a nominal 150 hours of study. There is one such module before Christmas, and one after. Students are advised to spend an average of 10 hours per week during Term weeks T1:01-12 and then have a 30-hour revision week in January (Academic week T2−1) They will take their exams for the first two modules in week T2:00.

1 AugustStart work at employer
T1:02Problems deadline (1/5) PHY3054
T1:04Problems deadline (2/5) PHY3054
T1:06Problems deadline (3/5) PHY3054
T1:08Problems deadline (4/5) PHY3054
T1:10Problems deadline (5/5) PHY3054
24 DecemberFirst day of Christmas Holiday
01 JanuaryLast day of Christmas Holiday
T2−1Revision Week
T2:00Exam Week 13
T2:02Problems deadline (1/5) PHYM014
T2:04Problems deadline (2/5) PHYM014
T2:06Problems deadline (3/5) PHYM014
T2:08Problems deadline (4/5) PHYM014
T2:10Problems deadline (5/5) PHYM014
T3:01Revision Week
T3:03 (TBC)Exam Week
31 JulyStop work at employer

The above dates are indicative and will be revised/confirmed each year by the Coordinator as circumstances require. Assessments of the 75 credit module have been synchronised with exams to minimise travel requirements.

Exam and revision time has to come out of holiday periods (see above). Students will also have a month's break in August/September at the end of their placement during which period the background report for the final Stage MPhys project must be completed.

For PHY3306, employers will agree with the Coordinator appropriate amounts of time-off for presentations in Exeter and writing reports.

Independent Study Packs

The programme does not involve 'distance learning' as exemplified by the Open University. Students must work through the syllabus using the recommended text(s) and make their own notes. Students will be supplied with a set of the previous two years exams, and a selection of example problems which illustrate the standard and style of answers that which be expected in the final examination. Lecturers might also provide copies of the handouts issued to home students if these are relevant outside the lecture context.

The module descriptors have been annotated with book chapters and sections by the module instructors.


Students remaining in Exeter complete two sets of problems discussed in the 11th and 22nd lecture slots. Professional Experience students will have 5 problem sets (each being roughly half the length of those used for home students) per module. Based on the knowledge they gain through independent study, students will produce written solutions to these problems.

These solutions are to be photocopied (in case of postal problems) and then sent (or emailed) to the appropriate module instructor who will mark and annotate them with formative comments, send the marks to the Education Support Office and arrange for the marked answers to be returned to the student (and a copy filed) within a period of not more than two weeks.

Failure of the student to produce answers within the appropriate time scale will be reported by the lecturer in writing to the Coordinator. Similarly, failure of the lecturer to produce problems and marked answers within appropriate time scales must be reported by the student in writing to the Coordinator.

University of Exeter Handbook (Physics) Questions/Comments Department (Physics)