Module Description
PHY3122 Project and Dissertation 2013-14
Prof. M.R. Bate and Research Group Staff
Delivery Weeks: T1:01-11, T2:01-11, T3:05-07
Level: 6 (NQF)
Credits: 30 NICATS / 15 ECTS
Enrolment: 40 students (approx)


Students will work on a project linked to one of the existing main research groups in the Department. Over the period of the project, they will learn how to work as part of a research group. The students will not only develop research skills and communication skills but also gain valuable experience in team work. Between two and four students will work on a particular research topic, and within a group the students will normally work in pairs.

Module Aims

A major distinguishing feature of the MPhys degree is its substantial project which requires students to apply the knowledge they have acquired to a real problem in a research environment. The aim is to foster the skills in open-ended problem solving necessary for the practising physicist. PHY3122 constitutes the first part of a two-part 75-credit project extending over Stages 3 and 4 of MPhys programmes. PHYM009 forms the second part.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

A student who has passed this module should be able to:

Syllabus Plan

Note: All students should refer to the detailed description of the MPhys projects and assessment criteria in the Physics Handbook. The hours of work specified below are the core hours for groups to work together; the additional hours needed to correspond to 30 credits are spent individually analysing results, writing reports, etc..
  1. Background
    In weeks T1:01-04 of Term 1 the students will spend one day per week in background reading, team discussions and laboratory demonstrations. At the end of this period each student will give an assessed presentation on his or her individual progress.
  2. Project Proposal
    In weeks T1:05-09 each student will be engaging in team discussions of the project work. Again, one day per week will be assigned to this work. Each student will prepare an individual introductory report on the project, to be submitted by the deadline in the table above. Each student's introductory report will be assessed and discussed in a viva voce examination.
  3. Project Work 1
    During weeks T1:10 and T1:11 students spend one day per week preparing for project work, e.g. by completing any training needed to use equipment/software. In weeks T2:01-10 in Term 2 the students will spend an average of 1.5 days per week on project work, making a total of 15 days. Five days (T3:05) of the period of full-time work after the May/June examinations also count towards the credits for this module.
  4. Project Work 2
    In the remainder of Term 3 of Stage 3 the students will work a further 9 days (e.g four days of week T3:06 and the whole of week T3:07) on the project. This work contributes nine credits to be carried forward to the Stage 4 module PHYM009.
Throughout the work each student will be responsible for keeping a record of his or her work in a research notebook (in the form of a detailed diary). The student will also produce (in the log book) a brief (one-page) weekly summary of the work completed in the previous week and a list of the tasks intended to be completed in the coming week. (A photocopy of this summary should be provided each week to the main supervisor.) This part of the project will be assessed by examination of the student's lab books, and an oral examination.

Learning and Teaching

Learning Activities and Teaching Methods

Description Study time KIS type
Supervision Meetings 26 hours SLT
31 days of project work 217 hours SLT
Reading and private study 57 hours GIS


Weight Form Size When ILOS assessed Feedback
0% Reports for supervisor Weekly Throughout project work 3-7,9,11-14 Verbal
7% Oral Presentation 15 minutes Week T1:06 1,2,7,10,11,14 Written and verbal
28% Background report and viva 2500 words, 20 minutes Report deadline week T1:10, viva voce in week T1:11 1,7,8,10,11,14 Written and verbal
65% Laboratory work and Viva voce 20-minute notebook discussion Week T3:06 1,3-7,9,11-14 Written and verbal

Notes:  Refer to the detailed description of the MPhys assessment criteria in the Physics Handbook.


The following list is offered as an indication of the type & level of information that students are expected to consult. Further guidance will be provided by the Module Instructor(s).

Core text:

Supplementary texts:


Further Information

Prior Knowledge Requirements

Pre-requisite Modules N/A
Co-requisite Modules N/A


Re-assessment is not available except when required by referral or deferral.

Original form of assessment Form of re-assessment ILOs re-assessed Time scale for re-assessment

Notes: Re-assessment is not available for this module.

KIS Data Summary

Learning activities and teaching methods
SLT - scheduled learning & teaching activities 243 hrs
GIS - guided independent study 57 hrs
PLS - placement/study abroad 0 hrs
Total 300 hrs
Summative assessment
Coursework 28%
Written exams 0%
Practical exams 72%
Total 100%


Availability MPhys programmes only
Distance learning NO
Keywords Physics; MPhys Project; Research; Safety; MPhys; Reports; Notebook.
Created 01-Oct-00
Revised N/A
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