PHY1027 Practical Physics I 2023-24
Prof. V.V. Kruglyak
Delivery Weeks: T1:01-12, T2:01-11
Level: 4 (NQF)
Credits: 15 NICATS / 7.5 ECTS
Enrolment: 140 students (approx)


This module provides a broad foundation in experimental physics, upon which practical work in Stage 2 and subsequent years builds. It starts with a short series of lectures, supplemented with a problem set, on error analysis and graph plotting. Laboratory work is normally undertaken in pairs, with support from demonstrators. Experiments are recorded in lab-books and presented as formal reports. The last of the experiments is done as a larger group and involves joint work on a poster, presented in a conference-like environment, and a formal report. Another component of this module is the PHY0000 Communication and Key Skills course.

Module Aims

Experimentation is one of the central activities of a scientist. Experimental observations form the bases for new hypotheses and test scientific theories. In this module, you will learn to understand and to apply the experimental method, and develop your ability to make reliable measurements and to report them in an effective and ethical manner.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

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

Syllabus Plan

General guidance on the module, experiments, data analysis and result reporting is provided in the Laboratory Manual. Each experiment is described in a laboratory script.

General supervision and assistance are available from the demonstrators during the timetabled practical sessions. Each demonstrator conducts the initial discussion and monitors the progress of the assigned students, taking a pastoral role and reporting any problems to the module leader. Feedback is given during an assessment and feedback discussion with a demonstrator. Poster presentations in the Student Conference are assessed by demonstrators.

Note: The Communication and Key Skills content and activities are described in the PHY0000 component description.

Learning and Teaching

Learning Activities and Teaching Methods

Description Study time KIS type
3×1-hour lectures 3 hours SLT
1×6-hour self-study package, including a problem set 6 hours GIS
18×3-hour practical laboratory sessions 54 hours SLT
2×3-hour peer assessment workshops 6 hours SLT
3-hour student conference 3 hours SLT
Communication and Key Skills component (PHY0000) 21 hours SLT
Reading and private study 57 hours GIS


Weight Form Size When ILOS assessed Feedback
40% Experiments, recorded in the lab-book, and a data analysis problem set; the median mark is awarded Three lab-book assessments, and one 6-hour self-study package including a problem set Weeks T1:03 (problem set), T1:05 (lab book), T1:09 (lab book), T1:12 lab book 1-8, 10-14 Written and verbal
50% Experiments, written up as formal experiment reports and presented as a conference poster; the median mark is awarded Two 1250-word individual reports, one 1500-word group report, and one group poster presentation Weeks T2:03 (standard report), T2:07 (standard report), T2:09 (group poster), T2:11 (group report) 1-14 Written and verbal
10% Communications and key skills component PHY0000 As specified in PHY0000 As specified in PHY0000 15 Written and verbal

Notes: Refer to the Undergraduate Handbook for details and marking criteria. Briefly, lab-books and reports for standard experiments are marked in a one-to-one assessment and feedback discussion involving a demonstrator; reports for the extended experiment are marked by two demonstrators, without final discussions; marking of poster presentations involves multiple demonstrators and may be moderated via peer assessment.


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 none
Co-requisite Modules Vector Mechanics (PHY1021), Introduction to Astrophysics (PHY1022), Waves and Optics (PHY1023) and Properties of Matter (PHY1024)


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 87 hrs
GIS - guided independent study 63 hrs
PLS - placement/study abroad 0 hrs
Total 150 hrs
Summative assessment
Coursework 50%
Written exams 0%
Practical exams 50%
Total 100%


IoP Accreditation Checklist
  • XX-01 Experimental work in a practical laboratory
Availability unrestricted
Distance learning NO
Keywords Physics; Data analysis; Experimental methods; Practical laboratory; Record-keeping.
Created 01-Oct-10
Revised 29-Mar-22