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MPhys Hons Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology


Mode of Study: Full Time Department: Physics
UCAS Code: F3F5 Duration/Length: 4 Year(s)
QAA Subject Management: Physics, Astronomy and Astrophysics Director of Studies: Not known
Total Credit Points: 480 Credit Points Year 2: 120
Credit Points Year 3: 120 Credit Points Year 4: 120

Syllabus Rules and Pre-requisites

  • PartI
  • The student must take the following modules:
  • PartII (Year 2)
  • The student must take the following modules:
  • PartII (Year 3)
  • The student must take the following modules:
  • The student must take 1 modules from the following group:
  • PartII (Year 4)
  • The student must take the following modules:
  • The student must take 4 modules from the following group:

Educational Aims: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Lancaster's Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology degree allows you to develop your understanding of the relationship between the physical laws of the Universe and the astrophysical and cosmological domains. It provides a broad conceptual and practical working knowledge of core physics, astrophysics and cosmology along with key transferrable skills enabling students to embark on a wide variety of career paths. Physics is an exciting subject that is fundamental to the developments in modern society. Applications of the subject range from the very pure to the very practical, and a physics degree opens up a wide range of rewarding careers in scientific research and technological development, as well as in a variety of other professions. This degree is accredited by the Institute of Physics.

    The core curriculum includes subjects such as Quantum Physics and Electromagnetism in your first year, Quantum Mechanics, Thermodynamics and Relativity in your second year, and Particle Physics, Atomic Physics and Condensed Matter Physics in your third year. This is complemented by laboratories which perform state-of-the-art experiments with sophisticated equipment and associated software. Specialist topics include astronomy, the structure of the Universe, the observable Universe, the physics of stars, a laboratory in observational astrophysics and a project in cosmological modelling.

    In year four, students also undertake extended open-ended projects, researching a topic of their choice. Our strong research activity allows us to provide a wide range of high-level projects. Recent examples include variable stars, stellar spectra, lunar topography, radio fluctuations of the sun, exo-planet transits, the impact of solar flares on cosmic radio noise, relic particles in the Universe (dark matter), models of inflationary cosmology, the origin of the large-scale structure of the Universe.

    The primary aim of the MPhys Hons Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology degree at Lancaster University is to provide a broad but rigorous course of teaching and learning for the graduate intending to make their career in a physics-based or related field.

    The programme leads to professional qualifications and accreditation by the Institute of Physics.

    The degree aims to:

    offer students a demonstrable understanding of key areas of physical phenomena and of physical principles.

    provide students with the opportunity to study in-depth important areas of astrophysics and cosmology that are taught by staff who are research active in those areas.

    offer students a range of different learning environments and forms of assessment.

    enable students to comment on particular aspects of current research from a strong foundation of both theoretical knowledge and practical experience involving the key skills to perform state-of-the-art experiments.

    develop numeracy and analytic skills that can contribute to success in a range of future careers.

    develop students' skills when communicating in different formats, such as written reports and reviews, and oral presentations, and to communicate more effectively in general.

    enhance students' ability to work as part of a group on different kinds of problems.

    improve students' organisation of their time and their ability to work and learn independently.

    allow students to take a range of modules in year four that require greater technical maturity and independent learning than that needed at BSc level.

    enable students to undertake a major open-ended project, which includes planning, research, analysis and presentation.

    maintain a programme of study that leads directly into current research in physics.

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

  • Graduates will be able to:

    demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the fundamental areas of physics, in line with accreditation requirements of the Institute of Physics. This includes basic themes of physics: classical mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics and quantum physics; related topics including waves and optics, statistical physics, particle physics, atomic and nuclear physics, and relativity; and advanced topics in astrophysics and cosmology that are areas of strong research activity within the Department.

    demonstrate skills related to experimental measurements including use of appropriate equipment, an appreciation of experimental uncertainty and statistical analysis, interpretation of data and presentation of results.

    plan, execute and report the results of a major open-ended physics-based investigation, including relating conclusions they make to current theories of the physics involved.

    apply underlying physical ideas and concepts to formulate and tackle problems in physics, including open-ended problems.

    use mathematics to describe the physical world and to demonstrate an understanding of mathematical modelling and of the role of approximation.

    compare critically the results of model calculations with those from experiment and observation.

    perform independent investigations including using textbooks and other available literature, search databases and the internet, and interact with colleagues to derive important information.

    communicate effectively including the ability to listen carefully, to read demanding texts, and to present complex information in a clear and concise manner.

    demonstrate analytic skills by paying attention to detail and by their ability to manipulate precise and intricate ideas, to construct logical arguments and to use technical language correctly.

    demonstrate computing and ICT skills in a variety of ways, including their ability to use appropriate software such as programming languages and packages.

    work independently, to use their initiative and to organise themselves to meet deadlines. Graduates will also be able to work as part of a team and be able to interact constructively.

    appreciate that to fabricate, falsify or misrepresent data or to commit plagiarism constitutes unethical scientific behaviour. They should be objective, unbiased and truthful in all aspects of their work and recognise the limits of their knowledge.

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