< Physics / North America : MPhys Hons (Full Time)

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Physics / North America

MPhys Hons (Full Time)

Year:14/15
UCAS Code:F305
Minimum Length:4 Year(s)
Credit Points:520
Part II Weight:0
Part II Year 2 Weight:4
Part II Year 3 Weight:4
Part II Year 4 Weight:4
Director of Studies:Not known

Compulsory Modules

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PartI

PartII (Year 2)

PartII (Year 4)

Educational Aims: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

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Educational Aims

The primary aim of the MPhys degree scheme in Physics at Lancaster University, of which Physics/USA-Canada is one variant, is to provide a broad but rigorous course of teaching and learning for graduates intending to make their career in a physics-based or related field. In addition, students will acquire knowledge and skills preparing them for entry into physics research.

 

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

Students will also gain

  • An appreciation of current developments and applications
  • Competence in a wide range of discipline-based and transferable skills.

 

The University is committed to providing a supportive learning environment within which students have the opportunity to reach their full academic potential.

 

The objective of the USA-Canada degree scheme is to enable suitably qualified students to experience alternative teaching styles in a different cultural context by spending their 3rd year at a North American university. It is our belief, supported by the positive reports from many cohorts of previous students, that the challenge of a year spent in the demanding environment of a select institution in North America, significantly enhances the learning experience and the acquisition of many of the personal and transferable skills embedded in the MPhys degree scheme.

 

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge, Understanding and Skills

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Knowledge and understanding

The overall framework of the degree scheme, the individual course structures, and the academic aims and learning outcomes of taught modules, can be found at the Lancaster University Physics Department web page:

http://www.lancs.ac.uk/users/spc/physics.htm

It is our belief, supported by the positive reports from many cohorts of previous students, that the challenge of a year spent in the demanding environment of a select institution in North America, significantly enhances the learning experience and the acquisition of many of the personal and transferable skills embedded in the MPhys degree scheme.

On successful completion of the MPhys scheme, undergraduates should have:

  • obtained a knowledge and understanding of fundamental areas of physics, in line with accreditation requirements of the Institute of Physics;
  • obtained a more detailed knowledge of selected areas;
  • become aware of recent advances in some topics relating to Departmental research activity.

The four basic themes of physics, classical mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics and quantum physics are developed progressively through the 4 years of the degree scheme. The relevant mathematics is taught as required, usually in separate modules. Related physics topics and applications are developed in parallel. Such topics include waves and optics, statistical physics, physics of fluids, particle physics, atomic and nuclear physics, and relativity. In more specialist/advanced topics, particular emphasis is placed on areas of strong research activity within the Department such as, low temperature physics, solid-state nanostructures, opto-electronics, particle physics and cosmology.

Discipline-based skills

On successful completion of the MPhys scheme, undergraduates should have:

  • acquired discipline-based skills, experimental, mathematical, and computational, as appropriate to the theme chosen;
  • acquired experience in planning, carrying out and reporting a self-organised investigation, in preparation for future physics-based research.

Acquisition of skills relating to experimental measurement is an important outcome of the Physics degree scheme. In the first year, students undertake a wide range of structured laboratory exercises which reinforce basic concepts as presented in lectures. In addition, with the assistance of demonstrators, students learn basic practical techniques, familiarity with the use of appropriate equipment, and an appreciation of experimental uncertainty and statistical analysis. In the 2nd year, students are taught computer programming and either take a series of more advanced laboratory experiments or take other second year theme modules, in preparation for their year in North America. The third year is spent in a North American institute where a series of courses are taken designed to match parallel courses in Lancaster and to suite the particular needs/interests of the student. In year 4 students undertake an open-ended project. In addition to subject specific skills, project work develops self-organisation and analytic thinking, whilst preparing reports enhances skills relating to literature analysis and the ordering and structuring of ideas.

Mathematical skills are an equally important outcome of the degree, acquired through specific mathematics modules together with the weekly application of mathematics skills to physics problems. General physics based problem solving skills are further developed in the 4th year by a series of seminars which prepare students for the General Physics paper. This is a 3 hour paper giving a wide range of general physics problems designed to test understanding and application of physical ideas and concepts.

To prepare graduates for possible entry into physics research, the 4th year of the MPhys is more oriented towards research activities. Each student carries out a major research project which forms the basis for half of the final year assessment. Students are given the opportunity to work collaboratively in small groups or

independently. Project work is usually supervised by a member of staff who is a specialist in the chosen field In addition, 4th year students take a series of lecture modules linked to research activities of the Department and are taught research presentation skills.

Transferable skills

On successful completion of the MPhys scheme, undergraduates should have developed transferable skills of reasoning and analysis, I.T. and computational skills, independent learning skills, presentation skills, and written and oral communication skills.

The skills of reasoning and analysis, although eminently transferable, are intrinsic to a physics degree and are reinforced within every module. Similarly computation underpins modern physics. Students progress from exercises in basic computer fluency, such as word processing, spread sheets and internet use in the first year to computer programming in the second year. We teach report writing skills in the first year and develop these through subsequent years. Laboratory modules include formal reports and a significant weighting is given to reports in project work.

Oral presentation skills are taught in the first year, and students are required to make an oral presentation as part of the assessment process for projects and dissertations. Career seeking and communication skills are developed in the 4th year by a dedicated module taught partly by the University Careers Service.

In the 4th year, students are taught appropriate skills for oral and Poster presentations of scientific research. From the major project, students acquire experience in planning, carrying out and reporting a self-organised investigation.

Independent learning skills are developed through out the degree via personal study of textbooks and other literature and by developing problem solving skills.

Reference points for learning outcomes:

  • Annual teaching review of the Physics Department
  • External examiners' reports and colleagues' own experience as external examiners
  • Student questionnaires on every module
  • Staff research and expertise.
  • Peer review of teaching modules
  • Accreditation requirements of the Institute of Physics
  • Physics and astronomy benchmarking statement (QAA 2002)
  • Lancaster University's Learning, Teaching and Assessment Strategy (May, 2000)
  • Staff participation in development activities
  • Employers' panel.
Lancaster University
Bailrigg
LancasterLA1 4YW United Kingdom
+44 (0) 1524 65201