Educational Aims
The primary aim of the MSci TPM degree in
Physics at Lancaster University is to provide a broad but rigorous course of
teaching and learning for the graduate intending to make his/her career in a
theoretical physics / mathematical physics based areas, or related field. In
addition, the student will acquire knowledge and skills preparing them for
possible entry into theoretical physics research. The programme leads to
professional qualifications and accreditation by the Institute of Physics. The
degree is intended to provide students with:
 An appropriate knowledge of physical
phenomena
 An understanding of physical principles
 Analytical skill in accordance with the
Physics and Astronomy Benchmarking statement
 Students will also gain an appreciation
of modern science and competence in a wide range of analytical techniques
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 MSci degree is designed to prepare
graduates for entry into theoretical physics/mathematics research and
consequently the 4^{th} year is heavily oriented towards research
activities.Each student carries out a 20 week research project and half of the
final year assessment units are based on this work. In addition, 4^{th}
year students take a series of lecture modules which are strongly linked to
research specialities of the Department.
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 and Mathematics Departments web pages:
http://www.lancs.ac.uk/users/spc/physics.htm
http://www.maths.lancs.ac.uk/courses.html
On successful completion of the MSci TPM 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, particularly in Theoretical/mathematical Physics;
 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. Related physics topics and applications are developed in parallel. Such topics include statistical physics, physics of fluids, particle physics, atomic and nuclear physics, and relativity. The foundations in pure mathematics and mathematical techniques are provided in Maths modules taught by the Mathematics Department. In more specialist/advanced topics, particular emphasis is placed on areas of strong research activity within the Physics Department such as, condensed matter theory, solidstate nanostructures, and particle physics.
Disciplinebased skills
On successful completion of the MSci scheme, undergraduates should have:
 acquired disciplinebased skills, experimental, mathematical, and computational, as appropriate to the theme chosen;
 acquired experience in planning, carrying out and reporting a selforganised investigation, in preparation for future theoretical/mathematical physicsbased research.
Acquisition of skills relating to theoretical and mathematical analysis is an important outcome of the Theoretical Physics with Mathematics (TPM) degree scheme. In the first year students take two part I mathematics courses and the part I physics course. A series of weekly seminars are designed to teach how the subjects are interrelated, and in particular, how the mathematical skills can be applied to solving physics problems. In part II, students are taught further mathematical techniques by the Mathematics department, along with core physics modules and a series of modules teaching more detailed aspects of Theoretical Physics. The 2^{nd year also includes a module teaching basic experimental skills. In years 3 and 4 students undertake openended miniprojects and projects related to Theoretical/Mathematical Physics. In addition to Theoretical/Mathematical Physics skills, project work develops selforganisation and analytic thinking, whilst preparing reports enhances skills relating to literature analysis and the ordering and structuring of ideas. }
To prepare graduates for possible entry into theoretical/mathematical physics research, the 4th year of the MSci TPM scheme is more oriented towards research activities. Each student carries out a major research project, related to Theoretical/Mathematical Physics, which forms the basis for half of the final year assessment. 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 MSci TPM scheme, undergraduates should have developed transferable skills of reasoning and analysis, basic 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. In the second year basic experimental skills are taught along with report writing skills which are further developed in subsequent years. A significant weighting is given to reports in project work.
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 selforganised 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.