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:
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, solid-state nanostructures, and particle physics.
On successful completion of the MSci 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 theoretical/mathematical physics-based 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 inter-related, 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 2nd year also includes a module teaching basic experimental skills. In years 3 and 4 students undertake open-ended mini-projects and projects related to Theoretical/Mathematical Physics. In addition to Theoretical/Mathematical Physics 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.
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.
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 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