Course Content (including module information)
Physics may be studied either as a Single Honours degree, as Physics, Physics with Astrophysics, Physics with Medical Applications, Physics with Extended Studies in Europe, Theoretical Physics; or depending on choice of Stage 1 modules, as a Joint Honours degree in conjunction with Applied Mathematics or Computer Science.
In their first year students study a core of modern Physics and Applied Mathematics, and, if desired, a third subject such as Computer Science. Physics topics include:
Practical work will be performed in our new state-of-the-art teaching centre laboratories. Here students will encounter the physical phenomena learned about in their lectures, as well as computer programming.
Tutorials, based around the lecture courses, give experience in problem-solving and verbal and written communication. Within the course students will receive basic skills training in writing, presentations and personal/career development.
Stages 2 and 3
At Stage 2, according to degree selection, modules are taken which reveal the excitement of such areas as:
- Atomic and Nuclear Physics
- Optics, Electricity and Magnetism
- Physics of the Solid State
Advanced Laboratory work develops the skills of planning, carrying out and analysing experiments and simulations, and provides opportunities for deepening understanding of the wide applicability of physics.
At Stage 3, a choice of modules is made to develop in-depth understanding of such areas as:
- Advanced Electromagnetism and Optics
- Nuclear and Particle Physics
- Quantum Mechanics and Relativity
- Advanced Solid State Physics
Project work entails a major experimental or computational investigation of a particular physics problem; in conjunction with this a project report and associated poster are produced to a professional standard.
MSci (Master in Science)
These four-year degrees are aimed at the more able and committed students who intend to practise the profession of physics in research and development, in industry or academia, at the highest level.
Single Honours MSci options are available in Physics, Physics with Medical Applications, Physics with Astrophysics, Physics with Extended Studies in Europe and Theoretical Physics. A Joint Honours MSci option is also available in Applied Mathematics and Physics.
Transfer from the three-year BSc degree to the MSci is permitted up to the end of Stage 2. Students who successfully complete the four-year MSci qualify for the degree of MSci (Hons) in the relevant option.
Stages 1 and 2 are identical to those for the BSc degree.
At Stage 3, a selection is made from the modules listed with the BSc pathway. This includes a Professional Skills module, where important scientific skills such as report writing, presentations and peer-review are further developed. MSci students also have the opportunity to undertake a Computational project module, which will introduce them to numerical simulations that are fundamental to all areas of physics today.
At Stage 4, specialist modules are available,broadly reflecting research interests of those teaching in the Department. These modules include:
High-Energy Astrophysics Laser Physics
Medical Radiation Research Methods Molecular Physics
Planetary Systems Plasma Physics
The Physics of Nanomaterials Ultrafast Science
Also in this year, a major project is carried out in association with one of these research centres, with the student working within the world-leading research groups. Through this project students gain an intensive insight into modern scientific research.
Assessment & Feedback
Assessment (general): The way in which students are assessed will vary according to the Learning objectives of each module. Some modules are assessed solely through project work or written assignments. Others are assessed through a combination of coursework and end of semester examinations. Details of how each module is assessed are shown in the Student Handbook which is provided to all students during their first year induction.
Feedback (general): As students progress through their course at Queen’s they will receive general and specific feedback about their work from a variety of sources including lecturers, module co-ordinators, placement supervisors, personal tutors, advisers of study and your peers. University students are expected to engage with reflective practice and to use this approach to improve the quality of their work. Feedback may be provided in a variety of forms including:
- Feedback provided via formal written comments and marks relating to work that students, as individuals or as part of a group, have submitted.
- Face to face comment. This may include occasions when students make use of the lecturers’ advertised “office hours” to help address a specific query.
- Placement employer comments or references.
- Online or emailed comment.
- General comments or question and answer opportunities at the end of a lecture, seminar or tutorial.
- Pre-submission advice regarding the standards you should aim for and common pitfalls to avoid. In some instances, this may be provided in the form of model answers or exemplars which students can review in their own time.
- Feedback and outcomes from practical classes.
- Comment and guidance provided by staff from specialist support services such as, Careers, Employability and Skills or the Learning Development Service.
Once students have reviewed their feedback, they are encouraged to identify and implement further improvements to the quality of their work.
Learning and Teaching
At the beginning of all physics courses all students study core areas of physics and mathematics to give a common foundation for specialization as the course progresses. Several different degree programmes are available, but with the common core material it is frequently possible to switch from one physics course to another at the end of the first year. The high level of research in the Department feeds through to making the undergraduate courses up-to-date, relevant and interesting.
The physics course covers a wide range of areas within the subject with advanced options in higher years. There is also include extensive practical and project work, with a very wide range of skills development leading to many careers options.