Skip to Content

detail

BSc Theoretical Physics

Academic Year 2019/20

A programme specification is required for any programme on which a student may be registered. All programmes of the University are subject to the University's Quality Assurance processes. All degrees are awarded by Queen's University Belfast.

Programme Title BSc Theoretical Physics Final Award
(exit route if applicable for Postgraduate Taught Programmes)
Bachelor of Science
Programme Code TPH-BSC-S UCAS Code F340 HECoS Code 100403
ATAS Clearance Required No
Mode of Study Full Time
Type of Programme Single Honours Length of Programme 3 Academic Year(s) Total Credits for Programme 360
Exit Awards available

INSTITUTE INFORMATION

Teaching Institution

Queen's University Belfast

School/Department

Mathematics & Physics

Framework for Higher Education Qualification Level 
www.qaa.ac.uk

Level 6

QAA Benchmark Group
www.qaa.ac.uk/quality-code/subject-benchmark-statements

Mathematics, Statistics and Operational Research (2015)

Accreditations (PSRB)

Institute of Physics

Date of most recent Accreditation Visit 26-03-19

REGULATION INFORMATION

Does the Programme have any approved exemptions from the University General Regulations
(Please see General Regulations)

No

Programme Specific Regulations

Students will not be permitted to register for Stage 2 unless they have passed all their core Level 1 modules.

Transfers to Other Pathways
Up to the start of Stage 3, Students may transfer to other Pathways (BSc, or if they have achieved a weighted average of at least 55%, before rounding MSci), provided they have passed all the compulsory modules on the Pathway to which they are transferring up to that time of transfer.

Students with protected characteristics

N/A

Are students subject to Fitness to Practise Regulations

(Please see General Regulations)

No

EDUCATIONAL AIMS OF PROGRAMME

- Demonstrate appropriate understanding of the basic body of knowledge of theoretical physics and its mathematical underpinning, and appropriate skill in manipulation of this knowledge, including in its application to problem solving

- Apply core physics and associated mathematics concepts in well-defined contexts, through the judicious use of analytical and computational methods, tools and techniques and the judicious use of logical arguments

- Interpret the physical world/universe and how it works through their description in terms of theoretical physics and associated mathematics

- Communicate theoretical physical arguments to a range of audiences in both written and oral form

- Carry out a range of experimental and/or computational investigations related to physics

- Demonstrate mathematical, computational, practical, problem solving, and personal skills which can be exploited by a variety of employers, such as those involved in engineering, education, health care, software development, business and finance.

LEARNING OUTCOMES

Learning Outcomes: Cognitive Skills

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Apply physical and mathematical knowledge logically and accurately in the solution of examples and small-scale problems

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

By their nature, physics and its underpinning mathematics have to be presented logically. The lectures and model examples to problems provide exemplars of this logical structure. They also identify the tools needed to address certain problems. Tutorial problems and assignments offer the students opportunities to develop their logical reasoning skills, to develop skills in organising their reasoning and application of mathematical and physical principles, and to develop skills in the selection of techniques.

Methods of Assessment

The assessment of these skills is implicit in most methods of assessment, including exams, coursework, practicals and project work. The overall degree of success in any assessment depends to a large extent on students’ mastery of logical and accurate methods of solution, well-organised structure of answers, and the identification of the appropriate solution method.

Conduct a small-scale theoretical physics investigation under supervision

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

The project modules will offer the students the opportunity to identify what it takes to carry out a longer investigation within theoretical physics. These skills are also developed through extended assignments in a wide range of modules across the entire spectrum

Methods of Assessment

These skills are assessed mainly through project reports and oral presentations on project work in both physics and mathematics of increasing complexity, culminating in the final project

Analyse small-scale problems and situations in physical and mathematical terms, and identify the appropriate physical and mathematical tools and techniques for their solution

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

By their nature, physics and its underpinning mathematics have to be presented logically. The lectures and model examples to problems provide exemplars of this logical structure. They also identify the tools needed to address certain problems. Tutorial problems and assignments offer the students opportunities to develop their logical reasoning skills, to develop skills in organising their reasoning and application of mathematical and physical principles, and to develop skills in the selection of techniques.

Methods of Assessment

The assessment of these skills is implicit in most methods of assessment, including exams, coursework, practicals and project work. The overall degree of success in any assessment depends to a large extent on students’ mastery of logical and accurate methods of solution, well-organised structure of answers, and the identification of the appropriate solution method.

Organise their work in a structured manner

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

By their nature, physics and its underpinning mathematics have to be presented logically. The lectures and model examples to problems provide exemplars of this logical structure. They also identify the tools needed to address certain problems. Tutorial problems and assignments offer the students opportunities to develop their logical reasoning skills, to develop skills in organising their reasoning and application of mathematical and physical principles, and to develop skills in the selection of techniques.

Methods of Assessment

The assessment of these skills is implicit in most methods of assessment, including exams, coursework, practicals and project work. The overall degree of success in any assessment depends to a large extent on students’ mastery of logical and accurate methods of solution, well-organised structure of answers, and the identification of the appropriate solution method.

Learning Outcomes: Knowledge & Understanding

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Demonstrate understanding of the connection between theoretical physics and mathematics.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Lectures provide the core method for the presentation of the knowledge required for students to be successful. Each lecture-based module has associated tutorials, and, where appropriate, laboratory and /or practical classes to assist the student with the development of understanding of the core contents, including its application. Assignments are provided to assist further development of understanding. These assignments are marked and returned to students typically within one week with individual feedback. Model solutions to these assignments are made available to students for additional self-study.

Methods of Assessment

This is built into the heart of the programme by the combination of mathematics and physics modules. This is tested in particular in the project modules, as this is where the combination of mathematics and physics may be exploited in particular.

Demonstrate understanding, and application of this understanding, within a range of more specialist optional topics within theoretical physics, *and an awareness of current trends and developments at the frontier of these subjects*

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Lectures provide the core method for the presentation of the knowledge required for students to be successful. Each lecture-based module has associated tutorials, and, where appropriate, laboratory and /or practical classes to assist the student with the development of understanding of the core contents, including its application. Assignments are provided to assist further development of understanding. These assignments are marked and returned to students typically within one week with individual feedback. Model solutions to these assignments are made available to students for additional self-study.

Methods of Assessment

Formal exams, class tests, small reports, presentations
The final-year project provides insight into current theoretical-physics research

Understand and appreciate the importance of mathematical logic

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Lectures provide the core method for the presentation of the knowledge required for students to be successful. Each lecture-based module has associated tutorials, and, where appropriate, laboratory and /or practical classes to assist the student with the development of understanding of the core contents, including its application. Assignments are provided to assist further development of understanding. These assignments are marked and returned to students typically within one week with individual feedback. Model solutions to these assignments are made available to students for additional self-study.

Methods of Assessment

Formal exams, class tests, small reports, presentations
This appreciation is of particular importance to the project modules, as mathematical logic is critical to arrive at appropriate mathematical conclusions

Demonstrate knowledge and conceptual understanding of the theory and applications of core concepts in physics in the areas of classical and relativistic mechanics, quantum physics, condensed matter, electromagnetism, optics and thermodynamics.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Lectures provide the core method for the presentation of the knowledge required for students to be successful. Each lecture-based module has associated tutorials, and, where appropriate, laboratory and /or practical classes to assist the student with the development of understanding of the core contents, including its application. Assignments are provided to assist further development of understanding. These assignments are marked and returned to students typically within one week with individual feedback. Model solutions to these assignments are made available to students for additional self-study.

Methods of Assessment

Formal exams, class tests, small reports, presentations, tutorial performance

Use these fundamental concepts and techniques in a range of application areas, including, for example, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, tensor-field theory and statistical mechanics

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Lectures provide the core method for the presentation of the knowledge required for students to be successful. Each lecture-based module has associated tutorials, and, where appropriate, laboratory and /or practical classes to assist the student with the development of understanding of the core contents, including its application. Assignments are provided to assist further development of understanding. These assignments are marked and returned to students typically within one week with individual feedback. Model solutions to these assignments are made available to students for additional self-study.

Methods of Assessment

Formal exams, class tests, small reports, presentations

Application of the fundamental concepts is also of importance to any of the project modules, as deeper understanding will result in higher marks

Demonstrate understanding of the fundamental concepts and techniques of theoretical physics and its underpinning through calculus, analysis, algebra, and linear algebra

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Lectures provide the core method for the presentation of the knowledge required for students to be successful. Each lecture-based module has associated tutorials, and, where appropriate, laboratory and /or practical classes to assist the student with the development of understanding of the core contents, including its application. Assignments are provided to assist further development of understanding. These assignments are marked and returned to students typically within one week with individual feedback. Model solutions to these assignments are made available to students for additional self-study.

Methods of Assessment

Formal exams, class tests, small reports, presentations

Learning Outcomes: Subject Specific

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Carry out basic physics experiments appropriately, including the correct handling of experimental equipment, adequate planning of experiments and accurate analysis of findings;

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Laboratory experiments within Scientific Skills Module

Methods of Assessment

Written reports, oral presentations.

Present mathematical and physical findings through oral and written means to a range of audiences

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Communication through reports and/or oral presentations forms a compulsory part of many modules across the entire range of modules offered.

Methods of Assessment

These skills are primarily assessed through compulsory reports and presentations within many modules.

Use a range of mathematical software for the solution of theoretical physics problems

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Basic skills are developed through the scientific skills module, the professional skills modules and the computer algebra module. Numerical analysis has associated computer practical, using appropriate specialist software.
In the project modules, further opportunities to use mathematical software may be available.

Methods of Assessment

These skills are primarily assessed through reports and presentations associated with work carried out using mathematical software.

Plan, execute and report the results of an experiment or investigation, and compare results critically with predictions from theory

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Laboratory experiments, and computational projects

Methods of Assessment

Assignments, written reports, oral presentations, oral review meetings

Perform dimensional analysis and order of magnitude estimates

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Discussed and demonstrated in lectures and tutorials. Routinely practiced in other modules.

Methods of Assessment

Assignments, tutorial performance

Apply a wide range of analytic and/or numerical mathematical and physics-based techniques within well-defined contexts, and to formulate and solve problems in more loosely defined contexts

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Each lecture-based module has associated tutorials, and, where appropriate, practical classes to assist the student with the development of understanding and application of logical mathematical arguments, physical concepts and/or analytic/numerical mathematical techniques. Assignments also assist the development of understanding in these areas.
The project modules allow students to spend time on a more extended problem, which will enable a more in-depth development of mathematical and/or physics arguments and application of mathematical and/or physics techniques

Methods of Assessment

Assessment is mainly through formal examination and class tests for lecture-based modules. This assessment is supplemented through written reports, oral presentations, on-line assessment and tutorial performance. For project modules, written reports and oral presentations form the main method of assessment.

Demonstrate understanding of logical mathematical arguments, including mathematical proofs and their construction, and apply these arguments appropriately.
Demonstrate understanding of physical concepts, and apply these concepts appropriately.

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Each lecture-based module has associated tutorials, and, where appropriate, practical classes to assist the student with the development of understanding and application of logical mathematical arguments, physical concepts and/or analytic/numerical mathematical techniques. Assignments also assist the development of understanding in these areas.
The project modules allow students to spend time on a more extended problem, which will enable a more in-depth development of mathematical and/or physics arguments and application of mathematical and/or physics techniques

Methods of Assessment

Assessment is mainly through formal examination and class tests for lecture-based modules. This assessment is supplemented through written reports, oral presentations, on-line assessment and tutorial performance. For project modules, written reports and oral presentations form the main method of assessment.

Learning Outcomes: Transferable Skills

On the completion of this course successful students will be able to:

Appreciate and demonstrate the importance of health and safety, risk assessment and scientific ethics

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Safety training courses, lectures, workshops, personal supervision

Methods of Assessment

Project/lab risk assessments, online safety tests, assignments

Search for, evaluate and reference relevant information from a range of sources

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Lectures/workshops on how to use and reference and review library books, scientific papers, and internet sources. Re-enforced through supervision during labs.

Methods of Assessment

Written reports and essays, oral presentations (for individual and group projects), literature reviews

Oversee small-scale projects, involving individual work and work within in a team

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Project work associated with modules at each Level is the prime method for development. The increase in level of complexity of such projects throughout the programme, in line with student’s overall development, will implicitly develop the students’ skills in project management.
This includes laboratory experiments, group projects, and personal tutoring/supervision/mentoring

Methods of Assessment

These skills are assessed implicitly as part of any project component to a module. A higher level of skill in time management will provide student with greater opportunity to present a well thought-through report, which allows the students to better highlight their achievements.

Time management /deadlines implicit to all continuous assessment

Manage their time

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Project work associated with modules at each Level is the prime method for development. The increase in level of complexity of such projects throughout the programme, in line with student’s overall development, will implicitly develop the students’ skills in project management.
This includes laboratory experiments, group projects, and personal tutoring/supervision/mentoring

Methods of Assessment

These skills are assessed implicitly as part of any project component to a module. A higher level of skill in time management will provide student with greater opportunity to present a well thought-through report, which allows the students to better highlight their achievements.

Time management /deadlines implicit to all continuous assessment

Present findings through oral communication

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Any assignment or coursework or project work involves the communication of mathematical and/or physical ideas, and these skills are thus embedded indirectly in any module.
Any report or presentation will provide an explicit learning opportunity, where the increase in complexity at higher levels will provide a means for communication skill development
Lectures/workshops on how to prepare and execute oral presentations, scientific reports/popular articles, and writing concisely. Re-enforced at all levels through supervision during labs, and formative and summative feedback for student coursework.

Methods of Assessment

The assessment of communication skills takes place through the reports and presentations, where higher skill levels will result in higher overall marks

Present findings through written reports

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Any assignment or coursework or project work involves the communication of mathematical and/or physical ideas, and these skills are thus embedded indirectly in any module.
Any report or presentation will provide an explicit learning opportunity, where the increase in complexity at higher levels will provide a means for communication skill development
Lectures/workshops on how to prepare and execute oral presentations, scientific reports/popular articles, and writing concisely. Re-enforced at all levels through supervision during labs, and formative and summative feedback for student coursework.

Methods of Assessment

The assessment of communication skills takes place through the reports and presentations, where higher skill levels will result in higher overall marks

Communicate mathematical and physical ideas and concepts

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Any assignment or coursework or project work involves the communication of mathematical and/or physical ideas, and these skills are thus embedded indirectly in any module.
Any report or presentation will provide an explicit learning opportunity, where the increase in complexity at higher levels will provide a means for communication skill development
Lectures/workshops on how to prepare and execute oral presentations, scientific reports/popular articles, and writing concisely. Re-enforced at all levels through supervision during labs, and formative and summative feedback for student coursework.

Methods of Assessment

The assessment of communication skills takes place through the reports and presentations, where higher skill levels will result in higher overall marks

Use computer technology efficiently for a variety of purposes

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Basic computer modelling skills are developed through the scientific skills module, and the computer algebra module. Numerical analysis has associated computer –oriented tasks, where students can develop skills in the use of appropriate specialist software.
In the project modules, further opportunities to use mathematical software may be available.
Written reports develop skills in the use of word-processing software, while the presentations can develop skills in the use of presentation software

Methods of Assessment

Computer modelling skills are primarily assessed through reports and presentations associated with work carried out using numerical software.

The main test in Computer Algebra takes place through a direct assessment of their use of appropriate software

Computer skills in word-processing and presentation development are assessed implicitly in the project and presentation assessment

Adopt an analytic approach to problem solving

Teaching/Learning Methods and Strategies

Analytic thinking is part of any module in mathematics and physics, and is therefore cultivated through the tutorials, practicals and assignments associated with each lecture-based module, including all the project components.
It is also a critical skill developed during the project modules

Methods of Assessment

Analytic thinking is embedded implicitly in every assessment within mathematics and physics.

Problem solving skills will be assessed through an extended range of project work, culminating in the final-year project modules

MODULE INFORMATION

Stages and Modules

Module Title Module Code Level/ stage Credits

Availability

Duration Pre-requisite

Assessment

S1 S2 Core Option Coursework % Practical % Examination %
Foundation Physics PHY1001 1 40 YES YES 24 weeks N YES 0% 30% 70%
Scientific Skills PHY1004 1 20 YES YES 24 weeks N YES 70% 30% 0%
Analysis and Calculus MTH1001 1 30 YES YES 24 weeks N YES 0% 10% 90%
Numbers, Vectors and Matrices MTH1002 1 30 YES YES 24 weeks N YES 0% 10% 90%
Classical Mechanics AMA2001 2 20 YES 12 weeks Y YES 20% 0% 80%
Quantum & Statistical Physics PHY2001 2 20 YES 12 weeks Y YES 40% 0% 60%
Physics of the Solid State PHY2002 2 20 YES 12 weeks Y YES 40% 0% 60%
Electricity, Magnetism and Optics PHY2004 2 20 YES 12 weeks Y YES 40% 0% 60%
Introduction to Partial Differential Equations MTH2002 2 10 YES 6 weeks Y YES 60% 0% 40%
Linear Algebra & Complex Variables MTH2001 2 30 YES YES 18 weeks Y YES 10% 0% 90%
Employability for Physics PHY2010 2 0 YES 10 weeks N YES 100% 0% 0%
Quantum Theory AMA3002 3 20 YES 12 weeks N YES 30% 0% 70%
Tensor Field Theory AMA3003 3 20 YES 12 weeks N YES 20% 0% 80%
Partial Differential Equations AMA3006 3 20 YES 12 weeks N YES 20% 0% 80%
Computer Algebra PMA3008 3 20 YES YES 12 weeks N YES 0% 100% 0%
Calculus of Variations & Hamiltonian Mechanics AMA3013 3 20 YES 12 weeks N YES 30% 0% 70%
Advanced Electromagnetism and Optics PHY3004 3 20 YES 12 weeks N YES 20% 0% 80%
Applied Mathematics Project AMA3011 3 20 YES YES 12 weeks N YES 80% 20% 0%

Notes

At Stage 1 Students are required to take the four compulsory modules listed

At Stage 2 Students are required to take 6 Compulsory Modules. Students wishing to take a placement year must enrol on Module PHY2010

At Stage 3 Students must take an approved combination of six Level 3 modules normally chosen from the list below. PHY3004, AMA3002, AMA3003, AMA3011 and AMA3013 are compulsory.