Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

International Physics Summer School 2 PHYS1017

  • Academic Session: 2021-22
  • School: School of Physics and Astronomy
  • Credits: 15
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Summer
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: No

Short Description

To explore the basic ideas of physics in the areas of waves & optics, electricity, electronics and magnetism (using vector formalism where appropriate), and quantum phenomena as a foundation for more advanced study of physics and for application in other sciences.


There are seven 3-hours interactive learning sessions, seven 2-hours tutorial sessions and seven laboratory sessions over a 4 weeks period during the summer. There are also weekly online assignments.

Requirements of Entry

Pass in university level calculus course and normally pass in Physics (SQA Higher or equivalent).

Excluded Courses





Description of Summative Assessment: 


Assessment: Unseen examination (60%) 90 minutes exam paper consisting of 6 short written questions.  Course work consists of laboratory work (20%) and online assignments and class tests (20%).


Reassessment: In accordance with the University's Code of Assessment reassessments are normally set for all courses which do not contribute to the honours classifications. For non-honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students, and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions are listed below in this box.

Main Assessment In: August

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Because of the timing of the summer school, there is no opportunity for reassessment to be timetabled within the same academic session. Therefore, normally reassessment is not available for this course.

Course Aims

To ensure students understand the basic ideas of physics in the areas of waves & optics, electricity, electronics and magnetism (using vector formalism where appropriate), and quantum phenomena, as a foundation for more advanced study of physics and for application in other sciences;

To introduce more advanced topics, particularly special relativity, lasers elementary particle physics;

To develop and then extend student's experience of experimental physics, by performing and analysing data from a number of straightforward experiments;

To develop practice in problem solving, requiring the application of mathematics to explain physical phenomena;

To develop the student's ability to keep laboratory records and write reports, including use of a word-processor package, and to introduce and then extend the use of a spreadsheet package for the presentation of results and the analysis of experimental results;

To introduce students to group working within the laboratory setting, and to joint discussion of problem solving strategies within small-group sessions.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

On completion of the course the student should be able to:

Apply the laws of geometrical optics to mirror and lenses;

Describe waves mathematically, and apply this to treat optical interference;

Describe the operation of lasers;

Perform calculations involving electrical field and potential;

Analyse DC circuits using Kirchhoff's Laws;

Design circuits involving operational amplifiers;

Describe the motion of particles in electric and magnetic fields, and calculate the magnetic force on a


Carry out calculations in atomic physics;

Describe properties of photons, and appreciate wave-particle duality;

State some facts and concepts of Elementary Particle Physics and Cosmology;

Perform laboratory experiments and present the results in a word-processed report;

Use a spreadsheet package to analyse laboratory results, and incorporate table and graphs in a word- 

  processed report.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.