International Physics Summer School for physical sciences and engineering 2 PHYS1019

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Physics and Astronomy
  • Credits: 15
  • Level: Level 1 (SCQF level 7)
  • Typically Offered: Summer
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

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 international qualification equivalent to SQA Higher Physics).

Excluded Courses





Description of Summative Assessment: 


Assessment: Unseen examination (60%) 90 minutes exam paper consisting of 20 multiple choice questions and 3 short written questions.  Course work consists of laboratory work (20%) and online assignments and class tests (20%).


Reassessment: Due to the short and intense nature of this course. It will not be possible for the students to be offered reassessment opportunities.

Main Assessment In: August

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? No

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. 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 for this course are described below. 


Because of the timing of the summer school, there is no opportunity for reassessment to be timetabled within the same academic session.

Course Aims

To ensure students understand the basic ideas of physics in the areas of electric & magnetic fields, electrodynamics and special relativity, as a foundation for more advanced study of physics and for application in other sciences;

To introduce more advanced topics, particularly special relativity and Maxwell's equation;

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, 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:

Perform calculations involving electrical field and potential and describe the motion of particles in electric and magnetic fields;

Analyse DC circuits using Kirchhoff's Laws; Understand AC theory with reference to inductors, capacitors and resistors and be able to analysis the performance of LCR circuits;

Use Ampere's and Biot-Savart's law to determine the magnetic induction of simple conductors;

Describe the operation of motors and generators in relation to Faraday's and Lenz's laws;

State & understand the meaning of Maxwell Equations and its implication to EM waves in vacuum;

Solve simple problems using Lorentz transformation and decide when Special Relativity should be used;

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.