Numerical Methods PHYS4017

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Physics and Astronomy
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will explore the key principles and applications of Numerical Methods, and their relevance to current developments in physics.


18 lectures, on Tuesdays at 10am and Thursdays at 10am, plus 5 laboratories on Mondays between 2pm and 5pm

Requirements of Entry


Excluded Courses







Unseen examination, comprising compulsory short questions and a choice of 1 from 2 long questions.


Coursework, in the form of laboratory report.



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.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

The aims of this course are:

1. To describe the key physical principles of numerical methods

2. To explore the theory of numerical methods techniques in the analysis and modelling of physical systems

3. To describe practical examples and applications of the most important numerical methods techniques.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of Numerical Methods through the description and analysis of processes, relationships and techniques relevant to the following topics:.Interpolation and extrapolation; Numerical integration; Generating random numbers; Root finding; Minimising and maximising functions; Fast Fourier transforms; Integration of ordinary differential equations; Partial differential equations.

2. Write down and, where appropriate, either prove or explain the underlying basis of physical laws and mathematical relationships relevant to the course topics, discussing their applications and appreciating their relation to the topics of other courses taken.

3. Apply the ideas and techniques developed in the lectures to solve general classes of problems which may include straightforward unseen elements.

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.