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.

Physics M Project PHYS5009P

  • Academic Session: 2020-21
  • School: School of Physics and Astronomy
  • Credits: 40
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Runs Throughout Semesters 1 and 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

To provide students with an opportunity to develop knowledge and understanding of the key principles and applications of the Physics M-Project, and their relevance to current developments in physics, at a level appropriate for a professional physicist.


Tuesdays and Thursdays 11am-5pm

Requirements of Entry

This course is normally only open to students who meet the requirements for entry, or progression, for a degree programme which includes Physics M-Project as an elective or compulsory course.


Physics M-Project is a compulsory course for the following degree programmes:


MSci Physics, MSci Theoretical Physics, MSci Combined Physics, MSci Physics with Astrophysics, MSci Chemical Physics, MSci Chemical Physics with Work Placement


Physics M-Project is a prohibited course for the following degree programmes:


BSc (Honours) Physics, BSc (Honours) Combined Physics, BSc (Honours) Chemical Physics, BSc (Honours) Physics with Astrophysics, BSc (Designated) Physics, BSc (Designated) Combined Physics, BSc (Designated) Physics with Astrophysics.


Excluded Courses



Project 40%

Written report 40%

Oral Presentation 20%

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

To provide the opportunity to study in depth a choice of advanced treatments and applications of aspects of modern physics and astronomy, at the level appropriate for a professional (astro)-physicist. To provide advanced training and experience in the principles and practice of physical measurement techniques, using advanced instrumentation where appropriate, and in the critical analysis of experimental data. To develop problem solving abilities, critical assessment and communication skills, to a level appropriate for a career of leadership in academia or industry, and to employ these skills in preparing and writing a report on an extended and demanding project. To encourage students to work effectively, to develop a professional attitude to what they do and to take full responsibility for their own learning.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course, students will be able to: recover, evaluate and summarise the professional literature and material from other sources concerned with a chosen area of physics or astronomy; prepare a written analysis of the current position in the chosen area, which should include a critical comparison of material from the sources he/she has identified and a summary of likely future developments.

Students should be able to: define, with the help of colleagues and taking into account the time available, a suitable area of work for a project and hence make a preliminary definition of goals to be achieved during the project; make an appropriate safety assessment for the work proposed; with the help of colleagues, analyse what experimental / theoretical / computational methods might be necessary to achieve the goals of the project and hence decide how the practical phase of the project should be organised; perform the practical part of the investigation, taking due account of experimental errors of measurement and possible assumptions and approximations in analytical and computational work as appropriate; revise the goals and strategies for completion of the project in the light of results achieved and difficulties encountered.

Students should be able to: write a report on an extended piece of project work, which should include a critical evaluation of the significance of the work and how it compares with work done in the same area, both within the local area and as reported in the general scientific literature; prepare an abstract of the work performed of length about 250 words in the accepted scientific format.

Students should be able to: prepare an oral presentation describing the work performed in the project, and answer questions related to the presentation of the work carried out; prepare a poster describing the work performed in the project and defend the contents of this poster before scientific colleagues.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Not applicable.