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Unit information: Computational Physics 301 in 2021/22

Unit name Computational Physics 301
Unit code PHYS38012
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Jim Brooke
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science

Description including Unit Aims

This unit builds on computational physics from levels C/4 and I/5. The course introduces techniques for evaluation, differentiation, integration and solution of equations, and then applies this to the study of a variety of realistic physical systems. Self paced programming exercises of increasing complexity, with hands-on guidance from demonstrators.

This is a course on solving scientific problems using computers. Students will learn how to use computational methods in a scientific computing environment to solve physics problems, what the limitations of computers are and how to overcome or avoid these limitations.

Intended Learning Outcomes

Students should be able to:

  • choose appropriate algorithms to solve scientific and mathematical problems
  • write computer programs to implement the algorithms and solve the problems
  • understand the limitations and possible errors in the solutions
  • work in a scientific computing environment.

Teaching Information

The unit will be taught through a combination of

  • asynchronous online materials, including narrated presentations and worked examples
  • synchronous group problems classes, workshops, tutorials and/or office hours
  • asynchronous directed individual formative exercises and other exercises
  • guided, structured reading

Assessment Information

Coursework (100%) : - 3 x coding assignments (15% each) - One 4 week assignment, giving 55% of the total mark.


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. PHYS38012).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.