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Unit information: Skills for Science 301 in 2015/16

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Unit name Skills for Science 301
Unit code PHYS38011
Credit points 10
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Furqaan Yusaf
Open unit status Not open

120 credit points at Level 5 in single honours Physics or joint honours programme with Physics.



School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science


An exercise in skills planning, development and review. Skills can be any appropriate and identified as relevant to the students skills development needs and agreed between student and supervisor. Normally the major final year coursework, Physics Project, Physics Dissertation or Physics Education will act as a nucleus for this discussion, but where appropriate the unit may be supervised by a different supervisor to subsequent course work. The student and supervisor will establish the critical needs for successful later courses and career development at the outset of the unit. The student will produce a report based on applying these skills. This might involve establishing background issues and controversies with appropriate figures and bibliography. Depending upon the skills to be acquired appropriate alternatives to the written report would be possible. A further component of this unit is to have students evaluate the skills they have acquired throughout their programme, including those they need to complete their coursework. This together with student self-assessment will form part of the basis of a Personal Tutor interview in week 8, and be a basis for their Personal Development Profile. The unit will prepare students well for the world of work, and ensure they take seriously the issues of PDP (Personal Development Planning).


To help the student develop organisational and technical skills and improve written communication. To provide a benefit to them in their subsequent Physics Project, Physics Dissertation or Physics Education. To encourage students to plan and review their personal development and to take seriously the issue of skills enhancement. To enable students to be aware of and be able to present their skills well thereby enhancing prospects for employment and for career development.

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of this module, the student will have acquired specific additional skills or knowledge. These will normally be relevant to and in the context of their subsequent units. Such skills could include:

  • specific scientific technical or IT skills,
  • deepened knowledge of science beyond the Level I or H curriculum,
  • specific knowledge of research issues and controversies of relevance to a research project,
  • knowledge of education issues and the National Curriculum

Students will also be better equipped to undertake independent learning, research and critical evaluation. Students will have an better appreciation of the skills needs, their acquisition and the relevance to a PDP and personal development planning in general.

Teaching details

There are no formal lectures associated with this course. An initial one day of training will provide the student with an introduction to library structures, literature searching, on-line publications and the Science Citations Index. An alternative one day session on issues surrounding the teaching of physics in schools will be provided for the Physics Education students. Supervisors will agree development objectives with students at the start of the unit. These might include:

  • Specific knowledge of an area of Physics not covered in the curriculum, but necessary for their subsequent project.
  • Development of specific practical or personal skills as required for the project dissertation or Physics Education unit.
  • In the case of a student preparing for the Physics Education unit, developing familiarity with the National Curriculum, researching teaching methods and issues, developing presentational skills.
  • A student undertaking a dissertation might prepare a poster or a presentation summarising controversies surrounding some issue in Physics.

Students will then undertake self-paced active learning through guided reading, library and internet based research and practice. They will produce a 3000 word report summarising the knowledge or skills they have attained together with an appreciation of debates and controversies in the area.

Assessment Details

Assessment will be based upon the student's 3000 word end of unit report and interview, jointly assessed by supervisor and coursework assessor; students will be required to demonstrate that they have achieved the learning objectives identified at the outset of the unit (75% of the unit marks). Students will submit a pro forma focusing on Personal Development Planning. This will be reviewed by the unit director and form the basis of a 30 minute interview with the Personal Tutor. In the report and interview students will be required to demonstrate that they have seriously engaged with and critically reviewed their Personal Development. The report will be the focus for feedback and guidance on skills relevant to postgraduate study and careers. The marks (25% of the unit marks) will be agreed by the personal tutor and the unit director, full credit will normally be given to any student who has taken the process seriously. The objective is to ensure effort and engagement rather than attainment. The overall outcomes will be moderated by a departmental panel and the Boards of Examiners to ensure equivalence of assessment.

Reading and References

After the skills are identified, initial relevant reading will be identified in the form of research papers, text or reference books. The National Curriculum and other UAS support materials for Physics Education students.