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Unit information: Physics Dissertation 333 in 2015/16

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Unit name Physics Dissertation 333
Unit code PHYS38331
Credit points 30
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Gersen
Open unit status Not open

120 credit points at level I/5 of any BSc physics, joint honours with physics or Chemical Physics programme.



School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science


The dissertation is an opportunity for students to produce a major review of a single topic in physics. The dissertation is student-led and leads to a substantial report detailing the topic, combining material from a variety of sources.


The dissertation is a substantial exercise where the student demonstrates initiative and independence, bringing a diversity of knowledge and skills to bear on a particular topic. A major component of this unit is to develop the ability to synthesise material from a wide variety of sources and analyse critically the current status of knowledge about the specific topic.

Intended learning outcomes

The student will:

  • learn how to assemble a wide range of information about a specific problem,
  • learn how to identify the important elements of current knowledge of the topic and test their validity and significance,
  • learn how to present material clearly and concisely both verbally and in manuscript,
  • produce a clear and coherent report representing a significant academic document about the topic.

Teaching details

The dissertation will be mainly library-based. Both a supervisor and an assessor will be involved during the duration of the dissertation. Generally the student and supervisor will meet weekly.

Assessment Details

Assessment is through an interim report at the end of the first semester and the final report at the start of the summer term. The assessor will interview the student at the end of the unit. The assessment is based on day-to-day performance throughout the duration of the dissertation, the quality of the report and the results and conclusions. Marks will be awarded for technical ability in marshalling material, diligence and motivation in analysing the material and an appreciation of the science of the subject of the dissertation.

Reading and References

This will depend on the specific topic but may include textbooks, research journals, previous project reports and web-based material.