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Unit information: Chemical Physics Research Project in 2015/16

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Unit name Chemical Physics Research Project
Unit code PHYSM3408
Credit points 60
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 4 (weeks 1-24)
Unit director Dr. Antognozzi
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Physics
Faculty Faculty of Science


The project is an opportunity for students to undertake research in chemical physics, either experimental or theoretical, and carry out an investigation, usually associated with one of the research areas in either department. Experimental projects are usually done in pairs. The project is student-led and leads to a substantial report detailing the project, how it was approached and the results obtained.


  • To give students the opportunity to undertake a substantial research project requiring them to demonstrate initiative and independence and apply a diversity of knowledge and skills.
  • Students will gain insight into tackling real problems.
  • To allow students to acquire the skills necessary to work in a particular research area.
  • Students will learn to present their work in a variety of different ways.

Intended learning outcomes

Students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate that they have acquired the technical skills necessary to do research in their area.
  • Plan and carry out a substantial research project.
  • Critically evaluate current research in the area of their project
  • Present their work clearly to an audience of their peers.
  • Demonstrate originality in tackling problems.
  • Produce a clear and coherent report of a standard which would be suitable for publication.

Teaching details

Throughout the project students will be directed by two academic supervisors (one from each of the Physics and Chemistry Departments) The quantity and nature of contact with the supervisor will vary depending on the nature of the project. However students would be expected to meet with their main supervisor at least weekly. The first stage of the project will consist of a literature review initially directed by the main supervisor. Students will also be provided with a set of well defined tasks which, when completed will indicate that they have acquired the technical skills necessary to proceed with the project.

Assessment Details

  • The final assessment mark for the unit is broken down as shown below. Formative assessment is provided informally by regular contact with both supervisors and through two formal meetings with the second supervisor. Students will also receive comments on the interim report.
  • The final presentation will be assessed by fellow students and a staff moderator with 50% of the mark coming from peer assessment and 50% from the moderator. Students will be involved in setting the assessment criteria.

The poster will be assessed by academic staff during a poster session. Students working in pairs will submit one poster and will receive one mark.

  • The final project report mark will be based on the report and on work throughout the year. Both supervisors will be present at the final interview. They will mark the report independently before the final interview.
  • Interim Report (2,000 words) (5%)
  • Final presentation (15 minutes + questions) (10%)
  • Poster session (5%)
  • Final project report and Interview (8,000-10,000 word report + 30 minute interview) (80%)

Reading and References

Reading will come from the relevant literature, research papers and advanced text books, and will be project dependent.