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Last modified: 25 Apr 2017 14:28

Course Overview

This course introduces mathematical and computational methods. One half is an introduction to programming starting at basics such as variables, loops and conditional statements. This course part is taught in Python, with an emphasis on modern programming concepts and data analysis skills. The other half, taught concurrently, consists of advanced mathematical methods using examples from Physics; for example multivariable calculus and Maxwell's equations, or ODE and partial differential equations in classical and quantum mechanics. There will be a one week career strategies module at the end of the course.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Dr Silke Henkes
  • Dr Francesco Ginelli

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Either Programme Level 3 or Programme Level 4

What courses & programmes must have been taken before this course?

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

  • PX3011 Research Skills in Physics (Studied)
  • PX3015 Research and Computing Skills (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description


'This course will introduce computing skills including programming and numerical analysis methods and key mathematical skills commensurate with those required by other honours courses such as Electricity and Magnetism. The course is divided into two halves. In the first half, students will develop programming and numerical analysis skills. Using Python, they will first learn the basics of programming, including loops, conditions and functions. Using this basis, they will then apply numerical algorithms to solve differential equations, eigenvalue problems and integration, and learn how to analyse and visualise data. An individual programming project concludes this part. In the second half students will revise and develop key mathematical skills including their ability to cope with vector calculus, differential and integral equations and linear algebra. Topics such as Stokes’s, Green’s and Gauss’s theorems will be explored and applications discussed.

Further Information & Notes

Priority entry to intending Physics honours students.

Degree Programmes for which this Course is Prescribed

  • BSc Computing Science and Physics
  • BSc Geology - Physics
  • BSc Physics
  • BSc Physics with Geology
  • BSc Physics with Modern Languages
  • BSc Physics with Philosophy
  • Physics Joint
  • Physics Major

Contact Teaching Time

62 hours

This is the total time spent in lectures, tutorials and other class teaching.

Teaching Breakdown


1st Attempt: 1st Attempt: In-course assessments (100%) made up of tutorial questions and one mid-term exam (50%) and computer programme assessments (50%)
Resit: Opportunity to resubmit any missed assessments.

Formative Assessment

Initial workshop on presentation skills formatively assessed; careers skills - feedback given, short "flash" assignments will be unassessed (eg. short blogs will receive comments). Formative assessment on continuing work within workshops, and guidance given.


Feedback will be: provided by e-mail on formative assessments such as presentation skills given individually on careers skills provided as comments on blogs of "flash" assignments given informally throughout workshops and as required formally provided in writing on written (summative) assessments.

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