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Last modified: 22 May 2019 17:07

Course Overview

Theories of the physical world around us must be consistent with nature. This can be checked by experiment and indeed unexpected experimental results can lead to the development of new theories. This course offers the opportunity to test theories in optics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics and materials science by experiment. You will learn how to carry out experiments, analyse your data and present your results both in writing and verbally. You will get the opportunity to work with Michelson interferometers, venturi meters, sensors, instrumentation and computers. This course supports your physics lectures and prepares you for an experimental scientists work after university.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 3
Session Second Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus None. Sustained Study No
  • Professor Norval Strachan

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?

  • PX3506 Advanced Practical Physics (Studied)

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

This course consists of a series of practical classes linked to third year lecture courses and expanding on the material taught in the previous years. Experiments will cover optics, properties of matter and computer modelling and will introduce applications as well as reinforcing the principles of Physics. The course will also introduce topics that will be covered more formally later in the Honours programme.

Contact Teaching Time

Information on contact teaching time is available from the course guide.

Teaching Breakdown

More Information about Week Numbers

Details, including assessments, may be subject to change until 31 August 2023 for 1st half-session courses and 22 December 2023 for 2nd half-session courses.

Summative Assessments

1st Attempt: In-course assessment (100%): Laboratory book, written report (approximately 6 typed pages), oral examination.

Resit: Resubmission of book/report.


Formative Assessment

Lab notebooks will be marked and returned after completion of experiment.

Written report and oral mark will be returned with written comments.

Formative feedback for in-course assessments will be provided in written form. Additionally, formative feedback on performance will be provided informally during practical sessions.

Students will receive regular written feedback on each lab report before the start of the next practical class.


Feedback for in-course assessments will be provided in written and verbal form (eg. discussion of oral presentation and write up of lab book).

Lab demonstrator will engage with students at a one to one level during the experimental work providing feedback on progress.

Course Learning Outcomes


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