Skip to Content


Last modified: 16 Aug 2021 13:43

Course Overview

Physics is the most fundamental of the sciences, and if we wish to better understand the nature and behaviour of the Universe, it is perhaps the best place to start. This course introduces the basic topics of Physics, from the sub-microscopic scale of electrons and atoms, to the orbits of the planets and stars, to the celestial mechanics of galaxies. It encompasses the work of Physicists like Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Jocelyn Bell Burnell. If you’ve ever been curious about how the world works, you will hopefully find this course, typically well-regarded by students, interesting.

Course Details

Study Type Undergraduate Level 1
Session First Sub Session Credit Points 15 credits (7.5 ECTS credits)
Campus Aberdeen Sustained Study No
  • Dr R. F. Macpherson

Qualification Prerequisites

  • Higher Grade (Sce/Sqa) Mathematics at Grade A
  • Higher Grade (Sce/Sqa) Physics at Grade B
  • Higher Grade (Sce/Sqa) Physics at Grade B3
  • Higher Grade (Sce/Sqa) Physics at Grade B4
  • Higher Grade (Sce/Sqa) Mathematics at Grade A1
  • Higher Grade (Sce/Sqa) Mathematics at Grade A2
  • Higher Grade (Sce/Sqa) Mathematics at Grade B
  • Higher Grade (Sce/Sqa) Mathematics at Grade B3
  • Higher Grade (Sce/Sqa) Mathematics at Grade B4
  • Higher Grade (Sce/Sqa) Physics at Grade A
  • Higher Grade (Sce/Sqa) Physics at Grade A1
  • Higher Grade (Sce/Sqa) Physics at Grade A2
  • Either Programme Level 1 or Programme Level 2

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

  • Any Undergraduate Programme

What other courses must be taken with this course?


What courses cannot be taken with this course?

Are there a limited number of places available?


Course Description

The Physical Universe A is an introduction to some of the most fundamental areas in Physics and provides a foundation for later years of study. There will be lectures on kinematics and dynamics, covering the equations of motion and Newton's Three Laws; there's an introduction to Special Relativity, including the twin paradox; energy and power are covered, as well as considerations for generating electricity in the modern world; gravitation is studied in some depth, including the Law of Universal Gravitation, Kepler's laws governing the orbits of planets, and the behaviour of satellites; the course concludes with discussions of fluids, momentum and centres of mass.

The course objectives are:

  • To give an overview of some of the universal laws of physics;
  • To show how the concepts embodied in these laws form the basis of our understanding of nature and our application of science in selected fields.

In light of Covid-19 this information is indicative and may be subject to change.

Contact Teaching Time

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

Teaching Breakdown

  • 1 Science Laboratory during University weeks 11 - 16
  • 1 Tutorial during University weeks 10 - 19, 13 - 19

More Information about Week Numbers

In light of Covid-19 and the move to blended learning delivery the assessment information advertised for second half-session courses may be subject to change. All updates for second-half session courses will be actioned in advance of the second half-session teaching starting. Please check back regularly for updates.

Summative Assessments

First Attempt


50% Final Exam
25% Lab Work
12.5% Tutorials
12.5% Midterm Exams

Alternative Resit Arrangements for students taking course in Academic Year 2020/21

Resubmission of failed elements (pass marks carried forward)

Formative Assessment

There are no assessments for this course.

Course Learning Outcomes

Knowledge LevelThinking SkillOutcome
FactualRememberILO’s for this course are available in the course guide.

Compatibility Mode

We have detected that you are have compatibility mode enabled or are using an old version of Internet Explorer. You either need to switch off compatibility mode for this site or upgrade your browser.