Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Introduction to Oscillations and Waves
Academic Year
Semester 2
Mutually Exclusive
Not available to students on 3 year BSc (Hons) or 4 year MPhys schemes
GCSE Mathematics and Science or equivalent
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 Hours - To include lectures and workshops


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   written examination  80%
Semester Assessment 2 Examples Sheets.  20%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   written examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

After taking this module students should be able to:

  • describe simple harmonic motion and answer elementary problems relating to simple harmonic oscillators
  • answer simple problems on wave propagation and effects
  • give qualitative descriptions of wave phenomena


This foundation module gives a basic introduction to simple harmonic motion and wave propagation and properties. It prepares students for further study of the topics at Year 1 undergraduate. (CQFW Level 4)

Brief description

This module aims to provide an understanding of simple oscillatory and wave motions. The syllabus considers simple harmonic motion and its application to physical systems. The discussion of waves covers simple mathematical treatment of wave propagation and effects. Emphasis is placed on developing problem-solving skills in these areas. An introduction is given to wave phenomena including interference and diffraction.



Periodic motion: simple harmonic motion (SHM)
Graphical and Mathematical representations of SHM
Examples of simple harmonic oscillators
Energy of simple harmonic oscillator
Simple harmonic motion and circular motion
Introduction to damped oscillation, forced oscillation and resonance


Definitions of wave parameters
Graphical and mathematical representations of waves
Superposition of waves, Doppler effect standing waves, beats
Introduction to light waves: reflection, refraction, dispersion, interference, diffraction and polarisation
Young's two-slit experiment, diffraction at multiple slits.

Reading List

Essential Reading
Nelkon, Michael. (1995.) Advanced level physics /Michael Nelkon, Philip Parker. 7th edition. Heinemann Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 3