Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Advanced Topics in Materials Physics
Academic Year
Intended for use in future years
Mutually Exclusive
or PHM4810
Succesful completion of Year 3 of the MPhys scheme
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials Workshops: 18 Hours
Other 16 hours guided reading; 16 hours independent Literature Research; 48 hours preparation of assignments


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 3 x Reports 1500 words or equivalent  100%
Supplementary Exam As determined by the Departmental Examination Board  100%

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. Undertake self study and research of different topics in materials physics

2. Identify research tasks and the appropriate research methodologies to address them

3. Discuss the structure of materials on different length scales

4. Identify experimental techniques for structural investigations and for testing materials' properties

5. Relate structure/property/function relationships for materials on the basis of experimental data


Among the typical career fields of our MPhys candidates are research and development in both academia and industry as well as engineering and related areas. Providing them with knowledge of the physics of modern advanced materials is therefore crucial to prepare them for a successful start into the labour market. The module acts also as a bridge between undergraduate and postgraduate studies in the field of Materials Physics, with a postgraduate recruitment perspective in mind.

Brief description

The module draws on the breadth of experience in materials science available within the Institute by exposing the students to a selection of workshops. Out of a range of topics, three workshops will be taught in any given year. The workshop contents are intended to reflect the dynamic of the Institute's evolving research interests.


Workshop topics include, but are not limited to:-
  • scattering techniques
  • spectroscopic techniques
  • semiconductor applications
  • functional materials
  • glasses and ceramics
  • soft matter
  • advanced instrumentation
  • engineering materials
  • modelling and visualisation
Each workshop will have a different assessment which will be devised by the academic leading the workshop.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Calculations and estimations of physical properties based on structural parameters, e.g. strength of materials from diffraction results.
Communication Essay writing, web site design, oral and poster presentations are variants of assignments used in this module.
Improving own Learning and Performance Independent literature research and reading is an important component of the module. Students are expected to read on from initial material given to them and show in their assignments that they have done so.
Information Technology Computer programming, web site design, use of material property and literature data bases.
Personal Development and Career planning A wide range of applications of advanced materials will be covered in the workshops. These will be applications from the cutting edge of current research and development. Hence the topics covered will be of immediate importance for those students who pursue careers in research, development, or engineering.
Problem solving There is no project work on this module given the large proportion of 4th year credits that the final year project carries.
Research skills Literature research is a key component.
Subject Specific Skills Dependent on the particular workshop contents.
Team work It is open to individual lecturers to allow students to form small working groups where this is appropriate.


This module is at CQFW Level 7