Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Communicating Topics in Physics
Academic Year
Semester 1
Successful completion of level 3
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Other Presentations by students
Seminars / Tutorials Series of weekly seminars of 1 hour each
Other 5-day Residential Course


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Oral presentation on current topic in Physics  20%
Semester Assessment Exercises on planning, presenting and assessing research project (for students not registered on PHM5760) OR Presentation and oral examination (for students registered on PHM5760)  40%
Semester Assessment Written article on current topic in Physics aimed at a general audience.  40%
Supplementary Assessment Resit failed components  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

Demonstrate independent learning by undertaking a review of a paper on a topical subject in Physics and supporting literature.

Present and communicate the topical subject to a non-specialist audience in a popular science article

Demonstrate the ability to present a current science topic to a non-specialist audience and manage questions from that audience.

Demonstrate the skills underpinning the planning, presentation and assessing of a research project (students not registered on PHM5760).
Demonstrate the ability to present the science underpinning a final year project and address detailed questions on the work in an oral examination (students registered on PHM5760.


This module aims to develop presentation and communication skills of the undergraduate student within the context of topics and projects in Physics. The skills are essential for professional Physicists, to communicate concepts in Physics to both their co-workers and to the general public.

Brief description

The module focuses on developing communication and presentation skills within the context of topics in Physics. Two complementary aspects are considered. The first addresses the presentation of a topical subject in Physics in a written article aimed at the general public and a short presentation on the topic to an audience of their peers. The second aspect addresses communication skills considered to be important for successful implementation of a research project. This second aspect is replaced by a presentation and oral examination for the students taking the second semester module PHM5760 Upper Polar Atmosphere module at UNIS.


In the first part of the module students will undertake a review of a recent, topical paper in physics. Students will undertake a literature review and will be required to provide an article on this paper in popular science format (e.g. New Scientist). The review and preparation of the article will be discussed at weekly seminars. Students will then give a presentation on this paper before their peers and will be evaluated on the quality of this presentation and handling of questions from the audience. This presentation will occur mid-semester. The topic may be relevant to a research field in the department (materials, solar system, astrophysics, theoretical and computational physics) although need not be confined to these.

Planning, presenting and assessing a research project (for students not registered on PHM5760) is addressed in a short residential research skills course. This is normally organised jointly by Physics staff at the Universities of Aberystwyth, Cardiff and Swansea, and held at Gregynog at the end of Semester 1. Students are required to work in groups.

For the presentation and oral examination (students registered on PHM5760) students are required to give a presentation of their Year 4 project to a small panel of assessors and then respond orally to detailed questions on the field of study.

This module will be delivered as a series of weekly seminars of 1 hour each. There is also a 5-day residential course.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Mathematical skills underpin Physics research papers and project work featuring in the module.
Communication Oral and written communication skills are central to the module.
Improving own Learning and Performance Students receive feedback on their communication and quality of work to improve presentation skills.
Information Technology Students are required to use electronic resources for relevant research.
Personal Development and Career planning The module is aimed at preparing students to present physics in written and oral communication. These skills are an integral part of any career and are transferable to any discipline or career path.
Problem solving Problem solving is central in each aspect of the module: physics research papers, research project and final-year undergraduate project.
Research skills Literature searches and scientific enquiry are an integral part of this module.
Subject Specific Skills Will depend on the topics selected for study.
Team work Group work forms part of the residential course on research skills.


This module is at CQFW Level 7