Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Experimental Physics (10 Credits)
Academic Year
Semester 1
PH15720 or PH15510
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Seminars / Tutorials Introduction followed by regular consultation with experiment supervisor.
Practical Experimental work during normal lab hours.


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Group Presentation  20%
Semester Assessment Literature Review  20%
Semester Assessment Individual Report  60%
Supplementary Assessment As determined by Departmental Examination Board  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

Search for papers and articles on topics related to experimental work and present a bibiography using Endnote or similar software

Plan and perform an experiment and then analyse data and evaluate the experiment with minimal input from teaching staff, utilising laboratory skills developed earlier during the course.

Work in a group to communicate an experiment and results in an oral presentation.

Write an individual report on an experiment

Brief description

This module is a prelude to the final-year project module and gives students experience of the environment of experimental physics and problem solving. It is an essential part of the student's career development. Students are required to perform an extended experiment over the course of the semester. They will work in a group and are required to research the background to the experiment, examine the equipment available, exercise their judgment to develop an experimental strategy, analyse the results of the experiment.
The module will be assessed in three ways; firstly the group will produce a literature review showing evidence of independent research into topics related to the experiment, secondly the group will make a presentation of the experiment, thirdly there will be a formal experimental report written. The report will be an individual submission.


This module is focused on developing the skill set necessary for experimental physics. These include:
  • understanding a brief description of the experiment
  • researching the background and context of the experiment
  • gaining familiarity with instrumentation and experimental data
  • electronic and software control of instrumentation
  • analysis and modelling of data
  • communication of results both orally and written
  • working as part of a team
The module runs throughout the semester and is supported by regular supervisor tutorials.


The module aims to develop the analytical and experimental skills necessary to perform advanced physics experiments, together with critical evaluation skills and communication of results. These skills form an essential part of the training of a physicist.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Application of number is essential to analyse experimental data, including error propagation.
Communication Communication and literacy are required to present findings in a group presentation and a written report.
Improving own Learning and Performance Reflecting on outcomes of laboratory work to plan further work develops own learning and performance.
Information Technology Instrumentation and computers are essential to perform experiments, analyse data and present results.
Personal Development and Career planning Many of the skills developed are essential elements of a physics degree and in future employment.
Problem solving Problem solving skills are essential when responding to initial results and adapting experimental strategies accordingly.
Research skills Research skills are needed to devise experiments to test hypotheses.
Subject Specific Skills Subject skills are developed and assessed, but detail will depend on the specific topic of the advanced experiment.
Team work The investigations and presentation are carried out in a group.


This module is at CQFW Level 6