Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Oscillations and Waves
Academic Year
Semester 2
Mutually Exclusive
PH02010, Not available to students on Physics 3 year BSc (Hons) or 4 year MPhys schemes
GCSE Mathematics and Science or equivalent
Reading List
External Examiners
  • Professor Pete Vukusic (Professor - Exeter University)
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 2 Hours   Written examination  70%
Semester Assessment 2 Examples sheets  30%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Written examination  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Recall the theory of the simple harmonic oscillator.
2. Demonstrate the ability to solve problems relating to simple harmonic oscillators.
3. Recall basic theory for wave propagation and wave effects.
4. Demonstrate the ability to solve problems on wave propagation and wave effects.
5. Produce qualitative descriptions of oscillations and wave phenomena.


This module gives a basic introduction to simple harmonic motion and wave propagation and properties. It is suitable for mathematics and science students not on a Physics degree scheme.

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.


This module is at CQFW Level 4