Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Experimental Physics (10 Credits)
Academic Year
Semester 1
Mutually Exclusive
Mutually Exclusive
PH15720 or FG15720 ; or PH15510 or FG15510
External Examiners
  • Professor Pete Vukusic (Professor - Exeter University)

Course Delivery



Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Individual Report  60%
Semester Assessment Literature Review  20%
Semester Assessment Presentation  20%
Supplementary Assessment Resubmit failed component  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

1. Research papers and articles on topics related to experimental work.
2. Present a bibliography using Endnote or similar software.
3. Plan and perform an experiment and then analyse data and evaluate the experiment with minimal input from teaching staff, utilising laboratory and analytical skills developed earlier during the course.
4. Work in a group to communicate an experiment and results in an oral presentation.
5. Write an individual report on an experiment


This module aims to develop the analytical and experimental skills necessary to perform advanced level physics experiments. Specifically students will develop an understanding of instrumentation, data analysis and computational modelling as well as communication and critical evaluation of the experimental results. The module develops skills essential for the final year project.

Brief description

Students will be required to perform an extended experiment or series of experiments over the course of the semester. Students will be required to research the background to the experiment, examine the equipment available and then develop an experimental strategy and analyse the results. The experiment will be assessed in three ways; firstly through a literature review showing evidence of independent research into topics related to the experiment, secondly via a presentation of the experiment, thirdly a formal experimental report will be submitted.


The students will gain familiarity with instrumentation and data collected from experiments. This module is focused on developing the skill set necessary for experimental physics. Students will be expected to research the background to the experiment, the context of the experiment and to be aware of the most recent literature related to the experiment. In contrast to the first year these experiments are more complicated and represent the bridge between part one and final year research-led projects. There are no easy solutions to the experiments - the groups must investigate, design and execute the experiments and communicate the outcomes. Students will be expected to research the background to experiments using the internet and library searches. Modelling of data and electronic control of instrumentation are a central part of this module. Physics graduates are expected to have developed problem solving skills and experimental techniques. This module focuses on developing this skill set. It is a prelude to the final year projects and will give students experience of the environment of experimental physics and problem solving. It is an essential part of the student's career development.

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