Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Introduction to Oscillations and Waves
Academic Year
Semester 2
Mutually Exclusive
PH10210, Not available to students on 3 year BSc (Hons) or 4 year MPhys schemes
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 11 x 2 Hour Lectures


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 foundation module gives a basic introduction to simple harmonic motion and wave propagation and properties. It prepares students for further study of the topics at Year 1 undergraduate level (CQFW Level 4).

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 3