Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Communicating Topics in Physics
Academic Year
Semester 1
Successful Completion of Yr3 of MPhys or F341 degree scheme.
Exclusive (Any Acad Year)
Other Staff

Course Delivery



Due to Covid-19 students should refer to the module Blackboard pages for assessment details

Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment Written article on current topic  in Physics aimed at a general audience. (6-10 page popular science article on a current scientific topic.)  50%
Semester Assessment Exercises on planning, presenting and assessing  a research project (for students not registered on PHM5760) OR Presentation and oral examination (for students registered on PHM5760).  50%
Supplementary Assessment (As determined by the Departmental Examination Board.)  100%

Learning Outcomes

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

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

2. Communicate the topical subject to a non-specialist audience through the medium of a popular science article. 

3. Present the background material of a current science topic in a way that is accessible to a general audience.

4. Make an informed decision on the topic and present a recommendation on the topic.

a) Demonstrate the skills underpinning the planning, presentation and assessing of a research project (students not registered on PHM5760); or
b) 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).

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. 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 seminars. Students will then produce a written article on this paper, which will be evaluated on the quality of its presentation and accessibility to a general audience. 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 seminars of 1 hour each. The course normally held at Gregynog is a 5-day residential course.

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Students will be expected to explain magnitudes occurring in their topic to a general audience.
Communication Assessed throughout.
Improving own Learning and Performance Learning through reading of popular science articles, use of grammar, self-reflection to produce an informed opinion.
Information Technology Use of Word/Latex to produce report. Powerpoint/pdf for 5b.
Personal Development and Career planning Assessed in 5a.
Research skills Sourcing the topic paper, and referencing the attendant literature.
Subject Specific Skills Presenting an informed scientific opinion based on a specific research paper.
Team work Assessed in 5a.


This module is at CQFW Level 7