Professional Physics module (PH11002)

Develop the practical skills needed to succeed as a student of physics and future professional physicist.

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This module helps you develop the practical skills needed as a physics student and future professional physicist. It introduces what it means to be a scientist, and what physics careers you can follow.

You will have opportunities to pursue your interests in physics, be they in astronomy, particle physics, medical physics, or another field of physics.

The module also provides an insight into cutting-edge research problems and the industrial value of physics.

It explores the definition of physics itself, and what makes science distinct from opinion. You will learn problem-solving techniques and how to do back-of-the-envelope calculations.

What you will learn

In this module, you will:

  • understand the use of standard lab methods and experiments
  • understand experimental and error analysis (random uncertainties, systematic errors, error propagation, least squares fitting, and data visualisation)
  • develop skills in technical writing, including professional report writing
  • be introduced to Fermi (back-of-the-envelope) problems and estimation
  • be introduced to intellectual property, quality assurance, and risk management
  • develop a deeper understanding of the scientific method
  • understand ethical behaviour, what sort of science should be done, and how we should do it

By the end of the module, you will be able to:

  • understand the role of errors and uncertainties in experiments, and learn how to handle them
  • learn how to plan, carry out, and report on experiments as part of a group, using appropriate methods
  • write a professional report and give a technical presentation

Assignments / assessment

  • coursework (100%)

This module does not have a final exam.

Teaching methods / timetable

In this module, you will learn in workshops and labs. Learning activities include:

  • groupwork, including making a group video
  • entrepreneurship workshop
  • intellectual property workshop and how to apply for a patent
  • physics careers activities
  • poster exhibition
  • ethics and scientific publishing workshops
  • speed of light measurement by melting chocolate in a microwave oven
  • individual and group presentation projects on topical areas of physics research
  • talks from Dundee researchers and invited speakers


This module is available on following courses: