Our courses include flexible learning and teaching styles where approaching staff is easy and encouraged. We balance formal teaching methods (including lectures, tutorials and practicals) with active learning through self study, problem solving, project design and execution, collaborative work and web based learning (through 'Durham University Online'). Assessment is carried out through annual examination, continuous assessment and laboratory work.
Our course structures have been designed to provide flexibility in your final choice of degree programme. If you are mainly interested in a degree in Physics as a preparation for another career you may wish to choose the BSc degree. If you are looking for a professional training which leads to research in Physics or a Physics-related career, we recommend the MPhys degree. The first year of the BSc and MPhys degree courses in Physics, Physics and Astronomy, and Theoretical Physics is identical, and it is possible to select modules in your second year such that you need not make a firm choice of course until the end of the second year. It is not possible to convert a BSc to an MPhys simply by adding an extra year.
If you choose the three-year programme your degree honours classification is based on your second and third year work; for the MPhys programme your degree class is based on the work done in the second, third and fourth years. In year 4, half the mark comes from an advanced research project which can be experimental, computational or theoretical and is written up as an MPhys thesis. The MPhys Projects vary from year to year, but recent titles have included "Measuring the scale of Baryon wiggles", "Pushing the limits of nanoscale lithography" and "How to blow up a nuclear bomb". Recent third-year Laboratory Project topics have included "Computer Generated Holography" and "Muon Telescope"; and we have four modern computer-controlled telescopes that are used for project work in the third year.
In addition Physics modules may be taken as components of the degree in Natural Sciences. This includes four-year MSci courses in either Biology & Physics, Mathematics & Physics or Chemistry & Physics, as well as three-year BSc and four-year MSci courses that allow Physics to be combined with a wide variety of other subjects.
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