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PX3A1 Astrophysics Project

Organiser: Matt Broome
Weighting: 35 CATS

The project gives students the opportunity to develop their own ideas in a particular field of interest. Usually students work in pairs, within one of our research groups and alongside postgraduate students and other members of staff. The experience of working more independently should be valuable to students' future careers, whether they intend to work as scientists or not, and can help students make their career choices.

To provide an experience of working on an extended 'research-like' project in collaboration with a supervisor and, typically, with a partner


By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • To study an area of physics in detail
  • Communicate and analyse the results of a study
  • Write a scientific report and defend it at a viva voce examination
  • To undertake physics research


You will work, normally in pairs, on an extended project which may be experimental, computational or theoretical (or indeed a combination of these). Through discussions with your supervisor and partner you will establish a plan of work which you will frequently review as you progress. In general, the project will not be closely prescribed and will contain an investigative element. Over the Christmas vacation you will independently write an interim report which will be marked and returned (with feedback) by your supervisor. At the end of the second term, you will again independently write a final report, which will be assessed by two independent members of academic staff, who will also examine you in a viva voce examination.

Commitment: Approximate: 2 days per week for 20 weeks (terms 1 and 2), preparation of interim report (term 1 + vacation) and final report (term 2). Approximately 2 days per week for 20 weeks.

Assessment: 100% assessed: an interim report, a final report, and a viva; in addition work done is assessed primarily by the project supervisor. You should discuss the written reports with your supervisor prior to starting work on them. Full details of the assessment/feedback will be published on the module website.