«Entering SH within Physics and Astronomy and Joint Degrees - 2016 This paper gives students advice on module choices when they enter SH of their ...»
Entering SH within Physics and Astronomy and Joint Degrees - 2016
This paper gives students advice on module choices when they enter SH of their programmes. This document
should be read in conjunction with the School’s Honours handbook and the University’s Course Catalogue.
We have some significant change in SH next session. This session we have had a number of single-honours
students comment on the issues associated with having 65 credits in first semester. We are moving to change this for next session, following approval from the relevant University authorities. The plan for single-honours students is to have them do a module in Atomic, Nuclear, and Particle Physics made up of the 10 credits of the current Nuclear and Particle Physics and 5 credits from the current Physics of Atoms. This would bring the single-honours credit load in first semester back to 60 credits. A new 15 credit optional module is planned for second semester in advanced atomic physics, titled Concepts in Atomic Physics and Magnetic Resonance.
This module will have the “other” five credits from the old Physics of Atoms, and material that ties in directly with research expertise in the School in cold atom physics and in magnetic resonance. There is much less impact on most joint degree students, who will see “Atomic and Nuclear Physics (extended)” renamed to a more descriptive “Atomic and Nuclear Physics with Advanced Skills”. However, the changes will directly affect Chemistry and Physics students when their 20 credits of Physics of Atoms and Nuclear and Particle Physics are replaced by 15 credits of Atomic, Nuclear and Particle Physics. This will bring their first semester standard credit total back to 60, and we have a new 5 credit module in second semester capitalising on these students’ knowledge of both chemistry and physics.
Some details of the modules open to you are in the University’s Course Catalogue, but there is rather more information in the module synopses that you can access from the School’s Students and Staff web pages.
These synopses are updated each summer. However I expect any changes (other than the module teaching staff and changes associated with Nuclear and Particle Physics and Physics of Atoms) to be modest between this session and next, and I do not expect any major changes in the lists of recommended books that you can access from the synopses.
The SH adviser of studies is currently Dr Natalia Korolkova, and you are welcome to contact her or your JH adviser of studies with any queries you have after reading this document.
Module Choices Honours students have core modules and a set of modules from which they can choose, depending on the flavour of their degree programme. Our honours modules are informed by the research being carried out in the School in astrophysics, biophysics, condensed-matter physics, millimetre-waves, photonics, and theoretical physics, as well as on-going work on physics education. There are opportunities to get directly involved in this research, for example through summer internships and the final year project.
The biggest choice you had in our degree programmes was associated with the degree title. Depending on the degree title there are different modules that are compulsory in your programme.
Some of the degree programmes give a considerable amount of choice of modules during SH, so that you may choose modules to suit your specialist interests or to support MSc, PhD, or career aspirations. BSc students will include a project module in SH, whereas MPhys and MSci students have their project in fifth year.
The following pages show the main modules taken in different programme, and are copied with minor editing from the School’s Honours Handbook. The information is given in good faith, but there may be mistakes; the University’s official documentation is the definitive source of information.
* BSc Astronomers take at least two of Obs. Astro., Nebulae and Stars 1 and 2, Grav. & Accretion Physics, and Fluids; this can leave choice of other modules.
# If Galaxies and Obs. Cosmology was taken in JH then there is a choice here.
MPhys Single Honours Fourth Year, Senior Honours – 2015-16– We plan to be changed for 16-17
*MPhys Astronomers take at least two of Observational Astrophysics, Gravitational & Accretion Physics, and Fluids.
# These modules are normally taken in JH and then there is a choice here. However it is possible to postpone them to SH if needed The final year (year five) of the MPhys programme has a compulsory major project, plus a mix of compulsory and optional modules dependent on the degree programme being taken.
The SH year will contain a project module. The only proposed changes between 2015-16 and 2016-17 are to the name of module Nuclear and Particle Physics (extended) and the introduction of a new second semester optional module on Advances in Atomic Physics.
Senior Honours – if with Physics project
Over two years is at least 90 credits Phil, 120 possible; 90 compulsory Phys, 30 something other than Phil (perhaps most likely physics) BSc Joint Honours Computer Science and Physics This degree programme runs as per the programme with Philosophy, but with most CS modules being 15 credits there is more flexibility in the arrangement of modules. Students are required to take 120 credits of CS modules over the two honours years. Again, no changes are expected beyond the change of name of Nuclear and Particle Physics (extended) and the introduction of a new optional module including advances in atomic physics.
Nuclear and Particle Physics 10 SH year of the MSci Joint Honours Chemistry and Physics for 2016-17 JH is still normally spent doing entirely Chemistry modules. SH is normally spent on the following set of modules:
The final year of the MSci programme has a mix of CH and PH modules, including a choice of a physics or a chemistry project. There may be possibilities of doing a physics project with a strong chemistry component, or vice versa.
“Studies in Physics and Chemistry” looks at developing research and communication skills at the same time as working on a topic of interest relevant to the joint degree.
These joint degree programmes have a restricted choice of physics modules within them in order to cover the core of physics required for accreditation of the degree with the UK Institute of Physics. The choice within the mathematics component can be wide. Please note that there are some subjects that may be taken in either School, such as Group Theory and Fluids. The Maths/Physics split should overall be not far from even - the University’s Course Catalogue requires at least 100 honours credits from each school for the BSc honours degree, and at least 145 from each school for the MPhys.
The only proposed major changes for 2016-17 are a renaming of PH4040 and the additional choice module in Advances in Atomic Physics.
Senior Honours Physics/Theoretical Physics and Maths
MPhys final year mix of MT and PH modules, choice of which School for project We note that the two schools release project information at different times. Our School has emailed students examples of the sorts of projects that have been taken recently. We prefer to wait till the start of the new session to publish final project titles, as this means that research activities over the summer can lead to interesting contemporary project titles to be determined.
Honours Programmes involving Physics and Astronomy, June 2016 Page 6 Pre-advising and Advising for entering SH All students are asked to take part in the pre-advising process that happens from shortly after Spring break or at the start of the summer. We accept that students may still choose different modules and programmes when it comes to advising at the start of SH, but it is still very helpful to have the pre-advising process completed.
This means that students have considered which programme and modules they wish to do, and have had the chance to talk with their adviser and others about this, well in advance of the busy start to SH. It means that the School can look at module choices and consider modifications to the timetable to reduce timetable clashes.
It means that the University has a better idea about how many students will be in different classes, thus allowing appropriate rooms to be booked. The remainder of this document looks at how (pre) advising and module choice is done.
Students are asked to realise that choosing their modules for the honours programme is an important responsibility. You should check degree requirements in this document, the University Course Catalogue and/or the relevant School Handbooks (we suggest that this School’s honours handbook is easier to interpret than is the University Course Catalogue). You should check, where possible, for timetable clashes. Our School on its Students and Staff web pages links to the honours module synopses, the School’s honours handbook, timetables, etc. The normal procedure would be for you to fill in your module choice online and then to get this approved during the 10-15 minutes advising meeting in September. Please bear in mind that choices made in SH have implications for module choices through the rest of your degree programme.
Preadvising Pre-advising happens in the spring or early summer. After considering what degree programme you wish to aim for, you can fill in online your module choices for the next session. There need be no interaction with your adviser of studies at this stage, though the honours advisers may be contacted should you wish. For students on degree programmes wholly within the School the SH adviser is currently Dr Natalia Korolkova.
The School’s Director of Teaching, Dr Bruce Sinclair, is also willing to discuss matters with students.
http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/students/academic/advising/pre-advising/returningundergraduates/ Pre-advising IS USEFUL FOR STUDENTS: you have more time to make up your mind regarding your future modules and you can spot well in advance any problems/uncertainties you have with your module choice. If you wish advice please ask the Adviser of Studies of your relevant future level.
Pre-advising IS USEFUL FOR STAFF: we will have a better idea of the number of students in each module in advance, and can co-ordinate our teaching better, including tutoring, labs, timetable and room use.
Advising The September consultation period is organised as follows. First get acquainted with the University and School Orientation Week timetable – it has a number of interesting events, and provides you with various bits of useful information. Note: you are supposed to be present in St. Andrews during the Orientation week.
During this week some days are allocated for advising meetings. The advising meetings are normally run by the respective Adviser of Studies in his/her office. Each student can meet their Adviser for 10-15 min. You should book your place on a sign-up sheet which has defined time slots. The sign-in sheets are available either on the Honours notice board or on the office door of the Adviser. Some advisers are now using Doodle polls for booking appointments, and will contact student by email to alert them to this. Make sure that you sign in in time, as there is only a limited amount of time allocated for Advising by the University. You may be faced with late matriculation fees otherwise. Your module choices can be approved only after you have seen your Adviser IN PERSON, and you can matriculate only after this has happen.
Honours Programmes involving Physics and Astronomy, June 2016 Page 7 Important: you should fill in your module choice online PRIOR to the Advising meeting (and update your contact details as well). Please try to leave only relatively minor questions for discussion during the advising session. Please try to discuss all the more complicated issues in advance, either by email or in person.
Planning Further Ahead
We have some comments from our graduates about their careers in the Careers section of the School’s Students and Staff web page. The University Careers Centre has a wealth of information online. The UK Institute of Physics has some comments at http://www.iop.org/careers/i-am-at-university/index.html and the “prospects.ac.uk” web site allows you to look at careers options with your subject. Graduates from all our programmes have acquired a wide range of knowledge and skills in physics, mathematics, and IT skills that can make them attractive to research/development/sales in physics-based industry, medical physics, patent agencies, education, computing, financial services, etc. The more general graduate and professional skills that are developed as part of the degree programme also open up more general “any graduate” career options.
A significant fraction of our students after graduation go into postgraduate study for an MSc or PhD, before the next stage in their career plans.
Whether you are aiming to continue studying or go straight in to your career, you are likely to be competing in a selection process. We recommend that you consider carefully what skills and knowledge you have developed and can evidence. A lot we hope will come from your studies here, but you may have involvement in sports, clubs, voluntary groups, internships, jobs, etc that has given you experience and increased abilities in certain areas that can contribute to your profile. We are told that our students often have an impressive range of skills that they could highlight to employers or educators, but do not always recognise them as such.
It is worth thinking through these, and looking at relevant information on the University Careers Centre web site, etc.
Some details of the programmes are currently under discussion and are yet to be approved. There may be errors in this document. The University’s official publications and your adviser should be consulted. E&OE