Institute of Physics accreditation report
In December 2008 a team of assessors visited the Department to consider its application for accreditation of degree courses taught wholly or partly within the Department. The primary aim of the IoP accrediation process is to provide an independent and rigorous assessment of physics degree courses. Accreditation is conducted on a rolling-review basis and is performed by a team of assessors who scrutinize the required paperwork and visit an applying department. Accreditation is granted for a maximum of five years and works on a pass or fail basis with no system of grading.
The team of assessors met members of staff during the day and also met with a group of undergraduate students from a variety of degree programmes. The visiting team toured the Department to observe the facilities.
The areas assessed were:
- Departmental management
- Assessment and progression
- Laboratory and project work
- Student support
The final report of the Accreditation Panel was issued in August 2009 and concluded that "The Institute has full confidence in the degree programmes provided by the Department of Physics at the University of Durham. Coverage of the Core of Physics and requisite graduate skills is provided alongside a wide-range of options to enhance the curriculum. The Institute has granted accreditation for the full five years to all programmes for which accreditation was sought."
"The department was clearly responsive to student feedback and ... the opinion of students was valued"
"...the retention of students is not a problem for the department. This may in part be due to the excellent support network provided by the college system coupled with the care taken by physics staff to pick up potential problems early."
"The project work seen by the team was of a very high standard and marked appropriately."
"The department ensures that there is good communication with the colleges if a student appears to be having problems."IoP Degree Accreditation Final Report, December 2009
The previous IoP Accreditation exercise took place in December 2003. The final report of the Accreditation Panel was issued in February 2004 and concluded that "The visiting team were very impressed by Durham Physics Department. The application was of a high standard and all courses ensure that students have a wide knowledge of physics and graduate skills and are incorporated extremely well into the curriculum. The staff are clearly dedicated to teaching and student welfare is taken very seriously. The students were full of praise for the department and the university. The Institute has full confidence in the quality of provision at Durham and confirms that all courses are accredited for the full five years."