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Department of Physics

Institute of Physics accreditation report

In February 2014 a panel of assessors visited the Department to consider its application for accreditation of degree courses taught within the Department. A number of degrees available through the Natural Sciences programme were considered for recognition. The primary aim of the IoP accreditation process is to provide an independent and rigorous assessment of physics degree programmes, and thus assess whether or not the programmes provide a suitable educational base for the subsequent award of Chartered Physicist (CPhys) status. 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 panel 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 panel toured the Department to observe the facilities.

The areas assessed were:

· Departmental management

· Curriculum and skills

· Assessment

· Laboratory and project work

· Student support, feedback and resources

The final report of the Accreditation Panel was issued in June 2014 and the Institute granted accreditation or recognition for the full five years to all programmes for which accreditation or recognition was sought.

"The panel noted that there had been a number of innovative teaching methods introduced in Durham over the last few years and encourage the department to continue this trend and to support staff interested in pedagogy.”
"The department covers the Core of Physics very well with the majority of the required material contained within the Foundations of Physics Modules"
"Scientific writing is covered throughout all degree programmes. The department is clearly successful in supporting students to develop this skill as the final year project reports and level three computing project reports were written to an overall impressively high standard."
"It was clear to the panel that a great deal of thought and effort had gone into developing the laboratory provision."
"There is an impressive amount of project work undertaken throughout the degree programmes at Durham which is reflected in the very high standard of final year project reports produced by the students."
"… the students met by the team made it clear that they felt that the department was supportive and that they could approach staff for advice if necessary."

IoP Degree Accreditation Final Report, June 2014

The previous IoP Accreditation exercise took place in December 2008. 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."