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Department of Physics

Studying here

Our courses include flexible learning and teaching styles where approaching staff is both easy and encouraged. We balance formal teaching methods which include lectures, tutorials and practical laboratories 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.

All students have a departmental tutor, whom they meet regularly throughout the year. Each second and third year course is accompanied by regular workshops given in groups by the lecturer in charge of the course and two assistants. Most practicals are demonstrated by members of the academic and scientific staff. Fourth year students have weekly one-to-one meetings with their project supervisor. Lecturers have an open-door policy and always welcome questions.

First year tutorials concentrate on explaining how to solve physics problems and on clarifying any difficulty with the courses; students meet their tutor every week together with typically six other students. Second and third year tutorials are mainly devoted to the study of non-course topics. Students research a topic and present the work in an essay, a talk and a poster. Expert help on course material in second, third and fourth years is provided by the course lecturers themselves, whenever required.

Students have a personal Academic Adviser throughout their degree programme. The Academic Adviser provides academic support and guidance and is available to act as an academic referee for job applications or further study.

Students are invited to give feedback to the department on the quality of the course through anonymous questionnaires (one for each module), through the Staff-Student Consultative Committee, and through the student reps.

Besides teaching, every member of our academic staff is also engaged in scientific research at an international level. This means that one finds in Durham the general buzz and creative environment of a large research department. There are opportunities to join a research group as an assistant during the summer period. Students may also do genuine research in their BSc projects or their MPhys thesis project.

A top world 100 University

Durham ranked Top 25 in the world by employers for the quality and demand of its graduates ( QS World University League Rankings 2013). Click here for further information.