Module code: PHY1033

Module provider


Module Leader

REGAN PH Prof (Physics)

Number of Credits


ECT Credits



FHEQ Level 4

JACs code


Module cap (Maximum number of students)


Module Availability

Semester 1

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 34

Tutorial Hours: 10

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
School-timetabled exam/test MID SEMESTER MULTIPLE CHOICE CLASS TEST (1.5 HOURS) 30%

Alternative Assessment


Prerequisites / Co-requisites

Pre-university level education to Advanced Level standard.

Module overview

This module covers some of the fundamental principles in classical physics including a discussion of units of measurement, the kinematics and dynamics of objects and conservation laws.

Module aims

provide knowledge and understanding on the fundamental principles of classical physics.

remind students of standard SI units and the role of the vector and scalar representation of physical quantities.

inform students about the motion of particles and solids under different conditions as governed by Newton's Laws.

discuss the conservation laws on which classical physics is based.

provide an introduction to electromagnetism.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
Demonstrate a grounding in the fundamental principles of classical physics K
Treat physical problems within a mathematical framework CT
Apply concepts of classical physics in mechanics and basic inverse-square law fields (including gravitation and electromagnetism) KCT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Module content

Indicative content includes:

• Space, Time and Mass (3 hours)

SI units, multiples and submultiples of units, the units of length, mass and time, c, as a standard speed, dimensions in equations of physics. Derived units for important physical quantities, orders of magnitude, estimation and significant figures.


 • Representation of Physical Quantities (4 hours)

Physical quantities represented as scalars and vectors, simple operations involving vector quantities, position as a vector quantity, components, magnitudes and units, rate of change of position and velocity.


• The Usefulness of the Vector Representation (4 hours)

The scalar and vector product, the right-hand rule, examples of the use of the vector product, description as a 3x3 determinant and the scalar triple product as the volume of a solid.


 • General Kinematics (4 hours)

Position, velocity and acceleration, motion with constant acceleration, graphical representation and dealing with infinitesimal changes.


• General Dynamics (5 hours)

Newton's Laws, force and momentum, principle of superposition of forces, frictional forces and the four fundamental forces in nature.


• Conservation Laws (9 hours)

Conservative forces, work done, potential and kinetic energy, the electron volt as a unit of energy, conservation of mechanical energy, conservation of momentum, conservation of energy, application to systems of particles, centre-of-mass and centre-of-mass velocity, conservation of charge, Kirchoff’s laws. Conservation in 2-body collisions, mass and energy, E = mc2.


• Rotational Motion (7 hours)

Uniform circular motion, angular and centripetal acceleration, rotation of a solid about a fixed axis, moment of inertia, angular momentum and torque, conservation of angular momentum and the behaviour of the gyroscope.


• Gravity  (4 hours)

Newton’s law of gravitation, gravity near the earth’s surface, gravitational potential energy, shell theorem, Kepler's laws


• Electricity and Magnetism  (4 hours)

Electric Charge, Coulombs law, Spherical conductors, conservation charge, electric field, electric field lines, electric field due to a point charge, Electric field due to an electric dipole.


Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

equip students with subject knowledge

develop skills in applying subject knowledge to physical situations

enable student to tackle unseen problems in classical physics


The learning and teaching methods include:

44h of lectures as 4h/week x 11 weeks

Problems included in Small Group Tutorial sessions contributing to 1h/week x 11 weeks


Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate

·         recall of subject knowledge

·         ability to apply individual components of subject knowledge to basic situations

·         ability to synthesise and apply combined areas of subject knowledge to physics problems


Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

·         mid-semester test (1h) of multiple choice problems

·         final examination (2h) with section A of 5 short compulsory questions and section B of longer questions with 2/3 questions to be answered


Formative assessment and feedback

Students tackle formative problems in small group tutorials and receive verbal feedback during those sessions.   A mid-semester test provides a contribution to the module assessment, and provides feedback before the final summative assessment.


Reading list


Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2017/8 academic year.