Natural Sciences

Physics, Psychology and Mathematical Sciences

Natural Sciences is a multidisciplinary degree which allows you to study three subjects in the first year and continue with two subjects in the second and third year. 

Year One

You will study 40 credits of each subject from your chosen three-subject streams.

Physics

Students taking Physics must take 40 compulsory credits.

From Newton to Einstein

This module is based on the textbook "Physics for Scientists and Engineers" by Knight (all first years are provided with a copy of this book). The module aims to introduce core topics in physics which will underpin all subsequent physics modules. The module begins by discussing classical mechanics in the language of vectors and the key notion of harmonic motion which is extended to cover wave phenomena. The first semester ends with an introduction to Einstein's special theory of relativity. The second semester introduces the basic ideas of electromagnetism and electrical circuits and quantum physics.

  • Vectors and Coordinate systems
  • Kinematics and Motion in 1D and 2D
  • Newton's Laws
  • Conservation Laws
  • Rotation of a Rigid Body
  • Micro-macro connection
  • Oscillations
  • Travelling Waves
  • Superposition of Waves
  • Galilean Relativity
  • Relativity of Time
  • Spacetime
  • Relativistic Energy and Momentum

40 compulsory credits over the full year.

 

 

Psychology

Students taking Psychology must take 40 credits from one of the following specialism:

Biological Psychology specialism

Cognitive Psychology 1
Cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes, and this module will provide an introduction to the methods used by cognitive psychologists in their investigations of mental processes in humans.

A wide range of topics will be discussed, with some introductory discussion of how they limit human performance in applied contexts. The mental processes to be covered include those that support attention, perception, language, memory, and thinking.

You will have two one-hour lectures per week for this module.

20 compulsory credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Biological Psychology 1

An introduction to the neural and biological bases of cognition and behaviour. You will learn about the structure and evolution of the brain and the main functions of the different parts.

You will examine how the brain receives, transmits, and processes information at the neural level, as well as its visual pathways. The main scientific methods for investigating brain and behaviour will also be covered.

You will have two hours of lectures weekly.

20 compulsory credits in the Spring Semester.

 

Or

Social & Developmental Psychology specialism


Cognitive Psychology 1
Cognitive psychology is the study of mental processes, and this module will provide an introduction to the methods used by cognitive psychologists in their investigations of mental processes in humans.

A wide range of topics will be discussed, with some introductory discussion of how they limit human performance in applied contexts. The mental processes to be covered include those that support attention, perception, language, memory, and thinking.

You will have two one-hour lectures per week for this module.

20 compulsory credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Developmental Psychology

An introduction to the fascinating world of the developing child.

Lectures consider different theoretical, applied, and experimental approaches to cognitive, linguistic, and social development from early to late childhood.

Topics include the development of thinking, perception, drawing, understanding the mind, intelligence, attachment, language, and moral development.

You will have a one-hour lecture weekly.

10 compulsory credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Social Psychology

An introduction to the core topics in social psychology, which is concerned with trying to understand the social behaviour of individuals in terms of both internal characteristics of the person (e.g. cognitive mental processes) and external influences (the social environment).

Lectures will cover topics including how we define the self, attitudes, attribution, obedience, aggression, pro-social behaviour and formation of friendships.

You will have a one-hour lecture weekly.

10 compulsory credits in the Spring Semester.

 


Mathematical Sciences

Students must take 40 compulsory credits.

Calculus and Linear Algebra

Basic theory is extended to more advanced topics in the calculus of several variables. In addition, the basic concepts of complex numbers, vector and matrix algebra are established and extended to provide an introduction to vector spaces. Students are introduced to different types of proof, such as direct proof, proof by contradiction and proof by induction, as well as theorems and tests for determining the limits of sequences and series. An emphasis in the course is to develop general skills and confidence in applying the methods of calculus and developing techniques and ideas that are widely used and applicable in subsequent modules.

40 compulsory credits throughout the year

 

Compulsory module

All students are required to take a compulsary module, Academic and Transferable Skills Portfolio. This will be taught throughout the first full year. It will support organisational and professional competancies which will be used during the course.

Year Two

You will continue on your stream comprising of two of your first year subjects. You will take 60 credits of modules from each subject and greater emphasis will be put on studying outside of formal classes.

Physics

Students taking Physics must take a total of 60 credits.

If you've chosen Psychology as one of your subjects you will study these compulsory modules in year three:

Classical Fields

In the module From Newton to Einstein, you learnt about the idea of a field a quantity which is defined at every point in space. In this module, the description of fields will be extended by introducing the mathematics of vector calculus.

The module will begin with an introduction to vector calculus, illustrated in the context of the flow of ideal (non-viscous) fluids.

The math­ematics will then be used to provide a framework for describing, understanding and using the laws of electromagnetism. We discuss how electric and magnetic fields are related to each other and to electrical charges and electrical currents. The macroscopic description of electric fields inside dielectric materials and magnetic fields inside magnetizable materials will be described, including the boundary conditions that apply at material interfaces.

The last section of the module will discuss Maxwells equations of electrodynamics and how they lead to the vector wave equation for electromagnetic waves.

20 compulsory credits over the full year.

 
Experimental Techniques and Instrumentation

In this module you will develop your experimental technique and gain experience of some key instruments and methods. The experiments will cover electrical measurements, optics and radiation. You will also learn how to use a computer to control experiments and to record data directly from measuring instruments.

20 compulsory credits over the full year.

 
The Quantum World

This module will provide an introduction to the theory and elementary applications of quantum mechanics, a theory that is one of the key achievements of 20th-century physics.

Quantum mechanics is an elegant theoretical construct that is both beautiful and mysterious. Some of the predictions of quantum mechanics are wholly counter-intuitive and there are aspects of it that are not properly understood but it has been tested experimentally for over 50 years and, wherever predictions can be made, they agree with experiment.

20 compulsory credits over the full year.

 


If you've chosen Maths as one of your subjects you will study these compulsory modules in year two:

Thermal and Statistical Physics

Macroscopic systems exhibit behaviour that is quite different from that of their microscopic constituents studied in isolation. New physics emerges from the interplay of many interacting degrees of freedom. In this module you will learn about the important physical properties of matter and the two main approaches to their description. One, thermodynamics, treats macroscopically relevant degrees of freedom (temperature, pressure and so on) and find relations between these and the fundamental laws which govern them, independent of their microscopic structure. The other approach, statistical mechanics, links the macroscopically relevant properties to the microphysics by replacing the detailed microscopic dynamics with a statistical description. The common feature of both of these methods is the introduction of two macroscopic quantities, temperature and entropy, that have no microscopic meaning.

20 compulsory credits over the full year.

 
Optics and Electromagnetism

20 compulsory credits over the full year.

 

 

Plus select an additional 20 credits from these optional modules to cover in year two:

Structure of Stars

You will develop your knowledge of the various physical processes occurring in stars of different types. You’ll use this knowledge to build both mathematical models and your qualitative physical understanding of stellar structure and evolution will be enhanced. You’ll have two hours per week of lectures studying this module.

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Force and Function at the Nanoscale

You’ll be given an overview of how forces at the nanoscale are different to those observed in macroscopic systems and will consider how they can be exploited in nanometre-scale processes and devices.

You’ll focus on the physical basis and measurement of forces operating on the nanoscale, considering van der Waals, electrostatic, hydrophobic and hydrophilic interactions.

You’ll spend around three hours per week in lectures and workshops studying this module.

10 compulsory credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Structure of Galaxies

This module will develop your current understanding of the various physical processes that dictate the formation, evolution and structure of galaxies. You’ll explore a number of topics including The Milky Way, The Dynamics of Galaxies, Active Galaxies and Galaxy Evolution among others. You’ll spend two hours per week in lectures studying this module.

10 compulsory credits in the Spring semester.

 
Introduction to Scientific Computation

This module introduces basic techniques in numerical methods and numerical analysis which can be used to generate approximate solutions to problems that may not be amenable to analysis.

Specific topics include:

  • Implementing algorithms in Matlab
  • Discussion of errors (including rounding errors)
  • Iterative methods for nonlinear equations (simple iteration, bisection, Newton, convergence)
  • Gaussian elimination, matrix factorisation, and pivoting
  • Iterative methods for linear systems, matrix norms, convergence, Jacobi, Gauss-Siedel
  • Interpolation (Lagrange polynomials, orthogonal polynomials, splines)
  • Numerical differentiation & integration (Difference formulae, Richardson extrapolation, simple and composite quadrature rules)
  • Introduction to numerical ODEs (Euler and Runge-Kutta methods, consistency, stability) 

20 credits throughout the full year.

 


Psychology

Students taking Psychology must take 60 credits from their preferred specialism:

Biological Psychology specialism

Cognitive Psychology 2

This module will examine:

  • Perception, with particular emphasis on vision, but also hearing, taste, touch and smell;
  • The Psychology of Language, including linguistic theory, speech, parsing, word meaning, and language production
  • The Psychology of Reading, including word recognition, theories of eye-movement control, and reading multi-media displays
  • Human Memory, covering the basics of encoding, storage and retrieval with particular reference to real-world applications of memory research
  • Thinking and Problem Solving, including heuristics, biases, evolutionary perspectives on human rationality, and group decision making

20 compulsory credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Neuroscience and Behaviour

This module will cover several issues in neuroscience and behaviour that are particularly relevant to understanding the biological bases of psychological functions. Among the topics to be covered are:

  • psychopharmacology
  • psychobiological explanations of mental disorders
  • dementia
  • sexual development and behaviour
  • methods of studying neuropsychological processes
  • the effects of brain damage on mental functioning including amnesias, agnosias and aphasias
  • introduction to classical and instrumental conditioning
  • theories of associative learning and memory
  • what forgetting might tell us about learning
  • topics in comparative cognition and cognitive abilities
  • can animals do anything apart from conditioning?

20 compulsory credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Research Methods and Analysis

The module is intended to support the development of practical skills in running experiments in psychology. Skills include experimental design; interpretation summary data and inferential statistics; ‘building’ experiments withthe computer-based user-interface, PsychoPy. Small groups will work on supervisor-guided projects in thedevelopment of these skills and will submit a report for assessment.

20 compulsory credits throughout the full year.

 

Or

Social and Developmental specialism

Cognitive Psychology 2

This module will examine:

  • Perception, with particular emphasis on vision, but also hearing, taste, touch and smell;
  • The Psychology of Language, including linguistic theory, speech, parsing, word meaning, and language production
  • The Psychology of Reading, including word recognition, theories of eye-movement control, and reading multi-media displays
  • Human Memory, covering the basics of encoding, storage and retrieval with particular reference to real-world applications of memory research
  • Thinking and Problem Solving, including heuristics, biases, evolutionary perspectives on human rationality, and group decision making

20 compulsory credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Conceptual and Historical Issues

You’ll learn about the scientific, historical, and philosophical underpinnings of psychology as a discipline, which will demonstrate the inherent variability and diversity in the theoretical approaches to psychology.

By the end of the module, you will have a good knowledge and critical understanding of the influences of history on psychological theories.

There will be two hours of lectures per week.

10 compulsory credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Personality & Individual Difference

This module covers the psychological explanations of personality and individual differences, and the relationship between the individual and society will be highlighted. In particular, the major personality theories are considered in detail and the application of these theories to areas such as abnormal psychology and health psychology are discussed. IQ is also covered and evolutionary bases of traits.

10 compulsory credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Social and Developmental Psychology

This module examine a range of issues in social and developmental psychology including:

  • Current issues in social psychology
  • Social cognition and social thinking
  • Attribution
  • Attitudes
  • Persuasive communication and attitude change
  • Social Influence
  • Conformity and obedience
  • Group decision making and behaviour change culture
  • Intergroup behaviour
  • Prejudice and discrimination
  • Perceptions and motivations
  • Evolution of mentalising and theory of mind
  • Ontology of mentalising: Development of theory of mind in children
  • Mindblind: Autism spectrum disorder
  • Phylogeny: The mental world of Apes
  • Development of synaesthesia
  • Language acquisition
  • Adult perceptual development: sensory substitution and augmentation
  • Conceptual development: colour cognition
  • Reading and spelling development

20 compulsory credits in the Spring Semester.

 


Mathematical Sciences

Students taking Maths must take 60 credits from their chosen specialism:

Applied, Computation and Statistics specialism

20 compulsory credits:

Vector Calculus

This course aims to give students a sound grounding in the application of both differential and integral calculus to vectors, and to apply vector calculus methods and separation of variables to the solution of partial differential equations. The module is an important pre-requisite for a wide range of other courses in Applied Mathematics.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester

 
Differential Equations and Fourier Analysis

This course is an introduction to Fourier series and integral transforms and to methods of solving some standard ordinary and partial differential equations which occur in applied mathematics and mathematical physics.

The course describes the solution of ordinary differential equations using series and introduces Fourier series and Fourier and Laplace transforms, with applications to differential equations and signal analysis. Standard examples of partial differential equations are introduced and solution using separation of variables is discussed.

10 credits in the Spring Semester

 

 

And 40 optional credits from the following modules:

Applied Statistics and Probability

The module covers introductory topics in statistics and probability that could be applied to data analysis in a broad range of subjects. Topics include probability distributions, parameter estimation, confidence intervals,hypothesis testing and an introduction to statistical modelling. Consideration is given to issues in applied statistics such as sample size calculations, the multiple comparison problem,data collection, design of experiments, critiquing and interpreting statistical reports and papers.

20 credits throughout the full year.

 
Modelling with Differential Equations

This course aims to provide students with tools which enable them to develop and analyse linear and nonlinear mathematical models based on ordinary and partial differential equations. Furthermore, it aims to introduce students to the fundamental mathematical concepts required to model the flow of liquids and gases and to apply the resulting theory to model physical situations. 

20 credits throughout the full year.

 
Introduction to Scientific Computation

This module introduces basic techniques in numerical methods and numerical analysis which can be used to generate approximate solutions to problems that may not be amenable to analysis.

Specific topics include:

  • Implementing algorithms in Matlab
  • Discussion of errors (including rounding errors)
  • Iterative methods for nonlinear equations (simple iteration, bisection, Newton, convergence)
  • Gaussian elimination, matrix factorisation, and pivoting
  • Iterative methods for linear systems, matrix norms, convergence, Jacobi, Gauss-Siedel
  • Interpolation (Lagrange polynomials, orthogonal polynomials, splines)
  • Numerical differentiation & integration (Difference formulae, Richardson extrapolation, simple and composite quadrature rules)
  • Introduction to numerical ODEs (Euler and Runge-Kutta methods, consistency, stability) 

20 credits throughout the full year.

 

 

Mathematical Physics specialism

60 compulsory credits:

Introduction to Mathematical Physics

This course develops Newtonian mechanics into the more powerful formulations due to Lagrange and Hamilton and introduces the basic structure of quantum mechanics. The course provides the foundation for a wide range of more advanced courses in mathematical physics.

20 credits through the full year.

 
Modelling with Differential Equations

This course aims to provide students with tools which enable them to develop and analyse linear and nonlinear mathematical models based on ordinary and partial differential equations. Furthermore, it aims to introduce students to the fundamental mathematical concepts required to model the flow of liquids and gases and to apply the resulting theory to model physical situations. 

20 credits throughout the full year.

 
Vector Calculus

This course aims to give students a sound grounding in the application of both differential and integral calculus to vectors, and to apply vector calculus methods and separation of variables to the solution of partial differential equations. The module is an important pre-requisite for a wide range of other courses in Applied Mathematics.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Differential Equations and Fourier Analysis

This course is an introduction to Fourier series and integral transforms and to methods of solving some standard ordinary and partial differential equations which occur in applied mathematics and mathematical physics.

The course describes the solution of ordinary differential equations using series and introduces Fourier series and Fourier and Laplace transforms, with applications to differential equations and signal analysis. Standard examples of partial differential equations are introduced and solution using separation of variables is discussed.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 


Year Three

You will continue with the same two subjects studied in the second year, taking 50 credits in each.

Compulsory year three module

Alongside subject-specific study, you will undertake a 20-credit compulsory synoptic module which aims to tie together the subjects you are studying through an interdisciplinary group project.

The Natural Sciences programme is by nature interdisciplinary but is mostly taught via specialized modules delivered by individual Schools with little exploration of the interfaces between the sciences. The synoptic module (C13602) gives students the opportunity to combine knowledge and skills acquired whilst on their pathway to carry out a (number of) interdisciplinary piece(s) of work.

20 credits throughout the full year.


Physics

Students taking Physics must take 50 compulsory credits from your chosen specialism.

If you've chosen Psychology as one of your subjects you will study these compulsory modules in year three:
Thermal Physics

Macroscopic systems exhibit behaviour that is quite different from that of their microscopic constituents studied in isolation. New physics emerges from the interplay of many interacting degrees of freedom. In this module you will learn about the important physical properties of matter and the two main approaches to their description. One, thermodynamics, treats macroscopically relevant degrees of freedom (temperature, pressure and so on) and find relations between these and the fundamental laws which govern them, independent of their microscopic structure. The other approach, statistical mechanics, links the macroscopically relevant properties to the microphysics by replacing the detailed microscopic dynamics with a statistical description. The common feature of both of these methods is the introduction of two macroscopic quantities, temperature and entropy, that have no microscopic meaning.

20 compulsory credits over the full year.

 
Atoms, Photons and Fundamental Particles

This module will introduce students to the physics of atoms, nuclei and the fundamental constituents of matter and their interactions. The module will also develop the quantum mechanical description of these.

Topics to be covered are:

  • Approximation techniques first order perturbation theory, degeneracies, second order perturbation theory, transition rates, time-dependent perturbation theory, Fermi's golden rule
  • Particle Physics protons and neutrons, antiparticles, particle accelerators and scattering experiments, conservation laws, neutrinos, leptons, baryons and hadrons, the quark model and the strong interaction, weak interactions, standard model
  • Introduction to atomic physics review of simple model of hydrogen atom, Fermi statistics and Pauli principle, aufbau principle, hydrogenic atoms, exchange, fine structure and hyperfine interactions, dipole interaction, selection rules and transition rates
  • Lasers optical polarization and photons, optical cavities, population inversions, Bose statistics and stimulated emission, Einstein A and B coefficients
  • Nuclear Physics Radioactivity, decay processes, alpha, beta and gamma emission, detectors, stability curves and binding energies, nuclear fission, fusion, liquid drop and shell models.

20 credits over the full year.

 
Physics Project

You will carry out a project drawn from one of several areas of physics. The project may be experimental or theoretical in nature. Many of the projects reflect the research interests of members of academic staff. You’ll work in pairs and will be expected to produce a plan of work and to identify realistic goals for your project. Each pair has a project supervisor responsible for setting the project.

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 

If you've chosen Maths as one of your subjects you will study these compulsory modules in year three:

Introduction to Solid State Physics

This module will provide a general introduction to solid state physics. Topics covered include:

  • Bonding nature of chemical bonds, thermodynamics of solid formation
  • Crystal structures description of crystal structures, k-space, reciprocal lattice, Bragg diffraction, Brillouin zones
  • Nearly-free electron model - Bloch's theorem, band gaps from electron Bragg scattering, effective masses
  • Band theory Fermi surfaces, qualitative picture of transport, metals, insulators and semiconductors
  • Semiconductors - doping, inhomogeneous semiconductors, basic description of pn junction
  • Phonons normal modes of ionic lattice, quantization, Debye theory of heat capacities, acoustic and optical phonons
  • Optical properties of solids absorption and reflection of light by metals, Brewster angle, dielectric constants, plasma oscillations
  • Magnetism- Landau diamagnetism, paramagnetism, exchange interactions, Ferromagnetism, antiferromagnetism, neutron scattering, dipolar interactions and domain formation, magnetic technology

20 compulsory credits over the full year.

 
Atoms, Photons and Fundamental Particles

This module will introduce students to the physics of atoms, nuclei and the fundamental constituents of matter and their interactions. The module will also develop the quantum mechanical description of these.

Topics to be covered are:

  • Approximation techniques first order perturbation theory, degeneracies, second order perturbation theory, transition rates, time-dependent perturbation theory, Fermi's golden rule
  • Particle Physics protons and neutrons, antiparticles, particle accelerators and scattering experiments, conservation laws, neutrinos, leptons, baryons and hadrons, the quark model and the strong interaction, weak interactions, standard model
  • Introduction to atomic physics review of simple model of hydrogen atom, Fermi statistics and Pauli principle, aufbau principle, hydrogenic atoms, exchange, fine structure and hyperfine interactions, dipole interaction, selection rules and transition rates
  • Lasers optical polarization and photons, optical cavities, population inversions, Bose statistics and stimulated emission, Einstein A and B coefficients
  • Nuclear Physics Radioactivity, decay processes, alpha, beta and gamma emission, detectors, stability curves and binding energies, nuclear fission, fusion, liquid drop and shell models.

20 credits over the full year.

 
Physics Project

You will carry out a project drawn from one of several areas of physics. The project may be experimental or theoretical in nature. Many of the projects reflect the research interests of members of academic staff. You’ll work in pairs and will be expected to produce a plan of work and to identify realistic goals for your project. Each pair has a project supervisor responsible for setting the project.

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 


Psychology

Students taking Psychology must take a total of 50 credits from their chosen specialism:

Biological Psychology specialism

30 compulsory credits:

Neuropsychology and Applied Neuroimaging

An introduction to the neural and biological bases of cognition and behaviour. You will learn about the structure and evolution of the brain and the main functions of the different parts.

You will examine how the brain receives, transmits, and processes information at the neural level, as well as its visual pathways. The main scientific methods for investigating brain and behaviour will also be covered.

You will have two hours of lectures weekly.

10 compulsory credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Neuropsychology of Action

This module examines the psychological and neural basis for the planning and control of human action. You will be introduced to scientific research through guided exploration of the neuropsychological bases for human action. You will experience the multi-disciplinary nature of research into human behaviour and, by the end of the module, will understand how a single issue can be addressed from multiple perspectives including: experimental psychology, neurophysiology, neuroanatomy, neuropsychology, and functional brain-imaging.

10 compulsory credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
The Visual Brain

The central theme of this module is to explore how the architecture and function of the visual brain have been designed and shaped by experiences over a range of timescales. 

Over the years of development, brain plasticity is the driving force for the maturation of different visual brain functions. Even well into adulthood, plasticity is retained in the form of learning, which can optimise performance for certain visual tasks and be exploited for therapeutic uses.

This module will examine the consequences of evolution, development, learning and adaptation for visual brain function and perception.

10 compulsory credits in the Spring Semester.

 

 

And 20 credits from the following optional modules:

Social Neuroscience Research

To provide students with an advanced understanding of current social and cognitive neuroscience topics, as well as an understanding of the methods and analyses required to test specific theories related to that topic, and guidance on the critical evaluation of research papers. Students will receive lectures on and study a specific social neuroscience issue in detail, and will devise ways to further research into that issue.

The course will provide an introduction to neuroscience methods and will focus on current research and theory behind various aspects of human social interaction, speech communication and body perception from a neuroscience perspective. Complementary evidence from different branches of behavioural and cognitive sciences will be integrated with current neuroscientific research.

The course will focus predominantly on the neural mechanisms thought to be involved in the interpretation of our own and others’ bodies, actions, faces, voices and emotions. The course will also provide advice on developing ideas for research as well as how to write for each assessment.

20 credits throughout the full year.

 
Mechanisms of Learning and Psychopathology

Supported by lectures, seminars and tutorials, this module aims to provide you with an understanding of the mechanisms of learning and memory in human and non-human animals, and an analysis of pathological conditions involving these systems.

You’ll study topics that include:

  • perceptual learning
  • the contextual and attentional modulation of learning and behaviour
  • neuroscience-focused topics such as the role of the hippocampus in memory

Clinical topics include:

  • the acquisition of phobias
  • memory discords
  • the psychological side effects of cancer treatment
  • depression

There are two hours per week of lectures for this module.

20 credits throughout the full year.

 
Cognitive Developmentand and Autism

You will cover modern version of nativist and empiricist theories of cognitive development.

This module will also give you an overview of current theories which have been proposed to explain Autism Spectrum Disorder. It will provide an evaluation of these theories using behavioural, clinical and neurophysiological evidence from a range of domains including drawing and musical skills (savant skills), scientific knowledge, maths, social learning (trust and imitation) and social motivation.

You will have two hours of lectures per week for this module.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Altruism, Cooperation and Helping 

The course will cover theories and models of altruism, cooperation and helping form the perspective of psychology, economics and evolutionary biology. Among the theories examined will be reputation-based, strong-reciprocity, warm-glow and crowding and altruistic punishment from economics; kin selection, reciprocity, coercion, mutualism, cooperative breeding from biology; and empathy, personality, sexual selection and situational constraints from psychology.

You will consider why people sometimes don't help and actively try to benefit from others and apply these models to anti-social behaviour, and how we cooperate to inflict injury on other groups. It will also examine not just models of helping others, but also why people ask for help. You will finally look at how charities implement some of these principles and if they are successful.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 

Or

Social and Developmental specialism

20 compulsory credits:

Developmental Dyslexia

This module explores psychological theories of developmental dyslexia and educational issues pertaining to this pervasive developmental disorder. It examines the cognitive characteristics and educational attainments of pupils with developmental dyslexia and addresses the ways in which individual educational needs might be met at both the classroom and whole school level.

This module should be of interest to you if you have an interest in developmental, cognitive, and/or educational psychology, and are wishing to pursue a career in child psychology, educational psychology, general teaching practice, and/or special needs education.

Some key questions to be considered are:

  • what criteria should be used to diagnose developmental dyslexia?
  • does developmental dyslexia reflect delayed or deviant behaviour?
  • what are the specific educational issues pertaining to the provision of educational policy and practice for pupils with developmental dyslexia?
  • how should pupils with developmental dyslexia be supported in the classroom?

10 compulsory credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Understanding Developmental Disorders

This module explores how psychologists study and understand disorders of cognitive development. The course focuses largely on disorders which include impairments in attention, memory and/or executive function. Disorders covered include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, reading disorders and Down Syndrome. 

10 compulsory credits in the Spring Semester.

 

 

And 30 optional credits from the following:

Cognitive Development and Autism

You will cover modern version of nativist and empiricist theories of cognitive development.

This module will also give you an overview of current theories which have been proposed to explain Autism Spectrum Disorder. It will provide an evaluation of these theories using behavioural, clinical and neurophysiological evidence from a range of domains including drawing and musical skills (savant skills), scientific knowledge, maths, social learning (trust and imitation) and social motivation.

You will have two hours of lectures per week for this module.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Educational Psychology

An introduction to the contexts in which educational psychologists operate by examining the historical development of the profession within a set of major legislative and policy contexts, such as the drive to increase social inclusion.

The module will concentrate on assessment and intervention work with specific populations such as young people who display challenging behaviour in schools, vulnerable adolescents, and bilingual learners.

You will also examine psychological approaches to group work with teachers and pupils as well as the application of system theory in helping transform aspects of schools and other organisations.

There will be two hours of lectures per week.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Forensic and Mental Health

You will receive an introduction to this growing area of psychology, with a focus on criminality. The module will concentrate on offending behaviours, typical categorisation of those who commit crimes or harm themselves, standard interventions for offenders, and the neuroscience of offending.

The module will also cover the current research on specific offending behaviours, and examine the role of the criminal justice system and health service in dealing with individuals who offend.

You’ll have two hours of lectures per week for this module.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Clinical Psychology

An introduction to the concepts of clinical psychology and the application of psychology in clinical settings.

The module illustrates how psychological models are developed and how they are applied in developing interventions. You will examine theory and evaluation of interventions for a number of disorders/clinical issues.

During this module you will have two hours of lectures weekly. 

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Altruism, Cooperation and Helping 

The course will cover theories and models of altruism, cooperation and helping form the perspective of psychology, economics and evolutionary biology. Among the theories examined will be reputation-based, strong-reciprocity, warm-glow and crowding and altruistic punishment from economics; kin selection, reciprocity, coercion, mutualism, cooperative breeding from biology; and empathy, personality, sexual selection and situational constraints from psychology.

You will consider why people sometimes don't help and actively try to benefit from others and apply these models to anti-social behaviour, and how we cooperate to inflict injury on other groups. It will also examine not just models of helping others, but also why people ask for help. You will finally look at how charities implement some of these principles and if they are successful.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 

 

Mathematical Sciences

Students taking Maths must take a total of 50 credits from their chosen specialism:

Applied, Computation & Statistics specialism

Select 50 credits from the below modules:

Optimization

In this module a variety of techniques and areas of mathematical optimisation will be covered including Lagrangian methods for optimisation, simplex algorithm linear programming and dynamic programming. You’ll develop techniques for application which can be used outside the mathematical arena. 

20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Mathematical Medicine and Biology

Mathematics can be usefully applied to a wide range of applications in medicine and biology. Without assuming any prior biological knowledge, this course describes how mathematics helps us understand topics such as population dynamics, biological oscillations, pattern formation and nonlinear growth phenomena. There is considerable emphasis on model building and development.

20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Coding and Cryptography

This course provides an introduction to coding theory in particular to error-correcting codes and their uses and applications. It also provides an introduction to to cryptography, including classical mono and polyalphabetic ciphers as well as modern public key cryptography and digital signatures, their uses and applications.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Game Theory

Game theory contains many branches of mathematics (and computing); the emphasis here is primarily algorithmic. The module starts with an investigation into normal-form games, including strategic dominance, Nash equilibria, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma. We look at tree-searching, including alpha-beta pruning, the ‘killer’ heuristic and its relatives. It then turns to mathematical theory of games; exploring the connection between numbers and games, including Sprague-Grundy theory and the reduction of impartial games to Nim.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Fluid Dynamics

This course aims to extend previous knowledge of fluid flow by introducing the concept of viscosity and studying the fundamental governing equations for the motion of liquids and gases. Methods for solution of these equations are introduced, including exact solutions and approximate solutions valid for thin layers. A further aim is to apply the theory to model fluid dynamical problems of physical relevance.

20 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Topics in Scientific Computation
Description is under review.
 

Mathematical Physics specialism

Select 50 credits from the below modules:

Differential Equations

This course introduces various analytical methods for the solution of ordinary and partial differential equations, focussing on asymptotic techniques and dynamical systems theory. Students taking this course will build on their understanding of differential equations covered in Modelling with Differential Equations.

20 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Fluid Dynamics

This course aims to extend previous knowledge of fluid flow by introducing the concept of viscosity and studying the fundamental governing equations for the motion of liquids and gases. Methods for solution of these equations are introduced, including exact solutions and approximate solutions valid for thin layers. A further aim is to apply the theory to model fluid dynamical problems of physical relevance.

20 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Relativity

In this module you’ll have an introduction to Einstein’s theory of general and special relativity. The relativistic laws of mechanics will be described within a unified framework of space and time. You’ll learn how to compare other theories against this work and you’ll be able to explain new phenomena which occur in relativity.

20 credits in the Spring Semester.

 
Coding and Cryptography

This course provides an introduction to coding theory in particular to error-correcting codes and their uses and applications. It also provides an introduction to to cryptography, including classical mono and polyalphabetic ciphers as well as modern public key cryptography and digital signatures, their uses and applications.

10 credits in the Autumn Semester.

 
Game Theory

Game theory contains many branches of mathematics (and computing); the emphasis here is primarily algorithmic. The module starts with an investigation into normal-form games, including strategic dominance, Nash equilibria, and the Prisoner’s Dilemma. We look at tree-searching, including alpha-beta pruning, the ‘killer’ heuristic and its relatives. It then turns to mathematical theory of games; exploring the connection between numbers and games, including Sprague-Grundy theory and the reduction of impartial games to Nim.

10 credits in the Spring Semester.

 


Year Four (MSci students only)

You will choose one of your third-year subjects to focus on in the fourth year, spending half your time working on an independent research project aiming to develop the skills needed to pursue a career in research.

All students take 120 credits of modules in the fourth year and each subject has a minimum number of credits listed. Students can take 120 credits from a single subject (where available) or they can use modules from their second subject to make up the difference between the minimum and the required number of credits.

Physics

You must take a total of 120 credits from physics throughout the year.

60 compulsory credits: 

Natural Sciences Physics Project

In this year-long module you’ll aim to solve a theoretical or practical problem. You’ll spend semester one researching your chosen project and carry out your original research in semester two. You’ll have the opportunity to work with external parties such as an industrial laboratory, school or hospital if appropriate to your topic.

60 credits over the full year.

 

 

Plus 20 compulsory credits if you haven't chosen Maths from year two or three.

Solid State Physics for Natural Scientists

This module will provide a general introduction to solid state physics. Topics to be covered will include:

  • Fermi Dirac and Bose-Einstein Statistics, Fermi Wave-vector, temperature
  • Introduction to Fourier Transforms and Associated Techniques
  • bonding nature of chemical bonds, thermodynamics of solid formation
  • crystal structures description of crystal structures, k-space, reciprocal lattice, Bragg diffraction, Brillouin zones
  • Nearly-free electron model - Bloch's theorem, band gaps from electron Bragg scattering, effective masses
  • Band theory Fermi surfaces, qualitative picture of transport, metals, insulators and semiconductors
  • Semiconductors - doping, inhomogeneous semiconductors, basic description of pn junction
  • Phonons  normal modes of ionic lattice, quantization, Debye theory of heat capacities, acoustic and optical phonons
  • Optical properties of solids absorption and reflection of light by metals, Brewster angle, dielectric constants, plasma oscillations
  • Magnetism, Landau diamagnetism, paramagnetism, exchange interactions, Ferromagnetism, antiferromagnetism, neutron scattering, dipolar interactions and domain formation, magnetic technology

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 

 

And an additional 40 to 60 credits to be selected from the below optional modules:

Atmospheric and Planetary Physics

In this module you’ll explore the theoretical aspect of atmospheric physics. Topics will include planetary atmosphere, troposphere, solar radiation and the Energy budget, radiation transfer and Photochemistry among others. You’ll have two hours of lectures per week studying this module.

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Introduction to Cosmology

Cosmology is the scientific study of the universe as a whole. The module provides an introduction to modern cosmology, including some of the more recent observational and theoretical developments. No prior knowledge of General Relativity is required. Topics covered include: observed features of the universe, the Cosmological Principle, Newtoniaan and Relativistic cosmology, the Friedmann Models, cosmic expansion, the cosmological constant, evidence for the big bang model, the thermal history of the big bang, the early universe and inflation, the classical cosmological tests, structure formation (brief treatment only).

 

10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Extreme Astrophysics
To develop an understanding of high-energy phenomena in astrophysics and the relative importance of different processes in different situations.
To make models of extreme astrophysical sources and environments basedon physical theory.
To interpret observational data in the light of relevant physical theory.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Semiconductor Physics

This module introduces you to the physical properties of semiconductors and low-dimensional systems, such as quantum wells, wires and dots. The aim is to explain the physics that underlies optical and transport properties of these structures and and their applications in advanced technologies.
This course is structured in two main parts. The first part focuses on the foundation of quantum mechanics and solid state physics needed to describe a low dimensional system. The module then moves on describing the physical principles of semiconductor junction and devices. 

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 
Theoretical Particle Physics

To introduce the key theoretical ideas of elementary particle physics, such as symmetry and conservation laws, and to build the foundations for a mathematical description of particle properties and interactions.

10 credits in the Spring semester.

 
From Accelerators to Medical Imaging

The first half of this module will describe radiation sources and detectors, with particular reference to those used in the medical imaging applications described in the second half. It will include the physics of accelerators such as linacs, cyclotrons and synchrotrons, of detectors such as ionization chambers, scintillators and solid state detectors and of X-ray imaging, nuclear imaging and positron emission tomography (PET).

 10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 
Soft Condensed Matter
The aim of this module will be to give students a basic grounding in key concepts in soft condensed matter physics, with emphasis being placed on the dynamic, structural and kinematic properties of these materials. Key differences and similarities between soft matter, hard matter and liquid systems will be highlighted and discussed throughout the module. Material that will be covered includes:
  1. Introduction to Soft Matter
  2. Forces, energies and timescales in soft matter
  3. Liquids and glasses
  4. Phase transitions in soft matter (solid-liquid and liquid-liquid demixing)
  5. Polymeric materials
  6. Gelation
  7. Crystallisation in soft systems
  8. Liquid crystals
  9. Molecular order in soft systems
  10. Soft Nanotechnology

 10 credits in the Autumn semester.

 

Psychology

40 compulsory credits 

Dissertation

This module will provide students with: The opportunity to research in depth a topic of their choice, under the direction of a subject specialist. The skills and methodologies required to carry out sustained independent research.

40 credits throughout the year

 

 

40-80 optional credits

Introduction to Matlab Programming 

Problem-based learning to support lectures on neuroimaging topics. Topics covered include an introduction to computer programming with MATLAB, the design and analysis of behavioural experiments, and the analysis of functional MRI data.

10 credits in the Autumn term

 
Psychological Assessment

This module provides students with the knowledge to be able to select, administer, score, interpret, and provide feedback on educational tests of the kind used when assessing individuals with learning difficulties. They will learn about the advantages and disadvantages of different types of assessment and how to make decisions about test selection for assessments. Students will gain an understanding of test theory including the concepts of reliability, validity and the standardization of tests.  The module will provide a skill set that will be useful to students completing their project in which they may have to administer psychometric tests. It will also be useful to students wishing to pursue a career in education or educational psychology.

20 credits in the Autumn term

 
Current Issues in Cognitive Neuroscience 

This module is an opportunity to work in depth on a specific topic in Cognitive Neuroscience. Students explore their chosen topic and its related methodological issues to their own research interests. The topic is based on a seminar provided in the School of Psychology, with approval from the convenor. The module concerns independent study in addition to supervision sessions.

10 credits in the Spring term

 

 

Data Analysis for Neuroimaging 

Topics include more advanced concepts in MATLAB programming and the analysis of functional MRI data.

10 credits in the Spring term

 
Advanced Methods in Psychology 

The module provides an insight into some more advanced or specialised techniques of data collection, organisation and analysis in psychological research (e.g., eye-tracking, EEG, fMRI, TMS, computational modelling, diary methodologies and Workshops Lectures will include implementation of analytical procedures in for example specialised data management and statistical packages and on specialised data gathering equipment and software.

20 credits in the Spring term

 
Childhood Clinical and Behavioural Disorders 

This module will examine:  Conduct disorder – Oppositional Defiant Disorder – Depression – Anxiety – Childhood onset schizophrenia – Therapies for young people – Pharmacological interventions – Comorbidity of mental health problems and developmental disorders

20 credits in the Spring term

 

 

Disclaimer
This online prospectus has been drafted in advance of the academic year to which it applies. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate at the time of publishing, but changes (for example to course content) are likely to occur given the interval between publishing and commencement of the course. It is therefore very important to check this website for any updates before you apply for the course where there has been an interval between you reading this website and applying.

Natural Sciences

School of Mathematical Sciences, University of Nottingham
University Park
NG7 2RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 823 2376
Fax: +44 (0) 115 951 3555
Email: naturalsciences@nottingham.ac.uk