Year 3 Modules

Here are the third year module reviews. Remember that in 3rd year, if you're on the BSc, you'll have lots of project work to get done as well, so just bear that in mind.  Next to the module name is the year that the module was taken.

PX384: Electrodynamics, 2020-2021

Core for MPhys, but optional for BSc. This module was hard if I am honest and you need a very good grasp of electromagnetism, and it also introduces some hard maths like tensors and four vectors. I would say the exams are quite similar though. The lecturer is changing for your year and so the module might end up slightly different. You basically just combine special relativity with electromagnetism.

PX440: Maths for Physics III, 2020-2021

Again, core for MPhys but optional for BSc. This is a standard maths module taught similarly to the other maths modules except much shorter. You do a section on calculus of variations which will be very familiar to those who did Hamiltonian in second year, then a section on complex analysis (just functions with complex numbers in them) and then finally a section on the calculus of residues. I did think the module was standard, but it also felt very out of place as the maths taught in it literally comes up in zero other third year modules, unlike the maths from previous maths modules which crops up everywhere.

PX385: Condensed Matter Physics, 2020-2021

Huge module, but also probably my personal favourite from this year. There is an enormous amount of content so if there is any module you choose to revise close to exams, make sure it isn’t this one. Fortunately, I would say the content is consistently interesting. The lecturer is also very good, explains the concepts very well and tries to make the lectures fun. Nothing in this module is very difficult either, so it’s always a good choice.

PX395: The Standard Model, 2020-2021

This module is pretty good all round, it’s essentially a continuation of the first year particle module but in way more depth now you have a better understanding of quantum mechanics. It’s not very maths-y either, if you like that. The lecturer will show you a lot of hard maths but it isn’t required for the exam and so the module doesn’t feel like it’s easy while you learn it. You essentially do a pretty in-depth study of each of the fundamental forces but this time with QM involved.

PX366: Statistical Physics, 2020-2021

This module was, in my opinion and a lot of my friends’ opinions, the hardest module we studied this year. It did have a nice exam, but it was also the lecturers first year teaching it, so I can’t comment on how consistently nice the exam might be. The content is quite difficult to get your head around and it features a lot of maths. It feels like a continuation of Thermal Physics II, and you’ll study phase transitions, fluctuations and randomness. The lecturer does a good job and it’s fairly interesting, but difficult.

PX370: Optoelectronics and Laser Physics, 2020-2021

This module might have been removed this year, but I’ll review it just in case. This is an easy module that had a surprisingly tough exam. You learn about how you can use light in circuits, as well as lasers. It was standard, and the lecturer is good. Not sure what else to say for it.

PX388: Magnetic Resonance, 2020-2021

Also, think this might have been removed. If you did the NMR lab report in second year, just imagine that as an entire module where you study the theory with some basic QM. Again, easy but I will admit, I found some sections to be not the most interesting. Also had a surprisingly tough exam.

PX389: Cosmology, 2020-2021

I am not really into space, so I didn’t enjoy this module that much, but I think if you like space then you’ll probably like this module. Again, tough exam but not so difficult lectures. You will look at how the universe changes through time and the curvature of the universe. It has got some geometry, a little bit of easy maths and some Astro stuff. Not for me, but I would recommend it if you enjoyed the other space modules.

PX391: Non-Linearity, Chaos and Complexity, 2020-2021

A module that is mostly just maths, but none of the maths is very difficult at all. You spend a lot of the module solving non-linear ODE’s and looking at basic chaos theory and some emergent behaviour, which is much easier than it sounds, it’s just learning some new methods of solving things you’ve mostly seen already. I did not find this module very interesting, but I do know people who did so it could just be my preferences. The lecturer is good at explaining the ideas presented though.

PX396: Nuclear Physics, 2020-2021

I thought this module had interesting content, was easy to understand and has nice exams. The lecturer explains concepts mostly well. You will look at the usual nuclear stuff in more depth. The only part of the module I strongly dislike is the last few lectures where you look at nuclear safety, which is another repeat of GCSE physics where you learn about burying waste, etc. But other than that, the content is pretty good. My only other complaint is that sometimes, equations and results are pulled out of nowhere but it is quite hard to derive them so I can’t blame the lecturer at all for this.