Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

PHYS1017 Physics Skills 1

Module Overview

The Physics Skills units develop a range of skills needed by a professional physicist, including facility in conducting experiments and in analysing and reporting their results. Physics Skills 1 runs in first semester and its companion Physics Skills 2 (PHYS1019) follows in the second semester. Classes are held in the first year teaching lab and the teaching rooms in the Physics Building (Building 46). The first semester module PHYS1017 is a prerequisite for PHYS1019.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • After studying this course, students should have developed their experimental skills by performing and analysing a number of investigations in the laboratory.
  • They should also be capable of keeping a record of laboratory work in a logbook, and have learnt the requirements for presenting the results of experimental work in a report.


The course begins with a brief introduction (shared with an introduction to the Maths Module) in the first week; weeks 2 and 3 are dedicated to a short course in Data Analysis. For the nine weeks of experiments that then complete the semester, the class is divided into 3 groups (X, Y, and Z), each of which is further divided into 3 sub-groups. Each sub-group cycles through the following 3 sets of experiments: - Linked experiments, in which a particular subject is explored via an extended set of experiments - Stand-alone experiments, in which specific topics related to the first year syllabus are explored experimentally. Each stand-alone experiment is expected to be completed within a single 4-hour session - Mini-projects, which give students an opportunity to develop their creativity by tackling a novel problem with little prior instruction To prepare for the 'linked' experiments, Lab Prelim classes are sometimes held on Thursday afternoons.

Learning and Teaching

Follow-up work1.5
Wider reading or practice10
Completion of assessment task134
Preparation for scheduled sessions1.5
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

I Hughes & T Hase (2010). Measurements and their Uncertainties: a practical guide to modern error analysis. 


Assessment Strategy

No more than 4 laboratory sessions may normally be omitted for a mark to be returned for the course. Late Submissions: Unless explicitly approved by the Faculty Special Considerations Board late submissions are not permitted for this module. Referral Method: There is no referral opportunity for this syllabus in same academic year.


MethodPercentage contribution
Continuous Assessment 100%


MethodPercentage contribution
Set Task 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings