The Graduate Diploma in Physics is a nine months course of study that has been designed to enable those who have not yet attained the required standard to pursue postgraduate physics research to gain the essential qualifications for admission to research degrees. Applicants should already hold an undergraduate qualification in Physics or a related subject and suitability will be assessed on an individual basis. A student successfully completing the course and the requirements for admission can then embark on research leading to MSc or PhD. in their chosen area of specialisation at York. The course consists of a selection of H and M level modules plus a physics project.
An area of great importance to students and staff alike is the quality of the teaching provided. The Department was awarded the maximum mark of 24 out of 24 for the teaching quality of all its degree programmes in the most recent Subject Review, conducted by the UK Quality Assurance Agency (QAA).
In the 2009 National Student Survey, we were ranked third out of all Physics Departments for overall performance across all 7 categories. We also got the 7th highest score for Overall Satisfaction, were in the top 10 for: Teaching, Personal Development, Academic Support and Learning Resources and top in the country for Organisation and Management!
During a typical week a Graduate Diploma student will be involved in project work and will have a number of lectures and problem classes. You will be assigned an academic supervisor who will offer guidance and support throughout your course.
All Graduate Diploma students undertake a 20-credit H level physics project. The project is carried out under the supervision of a member of staff who has an interest in the chosen area. The project is aligned with your own research interests as well as the research interests of the project supervisor and provides you with the opportunity to take part in some original research. Thus in addition to its educational value, the project also helps to provide the opportunity to develop background knowledge and research skills for your future research in the M.Sc. and Ph.D. Some examples of recent projects are:
You will either select your project from a project list provided, or will be assigned a specially designed H-level project, bearing in mind your future research with the project supervisor.
This is a 3-term full-time taught programme comprising 120 credits. In agreement with their supervisor, students choose modules from the list of H-level, and (if necessary) M-level modules (see Tables below) to a total credit value of 100. However, M level modules are limited to a maximum of 20 credits and will have a pass mark of 50%. The choice of M-level modules will be approved only if there is good reason for them to be included in your programme of study.
Your choice of modules will be made in consultation with your supervisor based on your background, interest, and future ambitions and shall result in an even workload over the 3 terms. Students must choose no more than 50 credits in each of terms 1 and 2 and no more than 20 credits in term 3, not counting the 20 credits for the physics project.
This means of assessment varies depending on the modules chosen. It may include weekly problems, assignments, unseen examinations and reports. The final result will be declared in June/July after the Board of Examiners has met. The award of a Graduate Diploma will require an aggregate credit weighted average mark of at least 34.5%. The award of a Graduate Diploma with distinction will require (i) a minimum of credit-weighted mean of 70% overall and (ii) no module mark below 40%.
H-Level Physics modules
|Term 1||Term 2||Term 3|
|Thermodynamics (term 1) & Statistical Mechanics (term 2): 20 credits||Atomic Physics: 10 credits||Analysing the Nanoscale & magnetism: 10 credits|
|Quantum Physics II: Quantum Mechanics (term 1), Nuclear & Particle Physics (term 2): 20 credits||Molecular Simulation: 10 credits||Intro to Quantum Computing: 10 credits|
|Radio & Infrared Astronomy: 10 credits||Special & General Relativity: 10 credits|
|Advanced Theoretical Techniques: 10 credits||Cosmology: 10 credits|
|Fluids & Plasmas: 10 credits||Electrons in Solids; 10 credits|
|Stellar Physics: 10 credits|
|Modern Optics: 10 credits|
|Mathematical Physics & Computational Q Mechanics: 10 credits|
|Experimental Techniques: 10 credits|
|Professional Skills III and Physics Project: 30 credits|
M-level Physics modules
|Term 1||Term 2|
|Astrophysical Plasmas: 10 credits||EM Theory: 10 credits|
|Electron Microscopy: 10 credits||Fluid Dynamics: 10 credits|
|High Performance Computing: 10 credits||Magnetism & Magnetic Materials: 10 credits|
|Advanced Quantum Mechanics: 10 credits||Nanophysics: 10 credits|
|Nuclear Physics II: 10 credits||Nuclear Astrophysics: 10 credits|
|Plasma Physics for Fusion: 10 credits||Radiation & Matter: 10 credits|
|Physics & Applications of Semiconductor Devices: 10 credit||Molecular BioPhysics: 10 credits|
I gained a BSc degree in physics from University College London and held a job in The City for a few years after graduation. Having decided that my interests lie in physics research, specifically nanophysics, I sought to gain admission to a prominent university. This Graduate Diploma programme at The University of York provides me with the opportunity to gain entry to a research degree, leading to the MSc by research and subsequently the Ph.D. I have found the degree programme both flexible and well balanced, allowing me to gain valuable knowledge on a range of subjects before embarking on research. The department of Physics is very friendly and well known for its excellence in both teaching and research. I look forward to moving on to research work within the department.
Sebastian Wang, Graduate Diploma in Physics