MA2MPH-Mathematical Physics

Module Provider: Mathematics and Statistics
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring / Summer term module
Pre-requisites: MA1CA Calculus and MA1LA Linear Algebra
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Calvin Smith


Type of module:

Summary module description:

In this module we explore some of the key equations of mathematical physics: the Maxwell equation for electromagnetism and the various models of diffusion and heat transfer. 


  1. Foster a fluency in dialogue between mathematical and physical sciences;

  2. Build up mathematical intuition from analogies with physical problems;

  3. Familiarise students with the elements of theoretical physics to broaden their horizons.


Assessable learning outcomes:

The main skill we will be developing during the module is the ability to separate important factors from the unimportant ones and to create models of different levels of sophistication. We will study this using examples from heat transfer,  mass diffusion, classical mechanics and electromagnetism.

Additional outcomes:

Confidence in facing real world problems.

Outline content:

  • Variational principles in nature; Conservation laws;

  • Continuity and diffusion equations;

  • Boundary-value problems in diffusion and heat conduction;

  • Maxwell equations

  • Instabilities and waves in reaction-diffusion  systems.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures, supported by problem sheets and lecture-based tutorials.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20 2
Tutorials 9
Guided independent study: 69
Total hours by term 98 2
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written exam 80
Written assignment including essay 20

Summative assessment- Examinations:
2 hours.

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

 A number of assignments and one examination.

Formative assessment methods:
Problem sheets.

Penalties for late submission:

The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late:

  • where the piece of work is submitted after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for that piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day[1] (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.
The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 40% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:

One examination paper of 2 hours duration in August/September - the resit module mark will be the higher of the exam mark (100% exam) and the exam mark plus previous coursework marks (80% exam, 20% coursework).

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 4 April 2020


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