Skip to content

Module Catalogue

Breadcrumbs navigation

PH3081   Mathematics for Physicists

Academic year(s): 2018-2019

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 15

ECTS credits : 7

Level : SCQF Level 9

Semester: 1

Planned timetable: 10.00 am Tue, Thu and even Mon, 2.00 pm odd Mon (TBC)

The module aims to develop mathematical techniques that are required by a professional physicist or astronomer. There is particular emphasis on the special functions which arise as solutions of differential equations which occur frequently in physics, and on vector calculus. Analytic mathematical skills are complemented by the development of computer-based solutions. The emphasis throughout is on obtaining solutions to problems in physics and its applications. Specific topics to be covered will be Fourier transforms, the Dirac delta function, partial differential equations and their solution by separation of variables technique, series solution of second order ODEs, Hermite polynomials, Legendre polynomials and spherical harmonics. The vector calculus section covers the basic definitions of the grad, div, curl and Laplacian operators, their application to physics, and the form which they take in particular coordinate systems.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass PH2011 and pass PH2012 and ( pass MT2501 and pass MT2503 )

Anti-requisite(s): You cannot take this module if you take PH3082 or take MT3506

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 3 lectures plus fortnightly tutorials.

Scheduled learning hours: 36

Guided independent study hours: 114

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 2-hour Written Examination = 80%, Coursework = 20% (made up of Class Test = 15% and meaningful engagement with tutorial work = 5%)

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 100%
Practical examinations : 0%
Coursework: 0%

Re-assessment: Oral Re-assessment, capped at grade 7

Additional information from school

Please see also the information in the School's Handbook for Honours modules available via This link also gives access to timetables for the modules.


Module coordinator: Dr C R Baily
Module teaching staff: Dr C Baily