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PH3082   Mathematics for Chemistry / Physics

Academic year(s): 2018-2019

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 20

ECTS credits : 10

Level : SCQF level 9

Semester: 1

Availability restrictions: Available only to Chemistry and Physics MSci students

Planned timetable: Lectures: 10.00 am odd Mon, Tue, Thu, 2.00 pm odd Mon. Practicals: 10.00 am even Mon, Tue, Thu, 2.00 pm odd Mon, two x 2 hrs on two of Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri afternoons (TBC)

This module consists of the content and assessment of all of PH3081 and the first part of PH3080. 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. In the other section of the module students are introduced to the Mathematica package, and shown how this can be used to set up mathematical models of physical systems.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Before taking this module you must pass PH2012 and pass MT2501 and pass MT2503. Entry to MSci Chemistry and Physics degree programme

Anti-requisite(s): You cannot take this module if you take PH3080 or take PH3081 or take MT3506

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 3 x 1-hour lectures (x 10 weeks), 2 x 2-hour PC Classroom supervised sessions (x 5 weeks), 1-hour tutorial (x 5 weeks)

Scheduled learning hours: 57

Guided independent study hours: 143

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 2-hour Written Examination = 60% Coursework = 40%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 71%
Practical examinations : 25%
Coursework: 4%

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


Module teaching staff: Dr M Mazilu, Dr A Gillies, Dr C Baily

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.