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PH5023   Monte Carlo Radiation Transport Techniques

Academic year(s): 2019-2020

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 15

ECTS credits : 7

Level : SCQF Level 11

Semester: 1

Availability restrictions: Normally only taken in the final year of an MPhys or MSci programme involving the School, or as part of MSc Astrophysics.

Planned timetable: To be arranged

This module introduces the theory and practice behind Monte Carlo radiation transport codes for use in physics, astrophysics, atmospheric physics, and medical physics. Included in the module: recap of basic radiation transfer; techniques for sampling from probability distribution functions; a simple isotropic scattering code; computing the radiation field, pressure, temperature, and ionisation structure; programming skills required to write Monte Carlo codes; code speed-up techniques and parallel computing; three-dimensional codes. The module assessment will be 100% continuous assessment comprising homework questions and small projects where students will write their own and modify existing Monte Carlo codes.

Relationship to other modules

Pre-requisite(s): Postgraduates: msc astrophysics students must discuss their prior learning with their adviser. Undergraduates: before taking this module you must pass PH2012 and pass at least 1 module from {AS3013, PH3080, PH3081, ph3082}.

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 3 hours of lectures (x 6 weeks), 1-hour tutorials (x 5 weeks), during semester 3 x 3 hour supervised computer lab sessions

Scheduled learning hours: 32

Guided independent study hours: 118

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: Coursework (worksheets = 50%, 3-hour computing test = 25%, 1-hour Class Test = 25%) = 100%

As defined by QAA
Written examinations : 25%
Practical examinations : 25%
Coursework: 50%

Re-assessment: No Re-assessment available - laboratory based

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 K Wood
Module teaching staff: Dr K Wood (TBC)