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Teaching and Assessment

The Department of Physics at Royal Holloway is known for its quality teaching and emphasis on teaching in small groups ensuring every student's needs are met.

Find out what some of our first year students think about our teaching and assessment methods.


Read more about our teaching, assessment and facilities here.


In the Department of Physics, you’ll experience a wide range of different teaching methods including nine hours of lectures per week in addition to tutorials,  problem classes, skills training (often in the laboratory) and project work. Our excellent staff-student ratio means you’ll be taught in small groups by renowned academics where you’ll receive the attention you need.  Our teaching is matched to course content and you’ll encounter a full range of these teaching methods in your time with us.


A typical student’s weekly load is approximately nine hours of lectures and problem classes, a one-hour tutorial, and six hours of practical work in our dedicated Teaching Laboratory. The practical sessions will allow you to directly observe many of the concepts you meet throughout your lectures, which helps strengthen your knowledge of these principles. They also give you a firm basis in the skills required to successfully conduct an experiment in a modern Physics laboratory.



Meanwhile, the regular tutorial sessions with your academic tutor give you the opportunity to discuss the course material with a professional physicist and to address any problems you may be having with your course. Our computer lab is one of the largest on campus with the computers containing a wide variety of specialist scientific software and hardware. Throughout your practical and theoretical work, you’ll become highly familiar with a wide variety of scientific software. This is used for the analysis of experimental results, theoretical calculations and presentation of your data.


In your final year, a substantial part of your work will be a project conducted in a research group and under the guidance of a member of staff.



Throughout your degree, you’ll have a Personal Adviser who will be there to help with any problems that may arise. You can also feel part of our friendly community through our student and staff committee, which is an effective group that has done much to establish the excellent team spirit and goodwill we enjoy. You can also join our active Physics Society and help run its lively social events.

Exams occur at the end of each academic year, and you’ll be examined in each of the subjects you studied during it. The mark you achieve for each course will be based on your exam performance as well as on the results you achieved during the various coursework exercises given to you throughout the term in most cases.

Courses with a laboratory component usually mark you on the experiments you carried out in our lab and on the quality of the written summary of the results you achieved. Other marks may be gained through demonstration of group leadership or oral presentations of scientific material.

The honours classification of the degree is based on a formula which gives extra weight to courses taken in the later years of your degree.


There are three main teaching spaces within the department. A dedicated Access Grid video conference lecture room (T125). A fully equipped undergraduate laboratory, with large numbers of PCs installed with software for use in laboratory and for completing laboratory reports, performing computations and analysis and to take data. We use Open Source software when possible which can be accessed on students' personal laptops.

Students can also use the teaching resource room, which is a flexible space for student talks, presentations and poster sessions. The Telescope Dome is located at the top of the Tolansky building and houses a a Schmidt-Cassegrain equatorially mounted GPS telescope, with cameras, readout computers and a 12-inch primary mirror.

We provide third and fourth year Physics undergraduates access to our nanofabrication, cryogenic, laser, accelerator and other research laboratories during their final year projects. Along with postgraduate and research students, who typically have open access to our research facilities, undergraduate students on summer internships are also able to work in these areas in earlier years.

 Discover more about our facilities here.


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