School of Physics and Astronomy

Welcome to the School of Physics and Astronomy. Here you’ll find everything you need to know about starting or returning to your studies.

Make sure you read the ‘all students’ info first – this covers things like tasks you need to complete before the start of term, safety procedures on your course and where to go for more information or support.

Then scroll to the section that applies to you – new student, returning student or postgraduate student. We’ve also included some helpful links at the bottom to direct you to anything else you might need.

If you’re a postgraduate researcher, find your faculty welcome and induction information to help you get started

All students

What do I need to do before I arrive? 

New students will need to register and ensure they have IT access, we advise that you do this as soon as possible. Students should also make their optional and discovery module choices (depending on their programme).

Students wishing to refresh their Physics knowledge prior to the start of term may wish to use Isaac Physics: https://isaacphysics.org/ . Further details on Isaac Physics can be found on the flying start website. It would also be worth revisiting your A-Level Maths knowledge – particularly calculus, trigonometry and mechanics, as this will really help you during the first few weeks.

You should also view and know your induction timetable ahead of induction week which starts on Monday 20th of September.

What does my induction timetable look like?

  • Timetable will be viewable on Flying Start website when it becomes available.
  • Sessions will be clearly labelled as either online or face to face.
  • Any changes will be communicated to students clearly.
  • The induction timetable will also contain brief instructions for joining sessions.
  • Students should check their online timetable for the most up to date version.

Will I be required to attend face to face sessions?

We are expecting all students to attend timetabled face-to-face sessions. If you have concerns about being able to attend, either due to health reasons, or because you are still overseas, please contact our student support team as soon as possible so we can work with you to support your learning (email: physicsstudentsupport@leeds.ac.uk)

How will tutorials/seminars, practical or lab sessions be managed?

Practical sessions will be predominantly in person in our new laboratories. We are following government guidelines on social distancing, and so any face-to-face lab sessions will be designed to be safe. We will keep the situation under review, and are able to switch to fully online if required to do so by the government.

How will I meet my academic personal tutor? How will academic personal tutoring work?

Your personal tutor is an academic that will support your progress throughout your entire degree. Students will meet their personal tutor and tutor group (other first year students who have the same personal tutor) during induction week. Students will also have the chance to meet their tutor in a one-to-one meeting at the start of term. There are weekly group tutorials that last approximately one hour and focus on solving physics problems related to the course.

You can approach your personal tutor if you have questions about the course, your module choices or would like to discuss your academic progress. You will have regular meetings with your personal tutor and your tutor group throughout first year.

Where can I go for support? 

Students should contact the Taught Student Office (TSO) as their first point of call if they need any assistance during their time at Leeds. This is a shared inbox monitored by all staff in the TSO and they will either respond to your query or help signpost you to who is best placed to advise you. Please note Taught Student Office will only reply during normal working hours. Staff in the Taught Student Office are; Benedict Doran and Isobel Fielder

Taught Student Office – physics.student.support@leeds.ac.uk

Director of Student Education – Dr Samantha Pugh (S.L.Pugh@leeds.ac.uk). Samantha is our Director of Student Education (DSE) within the school and oversees all students.

First year convenor Dr Thomas Moore (T.A.Moore@leeds.ac.uk) . Tom oversees first year studies.

Programme leaders:

How will I find out more about my programme?

Students will find out more about their programme and their programme structure during induction week. This includes what the compulsory and optional modules are, what discovery modules students can study and the overall programme structure for their degree. Students can also view further information online on the programme and module catalogues. The first lecture for each module will also cover what the content of that module will be and how it fits into the degree programme. Physics with Astrophysics and Theoretical Physics students will also have a dedicated induction session. We will have year group meeting at the start of each semester and also at the end of the academic year in which we will discuss your programme and future module choices.

How will I get to know other students?

In the School of Physics and Astronomy, this includes induction week activities, Physics Society (physoc) social events, tutorial group activities, group-based learning in labs and problems classes, peer assisted learning (PAL) mentors and social spaces in the School.  Dedicated Microsoft Teams student space

What welcome activities do you have planned to welcome me to Physics and Astronomy?

We have a diverse range of activities planned to welcome you to the School of Physics and Astronomy. Our induction activities will help you understand your course, meet the academics and your personal tutor as well as other students on your course. We hope that you will find induction week informative and useful as well as fun and engaging. We would also encourage all students to check out the Leeds University Union schedule and get involved with the many events happening as part of freshers. Some activities will take place online so please ensure you familiarise yourself with the guidance on how to join a Microsoft Teams Meeting.

Are there any specialist software or systems that I need for my programme and where do I find out information about it?

No, students do not need any specialist software.

Do I need to provide my core reading texts?  

No, any books are available either from the library or as ebooks through the library website.

What is the role of course representatives and how do I volunteer?

Each University course, including undergraduate and postgraduate courses, has Course Representatives – students. Course Representatives are expected to collect feedback from students on their course and present this feedback to members of staff in the school at Student Staff Forum meetings throughout the academic year.

To find out more about becoming a Course Rep and to volunteer please visit the Physics and Astronomy Minerva organisation. Students can volunteer at any time during the year. A list of course reps for each course and year will also be kept up-to-date once teaching commences.

The Physics and Astronomy undergraduate School Representative for 2021/22 is Fabiha Chowdhury.

Are there any societies I can join for the school/programme?

Leeds University Union offer many societies that cover a wide range of subjects and interests and we would recommend all students to have a look and see if there is a society right for them. Within the School of Physics and Astronomy there is Physoc which is our academic society, this is run by students for students. Physoc organise regular events and socials as well as an annual trip to CERN. Whilst it may not be possible to have a trip to CERN in 2021/22 we hope that it will be at some point during your degree. The best way to keep up to date with Physoc events and news is by joining the society: https://www.luu.org.uk/physics/

Are there any peer mentoring schemes operating in my school?

We have a system of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) in the School. You will be introduced to our PAL mentors during induction. They are students in higher years of study who are happy to help and advise you with both academic and social aspects of studying and living as a student in Leeds.

How does assessment work on my programme?

There is a mid-term assessment week for all students. During this week (week 6) you will have short assessments/tests for each of your modules to check on your progress. During this week, regular lectures for modules with assessments will not take place, to give you time to prepare for the tests. In most cases the tests will be electronic and you will be provided with timely feedback about your progress. 

For most modules, there will be an end of module online, time-limited assessment (OTLA) that will be open book. Typically you will have 2 hours to complete the assessment  and you will submit your work online. This will happen during the ‘examination period’ at the end of the semester (January and May/June). You can see the range of assessment types for each of your modules by looking in the module catalogue.

I’m a returning student

What do I need to do before I arrive?

Students should register, make their module choices and book an appointment to meet with their personal tutor during induction week to discuss progress and the year ahead. Students who will be undertaking a project this year will be sent more details including project choices at the start of September. Students will be able to view their induction schedule on their timetable and it will be emailed to them also.

Will I be required to attend face to face sessions?

We are expecting all students to attend timetabled face-to-face sessions. If you have concerns about being able to attend, either due to health reasons, or because you are still overseas, please contact our student support team as soon as possible so we can work with you to support your learning (email: physicsstudentsupport@leeds.ac.uk)

Where can I go for support? 

Students should contact the Taught Student Office (TSO) as their first point of call if they need any assistance during their time at Leeds. This is a shared inbox monitored by all staff in the TSO and they will either respond to your query or help signpost you to who is best placed to advise you. Please note Taught Student Office will only reply during normal working hours. Staff in the Taught Student Office are; Benedict Doran and Isobel Fielder

Taught Student Office – physics.student.support@leeds.ac.uk

Director of Student Education – Dr Samantha Pugh (S.L.Pugh@leeds.ac.uk). Samantha is our Director of Student Education (DSE) within the school and oversees all students.

First year convenor Dr Thomas Moore (T.A.Moore@leeds.ac.uk) . Tom oversees first year studies.

Programme leaders:

Are there any specialist software or systems that I need for my programme and where do I find out information about it?

No, students do not need any specialist software.

Do I need to provide my core reading texts?  

No, any books are available either from the library or as ebooks through the library website.

What is the role of course representatives and how do I volunteer?

Each University course, including undergraduate and postgraduate courses, has Course Representatives – students. Course Representatives are expected to collect feedback from students on their course and present this feedback to members of staff in the school at Student Staff Forum meetings throughout the academic year.

To find out more about becoming a Course Rep and to volunteer please visit the Physics and Astronomy Minerva organisation. Students can volunteer at any time during the year. A list of course reps for each course and year will also be kept up-to-date once teaching commences.

The Physics and Astronomy undergraduate School Representative for 2021/22 is Fabiha Chowdhury.

Are there any societies I can join for the school/programme?

Leeds University Union offer many societies that cover a wide range of subjects and interests and we would recommend all students to have a look and see if there is a society right for them. Within the School of Physics and Astronomy there is Physoc which is our academic society, this is run by students for students. Physoc organise regular events and socials as well as an annual trip to CERN. Whilst it may not be possible to have a trip to CERN in 2021/22 we hope that it will be at some point during your degree. The best way to keep up to date with Physoc events and news is by joining the society: https://www.luu.org.uk/physics/

Are there any peer mentoring schemes operating in my school?

We have a system of Peer Assisted Learning (PAL) in the School. You will be introduced to our PAL mentors during induction. They are students in higher years of study who are happy to help and advise you with both academic and social aspects of studying and living as a student in Leeds.

How does assessment work on my programme?

There is a mid-term assessment week for all students. During this week (week 6) you will have short assessments/tests for each of your modules to check on your progress. During this week, regular lectures for modules with assessments will not take place, to give you time to prepare for the tests. In most cases the tests will be electronic and you will be provided with timely feedback about your progress. 

For most modules, there will be an end of module online, time-limited assessment (OTLA) that will be open book. Typically you will have 2 hours to complete the assessment  and you will submit your work online. This will happen during the ‘examination period’ at the end of the semester (January and May/June). You can see the range of assessment types for each of your modules by looking in the module catalogue.

I’m a postgraduate student

Will I be required to attend face to face sessions?

We are expecting all students to attend timetabled face-to-face sessions. If you have concerns about being able to attend, either due to health reasons, or because you are still overseas, please contact our student support team as soon as possible so we can work with you to support your learning (email: physicsstudentsupport@leeds.ac.uk)

How will tutorials/seminars, practical or lab sessions be managed?

Practical sessions will be predominantly in person in our new laboratories. We are following government guidelines on social distancing, and so any face-to-face lab sessions will be designed to be safe. We will keep the situation under review, and are able to switch to fully online if required to do so by the government.

Are there any societies I can join for the school/programme?

Leeds University Union offer many societies that cover a wide range of subjects and interests and we would recommend all students to have a look and see if there is a society right for them. Within the School of Physics and Astronomy there is Physoc which is our academic society, this is run by students for students. Physoc organise regular events and socials as well as an annual trip to CERN. Whilst it may not be possible to have a trip to CERN in 2021/22 we hope that it will be at some point during your degree. The best way to keep up to date with Physoc events and news is by joining the society: https://www.luu.org.uk/physics/

How does assessment work on my programme?

There is a mid-term assessment week for all students. During this week (week 6) you will have short assessments/tests for each of your modules to check on your progress. During this week, regular lectures for modules with assessments will not take place, to give you time to prepare for the tests. In most cases the tests will be electronic and you will be provided with timely feedback about your progress. 

For most modules, there will be an end of module online, time-limited assessment (OTLA) that will be open book. Typically you will have 2 hours to complete the assessment  and you will submit your work online. This will happen during the ‘examination period’ at the end of the semester (January and May/June). You can see the range of assessment types for each of your modules by looking in the module catalogue.

Links to additional schools resources 

A-level Physics Online https://www.alevelphysicsonline.com/video-index 

A-level resources https://isaacphysics.org/alevel 

 A-level teaching during the lockdown, sessions here: https://isaacphysics.org/pages/covid19_alevel 

Exam Smasher – loads of exam questions for Physics: https://examsmasher.com/ 

Overview of physics topics for going to university: http://hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu/hbase/hframe.html 

Maths help http://patrickjmt.com/ 

Preparing to Learn Online at University - https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/preparing-to-learn-online-at-university 

Start Programming with Python - https://www.futurelearn.com/programs/start-programming-with-python 

Introduction to Coding and Design - https://www.futurelearn.com/programs/introduction-to-coding-and-design 

Other useful links