Offered to students admitted to Year 1 in ALL
Major/Minor ALL
Course Type
Offer in 2018 - 2019 Y N
Course Code PHYS3999
Date2019/07/23 19:56
Enquiry for Course Details
PHYS3999 Directed studies in physics (6 credits) Academic Year 2018
Offering Department Physics Quota ---
Course Co-ordinator Prof X D Cui, Physics < xdcui@hku.hk >
Teachers Involved (Various teachers in the department,Physics)
Course Objectives This capstone course is offered to students majoring in physics, physics (intensive), math/physics or astronomy.  It should be taken normally in their final year of study.  It provides students with the opportunity to study a small problem by themselves, either theoretical, experimental or numerical, under the supervision of an academic staff using the subject materials the student has learn in all years of his/her major study.  The available projects range from small scale research, critical literature review and comment, and to development of university-level physics or astronomy teaching tools.
Course Contents & Topics Students interested in taking this course should contact their prospective supervisors in May to determine the contents and the nature of their projects in the coming academic year.  They must get the approval from both the prospective supervisor and the course coordinator to take this course.

Students will receive training in research literature reading and reviewing, under the supervision of a staff member.  For theoretical project, students may need to fill in mathematical gaps of some sophisticated derivations and the critically analyze the research methods used in the field.  For numerical projects, students need to use computers to reproduce existing numerical or simulation results. For experimental projects, students have to understand the design of the experiment, carrying it out and analyze the sources of errors.
Course Learning Outcomes
On successful completion of this course, students should be able to:

CLO 1 review the knowledge of a physics or astronomy problem in depth through literature review of books and research journals based on what they have learnt in their majors
CLO 2 criticize existing approaches for solving the selected physics or astronomy problem
CLO 3 describe and explain connections between the physical principles and the study problem
CLO 4 (for theoretical or computational projects) identify the key issues of the problem and solve them independently either by analytical or numerical means, and compare the results with predictions or existing solutions
CLO 5 (for experimental projects) propose and execute physics experiments or astronomical observations, analyze results and sources of errors of the experiment or observation in comparison with predictions
Pre-requisites
(and Co-requisites and
Impermissible combinations)
Pass in at least 24 credits of advanced level (3XXX level or above) disciplinary core/elective courses of the Physics Major, Physics (Intensive) Major, Mathematics/Physics Major or Astronomy Major curriculum.
This capstone course is for Astronomy, Mathematics/Physics, Physics, and Physics (Intensive) Majors students only.
The earliest that a student is allowed to take this capstone course is their year 3 study.
Course Status with Related Major/Minor /Professional Core 2018 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2017 Major in Astronomy ( Disciplinary Elective )
2017 Major in Mathematics/Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2017 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2017 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2016 Major in Astronomy ( Disciplinary Elective )
2016 Major in Mathematics/Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2016 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2016 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2015 Major in Astronomy ( Disciplinary Elective )
2015 Major in Mathematics/Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2015 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2015 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2014 Major in Astronomy ( Disciplinary Elective )
2014 Major in Mathematics/Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2014 Major in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
2014 Minor in Physics ( Disciplinary Elective )
Course to PLO Mapping 2018 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4,5 >
2017 Major in Astronomy < PLO 1,2,3,4,5 >
2017 Major in Mathematics/Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4,5 >
2017 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4,5 >
2016 Major in Astronomy < PLO 1,2,3,4,5 >
2016 Major in Mathematics/Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4,5 >
2016 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4,5 >
2015 Major in Astronomy < PLO 1,2,3,4,5 >
2015 Major in Mathematics/Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4,5 >
2015 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4,5 >
2014 Major in Astronomy < PLO 1,2,3,4,5 >
2014 Major in Mathematics/Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4,5 >
2014 Major in Physics < PLO 1,2,3,4,5 >
Offer in 2018 - 2019 Y        1st sem    2nd sem    Summer    Examination No Exam     
Offer in 2019 - 2020 Y
Course Grade A+ to F
Grade Descriptors
A Demonstrate thorough grasp of the subject. Show evidence of strong logical and independent thinking. Insightful use and critical analysis/evaluation of information drawn from a full range of high quality sources and to quote/reference aptly. Critical use of data and results to draw appropriate and insightful conclusions. Apply highly effective organizational and presentational skills. Work of A+ should show considerable additional work beyond that is required in wider areas relevant to the topic.
B Demonstrate substantial grasp of the subject. Show evidence of logical and independent thinking. Critical use of relevant information from sources, showing ability to make meaningful comparisons between different secondary interpretations and to quote/reference aptly. Correct use of data of results to draw appropriate conclusions. Apply effective organizational and presentational skills.
C Demonstrate general but incomplete grasp of the subject. Show some evidence of logical and independent thinking. Use of relevant information from sources, showing ability to make comparisons between different interpretations and to quote/reference aptly. Mostly correct but some erroneous use of data and results to draw appropriate conclusions. Apply moderately effective organizational and presentational skills.
D Demonstrate partial but limited grasp, with retention of some relevant information, of the subject. Show limited evidence of logical and independent thinking. Demonstrate use and reference of several sources, but mainly through summary rather than analysis and comparison. Limited ability to use data and results to draw appropriate conclusions. Apply limited or barely effective organizational and presentational skills.
Fail Demonstrate evidence of little or no grasp of the knowledge and understanding of the subject. Show little or no evidence of logical and independent thinking. Limited use of secondary sources and no critical comparison of them. Misuse of data and results and/or unable to draw appropriate conclusions. Organization and presentational skills are minimally effective or ineffective.
Course Type Project-based course
Course Teaching
& Learning Activities
Activities Details No. of Hours
Meeting with supervisor 36
Reading / Self study 84
Assessment Methods
and Weighting
Methods Details Weighting in final
course grade (%)
Assessment Methods
to CLO Mapping
Oral presentation including supervisor's comments (10%) 30 CLO 1,3,4,5
Research report 70 CLO 1,2,3,4,5
Required/recommended reading
and online materials
To be provided by individual project supervisor
Course Website NIL
Additional Course Information NIL
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