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Full Time MA Degrees in Physics

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The Department of Philosophy has exceptional research strength in philosophy of physics, and very strong links with the School of Physics. Read more
The Department of Philosophy has exceptional research strength in philosophy of physics, and very strong links with the School of Physics. Our MA draws on these strengths. It is intended both for students who wish to specialise in philosophy of physics at a higher level, and for individuals with a background in physics or mathematics who wish to make a transition to philosophy and foundations of physics. The course consists of five taught units in philosophy, two taught master's units in physics, and a 15,000-word dissertation.

As a postgraduate student, you will be an active member of the department’s flourishing research culture. You will be encouraged to attend and participate in both the weekly departmental research seminar and in the Philosophy and History of Science seminars, which often feature well-known scholars in the field, from Bristol and beyond. There is also a weekly postgraduate seminar, where you may present your own work before your peers and learn to develop your argumentative strategies in a supportive environment.

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The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers the master of science (MS) degrees in physics, with the option of specialization in astronomy. Read more
The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers the master of science (MS) degrees in physics, with the option of specialization in astronomy. Although we offer a course-only MS, our graduate program is mostly oriented toward current physics research.

RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES

Research toward a degree may be conducted in either experimental or theoretical areas. Experimental programs include magnetic materials, high-energy physics, materials science, observational extragalactic astronomy, and particle astrophysics. Theoretical programs include condensed matter, elementary particles, atomic and molecular physics, extragalactic astronomy, astrophysics and particle astrophysics.

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The Department of Education offers a one-year (12 month) taught full time MA in Science Education. This programme will be attractive to all those who have an interest in science education, whether as teachers, researchers or policy makers. Read more
The Department of Education offers a one-year (12 month) taught full time MA in Science Education. This programme will be attractive to all those who have an interest in science education, whether as teachers, researchers or policy makers. Applications are welcomed from both home and international students.

Applicants are strongly advised to ensure that they submit applications no later than 1st September if they wish to begin a course of study beginning in the same year. No guarantee can be offered that applications received after this date will be processed for a September start date.

The Department also welcomes applications from people interested in studying for a PhD in science education in its areas of expertise (see below).

Why come to York?

The University of York Science Education Group (UYSEG) has an outstanding international reputation for the excellence of its work in research and curriculum development in science education. Our school science programmes such as Science: the Salters Approach, Salters Advanced Chemistry, Salters Horners Advanced Physics and, most recently, Salters Nuffield Advanced Biology and 21st Century Science are widely used in this country, and have received international acclaim. Science: the Salters Approach and Salters Advanced Chemistry have been adapted for use in many other countries, including Belgium, Hong Kong, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Swaziland and the USA. If you come to York, you will have the opportunity to work with one of the leading groups in science education.

As members of the University of York Science Education Group, the science education staff in the Department of Education have made a significant contribution to the high profile of science education at York. Science specialist staff currently in the Department include Professor Robin Millar, Professor Judith Bennett, Martin Braund and Fred Lubben. All hold major grants for research and development in science education.

Areas of expertise include assessment, attitudes to science, the use of context-based approaches to the teaching of science, curriculum development (including international collaboration on projects), evaluation of curriculum interventions, gender issues in science education, practical work in science, scientific literacy, systematic reviews of research literature, and the transition from primary to secondary school. Current international work includes involvement in the PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) project and a number of initiatives in Southern Africa.

The reputation of the University of York Science Education Group was a major contributory factor in York being chosen as the home of the new National Science Learning Centre, which opened in September 2005 and offers a programme of professional development courses for science teachers.

Programme Aims

The programme offers specialist tuition within an established framework for MA provision in the Department. The aims of the programme are:
-To enhance knowledge and understanding in science education
-To develop educational research capabilities and skills in the fields of education and science education
-To contribute, where appropriate, to professional development by enhancing capacity to investigate aspects of one or more of educational theory, policy and practice

Programme Content

Term 1
-Science, Education and Society (20 credits)
-Research methods in education (20 credits)

One option module from a list of about 10 (20 credits). Options are likely to include:
-Bilingualism
-Citizenship education
-Cross-linguistic influences in second language acquisition
-Discourse Analysis
-Education and social justice
-Evaluating ESOL classroom practice
-Intercultural communication in education
-Learning and teaching second/foreign language reading
-Motivation in education
-Teaching and assessing speaking skills
-Teaching and assessing writing skills
-Teaching and learning in schools
-Teaching World English
-Topics in second language acquisition

Term 2
-Recent research and innovation in science education (20 credits)

One option module from a list of about 10 (20 credits). Options are likely to include:
-Approaches to English teaching
-Contemporary issues in teaching
-Cross-cultural perspectives on language and discourse
-Developmental Psycholinguistics
-Learning and teaching grammar in a second language
-Pragmatics: language, meaning and communication
-Psychology of language and language learning
-Qualitative and quantitative data analysis
-Teaching and learning citizenship and global education
-Teaching English for academic purposes
-The practice of English language teaching
-Testing and assessment in English language teaching

Term 3
Planning and Communicating Research (20 credits). Classes are spread over Terms 2 and 3.

The third term and the summer is also devoted to writing a dissertation (60 credits) based on a small-scale research study to be submitted by early September.

Students will also be able to attend the department series of research seminars for Masters students which includes talks by visiting speakers.

Assessment

Students will complete:
-Four assessed coursework essay assignments (each 4,000 to 5,000 words in length)
-An exam in Research Methods in Education
-An assessed presentation + dissertation outline + ethics audit
-A dissertation of 12,000 words in length

Careers

Our graduates find employment in a wide range of sectors within education, but also in journalism, information management, human resources and other careers.

Our postgraduate courses can be used to complement teacher training/development programmes and voluntary or paid roles which focus on the more practical elements of teaching. However, other than our PGCE, our courses are not teacher training programmes in themselves.

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The MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology is a unique course which deals with the ways in which human beings attribute meaning to the planets, stars and sky, and construct cosmologies which provide the basis for culture and society. Read more
The MA in Cultural Astronomy and Astrology is a unique course which deals with the ways in which human beings attribute meaning to the planets, stars and sky, and construct cosmologies which provide the basis for culture and society.

Course Overview

The MA focuses on Cultural Astronomy and Astrology. We define Cultural Astronomy as the study of the application of beliefs about the stars to all aspects of human culture, from religion and science to the arts and literature. It includes the new discipline of archaeoastronomy: the study of astronomical alignments, orientation and symbolism in ancient and modern architecture. Astrology is the practice of relating the heavenly bodies to lives and events on earth. We therefore examine the relationship between astrological, astronomical and cosmological beliefs and practices, and society, politics, religion and the arts, past and present.

The MA is a hybrid of history and anthropology. As historians we pay attention to documentary evidence but are heavily influenced by recent trends in anthropology; this means that modern western culture can be subjected to the same academic scrutiny as pre-modern or non-western cultures, and by questions such as the requirement for the scholar or researcher to engage in practice as part of their study of practice.

The words astronomy and astrology have distinct meanings in modern English. Astronomy is the scientific study of the physical universe. Astrology is more akin to a study of the psychic universe. The split between the two, though, is a feature of modern western thought.

Both words are of Greek origin: astronomy means the ‘law’ of the stars, while astrology is best translated as the ‘word’, or ‘reason’, of the stars, so in the classical world their meanings overlapped. To the Greek scholar Claudius Ptolemy, writing in the second century CE, there were two forms of astronomy: one dealt with the movement of the stars, the other (which we would call astrology) with their effects or significance. From then until the 17th century, the two words were interchangeable. In ‘King Lear’, Shakespeare had Edgar refer to his brother Edmund, who had been posing as an astrologer, as a ‘sectary astronomical’.

Other terms Shakespeare might have used included mathematician (the astronomer Johannes Kepler studied astrology as part of his duties as ‘Imperial Mathematician’) or Chaldean (both astrology and astronomy were commonly traced to Chaldea, another term for Mesopotamia). Neither do most non-western countries employ different words to distinguish traditional astronomy from astrology.

In India both are jyotish, the ‘science of light’. In Japan they are onmyōdō, the ‘yin-yang way’. In China, the observation and measurement of celestial phenomena was inseparable from their application to human knowledge which, in turn, was divided into two, li, or li fa, calendar systems, and tian wen, or sky patterns. All cultures have ways of visualising the stars, many without a single name for the practice. The title of the MA, whose subject matter includes the beliefs and practices of pre-modern and non-western cultures, as well as contemporary worlds, is therefore necessarily ‘Cultural Astronomy AND Astrology’.

Modules

Students take six modules, and then write a 15,000-word dissertation based on independent research. There are three compulsory modules and students then take one ‘pathway’ of two optional modules, and any third optional module.

Assessment

Each module is assessed by 5,000 words of written work or the equivalent. For example, some modules require one short essay of 1,000 words and a longer, 4,000-word essay, normally due in week 10 to 12. Assessment requirements, lengths and due dates can vary from module to module. The shorter essays may be a critical review of a piece of writing, or be picked from a choice of two titles. For the longer essays there is a wider choice of titles. In some modules, the title and subject is negotiated with the course tutor. Each is then returned with comments from either one or two tutors, and students are offered the chance to have a tutorial via Skype in order to discuss the comments.

Students who take the entire MA then go on to write a 15,000-word dissertation based on a piece of independent research on a topic chosen by the student in discussion with the module tutor, and other appropriate members of staff. Each student is allocated a supervisor who can guide them through the research and writing process.

Career Opportunities

Most of our students take the MA as an end in itself because they love the subject. Some go on to study for PhDs, either with us, or at other universities.

The relationship between all academic work and non-academic employment is always based on potential employers’ appreciation of the generic skills acquired in MA study. Typically, these include critical thinking, communication skills, time-management and the ability to take on and complete independent projects. The latter quality is particular prized by many employers. One graduate is teaching at undergraduate level while another, a school teacher, was awarded a promotion and pay rise on her graduation.

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Microsystems Engineering is one of the most dynamic and interdisciplinary engineering fields. The Master of Science program in Microsystems Engineering (MSE) provides the educational basis for your success in this field. Read more
Microsystems Engineering is one of the most dynamic and interdisciplinary engineering fields. The Master of Science program in Microsystems Engineering (MSE) provides the educational basis for your success in this field. The MSE program is designed for highly qualified graduate students holding a Bachelor degree in engineering or science.

In the first year 12 mandatory courses provide the fundamental theoretical framework for a future career in Microsystems. These courses are designed to provide students with a broad knowledge base in the most important aspects of the field:

• MSE technologies and processes
• Microelectronics
• Micro-mechanics
• MSE design laboratory I
• Optical Microsystems
• Sensors
• Probability and statistics
• Assembly and packaging technology
• Dynamics of MEMS
• Micro-actuators
• Biomedical Microsystems
• Micro-fluidics
• MSE design laboratory II
• Signal processing

As part of the mandatory courses, the Microsystems design laboratory is a two-semester course in which small teams of students undertake a comprehensive, hands-on design project in Microsystems engineering. Requiring students to address all aspects of the generation of a microsystem, from conceptualization, through project planning to fabrication and testing, this course provides an essential glimpse into the workings of engineering projects.

In the second year, MSE students can specialise in two of the following seven concentration areas (elective courses), allowing each student to realize individual interests and to obtain an in-depth look at two sub-disciplines of this very broad, interdisciplinary field:

• Circuits and systems
• Design and simulation
• Life sciences: Biomedical engineering
• Life sciences: Lab-on-a-chip
• Materials
• Process engineering
• Sensors and actuators

Below are some examples of subjects offered in the concentration areas. These subjects do not only include theoretical lectures, but also hands-on courses such as labs, projects and seminars.

Circuits and Systems
• Analog CMOS Circuit Design
• Mixed-Signal CMOS Circuit Design
• VLSI – System Design
• RF- und Microwave Devices and Circuits
• Micro-acoustics
• Radio sensor systems
• Optoelectronic devices
• Reliability Engineering
• Lasers
• Micro-optics
• Advanced topics in Macro-, Micro- and Nano-optics


Design and Simulation
• Topology optimization
• Compact Modelling of large Scale Systems
• Lattice Gas Methods
• Particle Simulation Methods
• VLSI – System Design
• Hardware Development using the finite element method
• Computer-Aided Design

Life Sciences: Biomedical Engineering
• Signal processing and analysis of brain signals
• Neurophysiology I: Measurement and Analysis of Neuronal Activity
• Neurophysiology II: Electrophysiology in Living Brain
• DNA Analytics
• Basics of Electrostimulation
• Implant Manufacturing Techologies
• Biomedical Instrumentation I
• Biomedical Instrumentation II

Life Sciences: Lab-on-a-chip
• DNA Analytics
• Biochip Technologies
• Bio fuel cell
• Micro-fluidics 2: Platforms for Lab-on-a-Chip Applications

Materials
• Microstructured polymer components
• Test structures and methods for integrated circuits and microsystems
• Quantum mechanics for Micro- and Macrosystems Engineering
• Microsystems Analytics
• From Microsystems to the nano world
• Techniques for surface modification
• Nanomaterials
• Nanotechnology
• Semiconductor Technology and Devices

MEMS Processing
• Advanced silicon technologies
• Piezoelectric and dielectric transducers
• Nanotechnology

Sensors and Actuators
• Nonlinear optic materials
• CMOS Microsystems
• Quantum mechanics for Micro- and Macrosystems Engineering
• BioMEMS
• Bionic Sensors
• Micro-actuators
• Energy harvesting
• Electronic signal processing for sensors and actuators


Essential for the successful completion of the Master’s degree is submission of a Master’s thesis, which is based on a project performed during the third and fourth semesters of the program. Each student works as a member of one of the 18 research groups of the department, with full access to laboratory and cleanroom infrastructure.

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