• Total units 48 Units
  • Areas of interest Physics
  • Major code THPH-MAJ

The Theoretical Physics major introduces the foundations of theoretical physics and the opportunity for in depth study of selected areas. It aims to provide a balance of knowledge and skills. Central areas of knowledge include: mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, thermal and statistical physics and special and general relativity. Theoretical Physics skills include construction of models to explain the physical universe and their use to make quantitative predictions. It is distinct from the Physics major due to an increased emphasis on mathematical skills and a reduced emphasis on experimental skills.

The major will prepare students for a variety of careers in areas in which the physical sciences are important, including: research, teaching, and industry.

Learning Outcomes

Students who complete the Theoretical Physics major will be able to:

  1. Describe and explain the fundamental principles of physics, including those of: mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, thermal and statistical physics, and special and general relativity.
  2. Apply the fundamental principles of physics to solve problems, including those likely to be encountered in future careers. Such problems may involve ambiguity and uncertainty and require the application of multiple principles.
  3. Integrate the fundamental principles of physics to describe and explain specialised areas of physics.
  4. Describe and explain specific examples of how physics is applied to benefit people.
  5. Describe critical experiments in the history of physics and explain how they led to revisions of our theoretical descriptions of nature.
  6. Use high-level mathematical skills to solve conceptual and quantitative problems in physics.
  7. Use computational skills to solve conceptual and quantitative problems in physics.
  8. Analyse unfamiliar physical systems and provide order-of-magnitude estimates of quantities. This includes a knowledge of basic physical constants and key equations.
  9. Effectively communicate physics based analyses to expert and non-expert audiences.
  10. Constructively criticise evidence, arguments and conclusions wherever they are encountered.

Additional Information

Advice to Students

 What 1st year courses should you enrol in? 

In addition to the Theoretical Physics major it is recommended that students considering taking the fourth year honours degree in physics or theoretical physics should complete: 

  • All four 2000 level courses 
  • 2000 level mathematics courses in ordinary and partial differential equations.

As mathematics is a primary tool of theoretical physicists, students undertaking this major should consider a major or minor in a mathematics area.

Students should seek further course advice from the academic convener of this Theoretical Physics major.


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Requirements

This major requires the completion of 48 units, which must include:

24 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
PHYS1101 Physics I 6
PHYS1201 Physics 2 6
PHYS3001 Theoretical Physics 6
PHYS3002 Advanced Theoretical Physics 6

12 units from completion of the following course(s):

2000 level Physics (PHYS) courses

A maximum of 6 units may come from completion of courses from the following list:

3000 level Physics (PHYS) courses

A maximum of 6 units may come from completion of courses from the following list:

Code Title Units
MATH3351 Advanced Topics in Mathematical Physics 6
MATH3511 Scientific Computing 6

6 units from completion of the following course(s):

Code Title Units
PHYS2013 Quantum Mechanics 6
PHYS2016 Electromagnetism 6
PHYS2017 Waves and Optics 6
PHYS2020 Thermal and Statistical Physics 6
  MATH 2405: Mathematical Methods 1 Hons
MATH3511 Scientific Computing 6
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