• Offered by Physics Education Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Physics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • AsPr Nicholas Robins
    • Dr John Debs
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2015
    See Future Offerings

Foundations of Physics introduces students to the key concepts in physics in the areas of mechanics, electricity and magnetism. It is an algebra-based course suitable for those who wish to undertake some physics but do not have a strong mathematical background.  The course offers a unique 'hands on' approach to learning physics.  You'll get the background material for each week in a short 1 hour theory lecture, and then have the opportunity, over the course of an afternoon, to put that theory into practice.  You'll work in small teams to build, test and analyse physics experiments directly relevant to the material you're learning.   If you've ever wanted to get a real taste of what physics is all about, this is the course for you.

The course is taught by young, enthusiastic and experienced teachers with research interests in quantum mechanics (atom lasers and precision measurement), advanced materials engineering (3rd generation photovoltaics) and environment modelling.  

This course can be taken as a bridging course by students without prior physics background who wish to enrol in Advanced Physics in subsequent years. In exceptional circumstances, with the approval of the Academic Contact, students who achieve a very high grade in Foundations of Physics, PHYS1001, may be admitted to PHYS1201 in semester 2. The requisite level of mathematics is also required.

It is part of the ANU College Foundations Studies program.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Understand the fundamental principles of classical mechanics, electric and magnetic fields and simple electrical circuits.

2. Be able to apply these principles to the solution of problems and to the conduct of experiments.

3. Have a basic understanding of uncertainty in the context of physics, and how to handle it.

4. Have basic laboratory skills including equipment skills, data gathering, record keeping, data analysis, experiment design, and presentation.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment comprises:

• Laboratory (40%; LO 1, 2, 3, 4)

• Homework assignments (30%; LO 1, 2, 3)

• Mid-Term and Final Exam (30%; LO 1, 2, 3)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


One 1 hour theory lecture, one 3-4 hour laboratory session (this is where the main teaching in the course occurs) and one tutorial each week.

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have successfully completed or are currently undertaking either PHYS1101 or PHYS1201.



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $3096
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2015 $4146
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
2155 16 Feb 2015 06 Mar 2015 31 Mar 2015 29 May 2015 In Person N/A

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions