• Total units 48 Units
  • Areas of interest Physics
  • Major code PHYS-MAJ
  • Academic career Undergraduate


The Physics major introduces physics with 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, and thermal and statistical physics. Mathematical, computational and experimental skills include: problem solving, data gathering, data analysis, and experiment design.

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 Goals:

Students who complete the Physics major will be able to:

  1. Describe and explain the fundamental principles of physics, including those of: mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and thermal and statistical physics.
  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 mathematical, computational and experimental skills to solve conceptual and quantitative problems in physics.
  7. Demonstrate skills including: equipment familiarity, data gathering, record keeping, data analysis, dealing with uncertainty, experiment design, and comparison with theory.
  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. Be both creative and rigorous in the design and construction of scientific investigations of physical systems.
  10. Effectively communicate physics based analyses to expert and non-expert audiences.
  11. Constructively criticise evidence, arguments and conclusions wherever they are encountered.

Other Information

Advice to Students

What 1st year courses should you enrol in? PHYS1101 and PHYS1201. PHYS1101 has a corequisite of either MATH1013 or MATH1115. PHYS1201 has a corequisite of either MATH1014 or MATH1116.

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

Students intending to take all three ASTR courses should take the specialisation in Astronomy and Astrophysics. In addition to the Physics major, it is recommended that students considering taking the fourth year honours degree in physics or theoretical physics should complete: either the Advanced Physics or Optics specialisations all four 2000 level courses, and 2000 level mathematics courses in ordinary and partial differential equations.

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Major Requirements

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

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

Code Title Units
PHYS1101 Physics I 6
PHYS1201 Physics 2 6

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

2000 level Physics (PHYS) courses

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

3000 level Physics (PHYS) OR Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASTR) courses

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