• Offered by Physics Education Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Earth and Marine Sciences, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Photonics, Physics, Science
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Robert Ward
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

How do we know what we know, and how well do we know it? Measurement underpins our understanding of the physical world, and great care must be taken in the design, operation, and analysis of measurement systems to avoid hoodwinking ourselves. In this course, taught by experts, you will learn crucial techniques in the design and operation of measurement systems and apparatuses. Along the way, you’ll learn how to avoid common pitfalls that confound many experiments. Topics covered will include: feedback control, statistical analysis and limit theorems, types of noise and mitigation strategies, types of measurements and sensors, signal conditioning and processing, measurement limits. Key concepts and systems-level considerations will be illustrated with case-studies of sophisticated instrumentation and measurement systems.
This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Understand and be able to describe the principles of scientific measurement;
  2. Identify appropriate mathematical and statistical techniques and apply them to scientific data;
  3. Analyse a measurement system;
  4. Evaluate the reliability of a measurement.

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:
  • Assignments 30% (LO1-4)
  • Regular Quizzes 10% (LO 1-2)
  • Labs 20% (LO1-4)
  • Exam 40% (LO1-4)

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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.


120 hours of total student learning time, including 42 hours of lectures and drop-in sessions, 6 hours of laboratory work spread across the semester and individual study.

Requisite and Incompatibility

This course is incompatible with PHYS3711.

Preliminary Reading

Peter Saulson, Fundamentals of Interferometric Gravitational Wave Detection (any edition)
Alan S. Morris, Measurement & Instrumentation Principles (most recent edition)
Robert B. Northrup, Introduction to Instrumentation and Measurements, (most recent edition)

Assumed Knowledge

Basic computing, Fourier analysis, basic linear algebra. 12 units of university level mathematics for physicists and engineers. 12 units of first year university advanced level physics.


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
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

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
3544 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 08 May 2020 05 Jun 2020 In Person N/A

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