• Offered by Research School of Physics
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Astronomy and Astrophysics, Materials Science, Physics, Nuclear Physics
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Lindsey Bignell
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2021
    See Future Offerings

This course has been adjusted for remote participation in Sem 1 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. On-campus activities will not be available.

This course introduces students to the microscopic theory of matter and radiation that spans elementary particles to molecules. Building upon prior learning in quantum mechanics and electromagnetism, students will develop understanding of the standard model of particle physics, the structure and radiation of nuclei and atoms, and the formation and properties of molecules. As a result, students will be able to interpret the universe that surrounds them in terms of its most fundamental constituents and apply this knowledge to advances in fundamental physics, radiation safety and medical science, nuclear power, atomic technologies (eg. lasers, atomic clocks, MRI) and quantum chemistry.

This course is co-taught with undergraduate students but assessed separately.

Compared to its undergraduate version, this course significantly expands the material learnt by the students through additional texts and also exercises students in higher-level problem-solving and communication skills through a major project.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Analyse the standard model of elementary particles and fundamental interactions
  2. Analyse the shell model of nuclear structure and explain nuclear masses and radiation
  3. Evaluate models of atomic structure and apply them to explain atomic radiation and interactions with external electric and magnetic fields
  4. Evaluate models of molecular structure and apply them to explain chemical bonding and properties
  5. Investigate topical problems in the application of the microscopic theory of matter and radiation (eg nuclear power, nuclear medicine, MRI)
  6. Exercise advanced computational, written communication and verbal communication skills

Indicative Assessment

  1. Assignments (20) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  2. Major Project (30) [LO 2,3,5,6]
  3. Mid-semester exam (20) [LO 1,2,3,5,6]
  4. End-of-semester exam (30) [LO 2,3,4,5,6]

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.


The expected workload will consist of approximately 130 hours throughout the semester including:

  • Face-to face component which may consist of 3 x 1 hour lectures/workshops per week plus optional 1 x 1 hours tutorial per week.
  • Approximately 90 hours of self directed study which will include preparation for lectures, presentations and other assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must be enrolled in the Master of Science in Theoretical Physics, Quantum Technology, Nuclear Science, or Precision Instrumentation & Measurement. This course is incompatible with PHYS3031, PHYS3033 and PHYS3105.

Prescribed Texts

There are no prescribed texts.


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

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you 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). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found 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
2021 $4110
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2021 $5880
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
4308 22 Feb 2021 01 Mar 2021 31 Mar 2021 28 May 2021 In Person N/A

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