• Offered by Research School of Physics
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Chemistry, Physics
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Vince Craig
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in Second Semester 2022
    See Future Offerings

See https://www.anu.edu.au/covid-19-advice. In 2022, This course is delivered entirely on campus/in person.

Soft Condensed Matter is a general term given to materials that are easily deformed or structurally altered due to thermal fluctuations or weak mechanical stresses. The topic includes colloids, polymers, gels, surfactants solutions, liquid crystals, surface forces and biological materials. Students will be introduced to soft matter and learn the fundamentals of colloid science, surface forces, polymers and liquid crystals. The topic is necessarily multidisciplinary, will include many examples of everyday phenomena and will be of interest to chemists, engineers and biologists as well as physics students.

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

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. critically analyse and transmit knowledge of significance of soft condensed matter both scientifically and in the wider community;
  2. expertly explain, verbally and in writing, material properties using advanced knowledge of Colloid and Interface Science;
  3. analyse critically, reflect on and synthesise complex information about polymer solutions using advanced physics;
  4. demonstrate and critically apply advanced knowledge of the physics of liquid crystal systems;
  5. demonstrate advanced and integrated knowledge of soft matter systems and apply course material to understanding the behaviour of such systems;

Indicative Assessment

  1. Exam (45) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  2. Laboratory work (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  3. Assignments (25) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

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 per week plus 8 x 3 hour of laboratory sessions throughout the semester.
  • Approximately 70 hours of self-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 active in the Master of Science in Materials Science, Master of Science (Advanced) in Materials Science, Master of Science in Precision Instrumentation, Master of Science (Advanced) in Precision Instrumentation, Master of Science in Quantum Technology, Master of Science (Advanced) in Quantum Technology, Master of Science in Theoretical Physics, Master of Science (Advanced) in Theoretical Physics. Incompatible with PHYS2204

Prescribed Texts

Soft Condensed Matter, Richard A. L. Jones, Oxford University Press, ISBN 019 850589 2

Soft Matter Physics an Introduction, Maurice Klemen & Oleg D. Lavrentovich, Springer, ISBN 0-387-95267-5

Intermolecular and Surface Forces, Israelachvili, Academic Press, ISBN 9780123919335


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
2022 $4200
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $6000
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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6992 25 Jul 2022 01 Aug 2022 31 Aug 2022 28 Oct 2022 In Person N/A

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