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

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 Outcomes

  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

What 1st year courses should you enrol in first year? PHYS1101 and PHYS1201PHYS1101 has a corequisite of either MATH1013 or MATH1115. Later year courses have prerequisites of either MATH1014 or MATH1116, so if possible, this should be taken in second semester. If you do not have adequate preparation from secondary physics (which can be self-evaluated from the online quiz on the Wattle page), then it is recommended that you enrol in PHYS1001 in first semester, and then PHYS1101 and PHYS1201 simultaneously in second semester.

Although not all third year courses are required for the major, they are recommended for students who might consider doing an honours degree in physics.

This major requires at a minimum the completion of only 12 units of 3000- coded courses. Students should be aware that completion of a science undergraduate degree requires completion of a minimum of 30 units of 3000- coded Science courses and plan their program of study to meet this requirement within the standard duration of the program.

This major will also require students to complete the equivalent of a Mathematics minor due to MATH coded prerequisites which will include:

 Alternatively these courses can contribute to a major in mathematics.

Back to the top


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

36 units from the completion of the following compulsory courses:

PHYS1101 Physics I (6 units)

PHYS1201 Physics 2 (6 units)

PHYS2013 Quantum Mechanics (6 units)

PHYS2016 Electromagnetism (6 units)

PHYS2020 Thermal and Statistical Physics (6 units)

PHYS2201 Classical Mechanics (6 units)

12 units from the completion of courses from the following list:

PHYS3101 Advanced Quantum Mechanics (6 units)

PHYS3102 Advanced Electromagnetism (6 units)

PHYS3103 Advanced Statistical Mechanics (6 units)

PHYS3104 Physics Advanced Laboratory (6 units)

Back to the top

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