• Offered by Research School of Physics
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Physics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Ludovic Rapp
    • Dr Michaela Froehlich
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2023
    See Future Offerings

Nationally recognised with two teaching awards, Foundations of Physics aims to teach you to “think like a physicist!” A course for anyone who wants to get a solid foundation in basic-physics concepts, or needs to catchup before entering into a major. It will also teach you skills and an approach to problem solving that you will take forward in your life.
The course offers a unique 'hands on' approach to learning physics. You'll get the background material for each week in a short 1 hour theory lecture, and then have the opportunity, over the course of an afternoon, to put that theory into practice. You'll work in small teams to build, test and analyse physics experiments directly relevant to the material you're learning. Lab manuals and instructions are forbidden! Just like a real researcher.
We introduce students to the key concepts in physics in the areas of mechanics, electricity and magnetism. It is an algebra-based course suitable for those who wish to undertake some physics but do not have a strong mathematical background, and great for those keen on entering graduate medicine via the GAMSAT.
If you've ever wanted to get a real taste of what physics is all about, this is the course for you.
The course is taught by young, enthusiastic and experienced teachers with research interests in quantum mechanics (atom lasers and precision measurement), advanced materials engineering, laser science, and more!

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand the fundamental principles of classical mechanics, electric and magnetic fields and simple electrical circuits.
  2. Be able to apply these principles to the solution of problems and to the conduct of experiments.
  3. Have a basic understanding of uncertainty in the context of physics, and how to handle it.
  4. Have basic laboratory skills including equipment skills, data gathering, record keeping, data analysis, experiment design, and presentation.

Other Information

Attention all students seeking to enrol in PHYS1001 in Semester 1, 2022

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, in Sem 1, 2022, this course can be adjusted for a limited number of remote participants only. All interested students must read the information at the college website, and follow the instructions to seek permission to enrol.

(URL for PHYS1001 enrolment advice: https://students.science.anu.edu.au/program-admin/new-bachelor-masters-students#acton-tabs-link--tabs-current_students_new_students-middle-2)

This course can be taken as an entry into the physics major by students without prior physics background.. You are able to enrol in Advanced Physics 1 & 2 (PHYS1101 & PHYS1201) concurrently in semester 2, after completing this course, and the requisite level of mathematics (MATH1013). This course also satisfies the compulsory first-year physics requirements for ANU’s Bachelor of Engineering (Honours).

Indicative Assessment

  1. Laboratory (40) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Homework assignments (30) [LO 1,2,3]
  3. Mid-Term and Final Exam (30) [LO 1,2,3]

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 1 x 3 hour Laboratory session per week (36 total hours over the semester), 2 hours of weekly lectures and a 2 hour weekly drop-in session.
  • Approximately 46 hours of self directed study which will include preparation for lectures and other assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have successfully completed or are currently undertaking either PHYS1101 or PHYS1201.

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
2023 $4320
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2023 $6180
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
3925 20 Feb 2023 27 Feb 2023 31 Mar 2023 26 May 2023 In Person View

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