• Offered by Research School of Physics
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Astronomy and Astrophysics, Physics
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Ling Sun
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in Second Semester 2023
    See Future Offerings

Physics 2 builds on Physics 1, PHYS1101, with a greater emphasis on mathematical techniques. It is an essential course for any student intending to study physics in later years as it introduces foundational knowledge in the areas of waves and optics, mathematical physics, stationary action principles, and special relativity. The course develops experimental and mathematical methods as parts of an integrated approach to physics. 

This course together with Physics 1 provide the basis for further study of physics. They underpin the study at second year level of the core physics areas of: quantum mechanics, statistical and thermal physics, electromagnetism, and classical physics.

An Honours Pathway option is offered.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Understand the concepts of special relativity, including: the postulates, time dilation, length contraction and the relativity of simultaneity.
  2. Be able use the Lorentz transformations for event coordinates.
  3. Understand the stationary action principle and its origin in quantum mechanics.
  4. Be able to derive the Euler-Lagrange equations for simple mechanical systems.
  5. Be able to take a wide range of physical situations, model them using differential equations, and effectively use the solutions.
  6. Be able to set up and compute 3D integrals of both scalar and vector quantities and use them to compute physical quantities such as electric fields and moments of inertia.
  7. Be able to model physical systems as damped, driven and coupled harmonic oscillators.
  8. Be able to apply physics principles to the solution of problems, including complex problems, and to the conduct of experiments.
  9. Have developed laboratory skills including equipment skills, data gathering and analysis, estimation and interpretation of uncertainties and, experiment design, and presentation.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Assignments (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]
  2. Lab work (30) [LO 8,9]
  3. Final exam (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8]

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 2 hour workshop, 1 x 2 hour drop-in (non-compulsory) per week and 24 hours of labs per semester (6 x 3 hour sessions).

• Approximately 58 hours of self directed study which will include preparation for online lectures and other assessment tasks.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have completed PHYS1101 or be doing it concurrently. You should have completed either MATH1013 or MATH1115 or be doing them concurrently

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.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6911 24 Jul 2023 31 Jul 2023 31 Aug 2023 27 Oct 2023 In Person View

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