• Offered by Research School of Physics
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Physics, Science, Engineering
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Andrew Truscott
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2023
    See Future Offerings

Quantum mechanics (along with General Relativity) is one of the two foundational theories on which modern physics rests. This course introduces the basic theoretical concepts and formalism, including the wave mechanics developed by Schroedinger and others and some aspects of the matrix formalism first developed by Heisenberg.
The course starts with an overview of the historical evidence that led to the development of a quantum theory of matter and light. This is followed by an introduction to the key elements of quantum mechanics, including the statistical interpretation of wave functions, the role of operators and their connection with observables, and uncertainty. These concepts are initially introduced and reinforced through relatively simple problems with analytic solutions, but computational solutions are also examined where appropriate.
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. Appraise the kinds of experimental results which are incompatible with classical physics and which required the development of a quantum theory of matter and light;
  2. Interpret the wave function and apply operators to it to obtain information about a particle's physical properties such as position, momentum and energy;
  3. Solve the Schroedinger equation to obtain wave functions for some basic, physically important types of potential in one dimension, and estimate the shape of the wavefunction based on the shape of the potential;
  4. Examine the role of uncertainty in quantum physics, and use the commutation relations of operators to determine whether or not two physical properties can be simultaneously measured;
  5. Apply the technique of separation of variables to solve problems in more than one dimension and to understand the role of degeneracy in the occurrence of electron shell structure in atoms;
  6. Compare the matrix formalism to the use of basis states, and solve simple problems in that formalism.

Indicative Assessment

  1. MC questions (online): after most lectures there will be a series of exercises (multiple choice questions). You will in general have one go at each question and they should be done independently. The combined mark from all these exercises will form 10% of the mark. (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  2. Assignments (offline): There will be a total of 8 assignments that you will do throughout the course. These will be released on the Wattle site and will contribute 25% to your final mark. (25) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  3. At the end of each workshop there will be a short multiple choice quiz. These quizzes will serve as feedback as to how much of the workshop you have understood as well as confirming your workshop attendance. These quizzes will be worth a total of 10%. The idea of these quizzes is that you get some feedback of how you’re travelling throughout the course. (LO 1-6) (10) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  4. Mid-Term Exam (offline): There will be a mid-term exam — that will ensure you are keeping up with the course, it will be worth 25%. (25) [LO 1,2,3]
  5. Final Exam (offline): There will be a 3hr final exam, similar to previous years exams. Previous exams are available from the library. The final exam will be worth 30%, and will focus on the second half of the course, although concepts from the first part of the course will still be needed. (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]

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

Face-to face component which will consist of 1 x 1 hour and 1 x 2 hour workshop per week. 12 hours of labs scheduled over the semester.

Approximately 82 hours of self-study which will include listening/viewing the online lectures, preparation for the weekly online lectures, workshops/labs and other assessment tasks.

The course now follows the ‘flipped classroom’ model, that is, there are no lectures but instead short videos that convey the course content. After each of these videos there are a serious of multiple choice (MC) questions which are intended to test your understanding of the video content.

In this course you will learn how to perform calculations in quantum mechanics. This is best done in a weekly 2hr ‘workshop’ environment. A typical workshop consists of a problem sheet that is based on concepts of the weekly videos that the whole class works through. Discussion with other students at your table, about the problems, is encouraged, however, the real strength of the workshop is the student’s access to experienced tutors/lecturer (about 15 students per tutor for this course). These tutors will walk round the workshop answering questions about the problems and any other questions the student might have about the course.

There will be NO assessment in these workshops (for this course), however attendance at the weekly workshop is compulsory.

For 1 hour each week I will meet with the class and discuss concepts in QM. Since this is the combination of a lecture and a tute, I call this a Lute. The main reason for this hour is for discussion of the assignment problems (hints not direct answers) as well as other similar problems. This session will not be compulsory, accept when quizzes are held.

Inherent Requirements

To be determined

Requisite and Incompatibility

To enrol in this course you must have been admitted into the Master of Science (Quantum Technology) program. This course is incompatible with PHYS2013, PHYS3101 and PHYS4100.

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
2937 20 Feb 2023 27 Feb 2023 31 Mar 2023 26 May 2023 In Person View

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