• Offered by Research School of Physics
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Mathematics, Physics, Engineering, Theoretical Physics
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Elena Ostrovskaya
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Co-taught Course
  • Offered in First Semester 2024
    See Future Offerings
  • STEM Course

This course is intended for the advanced study of the theory of nonlinear dynamics and its application. The course covers theory of bifurcations, deterministic chaos, and complex spatio-temporal behaviour in a diverse range of physical systems. The theory is developed in a systematic manner and incorporates analytical methods, qualitative and quantitative analysis, numerical calculations, and various “real-life” examples, ranging from mechanical and biological systems to semiconductor physics and optics. The course therefore has a distinct inter- and intra-disciplinary flavour, allowing the students to tie together and contextualise a number of concepts that they have learned throughout their undergraduate studies.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Effectively use a range of theoretical methods for analyzing nonlinear dynamics;
  2. Employ a combination of analytical, geometrical, and numerical approaches for studying nonlinear effects;
  3. Identify the characteristic aspects of nonlinear oscillations and synchronization phenomena;
  4. Describe complex nonlinear dynamics by employing the universal principles of nonlinear bifurcations and routes to chaos;
  5. Understand the properties of nonlinear waves and localization;
  6. Develop critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, and apply these to a diverse range of practical multi-disciplinary nonlinear problems, spanning from mechanics to optics and solid-state physics;
  7. Understand and communicate the fundamental concepts covered in the course

Indicative Assessment

  1. Two Problem Sets (16) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  2. Two Assignments (48) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7]
  3. Problem Solving Activities in Tutorials (6) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6]
  4. Exam (30) [LO 1,2,3,4,5,6,7]

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 2 x 1 hour lectures per week and 1 x 2 hour tutorial per week.

• Approximately 82 hours of self directed study which will include preparation for lectures 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 Theoretical Physics or Master of Science (Adv) in Theoretical Physics programs. Incompatible with PHYS4303

Prescribed Texts

S.H. Strogatz, Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos (E-book from ANU library)

Assumed Knowledge

24 units of university advanced level physics. 24 units of university level mathematics for physicists and engineers.


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
2024 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2024 $6360
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
3333 19 Feb 2024 26 Feb 2024 05 Apr 2024 24 May 2024 In Person View

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