• Offered by Mathematical Sciences Institute
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Philosophy
  • Areas of interest Philosophy, Mathematics, Science
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Prof Phil Dowe
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2025
    See Future Offerings

A course for science or non-science students jointly offered by Mathematics and Philosophy that aims to provide a conceptual understanding of some of the many faces of the large-scale universe.

We will discuss general issues relating to the nature of philosophy and science, space and time, and the universe as a whole. The main topics of the course are: the overall structure of the observable universe; space and time; relativity; black holes; phenomena and reality; and anthropic principles. Each topic will be introduced in a historical context emphasising how it has evolved over time and is still evolving.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. understand in outline of the history of cosmology, and of contemporary cosmology.
  2. demonstratea conceptual understanding of relativity theory and quantum mechanics.
  3. appreciate that many of the theories underlying modern cosmology are contentious.
  4. understand of what would be involved in further study in philosophy of science, and in cosmology.
  5. make a habit of educated questioning of scientific orthodoxy.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Tutorial participation (10) [LO 4,5]
  2. Essay, 1000 words (20) [LO 1]
  3. Essay, 2000 words (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]
  4. Exam, 2 hours, during the examination period (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.


130 hours of total student learning time made up from:

a) 36 hours of contact over 12 weeks: 24 hours of lectures and 12 hours of tutorials and tutorial-like activities; and

b) 94 hours of independent student research, reading, and writing.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Requisite and Incompatibility

You are not able to enrol in this course if you have previously completed MATH1042.

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
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
3548 17 Feb 2025 24 Feb 2025 31 Mar 2025 23 May 2025 In Person N/A

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