To be read in conjunction with the program of study requirements for the Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Specialisations).

The Physics (Honours) Specialisation is offered by the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences within the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

Admission requirements

The minimum requirements for consideration for entry to all undergraduate courses are specified in detail in the University Entry Requirements.

Successful completion of SACE Year 12 Physics and Mathematical Studies or the equivalent is assumed. Students without these requirements will need to pick up additional introductory topics and therefore completion in the standard duration may not be guaranteed and will be dependent upon the introductory topics required.

Course aims

The program of studies aims to provide students with an extended foundation in physics and mathematics together with the ability to acquire extensive subject knowledge in the discipline.

It also aims to develop a range of transferable research, analytical and communication skills including the capacity to:

  • understand physics at a deeper level
  • understand and apply relevant scientific principles in a physics context. In particular this involves development of an intuitive knowledge of physics principles, and having a maths ability that serves as a language for physics and for applications of physics
  • appreciate the nature of experiment design and execution, and to understand the principles of operation of scientific instruments commonly used in physics
  • retrieve and present information about physics in a scientific manner, including communicating effectively with a variety of audiences in written and spoken form
  • structure problems in physics, develop computational skills to model and analyse problems, be able to use critical thinking, be able to rationalise by having an intuitive understanding for the physical processes and being able to self-correct misunderstandings
  • engage positively with people and ideas beyond the discipline
  • work independently and take responsibility for updating and adapting their knowledge and skills
  • appreciate the role of physics in society, and the ethical issues it raises
  • work cooperatively and productively within a team
  • undertake an individual research project in an area of physics, from planning to execution
  • understand and apply advanced physics principles to solve problems
  • present information about physics in a scientific manner, including communicating effectively.

The program of studies provides the foundations that will underpin ongoing professional development, preparing graduates for further study in physics or another science or non-science related discipline or for a career in a physics related field or in other areas where the range of skills and knowledge acquired is needed or desirable.

Learning outcomes 

On completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • give an extended account of the foundations of physics
  • demonstrate knowledge of and critically apply the theories, subject content, professional methodologies and research procedures relevant to the discipline of physics
  • describe the processes through which current knowledge about the discipline of physics was developed
  • analyse and critically evaluate ideas/information/data and apply relevant scientific principles to solve problems by, for example, creating hypotheses, testing theories and predictions, designing and carrying out experiments and analysing reported data;
  • communicate their findings to a variety of audiences in written and spoken form
  • appreciate that there are relationships and connections between physics and other science and non-science disciplines and understand such relationships and connections in respect physics
  • work and learn independently and appreciate the need for continuing professional development
  • interact effectively as part of a team in order to achieve common goals
  • have an intuitive level of understanding of the physical processes and being able to identify and self-correct misunderstandings
  • engage positively with people and ideas beyond the discipline
  • work independently and take responsibility for updating and adapting their knowledge and skills
  • appreciate the role of physics in society, and the ethical issues it raises
  • work cooperatively and productively within a team
  • plan and execute an individual research project in chemistry applying relevant methodologies and knowledge.

Program of study

To qualify for the Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Physics) specialisation a student must complete 144 units, with a grade of P or NGP or better in each topic, according to the program of study detailed below.

No more than 45 units of First Year level topics may be included in the 144 units for the degree. A topic cannot be counted twice.

Elective topics to complete 144 units may be selected from any offered within the University or, with approval from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, from outside the University, provided any course and prerequisite requirements are met.

Not all topics are necessarily available in a given year.

Upon completion of at least 103.5 units and with a GPA of 5 or more in the last 36 units of study, students may commence the Fourth Year Honours program. Students who do not meet the GPA requirement will exit with the Bachelor of Science (Physics) on completion of 108 units.

Students who have completed 108 units according to the first three years of the Program may choose to exit with the Bachelor of Science (Physics).

Specialisation - Physics - Year 1 topics

36 units comprising:

Core - Year 1 topics

MATH1121 Mathematics 1A (4.5 units)
MATH1122 Mathematics 1B (4.5 units)
PHYS1101 Fundamental Physics I (4.5 units)
PHYS1102 Fundamental Physics II (4.5 units)
SPOC1701 The Nature of Science I (4.5 units)

Option - Year 1 topics

Plus one of

CHEM1101 Chemical Structure and Bonding (4.5 units)
CHEM1201 General Chemistry (4.5 units)

Elective - Year 1 topics

Plus 9 units of elective topics from across the University where entry requirements are met. *

* Students without Year 12 Physics should undertake PHYS1701 as their elective. Students without Year 12 Mathematics should undertake MATH1701 as their elective topic.

Specialisation - Physics - Year 2 topics

36 units comprising:

Core - Year 2 topics

MATH2702 Linear Algebra and Differential Equations (4.5 units)
MATH2711 Several Variable Calculus (4.5 units)
MATH2712 Algebra (4.5 units)
PHYS2701
Quantum Concepts (4.5 units)
PHYS2702 Classical Physics (4.5 units)
PHYS2712 Thermodynamics and Electromagnetic Waves (4.5 units)

Elective - Year 2 topics

Plus 9 units of elective topics from across the University where entry requirements are met.

Specialisation - Physics - Year 3 topics

36 units comprising:

Core - Year 3 topics

MATH3702 Methods of Applied Mathematics (4.5 units)
MATH3711 Complex Analysis (4.5 units)
MATH3712
Partial Differential Equations (4.5 units)
PHYS3701 Nuclear and Statistical Physics (4.5 units)
PHYS3702 Cosmology and Optoelectronics (4.5 units)
PHYS3711 Quantum Physics (4.5 units)

Elective - Year 3 topics

Plus 9 units of elective topics from across the University where entry requirements are met.#

#Students are encouraged to enrol in XXXX3700 Science Practicum (9 units) as a third-year elective.

Specialisation - Physics - Year 4 topics

36 units comprising:

Core - Year 4 topics

CPES7700A Honours Research Project (4/5/22.5 units)
CPES7700B Honours Research Project (4/5/22.5 units)
CPES7700C Honours Research Project (4/5/22.5 units)
CPES7700D Honours Research Project (4/5/22.5 units)
CPES7700E Honours Research Project (4/5/22.5 units)

Plus

CPES7701 Advanced Research Skills (4.5 units)
CPES7711 Advanced Techniques in Chemical and Physical Science (4.5 units)
CPES7721 Advanced Chemical and Physical Science (4.5 units)

Combined degrees

The Bachelor of Science (Honours) (Physics) may also be studied in a combined degrees program with any Bachelor degree in the Faculty of Science and Engineering.