Physics major

Physics examines the world around us at the most fundamental level, from the origin and fate of the universe, to the behaviour of matter on subatomic length scales—and everything in between. The overarching objective of the Physics major at UWA is to provide students with access to the frontiers of modern physics via an emphasis on essential mathematical skills. You will apply the key pillars of relativity and quantum physics to atomic, molecular, nuclear and particle physics, condensed matter physics, photonics and astrophysics. You will understand the role of physics as the driving force behind many advanced technologies, from radar to lasers, from GPS to quantum computers and MRI and PET scanners. The choice of Western Australia as the site for part of the Square Kilometre Array makes the Physics major an exciting prospect.

Outcomes

Students are able to (1) develop increasing levels of conceptual understanding of the physical principles which underpin a wide range of applications; (2) develop and apply increasing levels of critical thinking skills in a range of physical situations; (3) develop and apply problem identification, exploration and solution skills in physical situations that range from simple to complex; (4) apply increasing levels of appropriate mathematical sophistication in the expression and communication of physical concepts; (5) develop in-depth understanding of the physical principles of measurement, experimental technique, quantitative analysis and data analysis; and (6) develop and demonstrate skills relevant to the communication of physics concepts including writing, oral presentations, critical information literacy skills and interpersonal skills.

Degree-specific major

Physics can be taken as a degree-specific major in the following degree courses:

BP004 Bachelor of Science
BH005 Bachelor of Philosophy (Honours)

Overview of unit sequence

Physics is a degree-specific single major comprising:

  • two Level 1 units
  • two Level 2 units
  • four Level 3 units
  • two Level 1 complementary units
  • one Level 2 complementary unit
Key to availability of units:
S1 = Semester 1; S2 = Semester 2; SS = summer teaching period

Level 1

Degree-specific major units
Take all units (12 points):
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1, S2 PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
Prerequisites:
(Physics ATAR
or
WACE Physics 3A/3B
or
PHYS1030 Physics Bridging Unit
or
equivalent) and (Mathematics Methods ATAR
or
Mathematics Specialist ATAR
or
WACE Mathematics 3C/3D
or
WACE Mathematics Specialist 3A/3B
or
WACE Mathematics Specialist 3C/3D
or
MATH1721 Mathematics Foundations: Methods
or
MATH1722 Mathematics Foundations: Specialist
or
MATH1001 Mathematical Methods 1
or
MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
or
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
or
equivalent)
Incompatibility:
PHYS1101 Advanced Physics A
S2 PHYS1002 Modern Physics
Prerequisites:
PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers and (ATAR Mathematics Specialist
or
WACE Mathematics Specialist 3C/3D
or
MATH1722 Mathematics Foundations: Specialist
or
MATH1001 Mathematical Methods 1
or
MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
or
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
or
equivalent)
Incompatibility:
PHYS1102 Advanced Physics B
Complementary units
Take all complementary units (12 points):
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1, S2, SS MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
Prerequisites:
Mathematics Specialist ATAR
or
WACE Mathematics: Specialist 3C/3D
or
MATH1722 Mathematics Foundations: Specialist
or
equivalent
Incompatibility:
MATH1001 Mathematical Methods 1
or
MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
MATH2040 Engineering Mathematics
S1, S2, SS MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
Prerequisites:
Mathematics Specialist ATAR
or
WACE Mathematics: Specialist 3C/3D
or
MATH1722 Mathematics Foundations: Specialist
or
equivalent
Incompatibility:
MATH1001 Mathematical Methods 1
or
MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
MATH2040 Engineering Mathematics

Level 2

Degree-specific major units
Take all units (12 points):
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1 PHYS2001 Quantum Mechanics 1 and Electromagnetism
Prerequisites:
PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
and
PHYS1002 Modern Physics and (MATH1001 Mathematical Methods 1
or
MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus)
Co-requisites:
MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
or
a Level 2 Mathematics major unit
S2 PHYS2002 The Physics of Particles
Prerequisites:
PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
and
PHYS1002 Modern Physics and (MATH1001 Mathematical Methods 1
or
MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus)
Complementary units
Take the following complementary unit:
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S2 MATH2501 Mathematical Methods 3
Prerequisites:
(MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
and
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods)
or
MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
(MATH2209 Calculus and Probability
and
MATH2020 Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra)
or
equivalent
Incompatibility:
MATH3023 Advanced Mathematics Applications

Level 3

Degree-specific major units
Take all units (18 points):
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S2 PHYS3002 Electrodynamics and Relativity
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Mechanics 1 and Electromagnetism and [MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
(MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
and
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods)
or
equivalent]
S1 PHYS3011 Mathematical Physics
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Mechanics 1 and Electromagnetism and (MATH2501 Mathematical Methods 3
or
equivalent)
and
PHYS2002 The Physics of Particles
S2 PHYS3012 Frontiers in Modern Physics
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Mechanics 1 and Electromagnetism
and
PHYS2002 The Physics of Particles and [MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
(MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
and
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods)
or
equivalent]
Degree-specific major units
Take unit(s) to the value of 6 points:
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1 PHYS3001 Quantum Mechanics 2 and Atomic Physics
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Mechanics 1 and Electromagnetism and [MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
(MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
and
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods)
or
equivalent]
S1 PHYS3003 Astrophysics and Space Science
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Mechanics 1 and Electromagnetism and (MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
(MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
and
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods)
or
equivalent)

Choosing your degree-specific major

You must satisfy the requirements of a degree-specific major before you complete your course. The flexible structure of an undergraduate course allows you to try out a number of different subjects to see what interests you before nominating your degree-specific major. You have the choice to either nominate your degree-specific major when you first enrol in the course or delay nominating it until your second year.

To plan the first year of your study without nominating a degree-specific major, you are advised to choose units that will pave the way to two or more degree-specific majors that are of interest to you. For examples of the choice of units available in first year, search the first-year study plans .

To fully understand the structure of an undergraduate course, read the course structure information and the Undergraduate Degree Course Rules.

The following example illustrates how the Physics degree-specific major can be included in the Bachelor of Science course.

Example: Course Study Plan: CSP004-PHYSC

There are more choices open to you. For more examples, search the study plans .

Choosing a second major

You also have the option to choose a second major from those available in the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Biomedical Science, Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Design Only available to re-enrolling students. or Bachelor of Science course, giving you the opportunity to pursue your interests no matter how different they are.

The following example illustrates how the Physics degree-specific major can be combined with a second major in the Bachelor of Science course.

Example: Course Study Plan: CSP004-PHYSC-Generic

For more examples of combinations of majors, search the study plans .

Physics can also be taken as a second major.

Second major

Physics can be taken as a second major in the following degree courses:

Overview of unit sequence

The Physics second major is a single major comprising:

  • two Level 1 units
  • two Level 2 units
  • four Level 3 units
  • two Level 1 additional units
  • one Level 2 additional unit
Key to availability of units:
S1 = Semester 1; S2 = Semester 2; SS = summer teaching period

Level 1

Second major units
Take all units (12 points):
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1, S2 PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
Prerequisites:
(Physics ATAR
or
WACE Physics 3A/3B
or
PHYS1030 Physics Bridging Unit
or
equivalent) and (Mathematics Methods ATAR
or
Mathematics Specialist ATAR
or
WACE Mathematics 3C/3D
or
WACE Mathematics Specialist 3A/3B
or
WACE Mathematics Specialist 3C/3D
or
MATH1721 Mathematics Foundations: Methods
or
MATH1722 Mathematics Foundations: Specialist
or
MATH1001 Mathematical Methods 1
or
MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
or
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
or
equivalent)
Incompatibility:
PHYS1101 Advanced Physics A
S2 PHYS1002 Modern Physics
Prerequisites:
PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers and (ATAR Mathematics Specialist
or
WACE Mathematics Specialist 3C/3D
or
MATH1722 Mathematics Foundations: Specialist
or
MATH1001 Mathematical Methods 1
or
MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
or
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
or
equivalent)
Incompatibility:
PHYS1102 Advanced Physics B
Second major units
Take all additional units (12 points):
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1, S2, SS MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
Prerequisites:
Mathematics Specialist ATAR
or
WACE Mathematics: Specialist 3C/3D
or
MATH1722 Mathematics Foundations: Specialist
or
equivalent
Incompatibility:
MATH1001 Mathematical Methods 1
or
MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
MATH2040 Engineering Mathematics
S1, S2, SS MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
Prerequisites:
Mathematics Specialist ATAR
or
WACE Mathematics: Specialist 3C/3D
or
MATH1722 Mathematics Foundations: Specialist
or
equivalent
Incompatibility:
MATH1001 Mathematical Methods 1
or
MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
MATH2040 Engineering Mathematics

Level 2

Second major units
Take all units (12 points):
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1 PHYS2001 Quantum Mechanics 1 and Electromagnetism
Prerequisites:
PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
and
PHYS1002 Modern Physics and (MATH1001 Mathematical Methods 1
or
MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus)
Co-requisites:
MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
or
a Level 2 Mathematics major unit
S2 PHYS2002 The Physics of Particles
Prerequisites:
PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
and
PHYS1002 Modern Physics and (MATH1001 Mathematical Methods 1
or
MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus)
Second major units
Take all additional units (6 points):
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S2 MATH2501 Mathematical Methods 3
Prerequisites:
(MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
and
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods)
or
MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
(MATH2209 Calculus and Probability
and
MATH2020 Multivariable Calculus and Linear Algebra)
or
equivalent
Incompatibility:
MATH3023 Advanced Mathematics Applications

Level 3

Second major units
Take all units (18 points):
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S2 PHYS3002 Electrodynamics and Relativity
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Mechanics 1 and Electromagnetism and [MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
(MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
and
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods)
or
equivalent]
S1 PHYS3011 Mathematical Physics
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Mechanics 1 and Electromagnetism and (MATH2501 Mathematical Methods 3
or
equivalent)
and
PHYS2002 The Physics of Particles
S2 PHYS3012 Frontiers in Modern Physics
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Mechanics 1 and Electromagnetism
and
PHYS2002 The Physics of Particles and [MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
(MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
and
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods)
or
equivalent]
Second major units
Take unit(s) to the value of 6 points:
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1 PHYS3001 Quantum Mechanics 2 and Atomic Physics
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Mechanics 1 and Electromagnetism and [MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
(MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
and
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods)
or
equivalent]
S1 PHYS3003 Astrophysics and Space Science
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Mechanics 1 and Electromagnetism and (MATH1002 Mathematical Methods 2
or
(MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
and
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods)
or
equivalent)

Choosing a second major

The flexible structure of an undergraduate course allows you the option of including a second major. You have the choice to either nominate your second major when you first enrol in the course or delay it until your second year. For a major to be recorded on your academic record it must be nominated before the requirements of the course are completed.

To fully understand the structure of an undergraduate course, read the course structure information and the Undergraduate Degree Course Rules.

The following example illustrates how Physics can be included as a second major in an undergraduate degree course.

Example: Course Study Plan: CSPGeneric-DSMGeneric-PHYSC

For more examples of combinations of majors, search the study plans .

Physics can also be taken as a degree-specific major.