Physics major (MJD-PHYSC)

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 apply the key pillars of relativity and quantum physics to atomic, molecular, nuclear and particle physics, condensed matter physics, photonics and astrophysics. You 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.

Broadening guidelines

All students studying towards a Bachelor's Degree at UWA are required to Broaden their studies by completing a minimum of four units (24 points) of study outside their degree specific major. Broadening is your opportunity to explore other areas of interest, investigate new disciplines and knowledge paradigms and to shape your degree to suit your own aspirations and interests. Many of you will be able to undertake more than this minimum amount of broadening study and we encourage you to do so if this suits your aspirations. Over the next few months you will find here some broadening suggestions related to your degree-specific major. While we know that many students value guidance of this sort, these are only suggestions and students should not lose sight of the opportunity to explore that is afforded by your Broadening Choices. Advice can also be sought from your Allocated Student Advising Office.

Prerequisites

(Mathematics Specialist ATAR or Mathematics Methods ATAR with an additional mathematics units taken in the first year) and (Physics ATAR or an additional physics bridging unit taken in the first year).

Recommended subjects: Mathematics Specialist ATAR, Mathematics Methods ATAR and Physics ATAR.

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

Overview of unit sequence

Physics is a degree-specific single major comprising:

  • five Level 1 units
  • three Level 2 units
  • four Level 3 units
Key to availability of units:
S1 = Semester 1; S2 = Semester 2

Level 1

Degree-specific major units
Take all units (30 points):

Students taking the Physics major in conjunction with Engineering Science substitute CITS1401 Computational Thinking with Python with CITS2002 System Programming or CITS2401 Computer Analysis and Visualisation.

Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1, S2 CITS1401 Computational Thinking with Python
Prerequisites:
Mathematics Applications ATAR
or
MATH1720 Mathematics Fundamentals
or
equivalent
Co-requisites:
Nil
Incompatibility:
CITS2401 Computer Analysis and Visualisation
S1, S2 MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
Prerequisites:
Mathematics Specialist ATAR
or
MATH1722 Mathematics Foundations: Specialist
or
equivalent
Co-requisites:
Nil
Incompatibility:
Nil
S1, S2 MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
Prerequisites:
Mathematics Specialist ATAR
or
MATH1722 Mathematics Foundations: Specialist
or
equivalent
Co-requisites:
Nil
Incompatibility:
Nil
S1, S2 PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
Prerequisites:
( Physics ATAR
or
PHYS1030 Physics Bridging Unit ) and ( Mathematics Methods ATAR (
or
MATH1721 Mathematics Foundations: Methods )
Co-requisites:
MATH1722 Mathematics Foundations: Specialist
Incompatibility:
PHYS1100 Classical and Frontier Physics
S1, S2 PHYS1002 Modern Physics
Prerequisites:
PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
Co-requisites:
Nil
Incompatibility:
PHYS1200 Modern and Frontier Physics
Bridging units
If required, students are advised to take bridging units in their first year of study. Students without Mathematics Specialist ATAR or equivalent or higher take MATH1722. Students without ATAR Physics or equivalent or higher take PHYS1030.
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1, S2 MATH1722 Mathematics Foundations: Specialist
Prerequisites:
( Mathematics Methods ATAR
or
MATH1721 Mathematics Foundations: Methods )
or
( Mathematics Specialist ATAR [with a scaled score of less than 50]
or
equivalent )
Co-requisites:
Nil
Incompatibility:
Mathematics Specialist ATAR [with a scaled score of 50
or
greater]
or
Equivalent
or
higher
S1, S2 PHYS1030 Physics Bridging Unit
Prerequisites:
( Mathematics Methods ATAR
or
MATH1721 Mathematics Foundations: Methods )
or
( Mathematics Specialist ATAR
or
MATH1722 Mathematics Foundations: Specialist )
Co-requisites:
Nil
Incompatibility:
a scaled score greater than
or
equal to 50 per cent in Physics ATAR
or
equivalent
or
PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
or
PHYS1002 Modern Physics

Level 2

Degree-specific major units
Take all units (18 points):

Students taking the Physics major in conjunction with Engineering Science substitute MATH3023 Advanced Mathematics Applications with MATH2501 Advanced Mathematical Methods.

Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1 MATH2501 Advanced Mathematical Methods
Prerequisites:
MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
Co-requisites:
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
Incompatibility:
MATH3023 Advanced Mathematics Applications and GENG4407 Advanced Engineering Mathematics
S1 PHYS2001 Quantum Physics and Electromagnetism
Prerequisites:
( PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
or
PHYS1100 Classical and Frontier Physics ) and ( PHYS1002 Modern Physics
or
PHYS1200 Modern and Frontier Physics ) and MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
Co-requisites:
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
or
a Level 2 Mathematics major unit
Incompatibility:
Nil
S2 PHYS2002 Many Particle Systems
Prerequisites:
( PHYS1001 Physics for Scientists and Engineers
or
PHYS1100 Classical and Frontier Physics ) and ( PHYS1002 Modern Physics
or
PHYS1200 Modern and Frontier Physics ) and ( MATH1011 Multivariable Calculus
or
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods )
Co-requisites:
Nil
Incompatibility:
Nil

Level 3

Degree-specific major units
Take all units (12 points):
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1 PHYS3001 Quantum Mechanics and Atomic Physics
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Physics and Electromagnetism and ( MATH2501 Advanced Mathematical Methods
or

or
MATH3023 Advanced Mathematics Applications )
Co-requisites:
Nil
Incompatibility:
Nil
S2 PHYS3002 Electrodynamics and Relativity
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Physics and Electromagnetism and PHYS2002 Many Particle Systems and ( MATH2501 Advanced Mathematical Methods
or
MATH3023 Advanced Mathematics Applications
or
equivalent )
Co-requisites:
Nil
Incompatibility:
PHYS3100 Electrodynamics, Special and General Relativity
Degree-specific major units
Take unit(s) to the value of 12 points:
Availability Unit code Unit name unit requirements
S1 PHYS3003 Astrophysics and Space Science
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Physics and Electromagnetism and PHYS2002 Many Particle Systems and ( MATH2501 Advanced Mathematical Methods
or
MATH3023 Advanced Mathematics Applications
or
equivalent )
Co-requisites:
Nil
Incompatibility:
PHYS2100 Stellar Astrophysics and Frontier Astronomy
S1 PHYS3005 Quantum Computation
Prerequisites:
MATH1012 Mathematical Theory and Methods
or
equivalent and PHYS2001 Quantum Physics and Electromagnetism
Co-requisites:
Nil
Incompatibility:
PHYS4021 Frontiers in Quantum Computation
S2 PHYS3011 Mathematical Physics
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Physics and Electromagnetism and ( MATH2501 Advanced Mathematical Methods
or
MATH3023 Advanced Mathematics Applications
or
equivalent )
Co-requisites:
PHYS2002 The Physics of Particles
Incompatibility:
Nil
S2 PHYS3012 Topics in Contemporary Physics
Prerequisites:
PHYS2001 Quantum Physics and Electromagnetism and PHYS2002 The Physics of Particles and ( MATH2501 Advanced Mathematical Methods
or
MATH3023 Advanced Mathematics Applications
or
equivalent )
Co-requisites:
Nil
Incompatibility:
Nil

Choosing your degree-specific major

General degrees

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 .

If you are unsure what else to study alongside this major, please read our Faculty and Industry recommended electives and second majors.
Specialised degrees – Bachelor of Advanced Computer Science (Honours), Bachelor of Automation and Robotics, Bachelor of Environmental Design, Bachelor of Music

You must satisfy the requirements of the degree-specific major in your degree before you complete your course.

Bachelor of Philosophy, Politics and Economics

This comprehensive degree does not require you to choose a degree-specific major.

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. and Bachelor of Science courses, 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 .