Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit covers the content of PHYS3002, but with the addition of general relativity. The general theory of relativity is a major building block of modern physics, which lies at the heart of exciting astrophysical and cosmological discoveries made in the past decade. This addition provides an introduction to general relativity as a theory of gravity, which associates the gravitational attraction with the changing geometry of space-time instead of the traditional view of an invisible force. Students will explore the concepts and theories relating to the Big Bang, Black Holes and Gravitational Waves.

In this unit, students will learn about (1) electrodynamics — conservation laws, electromagnetic waves, potentials and fields, radiation; and (2) special relativity — special theory of relativity, relativistic mechanics, relativistic electrodynamics, (3) introduction to general relativity — the equivalence principle, curved spacetime coordinates, spacetime metric, Schwarzschild geometry and the geodesic equation. The content is explored with reference to a range of applications and physical contexts, and developed and applied through a laboratory experiment. Skills in problem identification, mathematical exploration and solution are fostered through practice problem sets, workshop activities and a laboratory experiment.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 3 core unit in the Frontier Physics major sequence

Students are able to (1) analyse the concepts and physical principles involved in advanced electrodynamics, special relativity, and introductory general relativity.; (2) communicate ideas relating to the unit content using written, visual and oral means.; (3) solve problems in a range of realistic situations relating to the unit content.; (4) evaluate the results of an experiment related to advanced electrodynamics, special relativity, and introductory general relativity.; and (5) evaluate an experiment on a scale between classical and frontier physics.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) in-semester tests; (2) final examination; and (3) workshop participation and assignments. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Darren Grasso
Unit rules
Enrolment in in the CM015 Bachelor of Science [Frontier Physics] and Master of Physics
or BH005 Bachelor of Philosophy and the MJD-FRODM Frontier Physics major and
PHYS1100 Classical and Frontier Physics
and PHYS2001 Quantum Physics and Electromagnetism
MATH2501 Advanced Mathematical Methods
or MATH3023 Advanced Mathematics Applications
PHYS3011 Mathematical Physics
PHYS3002 Electrodynamics and Relativity
Contact hours
Lectures: average 3-hours per week
Workshops: up to 36 hours over the semester.
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.