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 will provide the student with a broad and thorough understanding of the observed properties of galaxies and the key physical processes affecting their evolution and dynamics. Key topics include (1) galactic structure and morphology; (2) distance indicators; (3) scaling relations; and (4) large scale structures and environmental effects. The content is explored with reference to a range of applications and physical contexts, including a discussion of open problems in galactic dynamics.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Honours option in Physics [Bachelor of Science (Honours)]

Students are able to (1) discuss current research in the field of galaxy evolution, using the language and reasoning at the level of a junior research scientist in the field; (2) critically interpret current state-of-the-art research on the topic; (3) quantify the effect of the environment on galaxy evolution and the key time scales regulating the growth of galaxies; (4) directly analyse astronomical data in the framework of galaxy evolution; and (5) demonstrate a critical understanding of open problems in galactic dynamics.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) in-class tests/quizzes; (2) written reports; and (3) paper discussion. 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)
Associate Professor Kenji Bekki and Dr Tessa Vernstrom
Unit rules
completion of the core units in the Physics major or equivalent
Course Enrolment in
the 53560 Master of Physics
or the CM015 Bachelor of Science (Frontier Physics) and Master of Physics
Contact hours
Lectures: 3-hours per week
Practical Classes: 1-hour per week

This unit will be based on a number of recommended texts including:

Galaxy Formation and Evolutionby Frank Van den Bosch, Houjun Mo, and Simon White

An Introduction to Modern Astrophysics, by Bradley W Carroll and Dale A Ostlie

Galaxy Dynamics, by James Binney and Scott Tremaine

  • 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.