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.

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Unit Overview


This unit will provide students with a broad and thorough understanding of gravitational wave astronomy, including the key astrophysical processes governing the evolution and radiation of gravitational wave sources and the emission mechanisms for high energy particles and radiation. Key topics will include (1) gravitational wave physics — prediction of gravitational waves, audio-band gravitational wave sources and signal characteristics, multi-messenger signatures of binary coalescences, the principle of gravitational wave discovery and early warning, and (2) high energy astrophysics — emission mechanisms for high energy particles and radiation, the physics of x-ray and gamma-ray astronomical sources (including gamma-ray burst) and the interpretation of high-energy observations of astronomical objects using data acquired by the students. The content will be explored with reference to a range of applications and physical contexts, including a discussion of open problems in gravitational-wave astronomy.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (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 gravitational wave detection and multi-messenger astronomy, 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) explain the characteristics of gravitational wave signals and principles behind the detection methods; (4) directly analyse gravitational wave data for detection and parameter estimation; and (5) demonstrate a critical understanding of open problems in gravitational wave astronomy and future directions in the field.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) in-class practices and oral presentations; (2) written reports; and (3) final examination. 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)
Professor Linqing Wen and Associate Professor David Coward
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: 2-hours per week
Practical Classes: 1-hour per week

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

Gravitational Waves: Volume 1 & 2, Michele Maggiore

Gravitational-Wave Physics and Astronomy: An Introduction to Theory, Experiment and Data Analysis, Jolien D. E. Creighton and Warren G. Anderson

Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology with Gravitational Waves, B. S. Sathyaprakash and Bernard Schutz

A College Course on Relativity and Cosmology, Ta-Pei Cheng, Oxford University Press, 2015

21st Century Astronomy, George Blumenthal, Jeff Hester, Laura Kay, Howard Voss, Bradford Smith.

High Energy Astrophysics, Malcolm Longair

  • 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.