Physics is the study of space and time, matter and energy. By carrying out experiments and developing conceptual models, physicists seek to provide a fundamental understanding of how our physical universe works. Physics ranges from the very practical, such as developing biomedical-imaging and optoelectronic devices, to asking curiosity-driven questions about the nature of reality or how complexity arises from simple constituents.
Physics at Monash covers the full spectrum of subjects, from atom optics to x-ray science. Students have access to world-leading researchers and facilities, including the $175M New Horizons Research Centre. We are also developing new ways of teaching physics and astronomy. At first year this centres on the Physics and Astronomy Collaborative-learning Environment (PACE). First year classes are held in the PACE Studios which are custom-designed to encourage independent learning, and to promote the problem solving, effective communication and teamwork highly valued by employers. We are forging a community of students who are pro-active learners, able to apply their knowledge and skills in creative ways.
Physics graduates have varied and diverse career options. They may work as medical physicists in hospitals, as patent examiners, in the financial, business and government sectors. They may work in research roles for universities, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO), the Australian Synchrotron, and the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO). Physicists are also found working in the renewable energy sector, science teaching, climate modelling and science communication.
Physics is listed in S2000 Bachelor of Science, S3001 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Global Challenges (Honours) and S3002 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Research (Honours) at Clayton as a major, extended major or minor.
In addition to achieving the broad outcomes of their course, students successfully completing this major and extended major will be able to:
- explain how knowledge in physics is constructed as part of continually evolving conceptual frameworks developed from experiment and observation, and built around a core of unifying fundamental concepts
- appreciate physics as a creative, social endeavour which provides intellectual pleasure and contributes to society and its development through a multitude of applications to past, current and future technologies
- use a wide range of appropriate equipment and techniques in designing, planning, carrying out and refining experiments
- demonstrate the experimental, numerical, computational, analytical and problem solving skills required to gain employment in a wide variety of industries or to undertake further learning in physics and related disciplines.
Except for some level 1 units, most physics (PHS-coded) units have mathematics prerequisites.
All level 2 physics units require MTH1030 (Techniques for modelling). All level 3 physics units require MTH2010 (Multivariable calculus) and MTH2032 (Differential equations with modelling).
Note 1: Students who have not met the VCE entry requirements for MTH1030 must also complete MTH1020.
Note 2: Students in the double degree E3007 Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science complete ENG1090 and/or ENG1005 instead of MTH1020 and/or MTH1030 and ENG2005 and MTH2040 instead of MTH2010 and MTH2032.
Minor requirements (24 points)
12 points at level 1 and 12 points at level 2.
- One level 1 sequence (12 points) from the following:
- PHS1011 Classical physics and relativity and PHS1022 Fields and quantum physics
- PHS1001 Foundation physics and PHS1002 Physics for engineering
- PHS1031 Physics for the living world and PHS1002 Physics for engineering
Note 3: Students who have achieved a study score of at least 25 in Year 12 Mathematical Methods and at least 30 in Physics or at least 40 in Specialist Mathematics (or equivalent) should take PHS1011; it extends students' existing knowledge and skills in physics. Students who don't satisfy these prerequisites should take PHS1001. Students with a specific interest in the relation of physics to biological systems can choose PHS1031.
Note 4: For students in the double degree E3007 Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science the unit PHS1001 can count as part of the minor for the purpose of this requirement; the unit does not count towards the 96 points of science units required for the Bachelor of Science.
Note 5: For students in the double degree S2007 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Biomedical Science the unit PHS1031 should be replaced with BMS1031 and can count as part of the minor for the purpose of this requirement; the unit does not count towards the 96 points of science units required for the Bachelor of Science.
- Two level 2 units (12 points) from the following:
- PHS2061 Quantum and thermal physics
- PHS2062 Electromagnetism and optics
- PHS2081 Atomic, nuclear and condensed matter physics
Major requirements (48 points)
12 points at level 1 and at least 18 points at level 3.
- The requirements for the minor in physics, which includes PHS2061 and PHS2062 (24 points)
- Three level 3 units (18 points) chosen from:
- PHS3031 Foundations of contemporary physics
- PHS3051 Photon physics
- PHS3131 Theoretical physics
- PHS3042 Fundamentals of condensed matter physics
- PHS3062 Fundamental particle physics
- PHS3142 Theoretical physics 2
- One additional unit (6 points) chosen from the list in b. above or from:
- PHS2081 Atomic, nuclear and condensed matter physics
- PHS2350 Physics and astronomy introductory research project 1 or PHS2360 Physics and astronomy introductory research project 2**
- PHS3350 Physics and astronomy research project 1 or PHS3360 Physics and astronomy research project 2**
- ASP3012 Stars and galaxies
- ASP3051 Relativity and cosmology
- ASP3162 Computational astrophysics and the extreme universe
- ASP3231 Observational astronomy
- MTE3545 Functional materials and devices*
- MTE3547 Materials characterisation and modelling*
- one level 3 mathematics unit approved by the School of Physics and Astronomy level 3 coordinator.
Extended major requirements (72 points)
No more than 18 points at level 1 and at least 30 points at level 3.
- The requirements for the major in physics (48 points)
- Four additional units (24 points) chosen from the lists b. and c. under the major or from the following, with overall at least five units (30 points) from list b. under the major:
- ASP1010 Earth to cosmos - Introductory astronomy or ASP1022 Life in the universe - astrobiology
- ASP2011 Astronomy or ASP2062 Introduction to astrophysics
Requirements for progressing to honours and other further studies
Students must meet the entry requirements for S3701 Bachelor of Science (Honours), M5021 Graduate Diploma of Health and Science Research or meet the progression requirements to the fourth year of S3002 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Research (Honours).
Students must also complete prerequisite study as per the intended discipline. Refer to the honours prerequisites table. PHS3031 is required for entry into physics honours.
Successful completion of this area of study can be counted towards meeting the requirements for the following single degrees:*
- S2000 Bachelor of Science
- S3001 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Global Challenges (Honours)
- S3002 Bachelor of Science Advanced - Research (Honours)
Students in other single bachelor's degrees may be eligible to complete the minor or major by using 24 or 48 points of their free electives, however need to be aware that additional maths supporting units may also be required.
Successful completion of this area of study can be counted towards meeting the requirements for the Bachelor of Science component in the following double degrees:*
- B2023 Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Science
- B2016 Bachelor of Commerce Specialist and Bachelor of Science
- D3005 Bachelor of Education (Honours) and Bachelor of Science
- E3007 Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) and Bachelor of Science
- C2003 Bachelor of Information Technology and Bachelor of Science
- L3007 Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Science
- S2006 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts
- S2007 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Biomedical Science
- S2004 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Computer Science
- S2003 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Global Studies
- S2005 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Music