Physics

UNDERGRADUATE MAJOR

Physics deals with the fundamental phenomena of nature: space, time, matter and energy. It underpins all science and technology. Physics enables us to develop an understanding of everything from the nucleus of an atom to the structure and origin of the universe.

Physics is excellent training for hundreds of careers: jobs requiring critical reasoning, logical thought, teamwork and problem solving are commonly filled by physics graduates. Physics attracts some of the very best students in the faculty. They are offered the opportunity to undertake special programs, working with staff on projects of current research interest. Recent graduates have found employment in companies such as Telstra, BHP Billiton, Canon and research organisations such as CSIRO, DSTO and NASA.

Read more about areas of physics at Sydney.

For more information on the program structure and content, view the Science Undergraduate Handbook.

Study plan

FIRST YEAR
Completion of one junior physics unit of study in each semester provides a solid foundation for further studies in physics in higher years.

SECOND YEAR
Either of the first semester units PHYS 2011 or PHYS 2911, together with either of the second semester units PHYS 2012 or PHYS 2912 is sufficient to qualify for admission to senior physics. If you are intending to major in physics, we strongly recommend you take PHYS 2013 or PHYS 2913 as well.

THIRD YEAR
To successfully complete your physics major, you need to take at least 24 credit points of senior physics units. Senior units of study are a combination of lecture modules with lab or a special project. Core lecture modules are Electromagnetism, Quantum Physics, and Statistical
Mechanics. Electives include nanoscience, plasma physics, thermodynamics, biophysics, astrophysics, optics and high energy physics.

Graduate opportunities

Physics is a generalist major that, instead of preparing you for a narrow career path in just one area, allows you great freedom of choice in your ultimate employment. This may appeal to students who have not yet committed themselves to one career choice. Physics graduates receive excellent training for hundreds of careers: jobs requiring critical reasoning, logical thought, teamwork and problem solving are commonly filled by physics graduates.

Recent graduates have found employment in companies such as Telstra, BHP Billiton, Canon and research organisations such as CSIRO, DSTO and NASA.

Among Sydney physics graduates you will find chief executives and senior managers, patent attorneys, computer programmers, consultants, astronomers, geophysicists, actuaries, and research scientists.

Further study for major

Eligible students can proceed to the honours year, where you have the opportunity of studying physics to a higher level (with a wide choice of courses to be taken) and you also gain invaluable experience in undertaking a research project supervised by one or more members of staff, resulting in a thesis describing your work. Many students also end up publishing one or more scientific papers based on their honours research. After honours, many students continue into a higher research degree (MSc or PhD) to pursue careers in research.

Graduates can also undertake further study through the postgraduate coursework program in Medial Physics.

Related subject areas

Chemistry
Engineering
Information technology
Mathematics
Nanoscience and technology

Our courses that offer this major