Physics 2A (PHYS2011)


In combination with two semesters of Junior Physics, this unit of study continues a first pass through the major branches of classical and modern physics, providing students with a sound basis for later Physics units or for studies in other areas of science or technology. Hence, this unit suits students continuing with the study of Physics at the Intermediate level, and those wishing to round out their knowledge of physics before continuing in other fields. The modules in this unit of study are: Optics: The wave nature of light, and its interactions with matter; applications including spectroscopy and fibre optics. Thermodynamics: The thermal properties of matter. Computational Physics: In a PC-based computing laboratory students use simulation software to conduct virtual experiments in physics, which illustrate and extend the relevant lectures. Students also gain general skills in the use of computers to solve problems in physics. An introductory session of MATLAB is held in the first three lab sessions for students who are not familiar with programming. Practical: Experimental Physics is taught as a laboratory module and includes experiments in the areas of electrical circuits, nuclear decay and particles, properties of matter, and other topics. Assessment is based on mastery of each attempted experiment. At the end of the semester students prepare a short report on one experiment and make an oral presentation on it.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Two 1-hour lectures per week for 11 weeks; one 2-hour computational laboratory and one 3-hour experimental laboratory per week for 10 weeks.


One 2-hour exam, assignments, one 1-hour computational test, practical work, practical report and presentation, computational lab work (100%)


Young and Freedman, University Physics with Modern Physics Technology Update, 13th edition. with Mastering Physics, Pearsons, 2014.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules


12 credit points of Junior Physics (excluding PHYS1500)

Assumed knowledge

(MATH1001 or MATH1901) and (MATH1002 or MATH1902) and (MATH1003 or MATH1903) and (MATH1005 or MATH1905)


PHYS2001 or PHYS2901 or PHYS2911 or PHYS2101 or PHYS2103 or PHYS2213 or PHYS2203

Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.