Special Projects

What is a Special Project?
The equivalent of about 4 hours per week is spent in a research group within the School of Physics, working on a research experiment or theoretical project supervised by a researcher. The aim is for students to acquire an understanding of the nature of research by carrying out a project under the supervision of a researcher, and as part of a research group. This will allow students to apply their knowledge of physics and scientific practice and will serve as valuable preparation for a research project at Honours level and beyond (but note that a Senior Physics Special Project is not a prerequisite for doing Honours in Physics). This unit addresses several of the University's generic attributes, including: an appreciation of the requirements and characteristics of research; the ability to plan and achieve goals; and the ability to work with others.

What is involved?
Details of the aims, due dates, assessment, etc., are given in the Unit Outline.

How do I enrol?
The units that include a Special Project are PHYS 3941 (Semester 1) and PHYS 3991 (Semester 2) – see the Table of Units of Study. Approval for these units must be obtained from the Senior Physics Coordinator. In practice, this means you need to identify a supervisor and a project. You should enrol in PHYS3940 (Semester 1) or PHYS 3990 (Semester 2) online, and then – before the start of semester – talk to a supervisor and get their agreement to supervise you (see below). Once you do that you will need to advise the Coordinator of your supervision arrangements by e-mail or in person and then submit a Special Permission request for enrollment in PHYS3941 or PHYS3991 via Sydney Student.

Although you can enrol early, you must not start your project work until the start of semester.

What projects are available?
You need to find a supervisor and a project by looking at the list of projects offered (updated 16-June-2016). The list is updated once a year, mid-way through Semester 1, because most students do their projects in Semester 2. But there is no problem with doing a project in Semester 1. Even if some of the listed projects have already been done, most supervisors would be able to suggest other projects. You can also look at the Web pages describing Research Activities in the School. Please discuss possible projects with the staff members listed in these places. Once you have arranged a supervisor and project, tell the Senior Physics Coordinator the details and then submit a Special Permission request for enrollment.

Can I do two Special Projects?
No, under normal circumstances only one of these Special Project units can be taken in a physics major. However, a student who is planning to do more than 24 credit points of Senior Physics may apply for permission to include a second Special Project.