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## What will I study?

### Overview

Learn about matter and energy and their fascinating interactions, which occur on all scales.

This major will integrate knowledge from physics and mathematics to give you the tools you need to think critically about the world around you and how it works.

Within this major you can choose to specialise in **Physics** or **Chemical Physics**.

#### Your major structure

You’ll complete this major as part of a Bachelor of Science degree.

In your **first** and **second** years you will complete subjects that are prerequisites for your major, including mathematics and physics subjects.

In your **third year**, you will complete 50 points (four subjects) of deep and specialised study in physics.

Throughout your degree you will also take science elective subjects and breadth (non-science) subjects, in addition to your major subjects and prerequisites.

Read more about studying physics at the University of Melbourne.

### Sample course plan

View some sample course plans to help you select subjects that will meet the requirements for this major.

If you did not achieve a study score of at least 29 in VCE Specialist Mathematics 3/4, you may need to enrol in MAST10005 Calculus 1 in your first semester. If you achieved a study score of at least 36 in VCE Specialist Mathematics 3/4 or equivalent, you can enrol in MAST10021 Calculus 2: Advanced and MAST10022 Linear Algebra: Advanced instead of MAST10006 Calculus 2 and MAST10007 Linear Algebra. If you did not achieve a study score of at least 29 in VCE Units 3/4 Physics, you may need to enrol in PHYC10009: Foundations of Physics in your first semester.

Year 1

100 pts

- Semester 1 50 pts

- Semester 2 50 pts

Year 2

100 pts

- Semester 1 50 pts

- Semester 2 50 pts

Year 3

100 pts

- Semester 1 50 pts

- Semester 2 50 pts

If you did not achieve a study score of at least 29 in VCE Specialist Mathematics 3/4, you may need to enrol in MAST10005 Calculus 1 in your first semester. If you achieved a study score of at least 36 in VCE Specialist Mathematics 3/4 or equivalent, you can enrol in MAST10021 Calculus 2: Advanced and MAST10022 Linear Algebra: Advanced instead of MAST10006 Calculus 2 and MAST10007 Linear Algebra. If you did not achieve a study score of at least 29 in VCE Units 3/4 Physics, you may need to enrol in PHYC10009: Foundations of Physics in your first semester.

Year 1

100 pts

- Semester 1 50 pts

- Semester 2 50 pts

Year 2

100 pts

- Semester 1 50 pts

- Semester 2 50 pts

Year 3

100 pts

- Semester 1 50 pts

- Semester 2 50 pts
science elective

12.5 pts

breadth/science elective

12.5 pts

breadth/science elective

12.5 pts

If you did not achieve a study score of at least 29 in VCE Specialist Mathematics 3/4, you may need to enrol in MAST10005 Calculus 1 in your first semester. If you achieved a study score of at least 36 in VCE Specialist Mathematics 3/4 or equivalent, you can enrol in MAST10021 Calculus 2: Advanced and MAST10022 Linear Algebra: Advanced instead of MAST10006 Calculus 2 and MAST10007 Linear Algebra. If you did not achieve a study score of at least 29 in VCE Units 3/4 Physics, you may need to enrol in PHYC10009: Foundations of Physics in your first semester.

Year 1

100 pts

- Semester 2 25 pts

- Summer term 25 pts

- Semester 1 50 pts
science elective

12.5 pts

science elective

12.5 pts

breadth

12.5 pts

Year 2

100 pts

- Semester 2 50 pts

- Semester 1 50 pts

Year 3

100 pts

- Semester 2 50 pts

- Semester 1 50 pts

Year 1

100 pts

- Semester 2 50 pts

- Summer term 25 pts

- Semester 1 25 pts
science elective

12.5 pts

Year 2

100 pts

- Semester 2 50 pts

- Semester 1 50 pts

Year 3

100 pts

- Semester 2 50 pts

- Semester 1 50 pts

### Explore this major

Explore the subjects you could choose as part of this major.

- 12.5 pts
Quantum mechanics plays a central role in our understanding of fundamental phenomena, primarily in the microscopic domain. It lays the foundation for an understanding of atomic, molecular, condensed matter, nuclear and particle physics.

Topics covered include:

- the basic principles of quantum mechanics (probability interpretation; Schrödinger equation; Hermitian operators, eigenstates and observables; symmetrisation, antisymmetrisation and the Pauli exclusion principle; entanglement)
- wave packets, Fourier transforms and momentum space
- eigenvalue spectra and delta-function normalisation
- Heisenberg uncertainty principle
- matrix theory of spin
- the Hilbert space or state vector formation using Dirac bra-ket notation
- the harmonic oscillator
- the quantisation of angular momentum and the central force problem including the hydrogen atom
- approximation techniques including perturbation theory and the variational method
- applications to atomic and other systems.

- 12.5 pts
The subject builds on the skills base established in CHEM20020 Structure and Properties. The concepts of quantum chemistry, statistical mechanics, molecular interactions and reaction kinetics will lay the fundamentals for the discussion of chemical reactions involving various types of reactive intermediates. The application of molecular orbital theory will be used to understand the nature of pericyclic reactions and the concept of coordination in main group (including carbon) and transition metal elements. An investigation of inorganic reaction mechanisms will focus on transformations involving coordination and organometallic complexes of d-block metals. Discussion of synthetic aspects will cover methods for carbon-carbon bond formation and functional group transformations, as well as principles of catalysis involving transition metal complexes and their chemistry in synthetic and biological systems.

- 12.5 pts
This subject provides an introduction to electrodynamics and a wide range of applications including communications, superconductors, plasmas, novel materials, photonics and astrophysics. Topics include: revision of Maxwell’s equations, strategies for solving boundary value problems for static and time-varying fields, electromagnetic fields in materials (including dielectrics, magnetic materials, conductors, plasmas and metamaterials), electromagnetic waves, derivation of geometric optics from Maxwell’s equations, guided waves, relativistic electrodynamics and the covariant formulation of electrodynamics, radiation by antennas and accelerating charged particles.

- 12.5 pts
Statistical mechanics, the microscopic basis of classical thermodynamics, is developed in this subject. It is one of the core areas of physics, finding wide application in solid state physics, astrophysics, plasma physics and cosmology.

Using fundamental ideas from quantum physics, a systematic treatment of statistical mechanics is developed for systems in equilibrium. The content of this subject includes ensembles and the basic postulate; the statistical basis of the second and third laws of thermodynamics; canonical, micro-canonical and grand-canonical ensembles and associated statistical and thermodynamic functions; ideal quantum gases; black body radiation; the classical limit and an introduction to real gases and applications to solid state physics.

#### Additional elective

If required, complete one of the following:

- Specialised Topics in Chemistry B 12.5 pts
This subject provides a series of specialised modules in the areas of organic, inorganic and physical chemistry.

Students choose three modules from the following selection of topics. Each module consists of 12 lectures.

- Physical Organic Chemistry,
- Methods in Organic Synthesis,
- Quantum Mechanics in Chemistry,
- Computational Chemistry,
- Supramolecular and Structural Inorganic Chemistry
- Metal Ions in Biology and Medicine

- Advanced Practical Chemistry 12.5 pts
This subject will build on the experience gained in second year practical chemistry through the synthesis and characterisation of complex molecules, the acquisition and interpretation of advanced spectroscopic and physical data and the investigation of chemical systems through computational techniques. It consists of a series of laboratory-based experiments aimed at developing skills in the synthesis, safe handling and analysis of chemical substances of a range of different classes of compounds; an understanding of modern characterisation techniques (e.g. chromatography, atomic and molecular spectroscopy); and the operation of instrumentation for the acquisition of kinetic, structural and thermodynamic data.

A component of this subject will also involve the development of skills in independent practical work through the design and implementation of experimental procedures and techniques, and data interpretation. The subject will also provide opportunities for the development of scientific writing and presentation skills, problem solving and small group collaboration, while introducing resources and software commonly used within chemical research fields (i.e. scientific databases, chemical drawing software, molecular modelling & optimisation, etc).

In addition to increased proficiency in standard techniques, this subject provides an introduction into research-based chemistry through integrated and themed experiments. It will provide skill development in a range of techniques utilised in the modern chemistry laboratory.

The subject provides experience across multiple traditional chemical disciplines whilst highlighting the importance of these disciplines in diverse 'real world' applications such as materials science and medicinal chemistry.

- Laboratory and Computational Physics 3 12.5 pts
The subject offers a range of projects in modules that offer experience in laboratory techniques and computational methods; the relative weights are indicated in the module descriptions. Students must select four projects with a combined weighting that contains at least 25% Computational Physics and 25% Laboratory Physics. The laboratory projects include nuclear physics, particle physics, diffraction, electronics, atomic physics, optical physics and astronomy. The computational projects are designed to develop programming skills and to introduce a range of numerical methods commonly used in physics research will be based on model problems in physics; these may include electronic structure theory, molecular vibrations, stellar structure, quantum spin systems, large-scale magnetic systems and gravitational lensing by point masses. Some projects may be offered that merge laboratory and computational work with approximately equal weighting.

- 12.5 pts
Quantum mechanics plays a central role in our understanding of fundamental phenomena, primarily in the microscopic domain. It lays the foundation for an understanding of atomic, molecular, condensed matter, nuclear and particle physics.

Topics covered include:

- the basic principles of quantum mechanics (probability interpretation; Schrödinger equation; Hermitian operators, eigenstates and observables; symmetrisation, antisymmetrisation and the Pauli exclusion principle; entanglement)
- wave packets, Fourier transforms and momentum space
- eigenvalue spectra and delta-function normalisation
- Heisenberg uncertainty principle
- matrix theory of spin
- the Hilbert space or state vector formation using Dirac bra-ket notation
- the harmonic oscillator
- the quantisation of angular momentum and the central force problem including the hydrogen atom
- approximation techniques including perturbation theory and the variational method
- applications to atomic and other systems.

- 12.5 pts
The subject offers a range of projects in modules that offer experience in laboratory techniques and computational methods; the relative weights are indicated in the module descriptions. Students must select four projects with a combined weighting that contains at least 25% Computational Physics and 25% Laboratory Physics. The laboratory projects include nuclear physics, particle physics, diffraction, electronics, atomic physics, optical physics and astronomy. The computational projects are designed to develop programming skills and to introduce a range of numerical methods commonly used in physics research will be based on model problems in physics; these may include electronic structure theory, molecular vibrations, stellar structure, quantum spin systems, large-scale magnetic systems and gravitational lensing by point masses. Some projects may be offered that merge laboratory and computational work with approximately equal weighting.

- 12.5 pts
Statistical mechanics, the microscopic basis of classical thermodynamics, is developed in this subject. It is one of the core areas of physics, finding wide application in solid state physics, astrophysics, plasma physics and cosmology.

Using fundamental ideas from quantum physics, a systematic treatment of statistical mechanics is developed for systems in equilibrium. The content of this subject includes ensembles and the basic postulate; the statistical basis of the second and third laws of thermodynamics; canonical, micro-canonical and grand-canonical ensembles and associated statistical and thermodynamic functions; ideal quantum gases; black body radiation; the classical limit and an introduction to real gases and applications to solid state physics.

- 12.5 pts
This subject provides an introduction to electrodynamics and a wide range of applications including communications, superconductors, plasmas, novel materials, photonics and astrophysics. Topics include: revision of Maxwell’s equations, strategies for solving boundary value problems for static and time-varying fields, electromagnetic fields in materials (including dielectrics, magnetic materials, conductors, plasmas and metamaterials), electromagnetic waves, derivation of geometric optics from Maxwell’s equations, guided waves, relativistic electrodynamics and the covariant formulation of electrodynamics, radiation by antennas and accelerating charged particles.

#### Additional elective

Complete one of the following subjects:

- Astrophysics 12.5 pts
This subject provides an introduction to astrophysics discussing the basic structure of stars, our galaxy, and the universe and introducing the most recent research questions.

Topics covered include:

- structure and evolution of stars, degenerate stars, black holes, the structure of the Milky Way and other cosmic objects, emission processes in astrophysics, high energy astrophysics, relativistic cosmology and cosmological models

- Sub-atomic Physics 12.5 pts
The subject provides an introduction to the unified picture of elementary particles and atomic nuclei - how the elementary quarks combine to form strongly interacting particles, and how two of these, the proton and neutron combine to form atomic nuclei; how quarks and their composites interact with the leptons and with each other; how we study these systems experimentally; and the exciting unanswered questions in this field of physics.

Topics covered will be selected from: quarks and leptons; strong, electromagnetic and weak interactions; symmetries and conservation laws; structure, models and properties of hadrons; structure, models and properties of nuclei; scattering and decay processes; accelerators; detectors; fission and fusion reactors; applications of nuclear and particle physics techniques; and other topics in sub-atomic physics of contemporary interest.

- Theoretical Physics 3 12.5 pts
This subject will introduce topics in Theoretical Physics, including:

- Classical Field Theory: Action Principles and Noether’s Theorem. Electrodynamics and wave equations from action principle. Applications selected from: waves in media, dispersion relations, solitons, Kramers-Kronig relations, the Optical Theorem.
- Fluid Mechanics: Euler’s equation, the continuity equation and the Navier-Stokes equation. Rotational and irrotational flows. Turbulence and Reynolds’ numbers, and the onset of chaos. The Rayleigh-Taylor and other instabilities. Shock waves. The Kutta-Joukowski theorem and aerodynamics.
- Symmetry: Crystallography, point groups and space groups. Quasicrystals. Vibrational modes of molecules and molecular electronic structure. Crystal field theory. The uses of SU(2) in quantum mechanics. The SO(4) solution of the hydrogen atom. Relativistic invariance: the Lorentz and Poincare groups.

- Light, Lasers, Optics 12.5 pts
The subject will derive the fundamentals of modern optics and apply them to optical systems. We will begin with a matrix approach to geometric ray optics and progress to Gaussian beams with particular emphasis on laser beams and optical resonators. We will review the polarization of light using Jones matrices and Mueller calculus. Interference concepts will be developed and applied to interferometers, thin films and Fabry-Perot cavities. These concepts will be used to explain lasers, from Einstein concepts and population inversion to laser gain and longitudinal mode structure, for three-level and four-level systems, and extended to cover laser dynamics, Q-switched and mode-locked systems, and femtosecond combs.

Fibre optics and applications will include microstructured fibres, coupling, dispersion, fibre amplifiers and lasers. Non-linear optics will be introduced, including coupled-wave theory, harmonic generation, parametric amplification, Pockel and Kerr effects, four-wave mixing and phase conjugation. We will also review Raman, Mie and Brillouin scattering.

Fresnel and Fraunhofer diffraction theory and the angular spectrum representation of wavefields will be reviewed with emphasis on optical imaging. We will also describe modern optical microscopy from phase imaging to optical coherence tomography and super-resolution methods including STEM, STED, SLIM and TIRF.

- Condensed Matter Physics 3 12.5 pts
This subject will introduce basic concepts in Condensed Matter Physics, the physics of solids and liquids, from a theoretical and experimental perspective. In particular, it will address the most fundamental concepts and techniques which are required to gain a basic understanding of materials. These concepts and techniques include crystal structure, reciprocal space, adiabatic approximation, free electrons, electrons in a periodic potential, insulators, conductors, semi-conductors and mean-field theory. The subject further aims to introduce some of the most basic experimental techniques in solid state physics and material research. Finally, this subject will provide a phenomenological introduction to one of the most fascinating states of matter: superconductors.