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Understand the principles that underpin the phenomena of nature

Physics is a truly universal science. It is the rational development of experiments, observations and theories to explain the world around us and all that we perceive. 

Physics explores the fundamental structure of the universe, starting with the smallest subatomic particles. It deals with the nature of space and time, matter and energy, and provides the foundation for modern technology, from smartphones and tablet computers to quantum devices and medical imaging equipment.

Work in next generation computing, nanoscience, artificial intelligence, medical science, the financial sector, as well as big data and technological companies. Our physics graduates have gone to work at Google, Spotify, Telstra, BHP Billiton, Canon and research organisations such as CSIRO, DSTO and NASA.

You can choose a specialist physics degree, or choose to undertake a physics-related program, major, minor, or electives within your degree. 

Physics courses

To complete a major in physics you can enrol in a range of science degrees, including:

It is also possible to undertake physics as a second major or minor through many other degrees offered within and outside of the Faculty of Science. 

You are also welcome to study individual physics units as electives alongside a different major. This will help you become a well-rounded graduate with refined problem-solving skills.

Programs and majors available in these degrees:

Most majors are also available as minors

Are you in high school and interested in studying physics?

If you want to do a physics major, you should study Physics and Mathematics Extension 1 for your HSC, but you can also take physics units without having done physics at HSC level, and with Mathematics Advanced instead of Extension 1. There are also other pathways than HSC to prepare you for physics studies.

See our Frequently Asked Questions and example study plans for details.

Honours is a full year of study devoted to a single subject at fourth-year level physics, in this case. It provides advanced training in Physics for a range of careers, personal interest, or as preparation for postgraduate study. 

Honours can be undertaken within the following:

View application details

An honours year in physics is 50% coursework, and 50% research. Research projects are available in a very wide range of research areas:

Astronomy and astrophysics courses

The School of Physics offers several undergraduate astronomy courses, which are listed below.  Students in the Advanced Stream will have opportunities for astronomy research projects in Years 1, 2 and 3 via the following Special Studies Project (SSP) units: PHYS1903, PHYS1904, PHYS2921, PHYS2922, and PHYS2923.  

Dalyell students will be also able to choose an astronomy research project in the Science Dalyell Showcase (SCDL1991) and/or the Science Dalyell Individual Research Project (SCDL3991).

First Year

Second Year

Third Year

Honours Year

A year-long research project in astronomy. Read the Physics Honours Projects: 2024 for some examples and refer to the Physics Honours Information Session 2023.

Why study physics with us?

With access to supercomputers, modern laboratories, research facilities and observatories, locally, nationally and internationally, the School of Physics provides an exceptional environment in which to learn, collaborate and thrive.

Launched in 2016, the Sydney Nano Institute is an exemplar of investment in the future of technology. The Institute has initiated a multi-year partnership with Microsoft, creating an unrivalled setting and foundation for quantum research in Australia.

Opportunities for talented students

The Dalyell Scholars program is offered to students with an ATAR (or equivalent) of 98+ or more. The program allows you to broaden your knowledge of physics and gain insights into the way physicists conduct their research.

You will be assigned an academic mentor who will arrange special activities for you throughout the year. Along with Advanced or Special Studies coursework, you will participate in exclusive seminars, projects and excursions – such as to the radio telescope at Parkes or the Tidbinbilla deep‑space tracking station in Canberra.

Physics careers 

Our graduates can be found in many settings and roles, including:

  • astrophysicist
  • data scientist
  • journalist
  • policy advisor
  • nanotechnologist
  • materials scientists
  • software engineer
  • medical physicist
  • astronomer
  • meteorologist
  • geophysicist
  • teacher (with further study)
  • IT consultant
  • researcher