Skip to main content
Male student working on a machine
Study area_

Physics courses

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 courses at Sydney

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


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.

Postgraduate coursework

Postgraduate research

To find a potential supervisor visit Research Supervisor Connect.

What is physics?

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.

A grounding in physics will help nurture your curious mind, enabling you to become an expert problem solver no matter what career or industry you choose.

Why study physics with us?

The School of Physics at the University of Sydney is one of Australia's leading Physics departments, with outstanding staff and students undertaking world-leading teaching and research.

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 Sydney and 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 and jobs

As a physics graduate, your choices are extensive. You could conduct research and development in universities or industry, become a high-level analyst or educator, or apply your problem-solving abilities to the world of business. Physics graduates work in next generation computing, nanoscience, artificial intelligence, medical science, the financial sector, as well as big data and technological companies, such as Google and Spotify.

Our physics graduates have become politicians and business leaders, teachers, journalists, managers, financiers and IT professionals. Many have found employment in companies such as Telstra, BHP Billiton, Canon and research organisations such as CSIRO, DSTO and NASA.

Astronomy and astrophysics

How to study astronomy 

The School of Physics is very active in the area of astronomy and we offer several undergraduate astronomy courses:

First Year

  • OLET1618 Data Science in Astronomy: Algorythms
  • OLET1620 Data Science in Astronomy: Analysis
  • OLET1636 Astronomy: From Earth to Exoplanets
  • OLET1638 Astronomy: From Stars to Black Holes
  • OLET1640 Astronomy: From Big Bang to Darkness

Second Year

  • PHYS 2013/2913 Astrophysics and Relativity

Third Year

  • PHYS3037 Plasma and Astrophysics.
  • Special projects are also available which may involve working with staff on an astronomy project.

Honours Year

PHYS4122 Astrophysics and Space Science

PHYS4123 General Relativity and Cosmology

There are a number of astronomy honours projects available each year.

Read the Physics Honours Projects for current availability and refer to the slides from our Honours Information Session 2021 (PDF, 1.1MB)

Major and electives in physics

Download PDF

Frequently asked questions (Physics)

Download PDF

Student profile

Matthew Watts - Bachelor of Science Advanced / Bachelor of Information Technology

"University life is an adjustment from the likes of high school where most things are laid out simply for you. At university, you have the freedom to make your own rules for your study, but this comes with the responsibility of maintaining your motivation, dedication and organisation with regard to subjects and their requirements."