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Unit of study_

PHYS1904: Physics 1B (Special Studies Program)

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The unit is a continuation for high achieving students of PHYS1904. It shares lecture and tutorial classes with PHYS1902, with modules on the topics of fluids, electricity and magnetism, and quantum physics. The lab component features a research project to be performed with researchers in one of the School's research groups.

Unit details and rules

Unit code PHYS1904
Academic unit Physics Academic Operations
Credit points 6
PHYS1003 or PHYS1004 or PHYS1902
Assumed knowledge

75 or above in PHYS1903 or 85 or above in PHYS1901. Entry is by invitation. This unit of study is deemed to be an Advanced unit of study. Students are also encouraged to take (MATH1X23 or MATH1933 or MATH1X03 or MATH1907) and MATH1X05 concurrently.

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Helen Johnston,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Final exam (Open book) Type C final exam Final examination
Short answer questions
40% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4 LO5
Small continuous assessment hurdle task group assignment Laboratory work - circuits
Laboratory work
0% Multiple weeks In lab
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO6
Small continuous assessment Pre-work quiz
Pre-work for circuits labs
3% Multiple weeks 5-8 questions
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO7 LO5
Assignment Mastering Physics assignments
Online assignments
5% Multiple weeks 8 questions each
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4
Small test Laboratory work - research project
Individual project with research group
0% Ongoing Multiple weeks
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4
Tutorial quiz Prac test
Practical test on circuits
10% Week 07 45 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3
Tutorial quiz Lab skills test
Online quiz testing lab skills and circu
10% Week 07 45 min
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO7 LO5 LO3
In-semester test (Open book) Type C in-semester exam Mid-semester test
Online test of lecture material
20% Week 08
Due date: 21 Oct 2020 at 14:00
50 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Assignment Lab Report
Written report on research project
10% Week 12
Due date: 08 Nov 2019 at 23:59
2000-2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO7
Participation group assignment Workshop tutorials
Group work problem solving
2% Weekly 1h
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO6 LO2
hurdle task = hurdle task ?
group assignment = group assignment ?
Type C final exam = Type C final exam ?
Type C in-semester exam = Type C in-semester exam ?

Assessment summary

  • Assignments: All assignments are done using the MasteringPhysics system, accessed via Canvas. Each assignment consists of 8 questions, each worth 5 marks even though some are a little longer than others. They are a mix of tutorial-style questions teaching you concepts and problem-solving techniques, and end-of-chapter problems from the textbook. The tutorial-style questions have full hints and feedback, while the end-of-chapter questions do not. MasteringPhysics marks the assignments automatically and you immediately know your result.
  • Workshop tutorials: Contributing to Workshop Tutorials is an important part of success in this Unit of Study. Tutorials can be attended either online or face-to-face.
  • Laboratory work: circuits. Assessment in the laboratory is based on successful completion of laboratory work.  In order to pass the laboratory component, you must
    • complete all four circuits experiments
    • achieve at least 15/20 marks for the laboratory project.
  • Laboratory work: project. In the second half of semester, you work on a research project with one of the research groups in the School.  This is assessed with a group talk and an individual report, as well as a mark from your supervisor.
  • Mid-semester test: The mid-semester test is an online test of material from the first lecture module (Electricity and Magnetism).
  • Final examination: You will be asked to write descriptive answers to questions, to explain physical principles and to answer quantitative questions, all aimed at demonstrating your progress in achieving the goals of the unit. Ability to memorise formulas and manipulate them without understanding the associated physics will not be rewarded.
  • Prac test: This is a practical test which assesses your ability to plan and conduct a simple experiment. It is an individual assessment.
  • Lab skills test: This is an online test on circuits and the skills learned in the pre-work material.
  • Lab report: At the end of semester you will submit a lab report based on your research project. 

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

At HD level, a student demonstrates a flair for the subject and comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the unit material. A ‘High Distinction’ reflects exceptional achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates the ability to apply subject knowledge to novel situations.


75 - 84

At DI level, a student demonstrates an aptitude for the subject and a solid knowledge and understanding of the unit material. A ‘Distinction’ reflects excellent achievement and is awarded to a student who demonstrates an ability to apply the key ideas of the subject.


65 - 74

At CR level, a student demonstrates a good command and knowledge of the unit material. A ‘Credit’ reflects solid achievement and is awarded to a student who has a broad understanding of the unit material but has not fully developed the ability to apply the key ideas of the subject.


50 - 64

At PS level, a student demonstrates proficiency in the unit material. A ‘Pass’ reflects satisfactory achievement and is awarded to a student who has threshold knowledge of the subject.


0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

MasteringPhysics will not accept late assignments.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Ongoing Project work with research group in the School Project (20 hr) LO3 LO4 LO6 LO7
Week 01 Electricity and magnetism Lecture and tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2
Introduction Science laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 02 Electricity and magnetism Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2
Circuits Science laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 03 Electricity and magnetism Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2
Circuits Science laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 04 Electricity and magnetism Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2
Circuits Science laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 05 Electricity and magnetism Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2
Circuits Science laboratory (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO6
Week 06 Electricity and magnetism Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 07 Fluids Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 08 Fluids Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 09 Quantum physics Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 10 Quantum physics Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 11 Quantum physics Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 12 Quantum physics Lecture and tutorial (4 hr) LO1 LO2
Project talks Presentation (3 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7

Attendance and class requirements

You must pass the laboratory programme in order to pass the course. In order to pass the laboratory component, you must

  • successfully complete all four circuits experiments
  • achieve at least 15/20 marks for the research project. See the Canvas SSP page for details of how marks are allocated to the project.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

All readings for this unit can be accessed on the Library eReserve link available on Canvas. 

  • Textbook: University Physics with Modern Physics: Fifteenth Edition in SI Units, by Young and Freedman (Y&F). Published by Pearson.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand the key concepts of the behaviour of fluids, the interaction between electricity, magnetism and matter, and the fundamental concepts of quantum physics and its application to modern technology
  • LO2. apply these concepts to develop models, and to solve qualitative and quantitative problems in scientific and engineering contexts with particular reference to applications in modern technology
  • LO3. demonstrate basic experimental skills in the use of electrical measuring instruments and the ability to devise and carry out a scientific investigation that includes measuring physical quantities, analysis and interpretation of results
  • LO4. find and analyse information and judge its reliability and significance
  • LO5. communicate scientific information appropriately, both orally and through written work
  • LO6. engage in team and group work for scientific investigations and for the process of learning
  • LO7. demonstrate a sense of responsibility, ethical behaviour and independence as a learner and as a scientist.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered


The School of Physics recognises that biases, bullying and discrimination, including but not limited to those based on gender, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and age, continue to impact parts of our community disproportionately. Consequently, the School is strongly committed to taking effective steps to make our environment supportive and inclusive and one that provides equity of access and opportunity for everyone.

The School has three Equity Officers as a point of contact for students who may have a query or concern about any issues relating to equity, access and diversity. If you feel you have been treated unfairly, discriminated against, bullied or disadvantaged in any way, you are encouraged to talk to one of the Equity Officers or any member of the Physics staff.

More information can be found at

Any student who feels they may need a special accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact Disability
Services: who can help arrange support.

Work, health and safety

We are governed by the Work Health and Safety Act 2011, Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 and Codes of Practice. Penalties for non-compliance have increased. Everyone has a responsibility for health and safety at work. The University’s Work Health and Safety policy explains the responsibilities and expectations of workers and others, and the procedures for managing WHS risks associated with University activities.

General Laboratory Safety Rules

  • No eating or drinking is allowed in any laboratory under any circumstances 
  • Closed-toe shoes are mandatory 
  • Follow safety instructions in your manual, posted in laboratories, and from staff
  • In case of fire, follow instructions posted outside the laboratory door 
  • First aid kits, eye wash and fire extinguishers are located in or immediately outside each laboratory 
  • As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that you have a current tetanus immunisation. This can be obtained from University Health Service:


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.