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Unit of study_

PHYS3888: Physics Interdisciplinary Project

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

The ability to work across interdisciplinary boundaries is a crucial skill for tackling problems in our modern world. With quantitative modelling becoming widespread across industry and traditionally qualitative sciences, physicists have a crucial role to play in applying their expertise broadly. In this unit, you will gain an appreciation for the unique skills and ways of thinking that have allowed physicists to contribute to a wide range of real-world problems. This unit contains two components: (i) a lecture and interactive problem-based group-tutorial component on interdisciplinary physics, complex systems, and artificial intelligence, and (ii) an interdisciplinary project-based component. For the project component you will work in small interdisciplinary groups, including students from other 3888 units, to tackle a real-world interdisciplinary problem. For example, students may propose, develop and analyse solutions to challenges in medical imaging, precision sensing or quantum information science using the principles of nuclear magnetic resonance (e.g. What innovations are required to make magnetic resonance imaging more broadly accessible?) Through project-based learning, you will learn to leverage the diverse skills represented in your team, and develop skills in experimental measurement, numerical processing, and statistical modelling. Skills in identifying and solving problems, collecting and analysing data, and communicating your findings to diverse audiences are highly valued in modern research and by employers.

Unit details and rules

Unit code PHYS3888
Academic unit Physics Academic Operations
Credit points 6
PHYS3941 or PHYS3991
(PHYS2011 OR PHYS2911 OR PHYS2921) AND (PHYS2012 OR PHYS2912 OR PHYS2922)
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator John Bartholomew,
Lecturer(s) Ben Fulcher,
Project supervisor(s) John Bartholomew,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Team work evaluation
Contribution to the team: meeting minutes, peer assessment and reflections
25% Multiple weeks See Canvas for details.
Outcomes assessed: LO4
Small continuous assessment Computational assignment
Solve interdisciplinary computational problems
10% Multiple weeks See Canvas for details
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Presentation group assignment Project pitch presentation
Pitch your project work as a team
15% Week 06 See Canvas for details
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO5
Assignment Interdisciplinary Physics Assignment
Evaluation of numerical and theoretical skills
20% Week 08
Due date: 23 Sep 2022 at 23:59
See Canvas for details
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Assignment group assignment Project report
Project report
30% Week 13 See Canvas for details
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
group assignment = group assignment ?

Assessment summary

  • Computational lab assignments: Students must submit completed versions of the computer tutorials run in Weeks 2–6. Students have up to one week following each computational tutorial to submit their completed work.
  • Final assignment: In this take-home assignment, students will be tested on their knowledge of the lecture and computer lab material, including their ability to use their numerical skills to solve real-world problems.
  • Project pitch presentation: Students must pitch their interdisciplinary project proposal as a group.
  • Final project report: The group report summarises the outcomes from the group interdisciplinary project.
  • Reflection tasks: Reflection tasks assess the student’s interaction and insight into interdisciplinary project work.
  • Self/peer evaluation: Students are assessed on their continuity of contributions to the group.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

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, you achieve the unit learning outcomes to an exceptional standard. A ‘High Distinction’ reflects your exceptional ability to apply comprehensive knowledge, analytical, communication, and collaborative skills in diverse contexts to synthesise multiple advanced insights and produce original solutions for highly complex problems.


75 - 84

At D level, you achieve the unit learning outcomes to an excellent standard. A ‘Distinction’ reflects your excellent ability to apply well-developed knowledge, analytical, communication, and collaborative skills in diverse contexts to synthesise multiple insights to produce original solutions for complex problems.


65 - 74

At CR level, you achieve the unit learning outcomes to a good standard. A ‘Credit’ reflects your ability to apply broad knowledge, analytical, communication, and collaborative skills in a variety of contexts to synthesise insights and produce adequate solutions for routine problems.


50 - 64

At PS level, you achieve the unit learning outcomes to a proficient standard. A ‘Pass’ reflects your ability to apply threshold knowledge, analytical, communication, and collaborative skills in some but not all contexts to combine insights and produce basic solutions for routine problems.


0 - 49

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

For more information see

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.

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
Multiple weeks Interdisciplinary physics lectures (W1–6) Lecture (2 hr) LO1
Interdisciplinary physics computer lab (W2–6) Computer laboratory (2 hr) LO2 LO4
Interdisciplinary project workshops (Partnering with CHEM3888 and PHSI3888). These workshops will cover (i) Group work and collective decision making, (ii) Interpersonal communication and cultural competence, (iii) Scientific writing, and (iv) Science communication. Note that workshops will not be held every week (see Canvas for details). Workshop (2 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5
Weekly Interdisciplinary Group Project laboratory (Partnering with CHEM3888) Science laboratory (3 hr) LO3 LO4 LO5

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.

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 how physics knowledge and techniques can be used to solve interdisciplinary problems
  • LO2. analyse, simulate, and model real-world data using statistical and numerical modelling techniques
  • LO3. collaborate in groups, both within and across disciplinary boundaries, to design and implement a solution to a real-world problem
  • LO4. demonstrate integrity, confidence, accountability, and resilience in managing challenges, both individually and in teams
  • LO5. communicate project outcomes effectively to a broad audience.

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.

We have improved the communication of the connections between the disciplinary and interdisciplinary components of the unit, while balancing the need to keep the disciplinary course general to serve both semesters, ISPs and default projects. We have also changed the supervision model for the course so that information and project design is consistent and clear.

The School of Physics recognises that biases 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 and staff who may have a query or concern about any issues relating to equity, access and diversity.  If you feel you have been treated unfairly, bullied, discriminated against 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:


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