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Unit of study_

PHYS3925: Topics in Senior Physics B (Advanced)

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Remote

This unit of study covers the same topics as PHYS3025, with some more challenging material.

Unit details and rules

Unit code PHYS3925
Academic unit Physics Academic Operations
Credit points 6
[An average mark of 70 or above in (PHYS2011 or PHYS2911 or PHYS2921) AND (PHYS2012 or PHYS2912 or PHYS2922)]
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Catherine Stampfl,
Lecturer(s) Tristram Alexander,
Martijn de Sterke,
Iver Cairns,
Helen Johnston,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Small continuous assessment Astrophysics computer labs
Astrophysics computer labs
0% - 1 hour
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO3 LO2
Assignment Assignment
0% - 5 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO2
Assignment Lab report
Lab report
0% - 4 pages
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Lab logbook
Lab logbook
0% - book
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO6 LO5 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Quizzes
0% - 20 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO2
Assignment Plasma physics online quizzes
Tutorial quiz, small test or online task
0% - not timed
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6 LO7
Final exam (Record+) Type B final exam Final exam
Final exam Type B, shared with PHYS3935 + PHYS3937, you may have two exams.
0% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO5 LO6 LO7
Presentation Experimental physics talk
Experimental physics talk
0% Week 13 10 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO7 LO5 LO2
Type B final exam = Type B final exam ?

Assessment summary

Further information can be found in the Canvas site for this unit.

Students enrolled in 2CP of experimental physics will be enrolled in either the lab component of PHYS3935 (assessment includes an oral presentation) or the lab component of PHYS3937 (assessment includes a written report), depending on other enrolment and arrangements with the coordinator. Students enrolled in 4CP of labs will be enrolled in the lab components of both, PHYS3935 and PHYS3937 (assessments will include a lab report and an oral presentation).
Students will only be assessed for the modules they are enrolled in. Each module will have contribute to 1/3rd of the final unit mark (=2CP) and weights of assessment within each module are given by the weight of the assessments stated in the outlines for PHYS3935/PHYS3937 divided by the total weights for that module. The exact weights used calculated as a pro rata of the weights published in the outlines for PHYS3935 and PHYS3937 will be published on the unit’s Canvas site.
Please refer to unit outlines for PHYS3935 and PHYS3937 for details of assessment of each module. PHYS3935 and PHYS3937 contain Problem Assignments covering all aspects of these units. Students enrolled in PHYS3925 will either be assessed on the part of the Problem Assignment relating to the module they study or have an alternative assignment specific to the module, as detailed on Canvas.
Exams for PHYS3935 modules and PHYS3937 modules will be concurrent to PHYS3935 and PHYS3937 exams respectively, which are scheduled on two separate days. Exam duration is 10 minute reading time, + 1h per module sat in the exam.
Senior Physics Special Projects are individual or group research projects and are only available to students enrolled in pre-2018 degrees. New degree students should do physics interdisciplinary research projects through PHYS3888 instead.
Senior Physics Special Project assessment criteria are outlined in the project module outline, available on Canvas.


Final exam: If a second replacement exam is required, this exam may be delivered via an alternative assessment method, such as a viva voce (oral exam). The alternative assessment will meet the same learning outcomes as the original exam. The format of the alternative assessment will be determined by the unit coordinator.

The final exam is compulsory. Failure to submit will result in an absent fail grade (AF) for the unit.

Assessment criteria

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.

Distinction: 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.

Credit: 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.

Pass 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.

Fail 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.

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
Weekly Lectures, schedule of lecturers, tutorials, computational and experimental labs follow the schedule of the modules chosen as published in the unit outlines of PHYS3935 and PHYS3937 Block teaching (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7

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

Please refer to unit outlines for PHYS3935 and PHYS3937. All readings for this unit can be accessed on the Library eReserve link available in the Canvas site for PHYS3935 and PHYS3937

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. demonstrate an understanding of key concepts in several areas of physics
  • LO2. apply these concepts to develop models, and to solve qualitative and quantitative problems in scientific contexts, using appropriate mathematical and computing techniques as necessary
  • LO3. design, carry out, and analyse experiments to measure specific effects
  • LO4. compare and critique experimental approaches
  • LO5. communicate scientific information appropriately, through written work and oral communication
  • LO6. analyse a physical problem in various parts of physics and develop a formalism appropriate for solving it
  • 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.

Modules taught in this unit are shared with PHYS3935 and PHYS3937 - please refer to the unit outlines for PHYS3935 and PHYS337 for details.

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.

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