Physics is the study of the laws of nature that govern the behaviour of the universe, from sub-atomic particles to the galaxies. If you're interested in solving real-world challenges, studying physics is a great first step. When you choose to study physics, you'll be surrounded by like-minded individuals who share a curiosity about the universe and the laws that govern it. Our researchers seek to use physics to better understand and address important issues confronting humanity today.
The study of physics can take you from cosmology and astrophysics to exploring the latest developments in quantum computing, nanotechnology, big data and the history of the universe.
The School of Physics is one of the leading institutes of scientific endeavour in Australia. We conduct internationally significant research across the nine areas of expertise held across the School. At the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, we engage in world-class teaching, learning and research in the areas of:
We also host four National Research Centres of Excellence, funded by the Federal Government. With 28 academic staff and over 60 postgraduate research students, we provide a dynamic environment in which to conduct your studies in physics.
UNSW's School of Physics fosters an active and cohesive student community. We provide access to a wide range of services, resources and social events to ensure that students achieve their academic goals and make friendships that last for life. Every physics student at UNSW is automatically made a member of the Student Physics Society (PHYSOC) – organised by and for physics students. Membership includes access to online library services, access to past exams and invitations to social events throughout the year.
Graduate physicists command an enviable range of skills sought by employers. Physicists are great at solving problems, particularly tricky ones that are technically complex or quantitative. Students who study physics also develop a wide variety of other skills including communication, teamwork and computational skills. A physics degree is the first step to becoming a research scientist and working in public or industrial research facilities throughout the world. However, a physics degree can also be used as a general qualification. Graduates find work in the IT and computing industries, the financial sector, government and policy-making, scientific sales/marketing and science communication/public relations. They also work as teachers.
Double degrees are popular and many students choose to combine a science degree majoring in physics with a degree in engineering, computer science, law, actuarial studies, commerce, economics, education, music, fine arts or arts. Many graduates from a double degree will choose to work in the area of their professional qualification, while utilising the specialist knowledge from their physics degree. For example, a physics and law graduate may work in patent law.
If you're looking to major in physics, you can do so within the broader framework of a science degree. Any of the nine physics areas of expertise offered in the UNSW School of Physics can be studied as part of your physics major.
You can study physics as a major in the following undergraduate degrees:
An advanced physics major is also available in the following degree:
Gain research experience and enhance your career prospects with an honours degree. These programs are designed to connect your undergraduate study with supervised independent research. An honours degree also provides a pathway into further study, such as a Masters by Research or a PhD. You can take honours as a standalone degree or as part of an embedded honours program.
Embedded honours program
Standalone honours program
You can study physics in the following postgraduate coursework program:
This online program is designed for science teachers who would like to become qualified to teach physics. You'll learn about the concepts that are covered in high school physics as well as developing a deeper understanding for yourself so you can be confident in explaining and contextualising physics ideas for your students.
You can study physics in the following postgraduate research degrees:
These research degrees involve the student independently researching a specific topic under the guidance of a supervisor. The School of Physics has more than 60 Higher Degree Research (HDR) students, who conduct research projects in the School's nine research hubs.