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Undergraduate

Physics

Bachelor of Science - - MJRU-PHYSI Science and Engineering
Guaranteed ATAR 80 This is the ATAR level at which an offer of admission is guaranteed, subject to any other non-ATAR criteria being met.
STAT entry Not accepted. STAT entry - The Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) assesses competencies considered important for success at uni. These tests are provided by the Tertiary Institutions Service Centre (TISC) to help mature age candidates apply for certain courses.
Location Bentley
Study method Full-time or part-time
Study mode On-campus
Intake February or July

July intake: Course duration may exceed three years due to unit prerequisites.

Duration 3 years full time

Course overview

From the kinetic energy of a speeding car to nuclear fusion energy, from nearby stars to distant galaxies, physicists examine matter and energy in all their forms.

Curtin’s School of Electrical Engineering, Computing and Mathematics (EECMS) work closely with the Curtin Institute of Radio Astronomy (CIRA), which is involved in the Square Kilometre Array and the Murchison Widefield Array, as well as the investigation of active galactic nuclei and radio galaxies, transient radio phenomena and pulsars, and the birth of the first stars and galaxies in the Universe.

In this major, you will study a range of real-world problems through observation, measurement and theoretical analysis. You will develop an understanding of the core concepts of physics and gain hands-on skills with complex technical equipment and computers.

You can specialise in the following streams:

Astrophysics

This stream includes units suitable for those interested in radio astronomy, particularly the Square Kilometre Array. You’ll have the chance to grapple with some of the biggest scientific questions, ranging from the origins of the Universe to the nature of ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’.

Curtin’s involvement in the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) and the Square Kilometre Array project has the potential to provide you with hands-on experience analysing data from cutting-edge radio telescopes, using state-of-the-art supercomputing facilities.

Environmental Physics

In this stream you will learn how to study and measure matter and energy in the Earth’s natural and managed environments: the atmosphere, hydrosphere (oceans, rivers), land and soils, and living organisms. You will study a diverse range of topics, including the development of sensors and energy-saving ‘green’ materials, the interaction of sunlight with particulates in the atmosphere and oceans, disposal and storage of radioactive wastes, and the dynamics of the ocean and atmosphere.

This stream includes a strong emphasis on physics principles in an environmental context, applied computer programming, instrument deployment during field excursions, and field and satellite data processing and analysis. It also provides exposure to a number of multidisciplinary activities in fields such as biology, geology and chemistry.

You will have the opportunity to experience applied acoustics first-hand through coursework and projects that specialises in underwater acoustics and has strong linkages to industries such as defence, offshore oil and gas, fisheries and government. For those interested in underwater optics and related applications
or satellite remote sensing of oceans, Curtin’s Remote Sensing and Satellite Research Group also provides opportunities for liaison during your study.

Materials Science

This stream examines materials from a unified point of view. It looks for connections between the underlying structure of a material, its properties, how processing changes it and what the material can do. You will study a range of materials, including metals, semiconductors, glasses, ceramics and polymers.

You will also learn about the analytical instruments and different forms of radiation that materials scientists use to investigate the microstructure of samples. These include electron microscopes, X-ray scattering facilities including synchrotrons, and neutrons generated in a nuclear reactor. Computer simulation is another key technology used by materials scientists and you will learn how to apply it to your work.

Mathematical Physics

Mathematical physics is the study of nature using advanced mathematics. This field is advancing in everything from basic physics to quantum mechanics, and on every scale from the quark to the Big Bang. Through mathematical models and powerful supercomputers, we can predict the progress of climatic changes, the flow of oil reservoirs, development of new materials, and nanotechnology.
A degree in this field prepares you to work as a physicist or mathematician, with experience in using supercomputer technology.

Admission criteria

Admission criteria for Australian and New Zealand students

English language proficiency

Curtin requires all applicants to demonstrate proficiency in English. Specific English requirements for this course are as outlined in the IELTS table below. Additional information on how you can meet the English requirement can be found on the English proficiency page.

IELTS Academic (International English Language Testing System)
Writing 6.0
Speaking 6.0
Reading 6.0
Listening 6.0
Overall band score 6.5

Applicants with recent secondary education (within the past two years) Applicants with recent secondary education are those whose admission is primarily based on the completion of Year 12 within the last two years, but also includes those who may have completed their senior secondary studies with a TAFE or other VET provider within the same time frame. This includes applicants whose secondary education was undertaken interstate or overseas.

  • Guaranteed ATAR: 80 This is the ATAR level at which an offer of admission is guaranteed, subject to any other non-ATAR criteria being met.
  • Essential WACE subjects (pre-requisites):
    • Mathematics: Methods ATAR and Physics ATAR, or equivalent.
  • Desirable WACE subjects: Mathematics: Specialist ATAR and Chemistry ATAR, or equivalent.

Please see our correlation comparability for previous TEE subjects, WACE courses and WACE ATAR courses.

Other admission options
Lowest ATAR to which an offer was made (exclusive of any adjustment factors such as equity or subject bonus points)

View the lowest ATAR (excluding adjustments) of an applicant who was offered a place in this course in the most relevant recent intake period for which data are available.

Lowest selection rank to which a recent Year 12 student offer was made (including the consideration of any equity or other adjustment factors)

View the lowest selection rank (incorporating ATAR plus any adjustments) of an applicant to which an offer of a place was made in the most relevant recent intake period, this includes any ATAR adjustments.

Selection rank adjustments (previously referred to as ATAR-related adjustments)

Details of the types of adjustment factors (bonus points) commonly available to applicants can be found on our StepUp to Curtin page.

ATAR and selection rank profile for those offered places wholly or partly on the basis of ATAR in the most recent intake period

View data on the ATAR and selection rank profile of offers made from the most relevant recent intake period.

Applicants with higher education study Applicants with higher education study are those whose highest level of study since leaving secondary education is a higher education course, whether at a university or non-university provider.

  • Curtin offers a variety of bridging courses to help you meet the admission criteria for this course. Find out more about our bridging courses.
  • Essential WACE subjects (pre-requisites):
    • Mathematics: Methods ATAR and Physics ATAR, or equivalent.
  • Desirable WACE subjects: Mathematics: Specialist ATAR and Chemistry ATAR, or equivalent.

Please see our correlation comparability for previous TEE subjects, WACE courses and WACE ATAR courses.

Curtin course switcher criteria

To switch into this course, you need to have:

  • attained an ATAR of 80 and met the prerequisites; or
  • if you have studied Maths Applications or equivalent:
    • completed 100 credits within one semester, with a semester weighted average (SWA) of 65% or higher, plus any unit/s assessed as comparable to Maths Methods ATAR and Physics ATAR or higher; or
  • if you have studied Maths Methods or equivalent:
    • completed 100 credits within one semester with an SWA of 60% or higher, plus any unit/s assessed as comparable to Maths Methods ATAR and Physics ATAR or higher; or
  • completed 200 credits with a course weighted average (CWA) of 60% or higher, plus any unit/s assessed as comparable to Maths Methods ATAR and Physics ATAR or higher; or
  • completed 400 credits with a CWA of 50% of higher, plus any unit/s assessed as comparable to Maths Methods ATAR and Physics ATAR or higher.

The Maths Methods prerequisite can be met with:

  • Maths Methods ATAR; or
  • MATH1013 Introductory Mathematics or MATH1005 Pre-Calculus (12.5 credits); and
  • MATH1014 Foundations of Calculus.

The Physics prerequisite can be met with:

  • Physics ATAR; or
  • PHYS1006 Foundations of Physics.
Other higher education course switcher criteria

To switch into this course from another higher education course, you need to have:

  • attained an ATAR of 80 plus any unit/s assessed as comparable to Maths Methods ATAR AND Physics ATAR; or
  • if you have studied Maths Applications or equivalent:
    • completed 100 credits within one semester with a semester weighted average (SWA) of 65% or higher, plus any unit/s assessed as comparable to Maths Methods ATAR and Physics ATAR or higher; or
  • if you have studied Maths Methods or equivalent:
    • completed 100 credits within one semester with an SWA of 60% or higher, plus any unit/s assessed as comparable to Maths Methods ATAR and Physics ATAR or higher; or
  • completed 200 credits with a course weighted average (CWA) of 60% or higher, plus any unit/s assessed as comparable to Maths Methods ATAR and Physics ATAR or higher; or
  • completed 400 credits with a CWA of 50% of higher, plus any unit/s assessed as comparable to Maths Methods ATAR and Physics ATAR or higher.

Applicants with vocational education and training (VET) study Applicants with vocational education and training (VET) study are those whose highest level of study since leaving secondary education is a VET course. This includes study at a public TAFE or other VET provider, whether a qualification was completed or not. Applicants with VET study may have other qualifications such as a Year 10 or Year 12 secondary school certificate.

  • Guaranteed ATAR: 80 This is the ATAR level at which an offer of admission is guaranteed, subject to any other non-ATAR criteria being met.
  • Essential WACE subjects (pre-requisites):
    • Mathematics: Methods ATAR and Physics ATAR, or equivalent.
  • Desirable WACE subjects: Mathematics: Specialist ATAR and Chemistry ATAR, or equivalent.
  • Please see our correlation comparability for previous TEE subjects, WACE courses and WACE ATAR courses.

Applicants with work and life experience Applicants with work and life experience are those who left secondary education more than two years ago (i.e. who are not classified as recent secondary education applicants) and have not undertaken vocational education training (VET) or higher education study since then.

'Experience' includes a combination of factors sufficient to demonstrate readiness for higher education such as mature-age entry, professional experience whether completion of the Special Tertiary Admission Test (STAT) is required or not, community involvement or work experience. Applicants may have undertaken non-formal programs that have helped prepare them for tertiary education or are relevant to the proposed higher education field of study.

  • Guaranteed ATAR: 80 This is the ATAR level at which an offer of admission is guaranteed, subject to any other non-ATAR criteria being met.
  • Essential WACE subjects (pre-requisites):
    • Mathematics: Methods ATAR and Physics ATAR, or equivalent.
  • Desirable WACE subjects: Mathematics: Specialist ATAR and Chemistry ATAR, or equivalent.

Please see our correlation comparability for previous TEE subjects, WACE courses and WACE ATAR courses.

Other requirements and notes for this course

Admission criteria may be different if you are studying this major as part of a double degree or a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree. Please contact the Admissions Office for more information.

July intake: Course duration may exceed three years due to unit prerequisites.

In addition to the course-specific admission criteria listed above, please read our general admission criteria. Our general admission criteria apply to all courses at Curtin University.

Fees

Fees for Australian and New Zealand students

Year Student type Cost
2018 Commonwealth supported What is a Commonwealth supported place (CSP)? - A CSP is subsidised by the Australian Government. They pay part of the course fees directly to Curtin and then the student pays the remainder (referred to as the "student contribution amount"). The student can defer this fee to their HECS-HELP loan.

All Australian students studying an undergraduate degree are automatically awarded a Commonwealth supported place. A limited number of Commonwealth supported places are also available for some postgraduate courses.

Learn more about CSPs and whether you're eligible by visiting the Australian Government's StudyAssist website.
$9,020*

Fees are indicative first year only and are subject to passage of legislation.

*The indicative first-year fee is calculated on 200 credit points, which is the typical full-time study load per year, however some courses require additional study to be completed, in which case the fee will be higher than that shown.

This fee is a guide only. It may vary depending on the units you choose and do not include incidental fees (such as lab coats or art supplies) or the cost of your textbooks - visit other fees and charges for more information. For more information on fees and to determine your eligibility for HECS-HELP or FEE-HELP, please visit fee basics or the Study Assist website

If you're not an Australian citizen, permanent resident or New Zealand citizen, please see information for international students.

Professional recognition

Successful completion of the Physics Major will enable membership of the Australian Institute of Physics. Many international equivalents of the AIP also accept graduates as members.

Advanced standing/credit transfer/recognition of prior learning (RPL)

Credit for recognised learning (CRL) is the term Curtin uses to describe advanced standing, academic credit or recognition of prior learning.

You may be entitled to credit for recognised learning for formal, non-formal or informal learning.

Formal learning is learning that takes place through a structured program of learning that leads to the full or partial achievement of an officially recognised qualification. Recognised institutions include, but are not limited to, RTO providers and universities. Non-formal learning is adult and community education. Informal learning can include on the job learning or various kinds of work and life experience.

Credit can reduce the amount of study needed to complete a degree.

For further information, please visit our credit for recognised learning webpage or contact our CRL Office on crl@curtin.edu.au or 1300 222 888.

Career opportunities

This course can help you become a:

  • Physicist
  • Astronomer
  • Meteorologist
  • Astrophysicist
  • Materials Analyst
  • Computational Physicist
  • Computer Programmer
  • Materials Analyst
  • Remote-sensing Scientist
  • Optical-radiation Physicist
  • Marine Physicist
  • Mathematician.

Please note: Most career paths require postgraduate studies to master or doctoral level.

Why Physics?

  • We offer a high-quality, student-centred learning environment, and you will receive personal attention from academic staff at all levels
  • The integration of third-year research projects with our postgraduate research groups is exceptional, with high postgraduate and staff numbers relative to undergraduate students. This leads to a very high undergraduate engagement with our research teams and international collaborators.
  • Graduates enjoy a high level of employment flexibility, as their analytical ability, problem solving skills and logical thinking is broadly applicable at the highest levels of industry or government organisations.

Student profile

View our student profile table to get an indication of the likely peer cohort for new students at Curtin University. This table provides data on students that commenced undergraduate study and passed the census date in the most relevant recent intake period for which data are available. It includes those admitted through all offer rounds and international students studying in Australia.