Courses - Faculty of Science


Physics

Foundation Courses

PHYSICS 91F
15 Points

Foundation Physics 1

An introductory course for students who have not previously studied physics. Topics include the nature of light; wave motion; basic mechanics of motion in a straight line, including the concepts of momentum and energy; an introduction to heat.

Restriction: PHYSICS 91P

PHYSICS 92F
15 Points

Foundation Physics 2

A second foundation course for students who understand the basic mechanics of motion in a straight line. Further mechanics, including equilibrium, projectile motion, rotational motion and gravitation. Electromagnetism, including electrostatics, elementary circuits and the effects of magnetic fields.

Preparatory Courses

PHYSICS 91P
15 Points

Preparatory Physics 1

A preparatory course for students who have not previously studied physics. Topics include the nature of light; wave motion; basic mechanics of motion in a straight line, including the concepts of momentum and energy; an introduction to heat.

Restriction: PHYSICS 91F

Stage I

PHYSICS 102
15 Points

Basic Concepts of Physics

An introduction to the basic principles of physics. Key topics are the physical description of motion, electricity and magnetism. The course focuses on the science of everyday phenomena and the understanding of important physical concepts. This course will equip students with little prior knowledge of physics to succeed in PHYSICS 120 or 160.

Restriction: PHYSICS 103

PHYSICS 107
15 Points

PHYSICS 107G
15 Points

Planets, Stars and Galaxies

This course tells the story of our place in the Universe. Key topics are the exploration of the solar system, searches for planets around other stars, the structure and evolution of stars and galaxies, high-energy astrophysics, and the origin and overall properties of the Universe. No background in physics or mathematics is assumed.

PHYSICS 120
15 Points

Advancing Physics 1

For students progressing in physical science. Key topics are mechanics, energy, rotation, oscillations, waves and thermodynamics. This is a calculus based course, focusing on fundamental principles, problem solving and hands-on exercises.

Restriction: PHYSICS 160

PHYSICS 121
15 Points

Advancing Physics 2

For students progressing in physical science. Key topics are electrostatics, electromagnetism, circuits, optics, relativity and quantum mechanics. This is a calculus based course, focusing on fundamental principles, problem solving and hands-on exercises. Recommended preparation is PHYSICS 120 or NCEA Level 3 Physics and Mathematics, or equivalent.

Restriction: PHYSICS 150

PHYSICS 140
15 Points

Digital Fundamentals

An introduction to the physical basis of modern computing for Computer Science students and anyone with an interest in modern Information Technology. Key topics are Boolean Algebra, logic circuits, and digital information processing. Hands-on laboratory work is a key component of the course. No prior electronics or programming knowledge is assumed.

Restriction: PHYSICS 219, 243

PHYSICS 160
15 Points

Physics for the Life Sciences

Designed for students intending to advance in the biomedical and life sciences, this course is focused on physical principles relevant to biological systems. Key topics are motion, waves, thermal physics, electricity and instrumentation. The course is primarily algebra-based and includes lectures, laboratories and tutorials. Recommended preparation is NCEA Level 2 Physics and Mathematics, or equivalent.

Restriction: PHYSICS 120

Stage II

PHYSICS 201
15 Points

Classical and Thermal Physics

Classical mechanics and thermal physics. Key topics are linear and rotational motion in three dimensions, fluids, oscillations and mechanical waves, and the laws of thermodynamics. The course will cover both fundamental principles and applied topics, such as planetary dynamics and spacecraft navigation, ultrasound, atmospheric physics and materials science.

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 120, 121, 150 and 15 points from ENGSCI 211, MATHS 208, 250, PHYSICS 211

Restriction: PHYSICS 230, 231

PHYSICS 202
15 Points

Electromagnetism

Key topics are electric and magnetic fields, the generation of magnetic fields by currents, the derivation of Maxwell’s equations, the interpretation of light as an electromagnetic wave and polarisation. Both fundamental principles and applied topics, including fibre optics, LEDs, physical optics and interferometers are covered.

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 121, 150 and 15 points from ENGSCI 211, MATHS 208, 250, PHYSICS 211

Restriction: PHYSICS 260, 261

PHYSICS 203
15 Points

Relativity and Quantum Physics

Special relativity, quantum mechanics and nuclear physics. Key topics are the Lorentz transformation, mass-energy equivalence, the Schrödinger equation in one dimension, the hydrogen atom, atomic and molecular bonds, isotopes and radioactivity. Both fundamental principles and applied topics, including isotope production, nuclear medicine, and dosimetry are covered.

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 121, 150 and 15 points from ENGSCI 211, MATHS 208, 250, PHYSICS 211

Restriction: PHYSICS 250, 251

PHYSICS 244
15 Points

Electronics and Imaging

Provides students with skills in electronics and imaging technologies that will support future work in technology-focused careers, experimental science, medical physics, and photonics. Key topics include networks, resonance, amplifiers, semiconductors, Fourier analysis, imaging systems, MRI systems and biomedical imaging.

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 120, 160 and 15 points from ENGGEN 150, ENGSCI 111, MATHS 108, 110, 120, 130, 150

Restriction: PHYSICS 240

PHYSICS 245
15 Points

Frontiers of Physics

Surveys the research frontier in physics and astrophysics. Topics will be drawn from gravitational wave detection and black holes, searches for extrasolar planets, complexity theory and networks, lasers and frequency combs, Bose-Einstein condensates, Bell’s Theorem and quantum technology.

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 121, 150 and 15 points from ENGSCI 211, MATHS 208, 250, PHYSICS 211

Stage III

PHYSICS 309
15 Points

Special Study

Directed study on a topic or topics approved by the Academic Head or nominee.

PHYSICS 331
15 Points

Classical Mechanics and Electrodynamics

Advanced topics in classical mechanics and electromagnetism, including variational and least action principles in mechanics, the physical basis of magnetism, and the four-vector treatment of special relativity and electromagnetism.

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 201, 231, 15 points from PHYSICS 202, 261 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211

Restriction: PHYSICS 315, 325

PHYSICS 332
15 Points

Fluid Mechanics

Surveys fluid mechanics using the Navier-Stokes equations, covering Newtonian and simple non-Newtonian fluids, and examples from soft condensed matter. Different flow regimes will be studied, from small-scale laminar flows to large-scale turbulent and potential flows, and flows in rotating frames of reference. Applications range from microfluidics to geophysical fluids. Numerical approaches and computational tools will be introduced.

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 201, 231 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211

PHYSICS 333
15 Points

Lasers and Electromagnetic Waves

Surveys the basic principles of lasers and explains how the behaviour and propagation of light can be understood in terms of electromagnetic waves described by Maxwell’s equations. The theory and applications of several key optical components will be described, including lasers and resonators.

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 202, 261 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211

Restriction: PHYSICS 326

PHYSICS 334
15 Points

Statistical Physics and Condensed Matter

Covers statistical physics and condensed matter physics, and describes how macroscopic properties of physical systems arise from microscopic dynamics. Topics in statistical physics include temperature, the partition function and connections with classical thermodynamics. Topics in condensed matter physics include crystal structures, phonons, electronic band theory, and semiconductors.

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 201, 231, 15 points from PHYSICS 203, 251 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211

Restriction: PHYSICS 315, 354

PHYSICS 335
15 Points

Quantum Mechanics

Develops non-relativistic quantum mechanics with applications to the physics of atoms and molecules and to quantum information theory. Topics include the Stern-Gerlach effect, spin-orbit coupling, Bell’s inequalities, interactions of atoms with light, and the interactions of identical particles.

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 203, 251 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211

Restriction: PHYSICS 350

PHYSICS 340
15 Points

Electronics and Signal Processing

Electronics and digital signal processing with a strong emphasis on practical circuit design and data acquisition techniques. Topics will be selected from: linear circuit theory, analytical and numeric network analysis, feedback and oscillation, operational amplifier circuits, Fourier theory, sampling theory, digital filter design, and the fast Fourier transform.

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 240, 244 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211

Restriction: PHYSICS 341

Concurrent enrolment in PHYSICS 390 is recommended

PHYSICS 356
15 Points

Particle Physics and Astrophysics

Particle physics topics covered will include relativistic dynamics and application to fundamental particle interactions, the properties of strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions and the particle zoo. Astrophysics topics will include some of the following: the Big Bang, "concordance cosmology", redshifts, theories of dark matter, extra-solar planets, stellar evolution, supernovae, gravitational wave sources, nuclear astrophysics and the origin of the elements.

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 201, 231, 15 points from PHYSICS 203, 251 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211

Restriction: PHYSICS 355

Concurrent enrolment in PHYSICS 390 is recommended

PHYSICS 371
15 Points

Special Topics in Physics

PHYSICS 390
15 Points

Experimental Physics

Covers advanced experimental techniques, giving students choices between a wide range of classic physics experiments and open-ended investigations of physical phenomena.

Prerequisite: 15 points from PHYSICS 201, 202, 203, 231, 240, 244, 251, 261

PHYSICS 399
15 Points

Capstone: Physics

Students will undertake experimental, observational, computational and numerical investigations of key physical phenomena, working individually and in groups, producing both written and oral reports.

Prerequisite: 30 points from PHYSICS 201, 202, 203, 231, 240, 244, 251, 261

Restriction: PHYSICS 390, 391

Diploma Courses

PHYSICS 625
15 Points

Selected Topics 1

Enrolment requires approval of the Head of Department and the choice of subject will depend on staff availability or on the needs of particular students.

PHYSICS 626
15 Points

Selected Topics 2

Enrolment requires approval of the Head of Department and the choice of subject will depend on staff availability or on the needs of particular students.

PHYSICS 681
15 Points

Experimental Physics

A selection of experiments appropriate to the student's lecture courses for the Diploma. Requires the approval of the Head of Department.

PHYSICS 690A
15 Points

PHYSICS 690B
15 Points

Graduate Diploma Dissertation (Physics)

To complete this course students must enrol in PHYSICS 690 A and B

PHYSICS 691
30 Points

PHYSICS 691A
15 Points

PHYSICS 691B
15 Points

PG Diploma Dissertation (Physics)

To complete this course students must enrol in PHYSICS 691 A and B, or PHYSICS 691

Postgraduate 700 Level Courses

PHYSICS 703
15 Points

Advanced Quantum Mechanics

An advanced development of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics in the Dirac formulation is presented. Emphasis is placed on the simplicity and generality of the formal structure, lifting the reliance of introductory courses on wave mechanics.

PHYSICS 715
15 Points

Selected Topics 1

Enrolment requires approval of the Head of Department and the choice of subject will depend on staff availability or on the needs of particular students.

PHYSICS 741
15 Points

Advanced Classical Mechanics and Electrodynamics

Develops and deepens students’ knowledge and understanding of advanced topics in classical mechanics and electromagnetism, including variational and least action principles in mechanics, the physical basis of magnetism; and the four-vector treatment of special relativity and electromagnetism.

Restriction: PHYSICS 331, 705

PHYSICS 742
15 Points

Advanced Statistical Mechanics and Condensed Matter

Advanced concepts in statistical mechanics and condensed matter. Topics to be covered include the theory of magnetism, mean field theory, the Ising model, superconductivity, phase transitions, complex systems, and networks.

Restriction: PHYSICS 708

PHYSICS 743
15 Points

Waves and Potentials

Presents the universal mathematical physics of waves and potential fields and discusses related applications. Topics include derivations and solutions for electromagnetic and elastic wave equations, propagation of waves in media, reflection and transmission of waves at interfaces, guided waves in geophysics and optics, and fundamentals of potential theory.

PHYSICS 746
15 Points

Relativistic Quantum Mechanics and Field Theory

Examines quantum field theory. Covers the relativistic generalisations of the Schrödinger equation and many-particle quantum mechanics, quantum electrodynamics is explored using Feynman diagram techniques. Extensions of scalar field theory to include path integrals, statistical field theory, broken symmetry, renormalisation and the renormalisation group.

Restriction: PHYSICS 706, 755

PHYSICS 748
15 Points

General Relativity

Discusses Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity with application to astrophysical problems, drawn from black hole physics, gravitational waves, cosmology, astrophysical lensing and solar system and terrestrial tests of the theory. The course includes the mathematical background needed to describe curved spacetimes in arbitrary coordinate systems and the covariant description of fundamental physical relationships.

PHYSICS 751
15 Points

Selected Topics 2

Enrolment requires approval of the Head of Department and the choice of subject will depend on staff availability or on the needs of particular students.

PHYSICS 752
15 Points

Photonics

Advanced topics in photonics including optical detection, semiconductor and modelocked lasers, the propagation of light in optical fibres, and the physics and applications of nonlinear optics.

Restriction: PHYSICS 726, 727

PHYSICS 753
15 Points

The Dynamic Universe

Covers topics in modern astronomy and astrophysics relating to the evolution and dynamics of key astrophysical systems. Topics will be drawn from: stellar structure and stellar evolution; the formation of planets and the evolution of planetary systems; stellar and galactic dynamics; the large scale dynamical behaviour of the expanding universe.

PHYSICS 754
15 Points

Condensed Matter Physics

Covers topics and methods that are important for current condensed matter research. Topics include ferroelectricity, soft condensed matter, experimental materials physics, electronic structure theory, techniques for condensed matter simulation, and renormalisation group theory.

PHYSICS 757
15 Points

Quantum Optics and Quantum Information

The nonrelativistic quantum treatment of electromagnetic radiation (light) and its interaction with matter (atoms, quantum dots, superconducting qubits) is presented. Emphasis is placed on what is strictly quantum mechanical about light compared with a description in terms of Maxwell waves, and on the concepts and methods underlying modern advances in quantum measurement theory and quantum technologies, e.g., quantum communication/cryptology and quantum simulation/computation.

Restriction: PHYSICS 760

PHYSICS 780
15 Points

Advanced Imaging Technologies

Covers the physical basis and use of new imaging technologies and data processing in medicine, biomedicine and biotechnology. Makes use of practical examples from techniques such as computer assisted tomgraphy, nonlinear microscopy, optical coherence tomography, fluorescence or microarray analysis. No formal prerequisite, but an understanding of material to at least a B grade standard in PHYSICS 244, 340, and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211 is recommended.

PHYSICS 781
45 Points

Project in Photonics

Restriction: PHYSICS 787

PHYSICS 786
45 Points

BAdvSci(Hons) Dissertation in Physics

PHYSICS 787
45 Points

PHYSICS 787A
15 Points

PHYSICS 787B
30 Points

Project in Physics

An independent research study conducted in conjunction with an industry partner.

To complete this course students must enrol in PHYSICS 787 A and B, or PHYSICS 787

PHYSICS 788
15 Points

Project in Physics

PHYSICS 789
30 Points

PHYSICS 789A
15 Points

PHYSICS 789B
15 Points

BSc(Hons) Dissertation in Physics

To complete this course students must enrol in PHYSICS 789 A and B, or PHYSICS 789

PHYSICS 791
15 Points

Selected Topics 3

Enrolment requires approval of the Head of Department and the choice of subject will depend on staff availability or on the needs of particular students.

PHYSICS 792
15 Points

Selected Topics 4

Enrolment requires approval of the Head of Department and the choice of subject will depend on staff availability or on the needs of particular students.

PHYSICS 796A
60 Points

PHYSICS 796B
60 Points

MSc Thesis in Physics

To complete this course students must enrol in PHYSICS 796 A and B

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