When you enrol as an undergraduate at Monash you first select a degree "course". For example, you might choose to study for a Bachelor of Science.
The link above takes you to the web page for the Bachelor of Science course on the Study at Monash website. On the Study at Monash website you can find details of how to apply to study at Monash, the entrance requirements for courses... and much more.
Your study within a course is divided into "units". Typically you will study four units per semester. For example, in your first semester at Monash one of these units could be PHS1011 - Classical physics and relativity.
Many of the units you select will be guided by a focus on one or more "areas of study". You might also select other units as "electives" in order to broaden your knowledge and skills beyond your main areas of study. The advice on these pages relates to selecting units in the Physics and Astrophysics areas of study - either as the focus of your studies, or as electives.
The links in the previous paragraph take you to the web pages containing details for the relevant unit and areas of study. These web pages are part of the Monash Handbook website. The Handbook is the definitive guide for all Monash courses, areas of study and units.
In these pages we provide general advice about choosing units, as well as advice specific to first, second and third year studies. We also provide some information about our world-class learning and teaching facilities.
The area of study "Astrophysics" includes studies in both astronomy and astrophysics.
There is no clear distinction between, or definitive definition of, the two terms. However, the terms are often used as follows:
- Astronomy = observing astronomical phenomena and objects, and the related observational techniques;
- Astrophysics = the application of ideas in theoretical physics to astronomical phenomena and objects, which often involves computer modelling.
Have you ever wondered if absolute zero temperature can be reached, how a black hole forms, or what the universe is made of? Have you ever had a CT, an ultrasound or an MRI scan? Do you use a smart phone, the internet or a computer?
Almost everything that makes your life more comfortable, or allows you to work efficiently in the 21st century, is due to engineered solutions based on physical principles. The discovery of electricity, magnetism, relativity and quantum mechanics came about through human curiosity, but did not have practical applications until much later.
Physicists and astrophysicists explore the universe at all scales of length, time and energy – from sub-atomic particles (such as the recently discovered Higgs boson) to the large scale structure of the universe; from ultracold gases (close to absolute zero temperature), to what happened at the Big Bang. Physics seeks to understand the nature of space, time and matter, and in doing so it addresses profound philosophical questions about the nature of reality and the origin of our Universe.
The skills you gain through studying physics and astrophysics at Monash can be used in many areas, such as: developing medical instrumentation, radiotherapy treatment of cancer, modelling climate and weather, analysing big data and financial systems, developing innovative ways to address sustainability, exploring emergent behaviour in complex biological systems, and understanding the function of the brain.
Physics and astronomy at Monash is going through an exciting period of growth - investing significantly in people and facilities. We are working across a broad range of creative, curiosity-driven research areas that will impact on future generations - including biomedical imaging, quantum computing, atomtronics, and novel materials for next generation photonics, optoelectronics and spintronics.
Monash is one of a small number of universities in Australia that offers the full spectrum of subjects in physics, astronomy and astrophysics. Studying at Monash allows you to explore everything from atomic physics to ultracold gases; from computational astrophysics to observational astronomy; from condensed matter physics to nanotechnology; from electron microscopy to synchrotron science; from elementary particle physics to quantum cosmology; from biophotonics to optoelectronics; from medical imaging to x-ray science, and much more. If you have a passion for physics and/or astronomy, then Monash is the place for you!
The subjects on offer in the minors, majors and extended majors are complemented by facilities that are the best in the world. The Monash experience includes hands-on activities in our laboratories and the use of optical/radio telescopes at our astronomical observatory. You will have access to state of the art equipment, computing facilities and custom-designed spaces to promote learning and student-staff interactions. You will have the opportunity to carry out a genuine research project and publish your work in peer-reviewed journals. You will benefit from working with researchers who are world leaders in their fields. At Monash you have the opportunity to build skills that are highly valued by employers, and achieve your potential.
I have Further Questions
Students have a great diversity of backgrounds and aspirations. Monash offers a large variety of study options. So, after reading the information on the Study at Monash web pages, in the Handbook, and the advice here, you may still have further questions.
- For questions about the overall science course (including questions about enrolment, course requirements etc.) please contact Science Student Services.
- If you would like further advice, or have specific questions, about physics or astronomy then see the information about year level coordinators or unit coordinators on the Contact Us page.