You will typically select four units each semester (two semesters per year) over three years, for a total of 24 units. However, this can vary, for example, if you study part-time or enrol in a double degree.
Each course has additional restrictions on which units you can select to meet the required total. For example, the Bachelor of Science, not surprisingly, requires a certain number and combination of science units. The requirements for each course are detailed in the Handbook - the link in the previous sentence takes you directly to the relevant webpage in the Handbook for the Bachelor of Science.
Our School's pages provide you with advice for meeting some of your course requirements by selecting units run by the School of Physics & Astronomy - this may be for the purpose of achieving a minor, major or extended major, and / or selecting units as electives. This advice supplements the rules in the Handbook.
Each unit is identified by a code. A familiarity with what the codes mean, can help you with your selection. See below for an explanation of unit codes and other information relevant to selecting your units.
For specific advice about units at a particular level see:
Note: you will often take Level 1 units in the first year of your degree, Level 2 in second year and Level 3 units in your third and final year. However, there are many reasons why this may not be the case. For example: you might take a Level 2 unit early because you already meet the pre-requisites and/or, you might choose to take a double degree course and so spread your studies over four years.
All units have a short “unit code” that uniquely identifies the unit, followed by a short, descriptive title, for example:
- PHS1011 - Classical physics and relativity
The unit code starts with several letters (usually three) indicating the area of study (or School, or Department) which the unit relates to, followed by a set of numbers (usually four).
For studies in the areas of Physics and Astrophysics unit codes start with the letters: PHS (Physics), ASP (Astrophysics) - these units, particularly at higher levels, often have maths prerequisites (unit codes starting with the letters MTH).
The first number in the code relates to the unit’s “level” (difficulty / sophistication / amount of prior study required). So PHS1011 is a level-1 unit and PHS2061 is a level-2 unit. Usually you will select level-1 units in first year, level 2 units in second year and level 3 units in third year. However, you may take higher level units in earlier years if you are ahead in your studies. There are also reasons you may take lower level units in later years e.g. to fulfill course requirements.
The last digit of a unit code often indicates the semester in which the unit is offered, for example, PHS1011 is only offered in semester 1. If the last digit is a “2” this indicates “semester 2”, and a “0” indicates both semesters. However, this is not always the case and you should check the unit page in the Handbook to confirm the semesters in which a unit is offered.
Within a course, such as the Bachelor of Science, you are required to focus on one or more areas of study (e.g. Physics, Astrophysics. Applied Mathematics, Chemistry). For a particular area of study there are requirements for gaining a minor, major or extended major - the level you achieve depends on how many units you pass in that area of study. For example, a Physics minor requires two Level 1 physics units and two units at Level 2. A Physics major builds on a minor - it requires the units for a Physics minor with additional units (some at Level 3). An extended major would require yet more units.
For specific details see the Handbook entry for the relevant area of study:
You will need to be careful in your selection of units so that you take account of any prerequisites. You can find the prerequisites for a unit on the Handbook page for that unit. For example, have a look at the page for PHS2061 - Quantum and thermal physics - to select this unit you must have at least selected, and passed, PHS1022.
However, you should note there are often options in the prerequisites (for example, to meet the maths requirements for PHS2061 you could have passed MTH1030 or MTH1035 or ENG1005) and if you are entering Monash from another institution, you may be able to use equivalent studies to satisfy the prerequisites.
Many Monash courses include the ability to choose "elective" units - units that may be outside of your main area (or areas) of study and help to broaden your knowledge and skills. You can choose any units from the School of Physics and Astronomy as electives (as long as you meet the unit's prerequisites). The School offers some units that are particularly suited as electives, as they have limited prerequisites e.g. ASP1010 - Earth to cosmos - introductory astronomy and ASP1022 - Life and the universe - astrobiology.
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.