Faculty of Science

Applied Physics

Please note: Information on this page relates to the 2014 academic year unless otherwise specified.

This subject is taught by the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences.


New Zealand needs versatile and innovative science graduates who can apply their knowledge and ideas to a variety of sectors, including industry, education, health, environment and business. A graduate with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Applied Physics will be well placed to meet these needs.

The Applied Physics major will give you a thorough background in all areas of Physics, and will also add breadth to your degree through the addition of applied courses from outside the core physics programme. The flexibility to customise your major by taking courses from disciplines such as Electronics, Environmental Physics, Geophysics, Architectural and Building Studies, Medical Physics or Material Science will see you graduate with a very useful BSc.

Applied Physics courses can be taken as a first major or combined with another major such as Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Mathematics or Environmental Science.

Back to top ^

Undergraduate information

BSc major requirements

  1. MATH 142, 151, PHYS 114, 115
  2. 30 points from PHYS 201-299; 30 further points from (ECEN 201-203, MATH 243, 244, PHYS 201-299)
  3. PHYS 343; 30 further points from (ECEN 301 or ECEN 303; PHYS 301-399); 15 further approved 300-level points in Physics or a related subject 

First-year courses entry criteria

Your entry point to 100-level Physics depends on your background in Physics and Calculus.

If you have fewer than 14 achievement standard credits at NCEA level 3 in each of Physics and Calculus, then you may begin with PHYS 114 (Physics 1A) and/or PHYS 115 (Physics 1B).

If you have fewer than 14 achievement standard credits of physics at NCEA level 3, then you should take PHYS 131 (Energy and Environmental Physics) or PHYS 122 (Introduction to Physics and Applied Physics) first.

If you have fewer than 14 achievement standard credits of Calculus at NCEA level 3, then you should take MATH 141 (Calculus 1A) first.

PHYS 131 and MATH 141 are both taught in the first trimester. Passing these will allow you to continue with PHYS 114 and/or PHYS 115 in the second trimester.

Students who have achieved exceptional grades at NCEA level 3 may be exempted from PHYS 114 and offered direct entry to one or more 200 level courses. If this could be you, please contact the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences as soon as your results are available.

Students who have not completed NCEA level 3, but who have very good grades at level 2, should also contact the School to discuss an appropriate entry point to the Physics and Mathematics courses.


Back to top ^

Sample programmes

Sample programme 1

Environmental Physics
Year 1

PHYS 114, 115

MATH 142, 151

60 further points which may contribute to a second major, such as Environmental Science or Geophysics.

Year 2

PHYS 209 (Physics of the Earth & Planets)

PHYS 222 (Electrons and Photons)

PHYS 223 (Classical Physics)

PHYS 217 (Computer Acquisition and Data Analysis)

MATH 243 (Multivariable Calculus) and 45 further points.

Year 3

PHYS 343 (Topics in Applied Physics)

PHYS 305 (Thermal Physics)

PHYS 309 (Solid State & Nuclear Physics)

PHYS 339 (Experimental Techniques)

ESCI 305 (Exploration Geophysics) and 45 further points from any level.

Back to top ^

How to find out more

You can order more information on this subject by registering on our Request for Study Material database.

Victoria's Student Recruitment, Admission and Orientation Office offers advice on courses and help with planning your degree.

Contact the Science Faculty Office for information on Admission, qualifications and courses, course advice and selection criteria, exemptions and prerequisites and your Application to Study.

Physics courses are taught within the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Laby Building.

Dr Gillian Turner
Phone: +64-4-463 6478

Phone: +64-4-463 5335

Back to top ^

Related subjects and careers

Related subjects Careers
Computer Science
Operations Research
Electronics engineering
Information technology
Medical physics
Operations researcher
Research scientist
Software designer
Traffic engineer