Physics and Electronics


There is no better place to see Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and in particular Physics and Electronics, in action than outdoors in our landscapes. Staff of UNE Physics and Electronics, Mathematics and Statistics, Agronomy and Soil Science, Computing Science and Animal Science have joined forces to create the ultimate STEM playground; the university’s internationally-acclaimed Sustainable, Manageable and Accessible Rural Technologies (SMART) Farm ( Physics staff play leading roles in the university’s Precision Agriculture Research Group (, the core team behind the SMART Farm, with over $8 million of industry-funded research and development in action at more than 20 locations in Australia and New Zealand. If you want to save the world and feed the planet, you can’t go wrong putting applied physics to work.

The X-ray Physics and Imaging group also combines efforts of staff of UNE Physics and Electronics, Mathematics and Statistics and Computing Science in solving exciting research problems in a wide range of topics, including: X-ray phase-contrast imaging and tomography, coherent diffractive imaging, diffraction and medical tomography, phase retrieval, and small angle scattering, and computational science and image analysis. Such research has direct applications in biomedical imaging, soil science, non-destructive testing, materials characterisation, agriculture, ecology, nanotechnology and many other areas.

Physics can be studied at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Units in  Physics, Electronics and Astronomy are taught by Physics staff in a range of  degrees. Most units can be studied either on campus or online, with online students participating in intensive schools on campus.

Why Study Physics and Electronics at UNE?

The enthusiastic and well qualified staff have great experience in teaching Physics and Electronics units in both the internal and external modes. Classes are modest in size which provides great opportunities for interacting with the teaching staff. There is also a range of options available to graduates wishing to progress to postgraduate and research based studies.

Studying physics at UNE could also offer you the opportunity to delve into the below related areas -

Physics in Industry and Business
It is rocket science. But physics is the future for many careers.
Are you driven by curiosity? Physicists strive to answer far-reaching questions such as “How big is the universe?”, “Is gravity a wave?” or “Why does time have a direction?”. Although their work doesn’t always have an obvious application to everyday life, by expanding understanding they are responsible for many useful spin-offs, from the cochlear implant to the invention of the World Wide Web.

Physics provides such a broad training that, whatever career you have in mind, you will develop an ability to grasp complex ideas, a determination to find coherent answers, along with problem-solving, analytical, mathematical and IT skills. Studying physics is an excellent way of keeping your options open.

Environment and Energy
Physics is vital to understanding everything from the Earth's core to the very top of the atmosphere. Concerns about climate change coupled with the decreasing reserve of fossil fuels means global energy consumption will change. Physicists will play a vital role in everything from improving existing technology, to making it more energy efficient and to developing new technology such as nuclear fusion.

Are there habitable planets around other stars? What is dark matter? Or dark energy?

Physics is revolutionising the diagnosis and treatment of illness. Surgery is now routinely carried out using lasers, cancer is treated using radiation and our bodies are imaged using X-rays, ultrasound, NMR and PET scans. And new techniques, such as using nanobots to target individual cancer cells or using infrared light to monitor our blood, are continuously being developed.

Finance and Law
The link between physics and jobs in law or finance may not be obvious, but many people with a physics background work in these areas. In finance, it is a physicist’s ability to model complex systems that is particularly valued; vast sums rest on predicting the future behaviour of global markets. A physics education is also important to law. Forensics requires a detailed understanding of how objects move and the forces involved when analysing the scene of a crime or accident. Patent lawyers on the other hand need to understand new technology in order to effectively protect new inventions.

Whether you want to design jet fighters, electric sports cars or superconductor maglev trains, physics will move you in the right direction. With the advent of commercial spaceflight and the need to develop more environmentally friendly ways of getting around, the future of transport is full of exciting challenges.


Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science
Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Laws
Bachelor of Education (Secondary Science)
Bachelor of Computer Science
Bachelor of Scientific Studies
Diploma in Science

Bachelor Honours
Bachelor of Science with Honours

Graduate Certificate in Science
Physics is a component of the Physical Sciences major in the Graduate Certificate in Science. Students have the opportunity to study topics such as electromagnetism, digital electronic systems, fluid mechanics, applied photonics and microscopic to macroscopic physics and chemistry.

Graduate Diploma in Science
The Physical Sciences major in the Graduate Diploma in Science combines the same range of topics as in the Graduate Certificate with the opportunity to complete a small research project.

Postgraduate Research
Master of Science
The Master of Science is a research only degree requiring students to complete a major research project under the supervision of a member of the academic staff and to submit a 30,000 word thesis reporting the outcomes of the project.

Doctor of Philosophy


Year 1
PHYS100 Introductory Physics
PHYS131 Applied Physics I
PHYS132 Applied Physics II

Year 2
PHYS204 Electromagnetism 1
PHYS207 Fluid Physics (not offered in 2020)
PHYS208 Topics in Advanced Physical Sciences
PHYS213 Sensors and Signal Processing
ASTY221 Introduction to Astronomy and Astrophysics

Year 3
PHYS301 Microscopic to Macroscopic Physics and Chemistry
PHYS311 Digital Electronic Systems
PHYS313 Applied Photonics
PA335 Precision Agriculture
SCI395 Science Report

SCI400 Honours in Science

PHYS404 Electromagnetism 1
PHYS501 Microscopic to Macroscopic Physics and Chemistry
PHYS511 Digital Electronic Systems

Physics Research

Our physics and electronics academic staff are involved in a range exciting and ground breaking research areas. Below are the particular areas of research currently being focused on.

Applied Electronics

Coherent Diffraction Imaging

Phase-contrast Imaging and Tomography

Photo-emission Electron Microscopy

Photonics Sensors Group

Statistical Diffraction Theory and High Resolution X-ray Diffraction


Our graduates find employment in a wide range of careers including teaching and research positions in Universities, research and administrative positions in research organisations such as CSIRO, working in industry and teaching in schools.

The Physics discipline offers several units in off-campus mode that allows science teachers a convenient way to upgrade their skills.

Partnerships, Networks and Industry Links

Physics and Electronics has extensive links with industry through involvement in numerous projects funded by the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Spatial Information and Irrigation Futures, as well as the Sheep CRC. Staff within our Precision Agriculture Research Group work closely with some of the largest agribusiness companies in Australia including Twynam Agriculture and Sundown Pastoral Company. Staff are also involved with local wine grape growers and energy provider Country Energy through a major Frost Protection Research Project conducted at Peterson's Armidale Vineyard, and interact with the Australian Coal Industry through projects funded by Beltana Highwall Mining (Hunter Valley) and The Australian Coal Association Research Program.


For further information about Physics and Electronics at UNE, please contact the Discipline Convenor.