Course Title: Mathematics for Physicists

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Mathematics for Physicists

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


145H Mathematical & Geospatial Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 1 2016


City Campus


171H School of Science


Sem 1 2017,
Sem 1 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 1 2020

Course Coordinator: Dr Yanqun Liu

Course Coordinator Phone: +(61 3) 9925 2275

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 8.9.26

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

MATH1142 (Calculus and Analysis 1) and MATH1144 (Calculus and Analysis 2) or their equivalents.

Course Description

Mathematics for Physicists aims to provide a broad introduction to the more advanced mathematical methods needed by physicists. It consists of six mathematics modules which have been selected, in consultation with the Physics Discipline in the School of Science to provide the necessary mathematical training that will assist and expand your learning experience within your specialisation of study.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On completion of this course you should be able to:

1. Model applied physical problems by applying vector calculus methods
2. Use complex function techniques
3. Manipulate Fourier transforms 
4. Employ analytical techniques to solve boundary value problems 
5. Apply Sturm-Liouville expansions to solve ordinary differential equations
6. Manipulate special functions used in quantum mechanics

This course contributes to the following Program Learning Outcomes for BP228 - Bachelor of Science (Applied Physics), BP229 - Bachelor of Science (Physics) and BP247 - Bachelor of Science (Nanotechnology)/Bachelor of Science (Applied Sciences):

Scientific knowledge

You will have knowledge in at least one discipline other than your primary discipline and some understanding of interdisciplinary linkages.

Inquiry and Problem Solving

You will be able to choose appropriate tools and methods to solve scientific problems within your area of specialization.
You will demonstrate well-developed problem solving skills, applying your knowledge and using your ability to think analytically and creatively.


You will be able to communicate the solution to a problem or the results of a scientific investigation using effective oral, written and presentation skills.
You will be able to communicate the solution to a problem or the results of a scientific investigation using appropriate methods for different audiences.

Personal and professional responsibility
You will develop a capacity for independent and self-directed work. You will work responsibly, safely, legally, ethically, collaboratively.

Overview of Learning Activities

Key concepts, theory and its applications will be explained and illustrated in lectures. Physical problems will be presented and solved during teacher oriented sessions. Together with tutorial classes and exercises, this will develop your mathematical skills and abilities to think critically and analytically to address more challenging physics problems using mathematical tools. This course is supported by the use of Canvas where course information, learning materials and out-of-class exercises will be made available to students. 
Assessment will consist of an examination at the end of the semester, together with a mixture of assignments, tutorial exercises, and in-class tests. This will gauge your understanding of the content of each of the modules studied.

Total study hours

48 teacher guided hours for the whole semester: 4 hours per week for lectures and tutorials/class exercises  
72 learner directed hours in total for the semester: 6 hours per week approximately  for extended reading, exercise, online activities and completion of assignment tasks. 

Overview of Learning Resources

Detailed lecture notes/PPT-slides will be provided online. Other learning resources including reading materials, online notes for different learning units, references, weekly exercise questions and solutions will be made available on the online Canvas. 
A library guide is available at

Overview of Assessment

To achieve a pass in this course, students will normally be expected to accumulate 50% or more of all the assessment components.
This course has no hurdle requirements.

Assessment Tasks:

Early Assessment Task: Class Exercises
Weighting 8%
This assessment task supports CLO 1

Assessment Task 1:  Class Exercises
Weighting 24%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1-6

Assessment Task 2: Mid Semester Test
Weighting 18%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1 & 2

Assessment Task 3: End of Semester Examination
Weighting 50%  
This assessment task supports CLOs 1-6