Course Title: Honours Physics Theory 2

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Honours Physics Theory 2

Credit Points: 24.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


135H Applied Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 1 2009

Course Coordinator: Prof James Macnae

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 3401

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

There are no prerequisites for this course, other than graduate entry to Honours.

Course Description

In general, this course is intended to provide the student with the background theory necessary a) for admission to higher degrees in Physics in international institutions and b) to undertake a research project in a research group setting. This course will prepare them for that project by a series of lectures and assignments, with particular reference to their research project in the Honours program. It is intended to cover the capabilities of: knowledge, technical expertise, critical analysis and problem-solving, communication (in presenting oral and written material for evaluation by peers and others), personal and professional awareness (in discussion of relevant standards of safety, conduct and ethics), and independent and integrated practice in participating in discussion and meeting requirements for designated assignments.

The topics covered in this course are:

Supervisor Directed Theory
This component of the course will include a) compilation and summary of a set of references specific to the project to be undertaken in Semester 2, to provide the necessary material for writing the background theory chapter of the honours thesis; b) writing a polished draft of a background theory chapter relevant to the project b) advanced study of theory relevant to the project to be undertaken in Semester 2. This advanced study may involve supervised reading and/or undertaking a specific elective detailed below
Two elective topics chosen from a list that may include  the following options:
Surface and Solid State physics
Statistical Mechanics
Applied Geophysics
Many Body Theory
Transmission of Sound through Solids
Optics of Materials
Ion Beam Techniques
Radiation Health and Radiation Protection
Radiation Physics
Radiation Transport Modelling
Synchrotron Physics
Electives in other disciplines or schools, subject to supervisor and course coordinator permission.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:
1. plan a program of research, stating clearly the hypothesis and research question(s), the significance of the project and the methods by which the aims are to be achieved;
3. present an outline of the project and respond appropriately to questions by peers;
4. understand and use the techniques of professional scientific communication:
- critical reading, summarising, evaluation
- drafting, editing, formatting, correcting errors
- appropriate formats for theses, posters, oral papers, journal articles, monographs, etc.;
5. plan experiments, taking into account accuracy, precision and appropriate controls;
6. analyse results and present data appropriately;
7.  understand and practise professional and interpersonal skills with the research supervisor;
8. conduct experiments safely and record the data according to codes of good practice 
9. understand and have the capacity to apply the theory studies in each elective undertaken.

Overview of Learning Activities

The students will be guided through the Supervisor directed component face-to-face instruction followed by assigned tasks to achieve competence in the desired skills. The normal modes of teaching will be intensive sessions at the start of the semester and at specific times during the semester, as appropriate to the need for the content, but this will be varied according to the particular educational objectives for the topic. Tutorials will be conducted informally as the need arises.

The students will be guided through the elective options by structured lectures, computer-aided instruction or through structured reading. Relevant assignments will be set to achieve competence in the desired skills, and used with or without examination for assessment. purposes 

Overview of Learning Resources

Texts and references for the lecture series will be available through the RMIT Bookshop and Library. These may be supplemented by notes supplied by the lecturers. For some topics, students will need to search Library and online resources for supporting material and relevant references. Some material will also be available through the DLS.

Overview of Assessment

The course will be assessed on the basis of a series of assignments to be submitted at intervals during semester, and possibly one or more final examinations depending on the topics chosen by the student.