The information provided on this page is to help guide you in selecting units at Level 1 in the Physics and Astrophysics areas of study. Note that Astrophysics includes astronomy - see the introduction to this section of the School's website for an answer to the question "What is the difference between "astronomy" and "astrophysics?"
It is most likely you will take these units in your first year of study at Monash. However, there may be a number of reasons for taking these units in other years, for example, towards the end of your degree you may need an additional science unit to fulfil the requirements of your degree course.
* If you have passed year 12 physics, and maths with calculus (VCE Units 3 & 4 including at least Maths Methods, or equivalent) then you should take PHS1011 and PHS1022. If not, then you should select PHS1001 and PHS1002. Note: you can also take PHS1011 and PHS1022 if you have not study physics but have studied "advanced maths" which includes some aspects of physics Specialist Maths at VCE, or equivalent) and done very well in that subject - see the Handbook entry for specific details.
Passing PHS1011 and PHS1022 (or PHS1001 and PHS1002) provide you with sufficient Level 1 physics to continue on to study physics at Level 2 and complete a minor in Physics (or go even further and complete a major or extended major).
Engineering students can also take PHS1002 as an elective unit - hence the name of the unit.
These units can also form part of a minor, major or extended major in Astrophysics.
You need to have studied Mathematical Methods at VCE (or equivalent) for PHS1011 and "passed" it to select MTH1020 (see the unit requirements). If you have not done this, you will need to get permission from the first year coordinator for Physics to select PHS1011 and discuss how you can best proceed with your studies in physics - you will have to catch-up with the maths at some point.
The maths requirements for a Physics major will also lead to, at least, a minor in Mathematics.
PHS1022 requires MTH1020 hence you need to select this MTH unit in semester 1. Level 2 physics units require MTH1030 which is why you would need to select this unit.
If you have "passed" Specialist Maths at VCE (or equivalent) you can go straight into MTH1030. This gives you a variety of options for selecting maths units e.g. you can "get ahead" (select MTH1030 in first semester and MTH2010 in second semester) or use one of the "MTH slots" to select another unit.
You might be able to select MTH1035, which is an advanced version of MTH1030 (and MTH2015 instead of MTH2010). See the page for MTH1035 in the Handbook.
Engineering students can satisfy the maths requirements with "ENG" maths units.
In selecting units for the "empty slots", we would recommend you consider the astronomy units:
Even if you have not completed year 12 physics (VCE Units 3 & 4, or equivalent) there are physics units you can select... and you can even go on to study for a minor, major or extended major in physics - see the advice in the previous question.
If you have NOT studied year 12 physics and are particularly interested in the biological sciences, see the advice in the relevant question below.
You should also consider the astronomy electives, which do not require year 12 physics:
You can select any units as electives, even if they also form part of a minor or major. We offer units for those who have NOT studied year 12 physics (VCE Units 3 & 4, or equivalent) as well as those who have.
If you have NOT studied year 12 physics and are particularly interested in the biological sciences, see the advice in the relevant question below...
...otherwise, see the first question about selecting physics units for a minor, major or extended major. You can select just some of the suggested units.
Science-engineering double degree students can also take the engineering elective ENG1081 - Physics for engineers in semester 2 - but it is not suitable if you are already taking the main sequence Level 1 physics units (PHS1011 and/or PHS1022). ENG1081 has VCE Physics or PHS1080 as a prerequisite.
You should also consider the Level 1 astronomy electives:
You should NOT be taking PHS1031 if you have completed year 12 studies in physics (VCE Units 3 & 4, or equivalent). Instead, see the options in the section regarding a physics minor, major or extended major. You can select just some of the suggested units.
While you may only be interested in taking this unit, it does give you the option of continuing with physics if you decide to. If, after passing this unit, you decide you want to continue with physics you can then select PHS1002 - Physics for engineering in semester 2. For further details, including maths requirements, read the section about physics minors etc. (PHS1031 can effectively act as a substitute for PHS1001)...
...however, if you know you want to pursue a minor, major or extended major in Physics, then you should read the relevant section and select one of the main pathways... as transferring from PHS1031 into further studies in physics would be more of a challenge.
A major in Astrophysics requires first year physics (though a minor can be achieved with slightly less physics, see the next question). The maths requirements for further studies in Astrophysics are also the same as physics. So, see the "Advice for Physics" on this page.The PHS and MTH units detailed there will enable you to continue with astrophysics at Level 2 (in your second year of study).
The Level 2 ASP units that will give you a minor in Astrophysics and allow you to continue on to achieve a major are:
These units are NOT required for studies in Astrophysics at Level 2 (as solid foundations in physics and maths are more important). These units are designed as generic electives that expose a wide range of students to the wonders of the universe. However, ASP1010 provides a solid foundation for studying ASP2011 in second year (even though it is not a prerequisite) and ASP1022 has some content that is not specifically covered in any other ASP unit.
However, the Level 1 maths requirements are the same as for a major in Astrophysics.
When you realise you really want to continue your studies in Astrophysics (who wouldn't!) if you complete an Astrophysics minor with only six points of physics at Level 1 you would need to go back and complete another six points of physics to satisfy the conditions for a major in Astrophysics. Astrophysics really does require a solid foundation in physics.
Many students, including non-science students, are quite understandably fascinated by astronomy. So at Level 1 we offer two ASP units which have no specific prerequisites... though they do require some basic maths, so if you are allergic to maths you may need to think carefully before selecting these units.
You are free to select either of these units on their own, or both of them.
We emphasise that ASP1022 does NOT require you to pass (or even select) ASP1010 in semester 1 - though we would always encourage you to select both units as we think they are both great!
If you do wish to continue with studies in Astrophysics, these units still offer a significant contribution to your studies. ASP1010 provides a solid foundation for studying ASP2011 in second year (even though it is not a prerequisite) and ASP1022 has some content that is not specifically covered in any other ASP unit. However, a minor or major in Astrophysics does require some physics and maths units - see the advice above.
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.