Department of Physics

Physics for students from other departments and faculties

The courses below are designed for students transferring into physics and for science students who want to understand some of the principles of physics.

Planets, stars and galaxies
An introductory course giving you an overview of astronomy. It may be taken as a general education course or as an introduction if you intend to advance in astronomy or astrophysics.

Science and technology of sustainable energy

This is ideal for both general education and physics students. It gives a broad overview of the technological concepts and challenges behind the world moving away from petrochemical-based power generation.

Physics for the life sciences

This course is specifically designed to meet the needs of students majoring in the biological sciences and other life sciences programmes such as biomedical and sports sciences.


Preparation to NCEA Level 3 in mathematics with calculus and physics is assumed for first-year advancing courses. Students with year 12 level preparation should first enrol in PHYSICS 102, and if appropriate, MATHS 102 before attempting the standard advancing courses.

A good grounding in mathematics is essential for students wishing to major in physics. The courses MATHS 150 and MATHS 250 provide this grounding and are recommended preparation for most level 2 physics courses. However, students who have not achieved 18 credits in calculus at NCEA Level 3 including at least 6 credits at merit or excellence should initially enrol in MATHS 108.

Digital fundamentals

This is a worthwhile addition to a computer science or electronics degree, as it introduces the basics of the electronics behind digital systems with a strong hands-on laboratory component. The undergraduate courses (PHYSICS 120, 130, 150) cover most of the basic aspects of physics, and provide for subsequent specialisation in any of the department's research areas.

For more information or advice, contact our Academic Advisers.