Physics aims to understand the behaviour of matter and energy from the scale of subatomic particles to that of the Universe itself. From computers to communication systems, architecture to agriculture; modern life is overwhelmingly built using the understanding of nature that physics provides.
We are currently in an incredibly exciting period in Physics. The technological advances of the last 20 years have had an enormous impact on all our lives and almost all of these rely on advances in Physics. Modern physics provides a framework for understanding – and contributing to – major advances in technology now and in the future.
- Te Kura Matū | School of Physical and Chemical Sciences has many collaborations nationally and internationally that give access to some of the best facilities around the world. For example, UC is a member of CERN, the enormous particle accelerator centre in Geneva, and also collaborates with the Van der Veer Institute and hospitals on medical imaging and radiation therapy.
- UC is ranked in the top 250 universities in the world for Physics and Astronomy (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2020).
- UC physicists are currently involved in the following exciting projects:
- building huge laser equipment to study gravitational waves
- creating tiny nanoelectronic devices that can act as transistors or sensors
- measuring the behaviour of the upper atmosphere in order to understand global warming
- obtaining fundamental theoretical understandings of cosmology and sub-atomic physics.
UC’s postgraduate Physics programmes require at least a Bachelor of Science with good grades, or an equivalent degree. See the individual qualification pages for full entry requirements.
UC offers the following postgraduate programmes in Physics:
- Graduate Diploma in Science
- Bachelor of Science with Honours
- Postgraduate Certificate in Science
- Postgraduate Diploma in Science
- Master of Science
- Doctor of Philosophy
See the individual qualification pages for more information on degree requirements.
Bachelor of Science with Honours majoring in Physics
Graduate Diploma in Science specialising in Physics
To complete a GradDipSc with a Physics focus, students will need to complete at least 60 points in 100-300 level PHYS courses throughout their degree. In total 90 points must be at 300-level in the GradDipSc from Physics and/or other Science courses.
Postgraduate Certificate in Science majoring in Physics
Students need to complete at least 45 points in PHYS 400-level courses for the major. In total 60 points must be completed for the PGCertSc from Physics and/or other Science courses.
Postgraduate Diploma majoring in Physics
At least 120 points (8 courses) is required for the major. Students can chose from two pathways:
- PHYS 407
- PHYS 480
- Five courses chosen from MDPH 403, MDPH 406, ASTR 421–425, and PHYS 411–460 (with a maximum of two courses from PHYS 440–460).
- Eight courses chosen from MDPH 403, MDPH 406, ASTR 421–425, and PHYS 401–460 (with a maximum of three courses from PHYS 440–460).
Master of Science majoring in Physics
Part I of the MSc in Physics is 120 points (8 courses), including PHYS 407, PHYS 480, and five courses chosen from MDPH 403, MDPH 406, ASTR 421–425, and PHYS 411–460 (with a maximum of two courses from PHYS 440–460). Students need a B+ Grade Point Average to proceed to Part II of the degree.
Part II requires PHYS 690 MSc Thesis.
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Physics
In the PhD, students need to pass a thesis of original research in the Physics field (PHYS 790 Physics PhD).
Many of our graduates are employed as physicists and can be found at Crown Research Institutes, the National Radiation Laboratory, medical physics departments of hospitals or universities, and the Meteorological Service, among others.
Some Physics graduates are not employed as scientists – however, their analytical skills, numeracy, and all-round thinking ability are in demand in many industries. Some of these graduates are snapped up by the IT and electronics industries, but those same skills are equally valued by merchant banks, stock brokers, and other financial services companies, as well as by the armed services, police, and aerospace industries (including airlines such as Air New Zealand).
Teaching, journalism, and science communication also need people with Physics training.
Find out more about what you can do with a degree in Physics.
See the School's website for up-to-date location details.
College of Science | Te Rāngai Pūtaiao
University of Canterbury | Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha
Private Bag 4800
Browse related subjects to Physics
Choose an area that you are interested in and learn how UC's extensive range of study options can let you study what you want to.