Honours Degree of Bachelor of Science in High Performance Computational Physics

Enter the world of supercomputers

Love calculations, formulas and data-enabled science? Want to solve cutting-edge problems at the forefront of physics?

Computational physics is a rapidly growing and highly interdisciplinary research area. High-performance computations are an essential part of modern research in particle physics, condensed-matter physics, astrophysics, fluid mechanics, quantum field theory, quantum chromodynamics, and plasma physics.

This program is accredited by the Australian Institute of Physics.

What will you do?

In our Bachelor of Science (High Performance Computational Physics)(Honours) you will:

  • find answers to cutting-edge problems using high-performance computing
  • learn to program parallel supercomputers using state-of-the-art computer languages
  • access the University's supercomputer, Phoenix; a 300 teraflop high-performance computer
  • immerse yourself in small group discovery experiences with like-minded peers
  • take core courses in physics, mathematics and computer science
  • apply sophisticated computing skills to modern physics problems.

In your final year Honours Program, you’ll dive deep into theoretical or computational physics and physics applications. This includes specialist research projects and courses.

Where could it take you?

Your advanced computational and mathematical skills will enable you to pursue a wide range of careers ranging from the computer industry—including cybersecurity and defence—to physics research and investment banking.


  • #1 in Australia for Physics*
  • 300% growth in Australian Cyber Security Sector by 2026
  • Accredited by the Australian Institute of Physics

*Best Global Universities Rankings (Physics), US News Education, 2021

Entry Requirements

For our students who are studying offshore in 2021 and 2022, the University will continue to offer high-quality access to the learning resources remotely for most programs. This includes all lectures, tutorials and other support material. Students will be advised in advance if there are course components that cannot be provided in remote mode and, wherever possible, offered alternative courses. Please refer to the COVID-19 FAQ page for a list of programs where in-person attendance is required.

Choose your applicant type to view the relevant admissions information for this program.
I am a:

Domestic applicants

Admissions information

SATAC Code 324171
2021 CSP ATAR 83.8
2021 CSP IB 31
Guaranteed Entry Score - ATAR 90
Guaranteed Entry Score - IB 33
Deferment Yes - 2 year
Intake February and July
Enquiries Future Students team

2021 Admissions Data for school leavers
ATAR
(raw ATAR, excluding any applicable adjustment factors)
Lowest ATAR to receive an offer 78.2
Median ATAR to receive an offer 91.9
Highest ATAR to receive an offer 99.9
Selection Rank
(ATAR plus any adjustment factors)
Lowest Selection Rank to receive an offer 83.8
Median Selection Rank to receive an offer 97.5
Highest Selection Rank to receive an offer 99.95
Minimum eligibility score 90
Additional criteria considered Selection rank only
Selection Criteria
Recent Secondary Education Applicants with recent secondary education are those whose admission is primarily based on the completion of Year 12 within the last two years, however if you completed your secondary education more than two years ago, you may still be able to be considered on the basis of your secondary schooling. You must not have completed more than 2 years full time equivalent university study (48 units). You compete for a place with your Selection Rank (ATAR plus any applicable adjustment factors). Applicants who have studied Physics 1 and/or Mathematics 1 at the University of Adelaide (or equivalent) must have achieved at least a credit grade average for these courses. Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Pathway. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.
Prerequisites SACE Stage 2: Mathematical Methods , Specialist Mathematics, Physics IB: Mathematics (HL grade 3), Physics (SL grade 4/HL grade 3) MathTrackX is an online bridging program available as a recognised alternative to Mathematical Methods.
Higher Education Study You must have completed at least six months full time equivalent higher education study (the number of courses and units will vary depending on your prior institution however at the University of Adelaide, this equates to 4 courses / 12 units). Applicants who have studied Physics 1 and/or Mathematics 1 at the University of Adelaide (or equivalent) must have achieved at least a credit grade average for these courses. A Grade Point Average (GPA) is calculated for each separate program you have undertaken (apart from some double degree programs where the GPA is combined). You are ranked on the basis of your best GPA. Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Pathway. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information. Applicants who have studied Physics 1 and/or Mathematics 1 at the University of Adelaide (or equivalent) must have achieved at least a credit grade average for these courses.
Work and life experience To be eligible to sit the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT) as as pathway for entry, you must be 18 years or over before 1 February 2022. If you have studied at higher education level in the last two years (for 2022 entry this means you were enrolled in either 2021 or 2020), you must not have accumulated more than a TOTAL of 2 years full-time (or part-time equivalent) higher education study (ie. including any study prior to 2020). If you meet this criteria, you will be ranked according to your result in the Special Tertiary Admissions Test (STAT). Your STAT result is not weighted between verbal and quantitative components. Indigenous applicants may be eligible for entry through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Access Pathway. See Wirltu Yarlu for further information.
Other Entry Pathways
How to Apply
SATAC Code: 324171

Student Profile
Applicant background Semester one/Full year intake 2021
Number of students Percentage of all students
(A) Higher Education study
(includes a bridging or enabling course)
N/A N/A
(B) Vocational education and training (VET) study n/a N/A
(C) Work and life experience
(admitted on the basis of previous achievement not in the other three categories)
N/A N/A
(D) Recent secondary education:
  • Admitted solely on the basis of ATAR
    (regardless of whether this includes the consideration of adjustment factors)
<5 N/A
  • Admitted where both ATAR and additional criteria were considered
    (e.g. portfolio, audition, extra test, early offer conditional on minimum ATAR)
N/A N/A
  • Admitted on the basis of other criteria only and ATAR was not a factor
    (e.g. special consideration, audition alone, schools recommendation scheme with no minimum ATAR requirement)
N/A N/A
International students <5 N/A
All students 5 100.0%

Fees and Scholarships

Choose your applicant type to view the relevant fees and scholarships information for this program.
I am a:

Domestic applicants

Indicative annual tuition fees
Commonwealth-supported place

More information on Student Contribution Amounts.

Scholarships

These scholarships, as well as many others funded by industry and non-profit organisations, are available to potential and currently enrolled students.

Find a Scholarship.

Careers

Career Readiness

This degree sets you up for a successful career in:

  • banking
  • climate and ecosystem modelling
  • defence organisations
  • econophysics
  • government organisations
  • industry and financial organisations
  • physics
  • scientific computing
  • scientific data analysis
  • universities.

The University of Adelaide Careers Service prepares, inspires and empowers students to achieve successful career transitions and connect with industry.

Graduate Attributes

The objective of this program is to produce graduates with specific attributes as outlined in University of Adelaide Graduate Attributes.
  1. Deep discipline knowledge and intellectual breadth
  2. Creative and critical thinking, and problem solving
  3. Teamwork and communication skills
  4. Professionalism and leadership readiness
  5. Intercultural and ethical competency
  6. Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural competency
  7. Digital capabilities
  8. Self-awareness and emotional intelligence

Potential careers

Atmospheric Chemist, Bioinformatician, Future Trader, Physicist, Aerospace Scientist, Air-Traffic Controller, Animator, Banker, Climate and Ecosystem Modeller, Commodities or Futures Trader, Computational Scientist, Computer Programmer, Research Associates, Research Scientist, Satellite Project Scientist, Science Communicators, Science Educators, Scientific Data Analyst, Financial Systems / Computer Analyst, Scientific Officer, Space Scientist, Space and Astrophysical Research ...

Degree Structure

Level 1 consists of core courses in physics, mathematics and computing science, with an option for students to broaden their studies in areas such as electrical engineering or chemistry.

At level 2, students further develop in the core areas of study, with a focus on physics and applied mathematics. Level 3 involves advanced courses in physics and computational physics. Students undertake the final year honours program in theoretical or computational physics, which includes a research project and the option of specialised courses in computer science and mathematics. This enables students to apply their high-performance computing skills to modern physics problems.

Academic Program Rules

The Calendar is a comprehensive handbook of the University's academic program rules.

Example Study Plan

Indicative study plan
Year1 S1 ENG 1002 Programming (Matlab and C)
OR
COMP SCI 1101 Introduction to Programming
MATHS 1011 Mathematics IA PHYSICS 1100ND Physics IA Approved Level I Elective 1 x 3 units
S2 COMP SCI 1102 Object Orientated Programming MATHS 1012 Mathematics IB PHYSICS 1200ND Physics IB Approved Level I Elective 1 x 3 units
Year2 S1 MATHS 2101: Multivariable and Complex Calculus MATHS 2102: Differential Equations PHYSICS 2510: Physics IIA Approved Level I Elective 1 x 3 units 
S2 MATHS 2104: Numerical Methods PHYSICS 2532: Classical Physics II PHYSICS 2534: Electromagnetism II Approved Level I Elective 1 x 3 units
Year 3 S1 PHYSICS 3542: Physics III (6 units)

PHYSICS 3534: Computational Physics III Approved Level III Elective 1 x 3 units
S2 PHYSICS 3006: Advanced Dynamics & Relativity III PHYSICS 3544: Quantum Mechanics III Approved Level III Elective 1 x 3 units Approved Level III Elective 1 x 3 units
Year4 S1 PHYSICS 4010 Advanced Physics (HPCP) Part 1
[or Semester 2] (6 units)
PHYSICS 4020 A Honours Physics (HPCP) Project
[or Semester 2] (6 units)
S2 PHYSICS 4015 Advanced Physics (HPCP) Part 2
[or Semester 1] (6 units)
PHYSICS 4020 B Honours Physics (HPCP) Project
[or Semester 1] (6 units)

Assessment

Varies with individual courses and includes a combination of assignments, reports, tests, practical work, tutorial preparation and exams.

Testimonial

At the University I was able to work closely with world leaders in my field and learn from them in an incredibly supportive environment. It was the best possible start to my academic career.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.

Last updated: Thursday, 23 Sep 2021