The University of Newcastle, Australia
Not currently offered
Course code



10 units


2000 level

Course handbook


Classical Physics 2 deals with the application of physics to the properties of waves and oscillating systems and as such is fundamental to the Engineering and Technology of the propagation of waves, electrical signals and light.

At its core Classical Physics 2 studies the motion of particles, fluids and energy using the concepts of Wave Mechanics. This course provides an intermediate level calculus-based treatment of Waves and Oscillations, Electromagnetism and Optics.

Blended problem-based conceptual learning (lectorials) will be used to gain an understanding of key developments, ideas and theories covered in Classical Physics 2. Blended problem-based, hands-on learning (laboratory workshops) will be used to gain an understanding of key experiments, models and analysis covered in Classical Physics 2.


Not currently offered.

Replacing course(s)

This course replaces the following course(s): PHYS2160. Students who have successfully completed PHYS2160 are not eligible to enrol in PHYS2112.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

1. Describe how the concepts of waves and oscillations are used to develop models of electromagnetism and optical devices.

2. Solve qualitative and quantitative problems, using appropriate mathematical and computing techniques.

3. Perform experiments which involve making correct and appropriate use of a range of scientific equipment, keeping an accurate record of experimental work and analysing results and reaching non-trivial conclusions from them.

4. Communicate the results of both theoretical and experimental work in various forms including written reports, oral presentations and poster presentations.

5. Contribute to team and group work for scientific investigations and for the process of learning.


The topics to be covered include:

  • Waves and Oscillations: Simple Harmonic Oscillator; Simple pendulum; Damped harmonic oscillator; Forced Oscillator; Harmonic motion; Wave propagation; The Superposition of Waves; Polarisation; Wave equation
  • Electromagnetism: Review of multivariable calculus tools; Fundamental electrostatics; Laplace and Poisson boundary value problems; Electric current; Insulators; Fundamental Magnetostatics; Magnetic materials; Electromagnetic induction; Alternating current circuits; Maxwell's equations and EM waves in free space 
  • Optics: Ray optics; Interference; Diffraction; Optical devices


Students must have successfully completed PHYS1210 and PHYS1220, and at least one of MATH1120, MATH1210 or MATH1220 to enrol in this course. If students have completed PHYS2160 and PHYS2260 they cannot enrol in this course.

Assumed knowledge

PHYS1210, PHYS1220 and MATH1120 (or higher)

Assessment items

Quiz: Quiz weekly

In Term Test: In Term Test

Tutorial / Laboratory Exercises: Tutorial/Laboratory Exercises

Formal Examination: Formal Examination