Physical Cosmology

Subject PHYC90009 (2016)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2016.

Credit Points: 12.5
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2016:

Semester 2, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period 25-Jul-2016 to 23-Oct-2016
Assessment Period End 18-Nov-2016
Last date to Self-Enrol 05-Aug-2016
Census Date 31-Aug-2016
Last date to Withdraw without fail 23-Sep-2016

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 36 hours comprising 3 one-hour lectures/week
Total Time Commitment:

170 hours


This subject will assume a general familiarity with Physics at third year level.



Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:


Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Student Support and Engagement Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Learning Outcomes, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.

It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and Student Equity and Disability Support:


Assoc Prof Jeffrey Mccallum



Subject Overview:

This subject provides an advanced introduction to physical cosmology. Specific topics may include the isotropic homogeneous Universe, the Robertson Walker metric, the Friedmann equations, baryogenesis, inflation, big-bang nucleosynthesis, the recombination era, density fluctuations as the origin of galaxies, the cosmic microwave background, linear and non-linear growth of structure, the Press-Schechter mass function, reionization of the IGM and gravitational lensing. Examples are drawn from past and current cosmological observations.

Learning Outcomes:

The objectives of this subject are:

  • to challenge the students to develop knowledge of fundamental physical principles governing the formation and evolution of structure in the Universe;
  • to understand the connection between the microscopic properties of particles and the macroscopic evolution of the Universe;
  • to introduce students to the problems facing contemporary research in cosmology;
  • to appreciate the distinction between the evolution of baryonic and non-baryonic matter;
  • to develop the skills required to interpret cosmological data.

Four assignments totalling up to 48 pages (40%), evenly spaced throughout the semester, plus one end-of-semester 45-minute oral examination or one end-of-semester 3-hour written examination (60%)

Prescribed Texts:


Recommended Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

At the completion of this subject, students should have gained skills in:

  • analysing how to solve a problem by applying simple fundamental laws to more complicated situations;
  • applying abstract concepts to real-world situations;
  • solving relatively complicated problems using approximations;
  • participating as an effective member of a group in discussions and collaborative assignments;
  • managing time effectively in order to be prepared for group discussions and undertake the assignments and exam.
Related Course(s): Master of Science (Physics)
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Approved Masters level subjects from other departments

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