VCE Physics

Physics is a theoretical and empirical science, which contributes to our understanding of the physical universe from the minute building blocks of matter to the unimaginably broad expanses of the Universe. This understanding has significance for the way we understand our place in the Universe.


This study is designed to enhance the scientific literacy of students in the specialised area of physics. Scientifically literate physics students demonstrate interest in and understanding of the Universe, engage in debates about the nature of evidence, theories and models, and appreciate the value of physics in society. They can describe and use theories and models, propose and investigate hypotheses, collect data, analyse the limitations of that data, draw conclusions, make recommendations, and select and use a range of appropriate technologies and mathematical techniques.


The knowledge gained through physics will enhance students' ability to be innovative and contribute to the intelligent and careful use of resources. This knowledge can be used, for example, in industrial, medical, engineering and technical applications.


Knowledge in physics is gained through complex processes; for example, theories developed from studying the ways that matter interacts with matter, and the ways that light and matter interact, have led to innovations in medicine, electronics, energy use, telecommunications and materials science.


This study design will assist teachers to provide a curriculum that is interesting and challenging for students with a wide range of expectations, including students who are aiming for medical, engineering, technology-based and science-based careers.


The study is made up of four units. Units 1 and 2 contain two prescribed areas of study and a third area of study to be selected from the list of detailed studies available in Units 1 and 2; the selected detailed study in Unit 2 must be different from that selected in Unit 1. Units 3 and 4 contain two prescribed areas of study; a third area of study is to be selected from the list of detailed studies for Units 3 and 4 and will be completed in either Unit 3 or Unit 4.


Each unit contains either two or three areas of study.


There are no prerequisites for entry to Units 1, 2 and 3. Students must undertake Unit 3 prior to undertaking Unit 4. Students entering Unit 3 without Units 1 and/or 2 may be required to undertake additional reading as prescribed by their teacher. Units 1 to 4 are designed to a standard equivalent to the final two years of secondary education. All VCE studies are benchmarked against comparable national and international standards.