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PHY2207 Optics

Semester 2, 2021 Online
Short Description: Optics
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Sciences
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 010301 - Physics
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Carolyn Brown


Pre-requisite: PHY1104 and PHY1911

Other Requisites

It is assumed that students will have mathematical skills that are equivalent to MAT1102 Algebra and Calculus I.


This course forms a mandatory coursework component for the Bachelor of Science (Astronomical and Space Sciences) and provides an in-depth intermediate level coverage of optics which builds and expands on the introductory topics covered in PHY1911, from geometrical to modern optics with deeper analysis of a variety of optical systems. This course aims to provide a comprehensive understanding in optics whereby the student can apply this knowledge into the solving of complex problems in optics and optical applications. The optical physics presented in this course provides important knowledge and skills for those intending to pursue careers in physics, astronomy and research.


This course is an intermediate treatment of optical physics, which builds and expands upon the material covered early in the major. Topics include complex and three dimensional representation of wave motion, advanced treatment of reflection and refraction, optical component and device analysis including treatment of aberrations, wave superposition analysis, electromagnetic field equation analysis of polarisation and applications, field equation analysis of interference and diffraction, Fourier optics and coherence, and modern optical applications.


On completion of this course students should be to:

  1. Assess and explain key concepts in optical physics.
  2. Evaluate and apply quantitative methods to solve problems in optical systems.
  3. Analyse data from optical systems.
  4. Review and report on the application of optics to modern technology


Description Weighting(%)
1. Wave motion and electromagnetic theory 11.00
2. The propagation of light through media 13.00
3. Geometrical optics 13.00
4. Wave superposition 13.00
5. Polarisation 13.00
6. Interference and diffraction 13.00
7. Fourier Optics and coherence 13.00
8. Modern optics and applications 11.00

Text and Materials

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Hecht, E 2017, Optics, 5th edn, Pearson Education Limited, Essex, UK.

Reference Materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Feynman, R.P., Leighton, R.B. & Sands, M 2010, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, The New Millennium Edition, Vol. I: Mainly mechanics, radiation and heat, Basic Books, New York.
(Available online at
Feynman, R.P., Leighton, R.B. & Sands, M 2010, The Feynman Lectures on Physics, The New Millennium Edition, Vol. II: Mainly electromagnetism and matter, Basic Books, New York.
(Available online at
Smith, W.J 2008, Modern Optical Engineering, 4th edn, McGraw-Hill, New York.

Student Workload Expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 26.00
Directed Study 24.00
Online Discussion Groups 24.00
Online Lectures 24.00
Online Tutorials 24.00
Private Study 48.00

Assessment Details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Assessment 1 100 20 02 Sep 2021
Assessment 2 100 20 23 Sep 2021
Forum Engagement 100 10 12 Oct 2021
Open Examination - Online 50 50 End S2 (see note 1)

  1. This will be an online exam. Students will be provided further instruction regarding the exam by their course examiner via StudyDesk. The examination date will be available via UConnect when the Alternate Assessment Schedule has been released.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must obtain at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course (i.e. the Primary Hurdle), and have satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), i.e. the end of semester examination by achieving at least 40% of the weighted marks available for that assessment item.

    Supplementary assessment may be offered where a student has undertaken all of the required summative assessment items and has passed the Primary Hurdle but failed to satisfy the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised), or has satisfied the Secondary Hurdle (Supervised) but failed to achieve a passing Final Grade by 5% or less of the total weighted Marks.

    To be awarded a passing grade for a supplementary assessment item (if applicable), a student must achieve at least 50% of the available marks for the supplementary assessment item as per the Assessment Procedure (point 4.4.2).

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative items for the course.

  6. Examination information:
    An Online Examination is one in which candidates may have access to any printed, written, or online material as well as a calculator.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Deferred and Supplementary examinations will be held in accordance with the Assessment Procedure

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment Notes

  1. Referencing in assignments must comply with the Harvard (AGPS) referencing system. This system should be used by students to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (APGS) style to be used is defined by the USQ library’s referencing guide. This guide can be found at

Evaluation and Benchmarking

In meeting the University’s aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course:
1 conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement.
2 forms part of the Bachelor of Science (Astronomy and Space Sciences) and will be benchmarked against the professional accreditation standards of the Australian Institute of Physics.

Date printed 8 November 2021