PHY304 Relativity and Cosmology (8)

Twenty first century technology is based on the concepts of Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity. Quantum mechanics is the basis of quantum computing and nanotechnologies while general relativity is essential for global positioning systems and cutting edge cosmological research. Quantum mechanics is covered in PHY302. PHY304 will complement this subject by extending special relativity introduced in PHY216 to its generalised form including gravity and its applications. The subject is suitable as a basis for further studies and research or teaching in Physics.

This subject begins by presenting students with the mathematical basis of tensor calculus required for the study of general relativity. This is followed by introducing the curvature of space-time and its relationship to gravitation. The students are then introduced to more advanced applications, Einstein's equation, the Schwarzschild solution and cosmology.


Session 2 (60)
Wagga Wagga Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: PHY304. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Dentistry and Health Sciences

Assumed Knowledge

It is assumed that students have studied physics from first and second year (PHY101, PHY102, PHY216) and have the appropriate level of mathemtical background specifically in multivariable vector caculus and differential equations. Assumed subject knowledge PHY216 Modern Physics.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to explain and apply the concepts of special relativity
  • be able to solve conceptual and mathematical problems using tensor calculus
  • be able to describe and explain the curvature of space-time
  • be able to describe and explain gravitation in the context of general relativity
  • be able to analyse and apply the concepts of general relativity to cosmology
  • be able to solve conceptual and mathematical problems in gravitation and cosmology


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Special relativity
  • Tensor calculus
  • Space-time curvature
  • Gravitation
  • Cosmology

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of PHY304 in Session 2 2020. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Problem set 1
Problem set 2
Final exam

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.