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Honours in Chemistry, Earth Sciences and Physics

An honours degree in chemistry, earth sciences or physics at the University of Adelaide is the gateway to increased job opportunities and to a wide range of rewarding careers in research.

The honours year consists of a major research project, together with courses, written assignments and papers.

We've improved our honours projects and information, so it's all in the one place. Visit the honours in science website to learn more.


The various research areas you can pursue with an honours degree in chemistry are:

Energy and Environment Researchers in this area undertake fundamental research into the key areas of energy usage, storage and demand, and environmental chemistry.
Functional Materials Research in this theme is focussed on the design and construction of new materials, including molecules, molecular assemblies and solid-state materials, which can be utilised in the generation of new functional materials, such as polymers, proteins, peptides, catalysts, molecular devices, sensors, and probes.
Medicinal and Biological Chemistry Researchers in this area investigate the chemistry of proteins and peptides, to answer important biological questions relating to the causation and prevention of diseases. Further work in this area focuses on drug design and development, including the identification and synthesis of novel small molecules to block or activate cellular targets.
Molecular Photoscience and Ion Chemistry Researchers in this area investigate the application of light and mass spectrometry as central chemical research tools to gain insight into the chemical and physical properties of molecules.
Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Geoscience

The Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Geoscience group undertakes research into our planet, investigating the earth, from its surface, through its crust and to its deep mantle using outcropping rocks, boreholes and geophysical remote sensing. From cataclysmic earthquakes and volcanic eruptions to imperceptibly slow surface weathering, we investigate the processes that have shaped our planet, its resources endowment and its environment throughout its 4.5 billion year history.

Geology, Geophysics and Environmental Geoscience has a mineral resources focus and very strong links with the South Australian minerals and petroleum industry. Our postgraduates and staff have an international network of research links and an outstanding record of achievement witnessed by publications, prestigious conference presentations, prizes and extensive funding from government agencies such as the ARC (Australian Research Council) and the Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy (DMITRE).

Aspects of this work are affiliated to the Institute for Mineral & Energy Resources (IMER).

The various research areas you can pursue with an honours degree in physics are:

Atmospheric Physics The Atmospheric Physics group is interested in all aspects of the physics of the atmosphere (and ionosphere) from the ground up to altitudes near 100 km. It develops and exploits new radar, passive and active optical techniques and GPS and other satellite techniques for remote sensing of the atmosphere. 
Environmental Luminescence

Research focuses on the application of luminescence to sensing, particularly the measurement of ionising radiation dose and trace substance detection. The Optical Dating method enables our use of natural and artificial materials as radiation. Key facilities enable dosimetric, imaging, spectral and kinetic analysis. We operate in partnership with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO).

Experimental & Theoretical Particle Physics

Through the new ARC Centre of Excellence for Particle Physics at the Terascale (CoEPP), this group will be involved in the latest search for new physics at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. This includes the search for the Higgs particle, dark matter, supersymmetry, extra dimensions and quite generally new physical laws.

High Energy Astrophysics

The High Energy Astrophysics group studies the most extreme processes in astrophysics through observations of highly energetic cosmic rays, X-rays, gamma-rays and neutrinos, and associated theoretical investigations. Radio and optical observations are also undertaken to support the high-energy studies. Members of the group are leading players in several of the world's most important particle-astrophysics experiments.

Medical Physics

This Medical Physics program operates in collaboration with Medical Physicists in several Adelaide hospitals, giving students the opportunity for applied clinical learning.

Optics and Photonics

Research in the Optics and Photonics group encompasses all aspects of photonics including the development of optical fibres, lasers and their applications. It includes collaborations with exciting international projects to develop gravitational astronomy (LIGO, VIRGO and TAMA), for next-generation optical telescopes (Gemini) and remote sensing (BoM, WA DoE). The group also has world-leading facilities for the development and fabrication of new optical fibres, lasers and nove sensors, including facilities to produce soft and silica glass fibres.

Theoretical Physics

This group is internationally renowned for their research exploring the fundamental quantum field theories of the Standard Model of the Universe. As home of the Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter (CSSM), significant advances have been made in unveiling the nature of Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD), the theory describing the interactions between quarks and gluons as they compose particles such as the proton. The group's work supports nuclear and particle physics facilities around the world, revealing the most fundamental aspects of nature and exploring the extreme conditions of the early universe.

Honours enquiries

For all enquiries about honours study please contact the honours coordinators or contact:

Student Services, School of Physical Sciences
Phone: +61 8 8313 5996

More about honours

To apply or for information on key dates, scholarships and other projects, see the Faculty of Sciences website or contact the relevant honours coordinator.

School of Physical Sciences

School of Physical Sciences
Physics Building


T: +61 8 8313 5996
F: +61 8 8313 4380

Student Enquiries

Call +61 8 8313 5673

(Monday - Friday: 9am – 5pm)

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