Computational Physics

University of Otago

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Computational Physics

  • Host University

    University of Otago

  • Location

    Dunedin, New Zealand

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Prerequisites

    (36 200-level PHSI points or (18 200-level PHSI points and 18 200-level MATH points)) and MATH 170

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • Credit Points

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
    3 - 4
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
    4 - 6
  • Overview

    Computational methods for solving physics problems. Introduction to Matlab. Graphical visualisation. Numerical techniques for solving classes of equations in a variety of physical examples. Curve fitting, Fourier transforms. Non-linear dynamics and chaos.

    This paper aims to provide the basic tools and methodology of computational physics. The emphasis is on gaining practical skills, and a key objective is that students gain the techniques and the confidence to tackle a broad range of problems in physics. Topics have been selected to provide a broad basis of skills, and each is illustrated by application to physical systems. The paper is based around the Matlab package, for which prior knowledge is not essential.

    Learning Outcomes
    After completing this paper students will be able to:

    • Understand and apply the basic methodology of computational physics to a broad range of physics problems
    • Write well-structured Matlab programmes and independently acquire additional coding skills
    • Process, analyse and plot data from a variety of physical phenomena and interpret its meaning
    • Use specific computational techniques to solve ordinary differential equations and systems of linear equations, to analyse and manipulate spectral content of digitised data and to simulate simple stochastic processes
    • Present well-structured reports of the results of computational investigations

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Eligibility for courses may be subject to a placement exam and/or pre-requisites.

Some courses may require additional fees.

Credits earned vary according to the policies of the students' home institutions. According to ISA policy and possible visa requirements, students must maintain full-time enrollment status, as determined by their home institutions, for the duration of the program.

Please reference fall and spring course lists as not all courses are taught during both semesters.

Availability of courses is based on enrollment numbers. All students should seek pre-approval for alternate courses in the event of last minute class cancellations

Please note that some courses with locals have recommended prerequisite courses. It is the student's responsibility to consult any recommended prerequisites prior to enrolling in their course.