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Bachelor of Science (Physics)

Key facts

  • Available at Manawatū
  • Available for international students studying in NZ

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Details you need to know about the structure, courses and requirements for this programme.

View regulations

Entry requirements

All students must have a university entrance qualification. 

Expected high school preparation

Knowledge gained in the following NCEA subjects (or the equivalent in Cambridge International Examinations, International Baccalaureate, or similar) will give you the expected background knowledge to take this major. However, if you have not studied these subjects we have a pathway for you to progress to your major (see below).

  • At least 16 credits in NCEA Level 3 Mathematics from the following list of standards 91573, 91574, 91575, 91576, 91577, 91578, 91579, 91587, including at least two of the following standards: 91577 (algebra), 91578 (differentiation), 91579 (integration)
  • At least 16 credits in NCEA Level 3 Physics

If it’s some time since you have studied Mathematics at school you can find out if you have the required background by taking this maths quiz.

Haven’t studied the right subjects at high school?

The following pathways will get you prepared to study this major. If you have not studied NCEA Level 3 Mathematics (or equivalent) but have studied at least 16 credits in NCEA Level 2 Mathematics from the following list of standards: 91256, 91257, 91258, 91259, 91260, 91261, 91262, 91269 take the following course first:

If you have not studied NCEA Level 2 Mathematics (or equivalent) take one of the following courses first:

  • 124.103 Biophysical Principles or
  • 160.104 Introductory Mathematics for Science

If you have not studied NCEA Level 3 Physics (or equivalent) take one of the following courses first:

These courses (or equivalents) are available in the summer semester and will count towards credits in your degree.

If you won’t have reached University Entrance before the summer semester begins, you may be able to apply through Discretionary Entrance.

For general entry requirements see Massey University entry requirements.

Bachelor of Science (Physics) structure

To plan your study and see what courses are necessary to complete your degree please see below for a simplified plan.  Full regulations for the BSc should also be viewed by clicking on the “view regulations” button on this page.  The regulations page will also outline course prerequisites, co-requisites and restrictions that may affect you.

All Bachelor of Science students will take a selection of compulsory courses throughout the degree.  The first year structure, is designed to provide students with a broad knowledge and skill set which will equip them to go on to more advanced courses in the 2nd and 3rd years.

Physics has similar first year core courses to several other majors available in the Bachelor of Science, allowing students to change their major before their second year.  Note that changing your major may incur an increase in completion time.


For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Please check changes for current students in 2020.

At Massey a credit system is used for our degrees. To complete a Bachelor of Science the following is required:

  • Total of 360 credits completed. That’s 24 courses of 15 credits each
  • Completion of at least one major, consisting of 60 credits at 200 level and 60 credits at 300 level
  • A maximum of 165 credits at 100 level
  • A minimum of 75 credits must be from 300-level courses

These regulations should be read in conjunction with all other Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Undergraduate Degrees, Undergraduate Diplomas, Undergraduate Certificates, Graduate Diplomas and Graduate Certificates.



100-level courses

Take these in any order:
247.113 Science and Sustainability for Science
161.122 Statistics
160.102 Algebra
160.101  Calculus
124.104 Physics 1A: Mechanics and Thermodynamics
124.105 Physics 1B: Electricity, Waves and Modern Physics

Plus choose two 100-level elective courses. These can be from a subject area other than Science.

Recommended 100-level electives

One of:
123.103 Chemistry for Modern Sciences
123.104 Chemistry for Biological Systems
123.105 Chemistry and the Physical World

One of:
159.100 Introduction to Programming
159.171 Computational Thinking and Programming 1

Students must pass at least 90 credits from the BSc Schedule A, including any compulsory courses, in their first 120 credits of study towards the Bachelor of Science.

200-level courses in the major

Take all four:
124.204 Classical Physics
124.205 Modern Physics
123.201 Chemical Energetics
160.203 Multivariable Calculus

300-level courses in the major

Take all four:
124.304 Statistical Physics and its Applications
124.305 Quantum Mechanics and its Applications
123.306 Molecular Structure and Dynamics
160.303 Mathematical Physics

To check course offerings, prerequisites, co-requisites and restrictions that may affect you, search the course code in the Course Search.

When choosing electives, ensure you meet the BSc regulations by having at least 240 credits from the BSc schedule of courses, at least 75 credits at 300 level, and no more than 165 credits at 100 level.

For Pre-2020 BSc Programme Transition Regulations refer to Schedule C in the BSc Regulations.

The BSc Regulations page can be accessed by clicking on the “view regulations” button on this page. 

Not sure of your major yet?


You can change to any BSc major at the end of your first year. Moving from the first year of physics to one of the majors below is particularly simple, as the required first year courses are similar. By choosing your courses and electives carefully to cover both majors you could easily swap over at the end of first year.

  • Chemistry (include 123.104 and 123.105 in your first year)
  • Computer Science (include 159.171 and 159.172 in your first year)
  • Mathematics (include 159.171 in your first year)
  • Statistics (include 159.171 in your first year)

Note: Changing your major may incur an increase in completion time.

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