Physics is about 'matter' and its motion through space and time and the physical laws controlling the universe.

Studying in this area involves learning about energy, gravity, relativity, electricity, magnetism, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, etc.

Physics is also about the application of knowledge in these areas to other fields, such as engineering and health science.

NZ university majors related to this area

Though in the same subject area, they may be very different.

Did you know?

Physics is sometimes called the 'fundamental science' – because it covers the most fundamental and basic objects (e.g. electrons) from which everything (e.g. galaxies!) is derived.

Many physicists hope one day to arrive at an ultimate understanding – 'The Theory of Everything' – for why the universe is as it is.

Examples of career opportunities

Most entail additional learning (lifelong learning!).

  • Physicist
  • Nuclear scientist
  • Research scientist
  • Research assistant
  • Technician
  • Laboratory technician
  • Physics teacher
  • Science teacher
  • Academic

Income and employment prospects


153% of national
median earnings


Further study
Other or unknown

Figures based on young domestic graduates 5 years after graduation. Source: Ministry of Education.

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