This unit of study aims to provide a basic understanding of motion, vectors, Newton's laws and wave behaviour.  In tutorial classes, students are encouraged to work in groups where they can apply their lecture material to the solution of physics and basic engineering problems.

The unit begins with a general introduction to measurements and their uncertainties. The equations for one dimensional motion are then developed and extended to two and three dimensional motion. The concept of a force is introduced leading to Newton's laws including frictional forces. The study of simple harmonic motion, damping forces and resonance is followed by the topics of sound and light waves.

Unit details

Study level:
Credit points:
Unit code:

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Use kinematics to calculate displacement, velocity and acceleration;  
  2. Use Newton's laws to calculate forces and acceleration;  
  3. Apply the rules of conservation of energy and momentum to engineering-related problems;  
  4. Apply the principles of SHM and waves to engineering-related problems; and  
  5. Perform calculations on sound intensity levels and the Doppler effect in engineering-related problems.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Test Online quizzes 20%
Assignment Problem solving assignment x 3 40%
Test Tests x 3 40%

Required reading

There are no required textbooks for this unit. All notes, tutorials and any additional materials will be provided via the Learning Management System (VU Collaborate). The following texts are recommended only:

College Physics,
OpenStax CNX

Textbook content produced by OpenStax is published under Creative Commons Attribution Licence 4.0 (CC BY-NC-SA) .

Where to next?

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

Study a single unit

This unit may be available as a single unit of study.

Find out more about how to apply for single units of study at VU.

VU takes care to ensure the accuracy of this unit information, but reserves the right to change or withdraw courses offered at any time. Please check that unit information is current with the Student Contact Centre.