Department of Physics and Astronomy

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Our researchers and students have access to outstanding specialist photonics, quantum and optics labs, laser processing and optical characterisation facilities, and our on-campus observatory. We collaborate closely with local, national and international observatories, research organisations, and companies, and we include nodes for three ARC Centres of Excellence.

We offer one PACE (Professional and Community Engagement) unit for Astronomy for all students, while you can select from one of two Planet units in Astronomy and Physics available for students outside of the Faculty of Science and Engineering.

More information on these units can be found in the Macquarie Course Handbook.

Vacation scholarships

  • involve cutting-edge research during the summer vacation
  • are open to undergraduate physics students in Australia
  • have a scholarship of a tax-free stipend of up to $500 per week
  • are available in areas of research excellence
  • are typically awarded for five weeks in Jan – Feb.

View a list of our previous Vacation Scholars and the projects they completed.

How to apply

Applications are now open for the 2016/2017 scholarships.

The application process comprises:

  • a completed application form (Word Document or PDF)
  • a covering letter
  • a copy of your academic transcript
  • your CV
  • contact details and references from two academic referees.

For more information

Terms of the award

Selection procedures


Telephone: (02) 9850 8911

Projects on offer for 2016/2017

Characterising Distant Galaxies by way of Spectral Energy Distribution AnalysisMichael CowleyExtragalactic Astronomy 
Commissioning the Huntsman Telephoto Array Dr Lee SpitlerExtragalactic Astronomy 
Planetarium Education Curriculum DevelopmentProf. Orsola De Marco, Adam JoyceAstronomy and Education
Watch the watchman: A Very High Resolution Spectrograph for Calibrating SpectrographDr Christian SchwabAstronomical Instrumentation
A New Virtual Radio InterferometerDr Cormac PurcellRadio Astronomy, Interferometry, Software Simulations and Tools
A Nonlinear Optics Approach to Unidirectional LasersAssoc. Prof David SpenceLaser Development and Nonlinear Optics
Atomic Force Microscope Characterisation of UV-etched Diamond NanostructuresAssoc.Prof. Rich MildrenDiamond Photonics
Quantum Random Number GeneratorAssoc.Prof. Rich MildrenDiamond Photonics
Nonlinearity in Random LasersProf. Judith DawesRandom Lasers
Identification of Microplastics Using Raman SpectroscopyProf. Helen PaskLasers and Spectroscopy
Spectral Fingerprinting and Imaging Using THz RadiationDr Andrew LeeLasers and Photonics
Measuring the Brownian Motion of Micro Particles Suspended in a Magnetic Trap Dr James DownesThermodynamics and Instrumentation Physics
Engineering two photon states to study plasmonic structuresAssoc.Prof. Gabriel Molina-Terriza

Quantum Nanophotonics

Higher degree research

Our department has three research areas:

We are currently looking for around 20 new PhD students for 2017 start dates. Scholarships are available for both Australian and international students. Scholarships provide at least $25,000 per year for living expenses and $25,000 for equipment and travel.

See more information on the research our department does here.

If you are interested in doing research at Macquarie University, contact a researcher in your field of interest to discuss your ideas before applying. Find out more about applying, or look for a supervisor.


The Macquarie University Association for Astronomy (AfA) was established in 1988 to promote knowledge of astronomy in the community. The AfA was established in 1988 by Dr. Alan Vaughan to promote astronomy outreach to the public, enabling various parts of the astronomical community to interact, and encouraging teaching and research in astronomy and astrophysics at Macquarie University. 

Find more information on regular events and social media channels.

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