Physics and Astronomy

Major in Physics

This program aims to provide a comprehensive physics education with considerable emphasis on both theoretical foundations and laboratory practice. The theoretical and mathematical components develop the intellectual skills and versatility needed either to pursue physics professionally at the post-graduate level, or to cross over into other professions such as medicine, actuarial science, meteorology, and secondary education, in which a physics background is strongly preferred. The senior laboratory components consist of long-range projects rather than prescribed exercises, to encourage initiative on the part of the student and to prepare him or her for the inventive atmosphere of modern high-tech industry. Graduates of this program have attained success in high-tech industry, computer software development, secondary education, and post-graduate studies.

First Year Credits
CHEM 111 or CHEM 121; and CHEM 113 or CHEM 123 6
Two of ENGL 112 or 114, 113, 150, 151, 153 6
MATH 100, 101 6
PHYS 111 or 1121 3
PHYS 102, 121 or 1221 3
Electives2 6
Total Credits 30
Second Year
ASTR 210, or one of PHYS 225, 305, 320 3
MATH 200, 2213, 225, 3174 12
PHYS 200, 215, 216, 231, 232 15
Total Credits 30
Third and Fourth Years
MATH 319 3
PHYS 301, 304, 331, 328, 403, 441 18
9 credits chosen from: PHYS 314, 324, 400, 401, 402, 407, 408, 413, 418, 420, 431, 432, 474 9
6 credits chosen from: PHYS 305, 310, 314, 320, 321, 324, 360, 400, 4015, 4025, 407, 408, 413, 418, 420, 425, 431, 432, 4486, 474 6
Electives2,7,8 24
Total Credits 60
Minimum credits for degree 120
1 Minimum grade of 68% is required in each of PHYS 112 and PHYS 122.
2 COSC 111 and 121 are strongly recommended. Students considering a career in geosciences should take EESC 111, 121, and 350. Students considering a career in astronomy should take ASTR 111 and 121. At least 18 credits (including the 6 credits in first-year English) must be Arts courses.
3 MATH 221 may be taken in the second term of the first year.
4 MATH 317 may be taken in the third year.
5 Students in the Physics Honours Program (PHYS 449) must use PHYS 401 and PHYS 402 to fulfill the Major requirements. Further information can be obtained from the Physics and Astronomy program advisor.
6 Capable students are advised to consider selecting the directed studies course PHYS 448, which grants either 2, 3, 4, or 6 upper-level credits in Physics.
7 PHYS 448 may not be applied toward the Major requirements for Honours students, except as elective credit
8 At least 36 of 120 credits must be Science course credits from courses numbered 300 or higher (upper-level courses), and at least an additional 6 upper-level courses which may be from Arts or Sciences.

Combined Major in Physics and Mathematics

Provides students with a rich background in both theoretical physics and mathematics. The program consists of core training in both disciplines and electives that highlight common ground between the two fields. Graduates of the program will be well prepared for post-graduate studies in theoretical physics or applied mathematics. The combined major will also prepare students for further training and careers in education, finance, computer software development, or industrial research.

First Year Credits
CHEM 111 or CHEM 121; and CHEM 113 or CHEM 123 6
MATH 100, 101 6
Two of ENGL 112 or 114, 113, 150, 151, 153 6
PHYS 111 or 112 3
PHYS 102, 121 or 1221 3
COSC 111, 121 6
Total Credits 30
Second Year
PHYS 200, 215, 216, 231, 232 15
MATH 200, 220, 221, 225, 3172 15
Total Credits 30
Third and Fourth Years
MATH 307, 311, 319, 327; STAT 303 15
PHYS 301, 304, 328 9
One of PHYS 4013, 4023, 4183 3
6 credits chosen from: MATH 350, 408, 459, 461 6
9 credits chosen from: PHYS 314, 331,4013, 402, 403, 407, 408, 4183, 420, 431, 432, 441, 474 9
Electives4 18
Total Credits 60
Minimum credits for degree 120
1 Minimum grade of 68% is required in each of PHYS 112 and PHYS 122.
2 MATH 317 may be taken in the third year but is a requirement for PHYS 301.
3 Each of PHYS 401, 402, 418 may only fulfill one requirement.
4 At least 12 credits of electives must be from Arts.

Minor in Physics

A student must successfully complete 18 credits in Physics courses selected from PHYS 301, 304, 305, 310, 314, 320, 321, 324, 328, 331, 360, 400, 401, 402, 403, 407, 408, 418, 420, 425, 431, 432, 441, 474.

Physics Honours Program

This program enables high-achieving Physics Major students to gain research experience through the completion of an Honours Thesis. It is particularly recommended to those students intending to pursue post-graduate studies.

Admission Requirements

  • Fourth-year standing in the Physics Major program;
  • Students with a minimum grade average of 75% for all courses taken to date applicable to the Physics Major may apply to be considered for the Honours program. Admission is at the discretion of the Academic Unit, and may be subject to a ranking of those students applying.
  • Enrolment in PHYS 4491 (Honours Thesis). The thesis proposal and research supervisor must be approved by the academic unit.

In exceptional cases, such as transferees from another institution, a student may be admitted by permission of the academic unit notwithstanding the above criteria.

Graduation Requirements

  • Completion of the course requirements for the Physics major1, including PHYS 4012 and 4022;
  • Minimum grade average of 75% for courses taken to fulfill requirements of the Physics Major; and
  • Completion of PHYS 449 with a minimum grade of 75%. A written thesis is required, with a public seminar presentation of the thesis research.

1PHYS 448 and 449 may not be applied toward the Major requirements for Honours students, except as elective credit.
2Students in the Physics Honours Program (PHYS 449) must use PHYS 401 and PHYS 402 to fulfill the Major requirements.

Page last updated: May 12, 2017

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Enrolment Services
University Centre, Room 322
3333 University Way, Kelowna BC, Canada V1V 1V7