Physics (PHYS)

Physics (PHYS)

Physics courses are offered by the Department of Astronomy and Physics

Note: This segment lists undergraduate courses and programs in physics only. Course and program descriptions for astronomy and astrophysics may be found in the Astronomy (ASTR) segment of Section 5 in this Calendar while graduate course descriptions and programs in astronomy may be found in the Graduate Academic Calendar.

History
Physics, the most fundamental of the natural sciences, forms the foundation for all other sciences. Physics deals with motion, the structure of matter, and the underlying forces responsible for that motion and structure. It deals with phenomena at all length and time scales, from the subatomic to the cosmological, from the Planck time to the age of the Universe. With their ability to understand complex phenomena at the most fundamental level, physicists are uniquely qualified to pursue careers and postgraduate studies in a wide variety of fields, including engineering, computer science and modelling, visualisation, aerospace and aeronautics, financial forecasting, communications, meteorology, the energy and health sectors, astronomy, mathematics, and the list goes on. In short, physicists are trained and hired to think.

Physics has been taught at Saint Mary's at least as far back as 1907, and was first offered as a three-year undergraduate major in 1963 under the watch of the Jesuits, who controlled the University between 1940 and 1970. It was also during the Jesuit period when the Faculty of Science was formally organized (1951, with Father M. J. Burke-Gaffney S.J. as its first designated Dean), and when the Department of Physics was first established as a separate academic unit (1963, under its first and only chair for thirty years, Dangety Murty). The four-year honours program in physics was introduced in 1970. In 1993 the Department of Physics was joined with the Department of Astronomy, and the combined department of eight faculty members expanded its physics offerings to include joint programs with Mathematics and Chemistry. In 1995, Father William Lonc S.J., one of only two Jesuit priests still on the University faculty at the time, retired from the Department of Astronomy and Physics heralding an end of an era.


Degree Programs in Physics

The Department offers three different levels of undergraduate study in physics. These include a physics concentration and minor suitable for general science students who want a basic understanding of the fundamentals of physics, a physics major suitable for students who want a solid physics education but who do not necessarily intend to practice physics professionally or go on to graduate school, and a physics honours program for those who require a rigorous training in classical and quantum physics who intend to pursue physics professionally or in postgraduate studies. The major and honours programs are virtually identical through the third year, and students don't need to commit to the honours program until the fourth year if they so choose. Among other differences in the final year, the honours program requires the student to secure a supervisor for the honours thesis (PHYS 4790) before applying in the honours program.

In addition to the physics concentration, major, and honours programs, there are double major physics programs with mathematics, chemistry, and philosophy at both the major and honours levels consistent with the regulations governing double major and double honours programs in science and in arts and sciences as outlined in Section 3. These suggested programs of study are suitable for students who want a broader academic background than the pure physics degrees provide while minimising the compromise to the physics content or the content of the other subjects of concentration.


a. Physics Concentration/Major/Honours

Year 1

  1. PHYS 1100 and 1101
  2. three (3) credit hours in science electives [CSCI 1226 recommended]; and PHYS 1500
  3. MATH 1210 and 1211
  4. six (6) credit hours in science electives [CHEM 1210/1211 recommended]
  5. ENGL 1205 and three (3) credit hours in humanities electives

Year 2

  1. PHYS 2300 and 2301
  2. MATH 2311 [three (3) credit hours in science electives] and PHYS 2400
  3. MATH 2301 and 2303 [six (6) credit hours in science electives]
  4. twelve (12) credit hours in Arts or ECON electives

Year 3 (Concentration)

  1. twelve (12) credit hours from PHYS at the 3000 level
  2. eighteen (18) credit hours in electives

Year 3 (Major and Honours)

  1. PHYS 3200 and 3201
  2. PHYS 3300 and 3210
  3. PHYS 3500; and either PHYS 3350 or 3400
  4. PHYS 3600; and three (3) credit hours in electives
  5. six (6) credit hours in electives

Year 4 (Major)

  1. PHYS 4500; and either PHYS 3350 or 3400
  2. Twenty-four (24) credit hours in electives

Year 4 (Honours)

  1. PHYS 4500; and either PHYS 3350 or 3400
  2. six (6) credit hours drawn from PHYS 4380, 4390, 4501, and 4510
  3. PHYS 4600 and three (3) credit hours in electives
  4. PHYS 4790
  5. six (6) credit hours in electives

b. Double Major/Honours in Physics and Mathematics

Year 1

  1. PHYS 1100 and 1101
  2. ENGL 1205 and PHYS 1500
  3. CSCI 1226 and 1227 or 1228
  4. MATH 1210 and 1211
  5. six (6) credit hours in science electives [CHEM 1210/1211 recommended]

Year 2

  1. PHYS 2300 and 2301
  2. MATH 2303 and PHYS 2400
  3. MATH 2310 and MATH 2311
  4. MATH 2301 and MATH 2321
  5. twelve (12) credit hours in Arts or ECON electives

Year 3 (Major)

  1. PHYS 3300 and 3210
  2. PHYS 3500; and either PHYS 3350 or 3400
  3. MATH 4436 and MATH 3406
  4. six (6) credit hours in Science electives
  5. six (6) credit hours in Arts or ECON electives

Year 3 (Honours)

  1. PHYS 3300 and 3210
  2. PHYS 3500; and either PHYS 3350 or 3400
  3. MATH 4436 and MATH 4437
  4. MATH 3456 and MATH 3457
  5. six (6) credit hours in Arts or ECON electives
Year 4 (Major)
  1. PHYS 4500; and either PHYS 3350 or PHYS 3400
  2. six (6) credit hours from MATH courses numbered 4404 or above
  3. three (3) credit hours from MATH courses numbered 4404 or above and three (3) credit hours in humanities electives
  4. twelve (12) credit hours in electives

Year 4 (Honours)

  1. PHYS 4500; and either PHYS 3350 or PHYS 3400
  2. six (6) credit hours drawn from PHYS 4380, 4390, 4501, and 4510
  3. six (6) credit hours drawn from MATH 4420, 4421, 3441, and 4442
  4. six (6) credit hours from MATH courses numbered 4404 or above
  5. PHYS 4790 or MATH 4500

c. Double Major/Honours in Physics and Chemistry

Students should be aware of the specific requirements for double majors in chemistry noted in the Chemistry segment in Section 4 of the Calendar.

Year 1 (major)

  1. PHYS 1100 and 1101
  2. three (3) credit hours in science electives [CSCI 1226 recommended] and PHYS 1500
  3. CHEM 1210 and 1211
  4. MATH 1210 and 1211
  5. ENGL 1205 and three (3) credit hours in humanities electives

Year 1 (honours)

  1. PHYS 1100 and 1101
  2. three (3) credit hours in arts/ECON electives and PHYS 1500
  3. CHEM 1210 and 1211
  4. MATH 1210 and 1211
  5. ENGL 1205 and three (3) credit hours in humanities electives

Year 2

  1. PHYS 2300 and 2301
  2. MATH 2311 [three (3) credit hours in science electives] and PHYS 2400
  3. MATH 2301 and 2303 [six (6) credit hours in science electives]
  4. CHEM 2312 or 2313; and three (3) credit hours in arts/ECON electives
  5. CHEM 3322 and 3324; or CHEM 2332 and 2333; or CHEM 2344 and 2345;

Year 3

  1. PHYS 3200 and 3201
  2. PHYS 3300 and 3400
  3. PHYS 3500 and three (3) credit hours in Arts or ECON electives
  4. CHEM 2312 or 2313; and three (3) credit hours in Arts or ECON electives
  5. CHEM 3322 and 3324; or CHEM 2332 and 2333; or CHEM 2344 and 2345

Year 4 (Major)

  1. PHYS 4500; and three (3) credit hours in Arts or ECON electives
  2. twelve (12)) credit hours from CHEM numbered 4400 or above
  3. twelve (12) credit hours in electives

Year 4 (Honours)

  1. PHYS 4500; and three (3) credit hours drawn from PHYS 4380, 4390, 4501, and 4510
  2. CHEM 4499
  3. twelve (12) credit hours from CHEM numbered 4400 or above
  4. PHYS 4790 or CHEM 4500

Note: MATH 2303 is counted as three (3) credit hours in PHYS for the PHYS/CHEM double honours programme only.


d. Double Major/Honours in Physics and Philosophy (B.Sc)

Year 1

  1. PHYS 1100 and 1101
  2. PHYS 1370/PHIL 1255 and PHYS 1500 3. PHIL 1200 or 1201.0
  3. MATH 1210 and 1211
  4. ENGL 1205; and three (3) credit hours in humanities electives other than PHIL

Year 2

  1. PHYS 2300 and 2301
  2. MATH 2311 [three (3) credit hours in science electives] and PHYS 2400
  3. MATH 2301 and 2303 [six (6) credit hours in science electives]
  4. PHIL 2318 and three (3) credit hours in Arts or ECON electives
  5. three (3) credit hours drawn from courses in the history of philosophy† and three (3) credit hours drawn from courses in contemporary philosophy‡

Year 3

  1. PHYS 3200 and 3201
  2. PHYS 3300 and three (3) credit hours in arts/ECON electives
  3. PHYS 3500 and PHIL 3448
  4. six (6) credit hours drawn from courses in the history of philosophy†.
  5. six (6) credit hours drawn from courses in contemporary philosophy‡

Year 4 (Major)

  1. three (3) credit hours drawn from PHYS numbered 4000 or greater and three (3) credit hours in science electives
  2. PHIL 4515/PHYS 4370 and three (3) credit hours drawn from PHIL numbered 2000 or greater.
  3. six (6) credit hours in Arts or ECON electives
  4. twelve (12) credit hours in electives.

Year 4 (Honours)

  1. PHYS 4500; and three (3) credit hours drawn from PHYS numbered 3000 or greater
  2. PHIL 4515/PHYS 4370 and three (3) credit hours drawn from PHIL numbered 2000 or greater.
  3. three (3) credit hours drawn from courses in the history of philosophy and three (3) credit hours drawn from courses in contemporary philosophy
  4. six (6) credit hours in arts/ECON electives 5. PHYS 4790.0

Courses in the history of philosophy include PHIL 2345, PHIL 2346, PHIL 3442, PHIL 3443, PHIL 3444, PHIL 4565.0

Courses in contemporary philosophy include PHIL 2301, PHIL 3000, PHIL 3404, PHIL 3413, PHIL 4565.0


e. Double Major/Honours in Philosophy and Physics (B.A.)

A B.A. (major or honours) in Philosophy and Physics is identical to the corresponding B.Sc. degree in Physics and Philosophy with the following modifications:

  1. All Arts or ECON electives become social science electives.
  2. Science electives become free electives, although MATH 2301/2303/2311 should still be taken in the second year.
  3. PHYS 4790 (Honours Thesis) becomes PHIL 4599 (Honours Thesis) and, with the permission of the Undergraduate Advisor of the Department of Philosophy, may be replaced with six (6) credit hours of PHIL courses not already taken and numbered 4000 or above.

Note: MATH 2303 is counted as three (3) credit hours in PHYS for the PHYS/PHIL double honours programmes only.

In addition to physics courses offered to support the degree programs, the Department offers two courses (PHYS 1000 and 1001) for non-majors, suitable for students wishing a non-calculus based introduction to physics for a science elective.


f. Minor in Physics

The requirements for a Minor in Physics are the same as those listed for Bachelor of Science – Major and Minor in Section three of this Academic Calendar. A total of thirty (30)credit hours in the minor subject are required. The physics course requirements for the physics minor are:

1. PHYS 1100 University Physics I
2. PHYS 1101 University Physics II
3. PHYS 1500 Introduction to Modern Physics
4. PHYS 2300 Vibrations, Waves and Optics
5. PHYS 2301 Analytical Mechanics
6. PHYS 2400 Electricity and Magnetism
7. Twelve (12) credit hours in PHYS at the 3000 level