Physics

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 do not need to commit to the honours program until after third year. However, the student nust secure a supervisor for the honours thesis (PHYS 4790) before applying to 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 as outlined in Section 3.

 

 


Major In Physics - Requirements

 

The requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science with Major apply as listed in the Academic Calendar under the heading of Faculty of Science, Bachelor of Science-Major, in Section Three. The specific list of forty-five (45) required credit hours in PHYS used to satisfy 6(d) is contained in the following list of required Science courses for the program:

 *Note: Students should consult the online Faculty of Science Program Requirement Tables for course recommendation information, and seek advice from the Undergraduate Coordinator or a Science Advisor in making appropriate selections.

 

The suggested sequence of courses for years 1 and 2 can be found on the Faculty of Science website listings for Program Requirement Tables. Students should consult with the Undergraduate Coordinator or a Science Advisor to select Science Electives and to chart their course sequencing for years 3 and 4.

  


Double Major in Physics and Other Science - Requirements

 

The requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science with Double Major apply as listed in the Academic Calendar under the heading of Faculty of Science, Bachelor of Science-Double Major, in Section Three. The specific list of thirty-six (36) required credit hours in PHYS used to satisfy 7(a) is contained in the following list of required Science courses for the program:

  • PHYS 1210 University Physics I
  • PHYS 1211 University Physics II
  • PHYS 1500 Introduction to Modern Physics
  • PHYS 2300 Vibrations, Waves and Optics
  • PHYS 2301 Analytical Mechanics
  • PHYS 2400 Electricity and Magnetism
  • PHYS 3300 Classical Mechanics
  • PHYS 3400 Electrodynamics
  • PHYS 3500 Quantum Mechanics I
  • Three (3) credit hours PHYS at the 3000-level*
  • Three (3) credit hours PHYS at the 3000-level*
  • PHYS 4500 Quantum Mechanics II
  • MATH 1210 Introductory Calculus I
  • MATH 1211 Introductory Calculus II
  • MATH 2311 Intermediate Calculus
  • MATH 2301 Applied Linear Algebra
  • MATH 2303 Differential Equations I
  • Three (3) credit hour Science Elective* (not in either Major subject)

 

*Note: Choice of 3000-level PHYS courses, and choice of Science Elective course depends on the Other Science Major discipline. Students should seek advice from the Undergraduate Coordinator or a Science Advisor in making appropriate selections, and must seek approval of their charted program from the Departments.

 


Honours in Physics - Requirements

The requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science with Honours apply as listed in the Academic Calendar under the heading of Faculty of Science, Bachelor of Science-Honours and Double Honours, in Section Three. Students must secure a supervisor for the Honours thesis (PHYS 4790) before applying to the Honours program. The specific list of sixty (60) required credit hours in PHYS used to satisfy 11(a) is contained in the following list of required Science courses for the program:

  • PHYS 1210 University Physics I
  • PHYS 1211 University Physics II
  • PHYS 1500 Introduction to Modern Physics
  • PHYS 2300 Vibrations, Waves and Optics
  • PHYS 2301 Analytical Mechanics
  • PHYS 2400 Electricity and Magnetism
  • PHYS 3200 Mathematical Methods in Physics I
  • PHYS 3201 Mathematical Methods in Physics II
  • PHYS 3210 Computational Methods
  • PHYS 3300 Classical Mechanics
  • PHYS 3350 Thermal Physics
  • PHYS 3400 Electrodynamics
  • PHYS 3500 Quantum Mechanics I
  • PHYS 3600 Experimental Physics I
  • PHYS 4500 Quantum Mechanics II
  • Six (6) credit hours in PHYS from: 
    • PHYS 4380 Fluid Dynamics
    • PHYS 4390 General Relativity
    • PHYS 4501 Quantum Mechanics III
    • PHYS 4510 SubatomicPhysics                                                                                                                                       
  • PHYS 4600 Experimental Physics II
  • PHYS 4790 Research Thesis (6 credit hours)
  • MATH 1210 Introductory Calculus I
  • MATH 1211 Introductory Calculus II
  • MATH 2311 Intermediate Calculus
  • MATH 2301 Applied Linear Algebra
  • MATH 2303 Differential Equations I
  • Nine (9) credit hours of Science Electives* (not in Phyics)

 *Note: Students should consult the online Faculty of Science Program Requirement Tables for course recommendation information, and seek advice from the Undergraduate Coordinator or a Science Advisor in making appropriate selections.


 

 

Double Honours in Physics and Other Science - Requirements

 

The requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science with Double Honours apply as listed in the Academic Calendar under the heading of Faculty of Science, Bachelor of Science-Honours and Double Honours in Section Three. The specific list of PHysics courses which satisfies the minimum forty-eight (48) required credit hours in a PHYS (if thesis completed in Physics) or the minimum of forty-two (42) required credit hours in PHYS (if thesis completed in another science) is contained in the follwoing list of required Science courses for the program: 

 

*Note: Choice of 3000-level PHYS courses, and choice of Science Elective courses depends on the Other Science discipline. Students should seek advice from the Undergraduate Coordinator or a Science Advisor in making appropriate selections, and must seek approval of their charted program from the Departments.

 

 

 


Concentration in Physics - Requirements

The requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Science General with Concentration in Physics apply as listed in the Academic Calendar under the heading of Faculty of Science, Bachelor of Science – General (with a Concentration) in Section Three. The specific list of minimum thirty (30) required credit hours in PHYS used to satisfy 3(d) is contained in the following list of requried Science courses:

 


 

Physics Minor - Requirements

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: