Information on this page generally applies to students who are interested in taking first year physics & astronomy courses.
Faculty of Science Requirements
- All students admitted to the Faculty of Science are required to have Mathematics 12, and at least Physics 11, from B.C. Secondary School, or equivalent.
- The Faculty of Science requires PHYS 100 for students who have not taken BC high-school Physics 12 or equivalent. This requirement is implicit and not listed in degree specializations. Physics 12 or PHYS 100 are also prerequisites for the other first year physics courses.
- The Faculty of Science requires 6 credits of CHEM or PHYS beyond PHYS 100. Nearly all Science degree specializations explicitly require at least 3 credits of PHYS explicitly beyond PHYS 100.
- You may satisfy the Faculty of Science requirement of two lab courses using the lab components of PHYS 119, PHYS 129, ASTR 101, or ASTR 102, as well as by lab courses in other departments.
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Physics Requirements for Programs in Other Faculties
Applied Animal Biology (pre-veterinary) students in Faculty of Land and Food Systems are required to take PHYS 131 or equivalent., Nutritional Science, Food Science, and Food & Nutrition double-major students in Faculty of Land and Food Systems are required to take PHYS 131 or equivalent, Wood Products Processing students in Faculty of Forestry are required to take PHYS 131 or equivalent, Forest Resources Management Integrated Resource Management, Community & Aboriginal Forestry, and International Forestry students in Faculty of Forestry are required to take PHYS or CHEM. Some Forest Operations students in Faculty of Forestry are required to take PHYS 170. First year course recommendations for all Faculties at UBC-Vancouver may be found here.
Some GEOB (geographical biogeoscience) courses in Faculty of Arts have PHYS prerequisites. Some CAPS (cellular, anatomical and physiological sciences) courses in Faculty of Medicine have PHYS prerequisites. Some WOOD and FOPR (forest operations) courses in Faculty of Forestry have PHYS prerequisites. Some FNH courses in Faculty of Land and Food Systems have PHYS prerequisites.
The Faculty of Arts does not have any Physics or Astronomy requirement per se, but you may satisfy the general Science requirement by any Physics or Astronomy courses for which you qualify. All Physics and Astronomy courses require MATH 12 or equivalent except PHYS 340, 341, and 343 and ASTR 310 and 311.
Click here to see a list of PHYS and ASTR courses with minimal pre-requisites, for students that are looking for science electives or breadth requirement courses.
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Advanced Placement and Transfer Credit
- If you received sufficiently high grades in Advanced Placement Physics 2, or International Baccalaureate Certificate Physics HL, or British-patterned A-level Physics, you may receive exemption from or credit for PHYS 131 lecture-only course. However, this does not include the lab component formerly included in PHYS 101 (now PHYS 131); Lab credits are now separate courses: PHYS 119 is offered in Term 1 and Term 2 (and Summer), and Enriched follow-up lab PHYS 129 is offered in Term 2. If you are uncertain about advanced placement credit, you can register for PHYS 131 to ensure a seat, and drop it later. If you plan to get a UBC physics or astronomy degree, we recommend that you take PHYS 106 or 117.
- If you received sufficiently high grades in AP Physics C, you may receive credit for PHYS 117 or 118. However if you plan to get a UBC physics or astronomy degree, we recommend that you contact the First Year Physics Advisor about taking PHYS 106, PHYS 108, PHYS 119 lab and PHYS 129 labs.
- Transfer students should check their transfer credits at Student Service Centre (SSC). Algebra-based Physics courses do not usually qualify. Lecture-only courses qualify for PHYS 131 (formerly PHYS 101+lab), however, PHYS 131 includes a tutorial component, not a lab component: lab components for 1st Year are the PHYS 119 lab, or PHYS 129 Enriched lab. If you took a calculus-based lecture-only course that transfers as "PHYS 1st," you may be able to upgrade the credit to the new lecture-only PHYS 117 or 118 courses or receive exemptions from them (see Registration FAQ for instructions). PHYS 131 (formerly PHYS 101) is a lecture+tutorial course designed for life science students.
- If you are taking high school Physics 12 or a college physics equivalent during the summer before starting at UBC, you may still wish to register for PHYS 100 to reserve a seat, then drop it after you receive the credit. Please contact the Undergraduate Program Coordinator at email@example.com about conditional manual registration. Include your name, student number, which course you are taking, where you are taking it, your assigned UBC registration day and time, and the UBC physics course (with specific LEC/LAB/TUT sections) for which you wish to register. Documentation of successful completion must be provided before UBC classes begin in September or January, or you will be de-registered.
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First Year Physics and Astronomy Courses
- PHYS 100 is a lecture+tutorial course for students without credit for BC high school Physics 12. It is offered in September, and as a Distance Education course in Summer Session.
- PHYS 131 (formerly PHYS 101) is a lecture+tutorial course for life science students. It is usually offered in September, January, and Summer term 1. Students needing lab credits please refer to PHYS 119.
- PHYS 102 is no longer offered. It has been replaced by PHYS 118 and 119.
- PHYS 106 is an enriched lecture+tutorial course emphasizing classical mechanics. High marks in high school math and physics are prerequisites. It is offered in September.
- PHYS 108 is an enriched lecture+tutorial course emphasizing electricity and magnetism. PHYS 106, or high marks in PHYS 131 or PHYS 117 are prerequisites. It is offered in January.
- PHYS 129 [*2021W: Enriched follow-up lab PHYS 109 has been replaced with PHYS 129. PHYS 129 is an enriched stand-alone laboratory course to complement PHYS 108.
- PHYS 117 is a lecture+tutorial course for students in the physical sciences emphasizing classical mechanics. It is offered in September.
- PHYS 118 is a lecture+tutorial course emphasizing electricity and magnetism. PHYS 131, 106 or 117 are prerequisites for PHYS 118. PHYS 118 is offered in January and Summer term 2.
- PHYS 119 is a stand-alone laboratory course to complement PHYS 106, 117, 118, and/or 131. It is offered in September and January and sometimes in Summer.
- ASTR 101 is a lecture+lab course about the Solar System. It requires only high school physics and math. It is offered in September.
- ASTR 102 is a lecture+lab course about stars and galaxies. It requires only high school physics and math. It is offered in January.
For credit exclusion information, please consult the Faculty of Science Credit Exclusion List.
Students with questions/concerns about the enriched PHYS 106, 108, 109 courses may contact Prof. Janis McKenna at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Physics Courses for Programs in the Faculty of Applied Science
- PHYS 157, (thermodynamics, oscillations, and waves) is offered in September. Students who fail the September section may register for a special repeating section in January, may still take PHYS 159, and may substitute PHYS 118 in the summer for PHYS 158 in January.
- PHYS 158, (electricity & magnetism) is offered in January. Passing PHYS 157 is a prerequisite.
- PHYS 159, (lab) is offered in January.
- PHYS 170 (engineering statics and dynamics) it is offered in September and January.
These are mostly scheduled using Standard Time Tables by the Faculty of Applied Science, and only have STT seats released for APSC students. There may be a few seats in September PHYS 170 section for other students. Other students wishing to take the course(s) may register on the wait list(s); however, spaces are not guaranteed.
Students who transfer to Applied Science after having taken PHYS 131, 119, & 102 (now 102 --> 118 & 119), or PHYS 106 & 108 & 129, are normally exempted from PHYS 157 & 158 & 159, but are still required to take PHYS 170.
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Other First Year Science Options
- Science One is a program for a select group of 75 students to study first year biology, chemistry, math, and physics together in special classes, instead of the regular first year courses. Physics is covered at the level of PHYS 106, 108, and 129. SCIENCE 1 is particularly well suited for Students planning to enter the Honours Biophysics program.
- Coordinated Science uses a Standard Time Table with dedicated sections of first year courses in biology (111/112 & 121), chemistry (121 & 122), math (102 & 103), and physics (131 and 119). Physical sciences students should register for PHYS 118 & 119 in addition to the Standard Time Table. Students interested in physics or astronomy degrees are encouraged to also pick up PHYS 117.
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Lecture, Laboratory and Tutorial Registration and Section Changes
For PHYS 100 you must register for a tutorial section as well as a lecture section. For PHYS 131 (formerly PHYS 101+lab), there is no included lab section: please refer to PHYS 119 Lab for lab credits.
PHYS 119 lab sections in popular time slots fill very rapidly, so you may want to prepare several worklists with different alternatives before your registration time opens. If you are unable to register for a laboratory section, register for the waitlist section (L1W in September, L2W in January). The Undergraduate Coordinator (email@example.com) will place you in a suitable lab section when space becomes available. Check Student Service Centre (SSC) periodically to see if you have been placed. Contact the Undergraduate Coordinator (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you have not been placed before classes begin.
PHYS 129 [*2021W: Enriched follow-up lab PHYS 109 has been replaced with PHYS 129]. Phys 129 lab is an enriched follow-up lab option for students who have taken PHYS 119. Students with at least 85% in high school physics and math are encouraged to take the enriched sequence PHYS 106, PHYS 108, and the PHYS 119 lab in first term, and follow-up enriched PHYS 129 lab in second term. This sequence is especially beneficial to students planning to specialize in Physics or Astronomy. Students with questions/concerns may contact Prof. Janis McKenna at email@example.com
*Please note: PHYS 119 lab and PHYS 109 lab [now PHYS 129 lab] are no longer credit-excluded*
Enriched 1st Year Physics Stream
For PHYS 106, you must register for a tutorial section as well as a lecture section.
For PHYS 108, PHYS 117 & PHYS 118, you must register for a tutorial section as well as a lecture section, but there are no lab sections.
For PHYS 129 or PHYS 119, you register for a laboratory section only.
For ASTR 101 or ASTR 102, you must register for a lab section as well as a lecture section.
Section Changes: You can switch your lecture, tutorial, or lab section to another section yourself if there are still seats left. Note that if you change lecture section for PHYS 100 and 131, you may also need to change tutorial sections to match. If there are no seats left, fill out the Change Request Form with the details and reasons for the change. The priority for these section changes is to resolve course conflicts; not all requests can be accommodated. Check Student Service Centre (SSC) periodically to see if your request has been granted.
The Standard Time Table (STT) system makes it difficult for Applied Science students to do individual lecture, tutorial, or lab section changes. If you need to change sections, fill out the Change Request Form with the details and reasons for the change. Not all requests can be accommodated. Check Student Service Centre (SSC) periodically to see if your request has been granted.
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