Undergrad First Year Physics Guide

Quick Start for Most Science Students 


Please visit the Registration FAQ for more information.

Course numbers that have recently changed:

  • PHYS 101 has been replaced by PHYS 131 (which has the same lecture content but now has no lab component).
  • PHYS 107 has been replaced by PHYS 106 (which has the same lecture content but now has no lab component).
  • The labs in PHYS 101 and 107 have been replaced with PHYS 119. If you want to or require a physics lab, you are encouraged to take PHYS 119 (offered in Term 1 and Term 2).
  • PHYS 109 Enriched lab has been replaced with PHYS 129 lab. This is a second laboratory course offered in Term 2 that follows the PHYS 119 lab; it provides a synthesis and development of further sophistication around the data collection, data analysis techniques and scientific reasoning developed in PHYS 119 lab (https://vancouver.calendar.ubc.ca/course-descriptions/courses/phys-119-…). Students with questions about this secondary lab, alternative lab credits in Science, or course planning assistance may contact the 2nd Year Advisor at ug-phys2@phas.ubc.ca.

General Course Information:

  • If you do not have credit for BC high school Physics 12 or equivalent, you must take PHYS 100. This is required by the Faculty of Science even though PHYS 100 is not listed in any degree specializations. 
  • *If you are currently taking PHYS 100 or another PHYS pre-requisite course and are unable to register for a PHYS 1st year course in the SISC, please email the Undergraduate Coordinator (ugcoord@phas.ubc.ca) to assist with registration: be sure to include your student number, name of the course/course number and preferred course section. Student preferences will be accommodated when possible. If missing prerequisites, please include an unofficial screenshot/.pdf of your prerequisite proof. Documentation of successful completion of prerequisite courses must be provided before classes begin, or you will be deregistered.
  • Life science students should consider taking PHYS 131. Because many medical schools require two university physics courses, many life science students take additional physics courses. PHYS 117 and 118 should be considered. (PHYS 131 and 118 are also offered in the summer).
  • Most physical science students take PHYS 117 and/or PHYS 118, and may also take the PHYS 119 lab. Students not pursuing a Physical Science degree may also take PHYS 117, PHYS 118, and the PHYS 119 lab. 
  • Students with at least 85% in high school physics and math are encouraged to take the enriched sequence PHYS 106, PHYS 108, the PHYS 119 lab in Term 1, and the PHYS 129 lab in Term 2.
  • Life Science degrees accept PHYS 106 or 117 as well as PHYS 131.
  • PHYS 157/158/159/170 are generally for Applied Science students and registration is mostly by Standard Time Tables (STT).
  • Consider taking ASTR 101 or ASTR 102 to help satisfy the Faculty of Science requirement of a course with lab components. (You must still take an actual BIOL course if you don't have credit for high school Biology 11 or 12). It also counts as an Earth & Planetary Science course for the Science Breadth Requirements.
  • The above-mentioned courses can be found on the UBC Course Schedule website.
  • UBC Admissions may admit students into the Faculty of Science - Year 1, without any high school physics ("Degree-Specific Requirements of Gr.11 Physics may be waived if grades in high school Pre-Calculus and Chemistry are 86% and above"). However, the PHAS Department maintains that students intending to pursue a Physics or Astronomy specialization should have B.C. Gr. 11 and 12 Physics (or equivalent) to meet and stay on-track with Year 1 program requirements. 

    Students permitted into the Faculty of Science Year 1, though not intending to pursue a Physics or Astronomy specialization, will still be unable to take PHYS 100 without Gr.11 Physics, and therefore cannot take PHYS 131 without PHYS 100 that academic year, even if required for other Faculty of Science specialization pre-requisites. If this applies to you, you are encouraged to complete an online version of Gr.11 Physics to take PHYS 100 in Year 1, or an online version of Gr. 12 Physics to take PHYS 131 in Year 1 Term 1. Alternatively, you can wait for Year 2 where the Gr. 11 Physics requirement can be waived for PHYS 100. The PHYS 100/Gr. 12 Physics requirement for PHYS 131 still applies, regardless.

  • *Note for all students starting a science degree program at UBC there are breadth requirements for graduation. See details here.



Undergrad First Year Physics Guide:

First Year Courses Map

This map shows only the most common paths through the courses. Consult the First Year Physics Advisor about other possibilities.


Planning to enter a Physics & Astronomy specialization? 

Please consult the Degree Program page for various Physics and Astronomy specializations and how to apply info.

Further Information

PHYS & ASTR Courses for General Science Electives or Breadth Requirements

Physics Requirements for Faculty of Science and Other Faculties

Advanced Placement and Transfer Credit

First year Physics & Astronomy Courses

Other First Year Science Options

Registration for Physics & Astronomy Courses

Registration FAQ and Registration Inquiry & Advising Contact


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