Important note to students taking PHYS/ASTR courses in winter 2021:

All Physics/Astronomy lectures and labs will continue to be given online next semester (January-April 2021); none will be given in person. With the exception of students who have already been cleared to do project work in a lab, there is no academic reason for any student in an undergraduate physics or astronomy course to come to campus or be in Vancouver. Upper-level courses given by other departments may be delivered face-to-face; students should check in each case.

Undergrad First Year Physics Guide

Quick Start for Most Science Students

  • New for W1 2020
    • PHYS 101 has been replaced by PHYS 131 (which has the same lecture content but now has no lab component).
    • PHYS 107 has been replaced by PHYS 106 (which has the same lecture content but now has no lab component).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 (which is now offered at least in W1 and W2).
  • If you do not have credit for BC high school Physics 12 or equivalent, you must take PHYS 100. This is required by Faculty of Science, even though PHYS 100 is not listed in any degree specializations. 
  • 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). Those who are taking PHYS 131 (the replacement for PHYS 101) and wishing to register in  PHYS 118 should email Dr. James Charbonneau at
  • 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 who are taking PHYS 131 who wish to register in PHYS 118 should email Dr. James Charbonneau at
  • 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.
  • *Note: at this time, PHYS 109 is not available for registration (awaiting approval for changes to make it a follow-up enriched lab to be taken after PHYS 119). Students with questions about alternative lab credits in Science, or course planning assistance may contact Dr. Janis McKenna at
  • 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 UBC Course Schedule website.
  • *Note for students starting a science degree program at UBC in 2019 or later there will be new breadth requirements for graduation. See details here.


First Year Map

The arrows indicate only the most common paths through the courses. Consult the First Year Physics Advisor about other possibilities.

Planning to enter a Physics & Astronomy specialization? 

For various Physics and Astronomy specializations and how to apply info, please consult Degree Program page.

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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