Honours Chemical Physics

There is a rich boundary region between Chemistry and Physics, particularly in areas such as materials science, condensed matter physics, nuclear chemistry and surfaces science. Several faculty at UBC hold joint appointments in Chemistry and Physics and others are members in one department while holding an associate membership in the other. Many faculty collaborate with counterparts in the other department and share the outstanding interdisciplinary research facilities at UBC, such as AMPEL and TRIUMF. Combined Honours Chemical Physics is a challenging program which is designed to provide strong students with an excellent preparation for an advanced degree in either department with interests that lie in the boundary region between Chemistry and Physics.

Meeting the requirements for both departments requires creative scheduling of the courses listed below. Beyond first year, there is some flexibility in the order in which courses are taken, especially between Physics and Chemistry. Generally we advise taking the Math courses as soon as possible since this makes the upper level physics courses easier. Note several courses listed below have prerequisites not listed below (e.g. CHEM 320). A different course is deemed to be an adequate replacement (e.g. PHYS 304 is sufficient for CHEM 320).

A coop program is possible and has the advantage of gaining practical work experience while earning money. However, in this program the coop option could delay your graduation by between one and two years.

The following is a short description of the program. Please be aware the official requirements for the program are listed in the UBC calendar - please see the appropriate calendar section for more information.

Year 1 Terms 1 and 2 Description Credits
Communication Requirement1   3
CHEM 121 (or 111)2 Structural Chemistry 4
CHEM 123 (or 113)2 Physical and Organic Chemistry 4
MATH 1203 Differential Calculus 4
MATH 1214 Integral Calculus 4
PHYS 106, 108, 119 (or 117, 118, 119) + 129 is recommended5 Enriched Physics I, Enriched Physics II and Experimental Physics 7
Electives6   6
Total Credits   32

1Of the 6 credits required to satisfy the Communication Requirement, 3 credits are specified in third year (CHEM 300). The remaining 3 credits must be chosen from the list of acceptable courses. ENGL 112 is recommended. ENGL credits beyond those needed to satisfy the Communication Requirement may be applied towards the Faculty of Science Arts Requirement. SCIE 113 may be used to satisfy part of the Communication Requirement but not part of the Arts Requirement.

2 Students who do not have B.C. High School Chemistry 12 (or its equivalent) must write the UBC Chemistry Basic Skills Test and may be required to take CHEM 100. Students without Chemistry 12 should take CHEM 111+113 instead of CHEM 121+123.

3MATH 180 or 184 may substitute for MATH 120. MATH 100 or 102 or 104 may substitute for MATH 120 by increasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for MATH 120 by decreasing the electives by 2 credits.

4MATH 101 or 103 or 105 may substitute for MATH 121 by increasing the electives by 1 credit.

5Advanced Credit or Placement in Physics are both excellent preparation but they are NOT a substitute for these first year Physics courses, which are prerequisites for all second year Physics courses. Students with AP credits should contact the Department for advice. Students without Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 prior to PHYS 106 or 117. Students that took PHYS 131 may enter the specialization but will need to take PHYS 106, 117, or 170 before the required PHYS 216. Students must complete PHYS 119 lab before they can take PHYS 129 Enriched lab. The PHYS 129 Enriched lab is recommended for all PHAS program specializations.

6 Elective credits together with required courses must fulfill the Faculty of Science’s:
a) Foundational Requirement;
b) Laboratory Science Requirement;
c) Science Breadth Requirement;
d) Science and Arts Requirements;
e) Upper-level Requirement;
f) General Degree Requirements.

Honours specializations have additional requirements, see Introduction to Degree Options.

It is recommended that one of the electives in first or second year be a course in CPSC.
Some course alternates have different credit value. The number of electives in each year is chosen to balance the total number of credits (i.e., make the yearly total equal to 32 or 34). However, since the number of available elective credits may not be a multiple of three, students are permitted to move elective credits between years. A minimum of 30 credits must be taken each Winter Session.

Year 2 Term 1 Description Credits
CHEM 208 Coordination Chemistry 3
CHEM 2037 Introduction to Organic Chemistry 4
MATH 2178 Multivariable and Vector Calculus 4
MATH 223 (or 221)9 Matrix Algebra 3
PHYS 200 Relativity and Quanta 4
PHYS 219 Intermediate Experimental Physics I 2
Year 2 Term 2    
PHYS 216 Intermediate Mechanics 3
CHEM 213, 245 Organic Chemistry, Lab 4
MATH 215 Differential Equations I 3
PHYS 229 Intermediate Experimental Physics II 1
Electives6   3
Total Credits Year 2   34

7Students with CHEM 235 and a score of 76% or higher in CHEM 233 may apply for admission to this specialization and will be allowed to use CHEM 233 and 235 in place of CHEM 203.

8MATH 217 can be replaced by MATH 200 and 317 using 2 credits of electives.

9MATH 223 (221) may be taken in first year.

Year 3 Term 1 Description Credits
CHEM 300 Communicating Chemistry 3
CHEM 304 Fundamentals of Physical Chemistry 3
CHEM 21110 Introduction to Chemical Analysis 4
CHEM 319 Practical Skills for Chemical Research 1
PHYS 210 Computational Physics 3
PHYS 301 Electricity and Magnetism 3
Year 3 Term 2    
CHEM 315 Chemistry Integrated Laboratory I 1
CHEM 329 Research Ethics and Data Analysis Skills 1
MATH 31611 Elementary Differential Equations II 3
PHYS 304 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 3
PHYS 319 (or PHYS 309 in T1)10 Electronics Laboratory 3
PHYS and CHEM Electives12   3
Electives6   3
Total Credits Year 3   34

10 CHEM 211 may be moved to T2, in exchange for PHYS 309 if timetable permits.

11MATH 316 may be moved to T1 if timetable permits.

12Chosen from 300- and 400-level PHYS and CHEM lecture courses. At least 3 credits must be chosen from 400-level PHYS lecture courses and at least 3 credits must be chosen from 400-level CHEM lecture courses. Recommended PHYS courses includes PHYS 401, 402, 408, 410, 474. PHYS 402, 410 are strongly recommended for students intending to pursue graduate work in physics. Recommended CHEM courses include CHEM 401, 402, 407, 408, 410, 417.

Year 4 Terms 1 and 2 Description Credits
One of BIOC 202, CHEM 305, 327 Biophysical Chemistry 3
CHEM 412 Electronic Structure of Atoms and Molecules 3
CHEM 449 or PHYS 449 Honours Thesis 6
PHYS 401 or 40813 Electromagnetic Theory / Optics 3
One of PHYS 306, 402, 403, 474   3
PHYS and CHEM Electives12   9
Electives6,14   5
Total Credits Year 4   32
Total Credits for Degree   132

13 Students selecting PHYS 408 decrease the number of PHYS Electives by 1 credit.

14Students who intend to continue in graduate school in Physics should note that this program requires less math than normal for an undergraduate Honours degree and should consider choosing MATH 300, 301, 318 or 400 as an elective. Students heading for graduate school in Chemistry should consult advisor about additional Chemistry courses.