Honours Physics

The Honours Physics program is more specialized than the Majors program and is excellent preparation for those students intending to proceed to graduate school in any area of Physics including Medical Physics. The requirements for Honours Physics are: a clear pass from first year as well as an overall standing of at least 68% in all first year Physics and Mathematics courses. All Honours Physics students are expected to complete a minimum of 30 credits per winter session (September to April), or 15 credits per academic term (if in co-op in the other term) for students in the COOP program, and to maintain a sessional average of at least 68% (no failed courses). In their last Winter Session, Honours students may register for fewer than 30 credits if all degree requirements will be completed during this last session.

The Science One program as well as the regular first year science stream are excellent entry points for this program. A coop option is available.

Below 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. For information on first year registration please go to first year.

Year 1 - Terms 1 and 2 Description Credits
PHYS 106, 108, 119 (or 117, 118, 119 or Science I) + 129 is recommended1,2 Enriched Physics I, Enriched Physics II and Enriched Experimental Physics 7
CHEM 121 (111)2 Structural Chemistry 4
MATH 120, 121 or
MATH 100, 101 or
MATH 102, 103 or
MATH 104, 105,2
Differential and Integral Calculus 8-6
Communication Requirement3   6
Electives2, 4 , 8-10
Total Credits Year 1 , 33

1Advanced Credit or Placement in Physics provide excellent preparation but they are NOT a substitute for these courses, which are required prerequisites for all second year Physics courses in this program. Students with AP credits should contact the Department for advice. Students without Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 prior to PHYS 131 or PHYS 106 or PHYS 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.
2First-year physics, biology, chemistry, and mathematics can be replaced by Science One (25 credits).
3A total of 6 credits of coursework is required to meet the Communication Requirement. ENGL 112 is recommended. For a full list of acceptable courses see Communication Requirements
4 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.

Students interested in senior chemistry courses or who are planning to enter a career in teaching are reminded that they should take a second course of introductory chemistry. In first year, 2 of the elective credits can be used to take the 4-credit math courses MATH 120 and 121. 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 33). 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
PHYS 200 Relativity and Quanta 4
PHYS 219 Intermediate Experimental Physics I 2
PHYS 210 Introduction to Computational Physics 3
MATH 2175 Multivariable Vector Calculus 4
MATH 223 (221)6 Linear Algebra 3
Year 2 - Term 2 Description Credits
PHYS 203 Thermodynamics 4
PHYS 216 Intermediate Mechanics 3
PHYS 229 Intermediate Experimental Physics II 1
MATH 215 Elementary Differential Equations I 3
Electives4   6
Total Credits Year 2   33


May be replaced by either MATH 226 + MATH 227 or by MATH 200 + MATH 317 using 3 credits of science elective.
6MATH 152 can be substituted for MATH 223 under exceptional circumstances. MATH 223 or 221 can be taken in first year. Eligible students are highly recommended to take MATH 223.

Year 3 - Term 1 Description Credits
PHYS 301 Electricity and Magnetism 3
PHYS 304 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 3
PHYS 309 (or 319 in 2nd term)8 Electrical Laboratory 3
MATH 316 Elementary Differential Equations II 3
MATH 300 Complex Variables 3
Electives4,9,12   3
Year 3 - Term 2 Description Credits
PHYS 306 Mechanics 3
PHYS 40110 or 40810 Electromagnetic Theory / Optics 3-4
PHYS 402 Applications of Quantum Mechanics 3
MATH 318 Probability with Physical Applications 3
Electives4,9,12   3-2
Total Credits Year 3   33

8 Note it is possible to take both PHYS 309 and PHYS 319 since these are not credit excluded. If both are taken, the extra 3 credits can be used towards the upper level PHYS/ASTR electives requirement.

9Students interested in mathematical physics should take MATH 320 and MATH 321 as electives.

10 PHYS 401 is 3 credits, PHYS 408 is 4 credits; students should adjust electives accordingly.

Year 4 - Term 1 and 2 Description Credits
Phys 305 or 403 or 474 Biological Physics / Statistical Mechanics / Solid-State Physics 3
PHYS 409 Experimental Physics 3
PHYS 449 Honours Thesis 6
MATH 40011 Applied Partial Differential Equations 3
Electives4, 9,12   18
Total Credits Year 4   33
Total Credits to Graduate   132

11 With permission of an undergraduate physics and astronomy advisor, another course may replace MATH 400.

12The specialization requires at least 9 credits of upper-level PHYS or ASTR courses including at least 6 credits at the 400-level or higher.PHYS 490 is excluded. Suggested upper level electives are ASTR 403, 404, 406; EECE 480; MATH 301 345, 401, 402, 405. 418, 420, 450; PHYS 400, 405, 407, 410, 437, 447, 473, 474. Qualified students are encouraged to take 500-level Physics courses for which they must have permission of the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.