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 I 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 107, 108, 109 (or 117, 118, 119 or 101, 118, 119, 117 or Science I)1,2 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 101 or PHYS 107 or PHYS 117. Students must take PHYS 117 in second year if they did not take it or PHYS 107 in first year.
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
4Electives must be taken to ensure that all Faculty of Science requirements are met:
(a) At least 12 credits must be from the Faculty of Arts, excluding ENGL credits used to satisfy the Faculty of Science Communication Requirement.
(b) Up to 18 credits may be taken from any faculty but students must ensure that they have at least 48 upper-level credits, including at least 42 upper-level credits from the Faculty of Science.
Students without Biology 11 or 12 must take 3 credits of 100-level BIOL. BIOL 111 or 121 are recommended. For students with Biology 11 or 12, at least 3 credits must be a science course in ASTR, ATSC, BIOL, EOSC, or GEOB. See the Biology Requirement for further details. 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 2105 Introduction to Computational Physics 3
MATH 2176 Multivariable Vector Calculus 4
MATH 223 (221)7 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

5Computing skills at the level of PHYS 210 are required in the specialization. With written permission of the Undergraduate Advisor, students who already have these skills may replace PHYS 210 with 3 credits of electives.
6May be replaced by either MATH 226 + MATH 227 or by MATH 200 + MATH 317 using 3 credits of science elective.
7MATH 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 30610 Mechanics 3
PHYS 40110 or 4084 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.

10Students who choose to take PHYS 401 will need to take PHYS 306 and PHYS 401 in two different years, if course timetable conflicts do not allow them to be done in the same year.

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.