Important note to students taking PHYS/ASTR courses in fall 2020:

All Physics/Astronomy lectures and labs will be given online next semester (September-December 2020); 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.

New science breadth requirements

For students starting a science degree program UBC in 2019 there will be new science breadth requirements for graduation. The Faculty of Science offers courses in seven broad categories1:

  1. Mathematics
  2. Chemistry
  3. Physics
  4. Life Science
  5. Statistics
  6. Computer Science
  7. Earth & Planetary Science

All students in single-subject honours and majors programs will need at least three credits in 6 out of 7 of these categories to graduate. Those in combined programs (including Biophysics) will need at least three credits in 5 out of 7 of these categories to graduate.

As currently structured our core programs (minus electives) fulfil the following number of categories:

  • Honours and Major Physics: 4 out of 6
  • Honours Biophysics: 4 out of 5
  • Major Astronomy: 4 out of 6
  • Combined Honours Physics and Astronomy: 4 out of 5
  • Combined Honours Physics and Computer Science: 5 out of 5
  • Combined Major Physics and Computer Science: 4 out of 5

In addition, all our students are encouraged to take first-year computer science (CPSC103 or 110), in which case all the programs listed above will fulfil 5 categories.


1. The UBC calendar is the definitive source for courses that count toward the breadth requirement. As of August 2018, the following course lists were up to date:

  • Mathematics: All MATH courses, except MATH 302 Chemistry: All CHEM courses, except CHEM 100, CHEM 300 Physics: All PHYS courses, except PHYS 100
  • Life Science: All BIOL, BIOC, PSYC (courses numbered from 60 to 89 in the last two digits), and MICB courses, and GEOB 207, except BIOL 140, BIOL 300
  • Statistics: BIOL 300, DSCI 100, MATH 302, all STAT
  • Computer Science: All CPSC courses
  • World Science: All ASTR, ATSC, ENVR, EOSC, GEOB courses except EOSC 111 and GEOB 207