Undergraduate Programs

Why Study Physics?

From the infinite expanse of our universe to the infinitesimal atoms from which it is composed, physics seeks to understand how it all works at the most fundamental level.  During your studies, you will develop a 'toolbox' of technical skills and a way of thinking that makes physics graduates prized research scientists, data analysts, educators, and even business leaders.  If you are driven primarily by your innate sense of curiosity, a physics-related major might be the path for you!

Your Education is Our Priority

Physics students at Guelph benefit from a long tradition of excellence in teaching and physics education research - for example, our innovative Interdisciplinary Physical Sciences courses IPS*1500 and IPS*1510 teach Physics and Mathematics in an integrated fashion that demonstrates how they support and enrich one another. Our students enjoy award-winning teaching (including two winners of the Canadian Association of Physicists Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics) and cite the casual and friendly atmosphere of Guelph Physics as being particularly conducive to their academic success.


Physics (PHYS)*
Physics Coop (PHYS:C)*

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

The Department of Physics is a research-intensive department with well-funded and internationally recognized faculty members that have been the recipients of numerous research awards.  Over 40 graduate students and 10 post-doctoral fellows/research associates currently complement our 18 faculty members, affording our undergraduate students the opportunity to learn about a wide array of current physics research, including:

  • astrophysics and gravitation
  • biophysics and medical physics
  • chemical physics
  • condensed matter and materials physics
  • nanoscience
  • physics education
  • planetary exploration
  • subatomic physics.

In a typical year, 10-15 undergraduate students have the opportunity to work in a research lab as summer students. In their final year, undergraduate students have the opportunity to participate in the two-semester Research in Physics course where they conduct novel investigations within a University of Guelph research group - many of our students have had their work published in leading physics journals through these placements!  

I can't promote Co-op enough. Especially because as I mentioned I had no idea what I wanted to do as a career or after my undergraduate degree so I wanted Co-op to help me see what else is out there. I always said throughout high school and throughout my first and second year - I want a job that I don't know exists yet, and I think that's exactly what I landed with. I knew with physics and having a feeling that I wanted to try research I didn't think I would enjoy it but I gave my first Co-op I was able to give research a shot for eight months which definitely was a great experience that helped get me papers, get me to conferences, but also helped me learn that it's not for me for the long term and it got me into the field it got me exposed to Space Health which I don't think I ever would have encountered otherwise and now I was able to see the different groups at the CSA (Canadian Space Agency) and what they do. Not only my my own Health Beyond team but also the Radiation Team and the Life Sciences Team and I've discovered what I really like to do and and who role models are in each Department and positions and I can say oh I really like her job, I like what they do, I look at their educational background... it helps me figure out what I want to do with my studies postgrad, post undergrad. So it's definitely helped me figure out what I want to do with my career and has given purpose to my courses. Now I come back to courses at school and when they say 'oh write a paper on a topic of your choice' instead of just choosing the first topic I come across or the easiest one I choose one that's related to what I'm doing. I choose one related to radiation or space or and I'm excited about it and it helps me in my work with the CSA. So it really gives a whole new meaning to your courses.

Developing Marketable Skills for the Modern Workforce

Many Guelph Physics graduates proceed to top graduate schools or professional programs throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe.  These students pursue additional specialization in a broad range of fields, including but not limited to:

  • cosmology or astronomy
  • materials science or engineering
  • environmental science, oceanography, geological engineering or geography
  • nuclear or particle physics
  • teacher's college or physics education research
  • theoretical physics, including general relativity or string theory
  • biophysics, medical physics, or medicine
  • mathematics, statistics, or mathematical finance.

Physics programs are renown for helping students develop the elite problem-solving and critical-thinking skills increasingly sought in many technical professions. Regardless of next steps, all Physics undergraduate students gain key skills relevant to the modern job market and consequently enjoy a high employment rate upon graduation.  For example, computer programming is an increasingly critical skill for any scientist; Guelph Physics programs have integrated Python programming skills throughout courses starting in second year, which are then strongly reinforced with the Computational Physics course typically taken in third year. Our program is a trailblazer in Canada in stressing the importance of developing communication skills as well, with our innovative Science Communication course helping our students develop a portfolio that differentiates them in today's job market.

Program Contacts

Academic Advising

For in course students with academic questions/concerns.

Name Role
Bonnie Lasby Program Counsellor
Michael Massa Academic Counsellor
Paul Garrett Faculty Advisor (Co-op)

Class Coordinators

The purpose of the coordinators is to provide an alternate feedback channel for students who do not feel able to provide course feedback to course instructors or TAs.

Name Role
Mike Massa First Year Coordinator
Joanne O'Meara Second Year Coordinator
Eric Poisson Third Year Coordinator
Elisabeth Nicol Fourth Year Coordinator

Student Representatives

Name Role
TBD 2nd Year Class Representative, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee
TBD 3rd Year Class Representative, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee
TBD 4th Year Class Representative, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee