Undergraduate Courses

Please check course outlines for more detailed information on courses, the undergraduate calendar for prerequisites or restrictions and WebAdvisor for the most up-to-date information on current semester offerings. 

First Year Courses

Course Title Description Offerings
IPS*1500 Integrated Mathematics and Physics I

This is a foundational course for students in B.Sc. mathematical and physical sciences majors. The disciplines of Mathematics and Physics are taught in an integrated fashion that demonstrates how they support and enrich one another. Atomic structure, algebra and trigonometry, forces and Newton's laws, functions and graphing, differentiation, angular momentum and energy conservation, limits, integration, kinematics, and special relativity are presented in a harmonized fashion to ensure students have an improved understanding of these fundamentals.

IPS*1510 Integrated Mathematics and Physics II

This is the second foundational course for students in B.Sc. mathematical and physical sciences majors. The disciplines of Mathematics and Physics are taught in an integrated fashion that demonstrates how they support and enrich one another. Thermodynamics, integration, electrostatics, partial derivatives, multidimensional integrals, simple harmonic motion, Taylor's series, and spectroscopy are presented in a harmonized fashion to ensure students have an improved understanding of these fundamentals.

NANO*1000 Introduction to Nanoscience

This course introduces students to the emerging field of nanoscience. Its representation in popular culture and journalism will be contrasted with the present and near future realities in the field. Current industrial and business applications will be discussed. Guest lectures will be given by faculty performing research in the field. The course also aims to help students in their transition to the academic life by emphasizing skills and values such as academic integrity and problem solving and by actively connecting their first-year science core courses to the field of nanoscience.

PHYS*1010 Introductory Electricity and Magnetism

This is a course for physical science students on the phenomena of electromagnetism, waves and introductory quantum physics. Topics include electric charges and fields, electric potential, capacitance, magnetic fields, electric circuits, waves, electromagnetic waves, quantization of light and other aspects of introductory quantum physics.

PHYS*1070 Physics for Life Sciences II

This course discusses physics of matter and energy at the macroscopic and microscopic levels, with special emphasis on topics of importance to the biological sciences. Topics include properties of waves, acoustics and hearing, optical systems and vision, quantum nature of radiation and its interaction with biomolecules, electricity, high energy radiation and radioactivity.

PHYS*1080 Physics for Life Sciences

This course discusses aspects of classical physics with particular emphasis on topics of importance in the biological and environmental sciences. Topics include mechanics and applications to anatomical problems, fluid statics and dynamics, molecular motion, diffusion, osmosis, and heat.

Fall, Winter
PHYS*1130 Physics with Applications

This course is for engineering and environmental science students, and uses some calculus in analytic problem-solving. Topics include simple harmonic motion, waves, acoustics, optics, properties and absorption of electromagnetic radiation, blackbody radiation, solar spectrum and flux, electric field and potential, DC circuits, power transmission, nuclear processes, and radioactivity.

PHYS*1300 Fundamentals of Physics

This course introduces students to fundamental phenomena in physics, with particular emphasis on applications to the biological sciences. Topics include: analyzing one-dimensional and two-dimensional motion; Newton’s laws; momentum, energy and associated conservation laws; interactions between charges, resistive direct-current circuits; the fundamentals of waves, with applications to acoustics; ionizing radiation, radioactivity and medical applications. This course is designed for students who have not completed 4U Physics (or equivalent): students with credit in 4U Physics (or equivalent) may not take this course for credit.

PHYS*1600 Contemporary Astronomy

This course is designed for non-science students. Emphasis will be on the interdisciplinary and contemporary aspects of astronomy with the object of providing a perspective of our place in the physical universe. Topics will include the solar system, stars and stellar evolution, pulsars, black holes, quasars and cosmology. Students are encouraged to suggest and participate in discussion on items of special interest. Offered through Distance Education format only.


Second Year Courses

Course Title Description Offerings
NANO*2100 Synthesis and Characterization of Nanomaterials II The structural, mechanical, and electronic properties of matter will be discussed. Topics will include methods to fabricate nanostructured materials such as nanoparticles, nanocomposites, thin films, polymers and ferrofluids, as well as techniques that have been developed to analyze these materials, including scattering, microscopy and spectroscopy Winter
PHYS*2030 Biophysics of Excitable Cells An intermediate biophysics course with special emphasis on the physical properties of nerve cells and of biological transducers such as the ear and the eye. Winter
PHYS*2180 Experimental Techniques in Physics This course is designed to aid students in the development of core practical skills in physics. Students will be required to conduct a series of experiments exploring fundamental concepts in mechanics, electricity & magnetism, thermal physics, as well as the experimental basis of quantum physics. There will be a strong emphasis on data and error analysis with a variety of software applications. Winter
PHYS*2240 Thermal Physics This course will introduce students to the basic ideas of thermal physics, including temperature, heat, work, thermal and diffusive equilibrium, and the Boltzmann distribution. The statistical basis for entropy and for thermodynamics will be discussed. Applications of thermodynamics to both non-interacting and interacting systems will be presented. Fall
PHYS*2310 Mechanics This course continues building the foundation in mechanics begun in the first year. Topics include, one, two and three dimensional motion, damped and forced harmonic oscillator, gravitation and orbital motion, special relativity, noninertial reference frames, and rigid body dynamics. Winter
PHYS*2330 Electricity and Magnetism I This course continues building the foundation in electricity and magnetism begun in the first year and is intended for students proceeding to advanced studies in the physical sciences. Topics include vector calculus, electric fields, potential, electric work and energy, Gauss's Law, Poisson's and Laplace's equations, capacitors, D.C. circuits, transients and dielectric materials. Fall
PHYS*2340 Electricity and Magnetism II This course is a continuation of PHYS*2330. Topics include magnetic forces and fields, the Biot-Savart equation, Ampere's Law, magnetic induction, LRC transients, A.C. circuits and magnetic materials. Winter
PHYS*2600 General Astronomy An introduction to astronomy, this course covers the solar system, the sun, stellar and galactic structure. Offered through Distance Education format only. Fall

Third Year Courses

Course Title Description Offerings
IPS*3000 Science Communication This course focuses on developing the skills required to communicate science for non-specialist audiences. The principles and practices of public speaking and writing will be explored, employing a variety of media. Through multiple oral and written assignments, students will explore tailoring their message for various audience-types. Fall
NANO*3500 Thin Film Science The deposition and growth of thin layers of materials is an important process on the production of many devices. This course will study the various methods by which thin films are grown including physical and chemical vapour deposition, molecular beam epitaxy, atomic layer epitaxy, and self-assembled monolayers. Experimental techniques for analyzing the properties of thin films will also be discussed. Fall
NANO*3600 Computational Methods in Materials Science Many computational techniques have been brought to bear on the study of nanostructured matter. This course will present several of these techniques and will introduce a number of computational packages that can be used to study matter. Monte Carlo and ab initio methods along with molecular dynamics simulations will be studied, with an emphasis upon the implementation of the software packages and the appropriate interpretation of the results. Winter
PHYS*3000 Optics: Fundamentals and Applications This course will introduce students to the fundamental principles of wave and geometric optics, with an emphasis on applications. Topics will include reflection, refraction, diffraction, interference, and polarization, as well as fibre optics, imaging systems and lasers. Winter
PHYS*3080 Energy This course covers energy resources and the production, transmission, interconversion, consumption and waste of energy in the industrial society. Emphasis is placed on environmental impact and human safety. Topics include fossil fuels, nuclear fission and fusion, wind and solar power, the hydrogen economy, and conservation strategies. Winter
PHYS*3130 Mathematical Physics This course covers a number of mathematical techniques that are required in all areas of physics. Curvilinear coordinates, special functions, Fourier series and integral transforms, Green’s functions, and a number of advanced topics will be discussed. The course emphasizes the application of these techniques to solve a variety of physics problems, providing context to the fundamental tools of the discipline. Fall
PHYS*3170 Radioactivity and Radiation Interactions This course will provide a fundamental understanding of radiation physics and dosimetry, as well as assist students in the development of their problem solving skills in this field. Topics will include: atomic and nuclear structure, radioactivity, interaction of radiation with matter, radiobiology, radiation dosimetry, and external radiation protection. Throughout the course, applications of radiation physics in medicine will be highlighted. Fall
PHYS*3230 Quantum Mechanics This course consists of a formal treatment of quantum mechanics. Topics include wave packets and free particle motion, the Schrodinger equation, harmonic oscillator, piecewise constant potentials, central forces and angular momentum, and the hydrogen atom. Fall
PHYS*3400 Advanced Mechanics This course covers Lagrangian mechanics and Hamiltonian mechanics. Topics include least action principles, Poisson brackets, Liouville's theorem, Hamilton- Jacobi theory, the transition to quantum mechanics and introduction to non-linear dynamics. Fall
PHYS*3510 Intermediate Laboratory This modular course consists of experiments in modern and classical physics. Modules include laboratory instrumentation employing computers, modern physics, waves and optics, molecular physics, biophysics, and solid state physics. Fall, Winter

Fourth Year Courses

Course Title Description Offerings
NANO*4100 Biological Nanomaterials Biological systems provide a rich range of examples of specialized chemical systems that are structured on the nanoscale. Nanofibres, microtubules, viruses, and ribosomes are examples of systems that can be studied from the perspective of nanoscience. Using these systems or developing artificial systems which mimic their functionality are important growth areas in nanoscience and will be explored in this course. Fall
PHYS*4001 Research in Physics This course is the first part of the two-semester course (F-W) in which students apply their knowledge and skills through independent research of an experimental or theoretical nature within physics. Students will be required to present their results in both oral and written reports. Students must make arrangements with a faculty supervisor and obtain approval of the course co-ordinator before course selection. Approval of the course co-ordinator will only be granted upon receipt of a completed registration form, available from the co-ordinator during the course selection period. This is a two-semester course offered over consecutive semesters. When you select it, you must select PHYS*4001 in the Fall semester and PHYS*4002 in the Winter semester. A grade will not be assigned to PHYS*4001 until PHYS*4002 has been completed. Fall
PHYS*4002 Research in Physics This course is the second part of the two-semester course PHYS*4001/2.  Winter
PHYS*4040 Quantum Mechanics II This is a second course in quantum mechanics. Topics include spin and two-level systems, quantum systems of multiple particles, quantum description of fermions and bosons, time independent perturbation theory, and the fine structure of hydrogen. Winter
PHYS*4070 Clinical Applications of Physics in Medicine This course provides an overview of the application of physics to medicine. The physical concepts underlying the diagnosis and treatment of disease will be explored. Topics will include general imaging principles such as resolution, intensity, and contrast; x-ray imaging and computed tomography; radioisotopes and nuclear medicine, SPECT and PET; magnetic resonance imaging; ultrasound imaging and radiation therapy. Winter
PHYS*4120 Atomic and Molecular Physics The application of quantum theory to atomic and molecular structure, and the interaction between electromagnetic radiation and atoms and simple molecules. Fall
PHYS*4130 Subatomic Physics This course surveys the field of subatomic physics from radioactive emanations to conjectured subunits of nucleons. Topics include quark models; strong, electromagnetic and weak interactions; isospin, strangeness, conservation laws and symmetry principles; systematics of nuclear properties, nuclear radioactivity, nuclear models and reactions. Winter
PHYS*4150 Solid State Physics The topics covered in this course include: bonding in solids, thermal and electrical properties of solids, energy bands, imperfections in solids, properties of semiconductors and insulators. Winter
PHYS*4180 Advanced Electromagnetic Theory This course covers Maxwell's equation, Lorentz-force law, conservation of charge, and conservation of energy (Poynting's theorem). In addition, the course will discuss potentials, gauge transformations, wave equations, and multipole expansions as well as Green's functions for the Poisson and wave equations. Additional topics include electrostatics and magnetostatics (including boundary-value problems), motion of charged particles in electromagnetic fields, and propagation and generation of electromagnetic waves. Fall
PHYS*4240 Statistical Physics II A continuation of PHYS*2240 including a discussion of the grand canonical distribution, quantum statistics, and transport theory. Fall
PHYS*4500 Advanced Physics Laboratory This is a modular course for students in any physics-related major in which techniques of nuclear, solid state and molecular physics will be studied. Fall, Winter
PHYS*4540 Molecular Biophysics Physical methods of determining macromolecular structure: energetics, intramolecular and intermolecular forces, with applications to lamellar structures, information storage, DNA and RNA, recognition and rejection of foreign molecules. Winter

Last update: 5 June 2019