Academic Calendar


Unless stated otherwise, the minimum grade acceptable in all course prerequisites is a C-.

English language proficiency requirements

Students registering in post-secondary level courses (numbered 100 to 499) will be required to meet the English language entrance proficiency requirements. Students in ELS or the University Foundations programs can register in those courses identified in the University Foundations program with lower levels of language proficiency.

Please note that not all courses are offered every semester.

PHYS 083

3 credits

Adult Basic Education Advanced-Level Physics

Pre- or corequisite(s): One of the following: MATH 084, MATH 085, Principles of Mathematics 11 or 12, Applications of Mathematics 11 or 12, Foundations of Mathematics 11 or 12, Precalculus 11 or 12, or Apprenticeship and Workplace Math 11 or 12,
Workplace Mathematics 11, or Apprenticeship Mathematics 12.

Note: Students with other Mathematics 11 or 12 courses, or who are currently enrolled in a Mathematics 11 course, may contact the instructor to request permission to register.

A university preparatory course equivalent to Physics 11. Introduces concepts of measurement, kinematics, dynamics, electricity, heat, waves, and optics.

Note: Students with credit for PHYS 083 cannot take PHYS 100 for further credit.

PHYS 093

3 credits

Provincial-Level Physics

Prerequisite(s): (One of Applications of Mathematics 11, Principles of Mathematics 11, Pre-Calculus 11, Foundations of Mathematics 11, MATH 084, or MATH 085) and one of Physics 11, PHYS 083, or PHYS 100).

This university preparatory course, which is equivalent to B.C’s high school Physics 12 course, covers mechanics, electrostatics, electromagnetism, and waves and optics.

PHYS 100

4 credits

Introductory Physics I

Prerequisite(s): One of the following: (B or better in one of Principles of Mathematics 11 or Pre-calculus 11) or (C+ or better in MATH 085) or (one of Apprenticeship Math 12, Calculus 12, Principles of Mathematics 12, Pre-calculus 12, MATH 092, MATH 094, MATH 096, MATH 140, or COMP 138) or Upgrading and University Preparation Assessment.
Note: One of MATH 093 or MATH 096 is recommended, if not taken previously.

Covers kinematics and dynamics (Newton’s laws), conservation of energy and momentum, wave motion, geometric optics, introductory special relativity, and nuclear reactions.

Note: PHYS 100 has been designed for students who have not taken Physics 11 but who have a strong background in mathematics. PHYS 100 is intended as a superior substitute for Physics 11 with regards to meeting prerequisites and satisfying program requirements.

Note: Students with credit for PHYS 083 cannot take this course for further credit.

PHYS 101

5 credits

Introductory General Physics: Mechanics and Fluids

Prerequisite(s): One of the following: (one of [Principles of Mathematics 12, Pre-calculus 12, MATH 093, MATH 095, MATH 096] and one of [Physics 11, PHYS 083, or PHYS 100]), Physics 12, or PHYS 093.

This introductory non-calculus physics course covers Newtonian mechanics; motion, momentum and energy of particles, rigid rotating bodies, and fluids.

Note: PHYS 111 is the entry course for upper-level physics. Students with credit for PHYS 111 cannot take PHYS 101 for further credit.

Note: Because of the overlap in course material, MATH 111 students should take PHYS 111 instead of PHYS 101.

PHYS 105

5 credits

Heat, Waves, and Optics

Prerequisite(s): (One of [Principles of Mathematics 12, Pre-Calculus 12, MATH 093, MATH 095, MATH 096, or MATH 110] and one of [Physics 11, PHYS 083, or PHYS 100]) or (one of Physics 12, PHYS 093, PHYS 101, or PHYS 111).

An introductory non-calculus physics course covering electric circuits, waves, geometric and wave optics, and thermodynamics.

PHYS 111

5 credits


Prerequisite(s): One of: Physics 12, PHYS 093, or (prerequisites for MATH 111 and one of Physics 11, or PHYS 083, or PHYS 100).

Pre- or corequisite(s): MATH 111 is highly recommended.

Intended for students who are planning to study engineering science or life sciences. Topics covered include vectors, kinematics, dynamics, work and energy, collisions, rotational kinematics, rotational dynamics, simple harmonic motion, and gravitation. The object is to understand the fundamental laws of mechanics, to learn how to apply the theory to solve related problems, and to develop a feeling for the order of magnitude of physical quantities and uncertainties in real experiments.

Note: Students with credit for this course cannot take PHYS 100 or PHYS 101 for further credit.
Note: MATH 112 or MATH 118 are corequisites for PHYS 112, although the Physics department will waive this requirement for students with an A in PHYS 111.

PHYS 112

5 credits

Electricity and Magnetism

Prerequisite(s): MATH 111 and one of (PHYS 111, PHYS 105 with a B, or PHYS 101 with a B+).

Pre- or corequisite(s): One of MATH 112 or MATH 118. Note: The Physics department will waive this requirement for students with an A in PHYS 111.

This course follows PHYS 111 and is designed for students who are planning to continue their studies in physics or any of the other sciences. Topics include electric fields, Gauss's law, electric potential, circuits, Kirchhoff's laws, magnetic fields, magnetic induction, and finally, a study of Maxwell's equations. The laboratory portion of the course uses experiments to reinforce the theory covered in class.

PHYS 221

4 credits

Intermediate Mechanics

Prerequisite(s): (PHYS 111 and PHYS 112) or (PHYS 101 and PHYS 105 with a B+ or higher in each).

Pre- or corequisite(s): MATH 211.

This intermediate mechanics course covers polar co-ordinates, orbits, dynamics of solid bodies, driven damped oscillators, and coupled oscillators.

PHYS 225

3 credits

Waves and Introductory Optics

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 221.

Corequisite(s): PHYS 381 recommended.

An introduction to wave properties as they apply to such topics as cables, sound, light, and quantum theory. Simple optical systems will also be studied; a small number of experiments will be performed to quantify many of the concepts studied.

PHYS 231

3 credits


Prerequisite(s): PHYS 112

Pre- or corequisite(s): MATH 211

Pressure, temperature, kinetic theory, and the Maxwell velocity distribution; heat, work, and the first law; heat capacities, equations of state, and exact and inexact differentials; isothermal, isobaric, isochoric and adiabatic processes, heat engines, phase diagrams, and thermodynamic cycles; thermal expansion, conductive, convective and radiative heat losses, entropy, and the second law.

PHYS 232

3 credits

Experimental Methods in Physics

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 112.

Pre- or corequisite(s): PHYS 221.

An introduction to the techniques involved in designing a physics experiment. There is an emphasis on electric circuits and
electrical measurements, but practical methodologies useful in all experimental physics courses are developed.

PHYS 275

1 credit

Survey of Medical Physics

Prerequisite(s): One of the following: BIO 111, PHYS 105, or PHYS 112.

Overview of the field of Medical Physics, describing the different types of diseases, treatments, and research specialties that Medical Physicists are involved with, job prospects and salary, and the training required for a starting position and for advancement.
Note: Field trips will be required.
Note: Students with credit for PHYS 175 cannot take this course for further credit.

PHYS 311

3 credits

Statistical Physics

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 231) and (one of PHYS 221 or PHYS 381/MATH 381/ENGR 257).

Basic statistics and statistical distributions (Binomial, Gaussian, and Poisson); statistical description of particle interactions and equilibrium, phase space, and the number of microstates; micro canonical, canonical, and grand canonical distributions; partition functions, entropy, and the Boltzmann factor; quantum statistics, Fermi-Dirac, and Bose-Einstein systems.

PHYS 312

3 credits

Intermediate Electromagnetism

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 112 and PHYS 381/MATH 381/ENGR 257.

Pre- or corequisite(s): MATH 312 recommended

An introduction to vector calculus; electrostatics and magnetostatics, both in vacuum and in materials; and time-dependent electric and magnetic fields including Faraday's law, displacement current, and Maxwell's equations.

PHYS 321

3 credits

Advanced Mechanics

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 221.

Pre- or corequisite(s): PHYS 381/MATH 381/ENGR 257.

Motion in non-inertial reference frames, calculus of variations and Lagrange's equations with and without constraints, Hamilton's equations, rotational moment of inertia, motion of rigid bodies in three dimensions, the symmetric top.

PHYS 325

3 credits

Fluid Mechanics

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 221.

Pre- or corequisite(s): PHYS 381/MATH 381/ENGR 257.

Fluid mechanics is an important and yet often under-appreciated and neglected aspect of physics; yet an understanding of how fluids behave is important in a diversity of subjects from Astrophysics (stars and planetary bodies) to Microbiology (fluid flow into and out of cells). This course will introduce students to the subject of fluid mechanics from the basic principles of Archimedes and Bernoulli, to the more complex aspects of vortices and streamlines. An emphasis will be placed on the vector description of fluid behaviour, which will necessitate a brief introduction to Cartesian tensors.

PHYS 351

3 credits

Quantum Mechanics

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 225.

Pre- or corequisite(s): PHYS 381/MATH 381/ENGR 257.

Quantum theory and the Planck-deBroglie hypotheses, wave-particle duality, uncertainty principle; operators and the Schrödinger equation, statistical interpretation of the wavefunction, solutions for simple one dimensional potentials; position, momentum and energy representations, Dirac Bra-Ket notation, Hilbert space; Coulomb potential and the hydrogen atom, angular momentum and spin.

PHYS 352

3 credits

Special Relativity and Classical Fields

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 221 and PHYS 381/MATH 381/ENGR 257.

The constancy of the speed of light for all inertial observers has dramatic effects on our very concepts of space and time. Students will be introduced to the mathematics of tensors to study the implications of Einstein’s seminal theory.

PHYS 375

4 credits

Radiobiology and Radiation Protection

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 275, (one of the following: STAT 104, STAT 106, MATH 270/STAT 270, or PHYS 232), and instructor's permission. Note: Both PHYS 225 and BIO 202 are recommended prerequisite courses.

An introduction to the essentials of radiation protection in different environments (especially medical), as well as the fundamentals of radiobiology, i.e. the study of the behavior of cells when exposed to different forms and levels of radiation.

Note: This course will be held off campus at the BC Cancer Agency (Abbotsford Hospital).

PHYS 381

3 credits

Mathematical Physics

Prerequisite(s): MATH 211 and (one of the following: PHYS 221 or MATH 255) and (one of the following: PHYS 112 or any other MATH course 200-level or above).

Partial and ordinary differential equations. Fourier series/transforms. Legendre polynomials. Laplace transforms. Applications to heat flow and waves. Laplace's equation in 1D, 2D, 3D using Cartesian, polar, and spherical co-ordinates. Special functions including Dirac Delta, Heaviside Theta, Si, Ci, Ei, Erf, Gamma.

Note: This course is offered as PHYS 381, MATH 381, and ENGR 257. Students may take only one of these for credit.

PHYS 382

3 credits

Modern Physics Laboratory I

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 221, PHYS 225, or PHYS 232.

Pre- or corequisite(s): One of PHYS 312, PHYS 321, PHYS 351, PHYS 402, PHYS 410, PHYS 455, PHYS 457, or PHYS 458 is encouraged.

Students will be required to do a selection of experiments from a list spanning the many topics in physics: mechanics, optics, solid state physics, thermodynamics, electromagnetism, electronics, nuclear physics, etc., or an approved project in an area of interest to them.

PHYS 393

3 credits

Computational Physics I

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 221.

Symbolic and numerical computational physics focusing on plotting and fitting data; applications of numerical techniques and Monte Carlo methods; simulating and animating time-dependent systems; and random walks and diffusive processes.

PHYS 402

3 credits

Advanced Optics

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 225 and PHYS 312.

Pre- or corequisite(s): PHYS 351 recommended.

Overview of geometric and physical optics, Fermat’s principle of least time, index of refraction, dispersion, Snell’s law, and the reflection and refraction of light from arbitrary shaped surfaces; lenses and mirrors, magnifiers, microscopes and telescopes, the human eye and corrective lenses; Maxwell’s equations and the wave nature of light, interference and diffraction, Fourier optics, polarization, and the Jones calculus.

Note: Students with credit for PHYS 302 cannot take this course for further credit.

PHYS 408

3 credits

Special Topics in Physics

Prerequisite(s): 6 credits of PHYS 300 or above, and permission of the instructor. Certain programs of study may require more particular prerequisites.

Covers a topic in physics which is not included within the current course offerings of the department, allowing students to study areas such as astrophysics, atmospheric physics, biophysics, climate physics, geophysics, medical physics, oceanography, quantum field theory, quantum chromodynamics, string theory, photonics, and quantum computing. Interested students should contact the Physics Department Head for more information.

Note: Independent study will be required.

Note: This course will be offered under different letter designations (e.g. C-Z) representing different topics. This course may be repeated for credit provided the letter designation differs.

PHYS 410

3 credits

History of Physics

Prerequisite(s): Any 300 - level Physics course.

Once students have learned how physics is performed in the current era, they should also learn how it all began. This course surveys the history of physics from its philosophical beginnings, to the 21st century advances affecting the modern world.

PHYS 412

3 credits

Advanced Electromagnetism

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 312.

Electromagnetic stress-energy-momentum tensor; propagation, polarization, reflection, and transmission of electromagnetic waves; the potential formulation of Maxwell’s equations; retarded potentials (including the Liénard-Wiechert potentials) for time-dependent charge and current distributions; classical electromagnetic radiation; and Lorentz transformations of electromagnetic fields.

PHYS 451

3 credits

Advanced Quantum Mechanics

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 351

Three dimensional quantum mechanics and multi-particle states, addition of angular momentum, Clebsch-Gordan coefficients, identical particles, weak and strong Pauli exclusion principle, the periodic table, and spectroscopic notation; perturbation theory, variational principle, Fermi’s golden rule and time dependent potentials; quantum scattering, cross sections and computation of scattering amplitudes.

PHYS 452

3 credits

Introduction to General Relativity

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 352

Einstein’s theory of general relativity; a description of gravity as a consequence of the curvature of spacetime; introduction to differential geometry and geodesics; Schwarzschild metric, gravitational waves, and FLRW cosmology.

PHYS 455

3 credits

Solid State Physics

Prerequisite(s): (PHYS 231) and (PHYS 351).

Pre- or corequisite(s): PHYS 311 recommended.

Binding of molecules and atoms, crystalline structures and Bravais lattices in 2 and 3 dimensions, symmetry operations, and the Miller indices; Bragg’s law and scattering off of crystals, x-ray diffraction, Brillouin zones, and form factors; lattice vibrations and phonons, dispersion relationships, thermal properties of crystals and heat capacities; Fermi levels and electrical properties, Bloch’s theorem and conduction bands.

PHYS 457

3 credits

Particle Physics

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 351. Note: PHYS 352 is recommended as a pre/corequisite.

The Standard Model of particle physics describing electromagnetic, weak, and strong interactions. Analyze decays and scattering processes using relativistic kinematics, conservation laws, and Feynman rules. Determine masses and magnetic dipole moments of light hadrons in the quark model.

PHYS 458

3 credits

Introduction to Nuclear Physics

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 351

Nuclear sizes and range, the periodic table and isotopes; Rutherford scattering (classical and quantum), nuclear form factors, and charge distributions; liquid drop model, binding energy and the Semi Empirical Mass Formula, binding energy curve, nuclear drip lines; shell models and spin-orbit coupling, magic numbers, mirror nuclei, spin and parity states; radioactive decay, fission and fusion, half-life and nuclear stability.

PHYS 481

3 credits

Advanced Mathematical Methods of Physics

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 381/MATH 381/ENGR 257

Working physicists analyze physical systems and model them mathematically. The equations that arise are often complicated, so specific mathematical techniques have been developed over the years to solve them. These solutions then predict the future behaviour of that physical system. This course includes: Bessel functions and associated Legendre polynomials and their applications in mechanics, electromagnetism, and the hydrogen atom; the calculus of variations, with applications in classical mechanics, optics, and classical field theory, (with attention to coupled systems); Green function techniques; and applications to strings, electromagnetism, and heat. Students will work many problems initially using pen and paper, and then with Maple and/or C or FORTRAN. Computers will be used to generate numerical and/or graphical solutions.

PHYS 483

3 credits

Modern Physics Laboratory II

Pre- or corequisite(s): One or more of PHYS 312, PHYS 321, PHYS 351, PHYS 402, PHYS 410, PHYS 455, PHYS 457, or PHYS 458 are strongly recommended.

A continuation of PHYS 382 with different, more difficult projects and sets of experiments. Through in-depth laboratory work students expand their understanding of physics and continue to develop their laboratory, analysis, and communication skills.

Note: Students who have completed PHYS 382 must present a lab book or write-ups at the beginning of the course to show the experiments previously completed.

Note: Students with credit for PHYS 383 cannot take this course for further credit.

PHYS 493

3 credits

Computer Algebra Physics II

Pre- or corequisite(s): PHYS 393 and PHYS 381/MATH 381/ENGR 257.

This course extends and augments the problem-solving skills of physics students taught in PHYS 393. Problems amenable to solving with computer algebra systems will be emphasized. The problem-solving emphasis will be on an understanding of the physics and on checking whether the solution correctly predicts the actual physical behaviour.

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