Undergraduates

physics undergrads

Physics is the science of the physical world at its most fundamental and general levels. Physics students learn a wide variety of topics, including the mechanical laws governing the motion of objects; the laws of electromagnetism that give rise to electricity, magnetism, and light; the origin of heat and temperature; and the quantum principles affecting the behaviour of atoms and sub-atomic particles.

Applied Physics is a discipline specializing in the technological applications of the latest discoveries in physics. It lies at the frontier of technology development, where new devices are developed and tested. The work of applied physicists has led to the invention of important technologies such as semiconductor electronics, lasers, high-capacity hard disks, light-emitting quantum dots used in next-generation display screens, and more.

A resonant 'plasmonic' wave surrounding a metal block.
Electromagnetism
Understanding and controlling light.
The wavefunction of an electron in a nano-scale 'quantum dot'.
Quantum Mechanics
Accessing the building blocks of reality.
Computer simulation of a magnet composed of a complex lattice of elementary magnetic dipoles.
Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
The science of heat, disorder, and complexity.

During their studies, Physics and Applied Physics students acquire quantitative skills applicable to a broad range of endeavours. These include scientific computer programming, the formulation and testing of quantitative models, data analysis, and the use of state-of-the-art tools such as laser optics, microfluidic devices, and nanofabrication equipment. Our Physics and Applied Physics graduates have found a wide variety of rewarding jobs, including research and development (R&D) in industry or academia, software development, education, and other professional positions.

BSc (Hons) in Physics or Applied Physics

The majority of our students are enroled in these two degree programmes:

  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Physics
  • Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Applied Physics

In these four-year degree programmes, students learn about the basic fields of physics: mechanics, relativity, optics, electromagnetism, thermal physics, quantum mechanics, and condensed-matter physics, as well as computer programming and mathematical methods. Physics students then take advanced courses such as statistical mechanics, computational physics, advanced quantum mechanics, and particle physics. Applied Physics students choose from advanced courses such as spintronics, nanotechnology, plasmonics, metamaterials, and laser physics. All students also take General Education Elective courses to receive a well-rounded university education.

In the fourth year of study, students either undertake a Final Year Project, conducting research under the personal supervision of a faculty member, or perform an internship in a university-approved company or institution.

These BSc programmes are “direct honours” programmes, with no separate GPA requirement for proceeding to the fourth year of study. Departmental honours are awarded based on GPA and other performance criteria.

BSc (Hons) in Applied Physics with
Second Major in Microelectronic Engineering NEW!

This Second Major programme is run in conjunction with the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Students receive a rigorous training in physics, and then learn about how to apply their physics knowledge for microelectronic engineering, with courses in integrated circuits, microprocessors, and more.

BSc (Hons) in Physics and Mathematical Sciences (Double Major) NEW!

This selective Double Major programme is run jointly with the Division of Mathematical Sciences. Students receive a rigorous education in physics and mathematics, and learn how to explore the intersections of the two fields, including topics such as differential geometry and general relativity, topology and condensed matter physics, and quantum field theory.

Graduates of this programme are well-equipped to pursue postgraduate degrees in physics, mathematics, or related disciplines, as well as jobs requiring extremely strong quantitative and problem-solving skills.

Minor in Physics or Applied Physics

With these minors, students from other programmes can take courses in quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, and other topics.