Physics

at UBC's

Vancouver Campus

Physicists study the material world and the energy that drives it, from the smallest particles like neutrinos and Higgs bosons, to the very largest structures in the universe, and ultimately the universe itself.

This program is also offered at UBC's Okanagan Campus
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Why this program?

  • Study at one of the top physics departments in Canada with an outstanding international reputation.
  • Canada’s National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics, TRIUMF, is located at UBC.
  • Electives offer training for entrance into medicine, law, education, business, or architecture.
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Program information

  • Campus: Vancouver
  • Faculty: Faculty of Science
  • Degree: Bachelor of Science
  • Length 4 yrs
  • Co-op Yes
    You can combine your studies with full-time, paid work at top local and international organizations.
  • Honours Yes
    You can study intense specialization in a single field.

Physics, which deals with matter and energy and the interactions between the two, allows us to understand phenomena that take place around us and in the universe. Physical laws help us perceive our world. Some physicists use these principles in theoretical areas, such as the nature of time and the origin of the universe. Others apply their physics knowledge to the development of advanced materials, electronic and optical devices, and medical equipment.

Physics is available as a major or honours degree, with options for a combined honours in Physics and Astronomy, which is suggested if you wish to enter a career in research. Combined honours in Chemical Physics and Physics and Mathematics are also options. When combined with proper electives, the Physics specialization is suitable as pre-training for a professional degree in architecture, commerce, education, law, or medicine. The large number of electives will enable you to obtain significant background in another field, such as computer science, applied mathematics, physical geography, oceanography, geophysics, or geology. You may wish to select a double major, which can be obtained by satisfying the degree requirements in two subjects.

Campus features

UBC is home to Canada’s National Laboratory for Particle and Nuclear Physics, at the TRIUMF facility, a world-renowned accelerator for the study of sub-atomic science.

Experiential learning and research

First-year Physics classes are taught using the flipped-classroom model to ensure that you receive individualized help, even in large, lower-level lectures. The Department of Physics and Astronomy has a strong outreach program that helps run events such as the UBC Physics Olympics, the Michael Smith Challenge, and the Canadian Physics Olympiad.

Life at UBC's Vancouver campus

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is housed in the historic Hennings Building, which opened in 1947. Laboratories are generally hosted in the teaching and demo rooms of the Hebb Building and Theatre, which recently underwent renovations.

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Your future

A degree in Physics can lead to a career in medical physics, education, high technology, business, science journalism, or many other fields. The specialization will help you cultivate your ability to think logically, while also emphasizing research and communication skills. A high level of numeracy and strong computational skills are also vital to the successful completion of a BSc in Physics.

More than one third of UBC BSc Physics graduates further their studies in MSc/PhD programs or medical, law, education, or journalism school.

Program graduates

  • MSc candidate in Astrophysics, University of Tokyo
  • PhD candidate in Applied Physics, California Institute of Technology
  • Associate attorney, Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP
  • Software engineer, Google

UBC stories

After graduating from UBC, Euweng found a way to pursue his love of music and physics at the same time by going on to study acoustics at the Peabody Conservatory of Johns Hopkins University.

Euweng Chan, Physics Read the full story

Program requirements

English-language requirements

English is the language of instruction at UBC. All prospective students must demonstrate English-language competency prior to admission. There are numerous ways to meet the English Language Admission Standard.

General admission requirements

  • Completion of the IB Diploma with a minimum score of 24 points, including at least three Higher Level courses and additional points for Extended Essay and Theory of Knowledge.
  • Completion of Standard Level or Higher Level English A at a minimum score of 3, where English is the primary language of instruction.

Degree-specific requirements: Science

  • IB Mathematics (Standard or Higher Level; IB Math Studies does not meet the requirement)
  • One of IB Biology, IB Chemistry, or IB Physics (Standard or Higher Level)
  • One year of Chemistry immediately prior to IB Diploma
  • One year of Physics immediately prior to IB Diploma (may be waived with scores of 5 or higher in IB Mathematics and IB Chemistry)
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