Overview
Obtain new facts and new ways of thinking

Physics is recognized internationally as a great foundational degree for many careers including in science, industry, education, business, law, and medicine. Physics explores many of the deeper mysteries of the universe and can lead to a wide range of intriguing career and employment opportunities. 

A key focus of UPEI's physics programs is on experiential learning, including opportunities to work with companies and organizations in PEI and across Canada (co-op program) or to work with physics faculty on campus in summer research positions (major and honours programs). These positions are all paid and they give you a chance to experience different types of jobs, workplace settings and employers, and gain important transferable skills, all while you are a physics student at UPEI.

Some of our recent physics graduates have gone on to graduate school, others to medical school, some have received education degrees and are teaching in the school system, some are professors and researchers at Universities, and others are working in industry.

A rediscovered love of physics leads to success for UPEI student

upei physics student desiree rehel
upei physics student desiree rehel
upei physics student desiree rehel
Success Story
upei physics student desiree rehel

Desiree Rehel is a fourth-year Physics student who recently won an award at a national undergraduate Physics student conference. After moving to PEI from Quebec in 2018, she re-discovered a love of physics at UPEI and will complete her degree program in 2022.

 

Need more information about Physics?

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Course Structure
Honours

 

The Honours program in Physics is intended to provide research experience at the undergraduate level. It is designed for students who are interested in continuing their studies at the graduate level in Physics or related fields, or who are planning careers where research experience would be an asset.

The Honours program comprises a total of 126 semester hours of course credit, including a research project worth 12 semester hours. A total of at least 63 semester hours of Physics is required (17 courses plus project).

The normal University requirements must be met in addition to the Departmental requirements listed below. Biology 1310 and 1320 are highly recommended electives.
 

First Year Semester hours

Physics 1110-1120 General Physics I and II
Mathematics 1910-1920 Single Variable Calculus I and II
Computer Science 1910 Computer Science I 
Chemistry 1110-1120 General Chemistry I and II
UPEI 1010, 1020, OR 1030
Electives (Biology 1310-1320 are highly recommended)

6
8
3
6
3
6
Second Year Semester hours

Physics 2010 Waves and Oscillations
Physics 2020 Mechanics
Physics 2030 Computational Physics
Physics 2120 Electricity, Magnetism, and Circuits
Physics 2210 Modern Physics
Physics 2820 Mathematical Physics
Mathematics 2610 Linear Algebra I
Mathematics 2910 Multivariable and Vector Calculus
Electives

3
3
3
3
3
3
3
4
6

Third and Fourth Years Semester hours

Physics 3010 Advanced Mechanics
Physics 3120 Electromagnetism I
Physics 3220 Quantum Physics I
Physics 3330 Experimental Physics I
Physics 3720 Statistical Physics I
Physics 4020 Statistical Physics II
Physics 4120 Electromagnetism II
Physics 4210 Quantum Physics II
Physics 4430 Experimental Physics II
Physics 4900 Advanced Research and Thesis
Mathematics 3010 Differential Equations
At least one additional Math course at the 3000 or 4000 level 3 Electives, at least one of which must be an additional Physics Course at the 3000 level or above

3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
12
3


18
Total 126

Entrance Requirements

For admission to the program, students must normally have a minimum average of 70% in all previous courses and a minimum average of 75% in all previous Physics courses.

Acceptance will be contingent upon the student finding a project supervisor, and the Department’s assessment of the student’s suitability for the program. Students interested in doing Honours should consult the Department Chair as early as possible, normally before the beginning of the student’s third year, and no later than January 31 of the third year. Before registering for Physics 4900, the student must have been accepted into the Honours program, and the project topic must be approved by the Department.

To graduate with Honours in Physics, the student must maintain a minimum average of 75% in all Physics courses combined. Students must also maintain a minimum overall average of 70% in each of the four years of study.

 

Specialization in Medical and Biological Physics (Honours Students)

 

Students can specialize in Medical and Biological Physics within the Honours in Physics program.
 

First Year Semester hours

Physics 1110-1120 General Physics I and II
Mathematics 1910-1920 Single Variable Calculus I and II
Chemistry 1110-1120 General Chemistry I and II
Computer Science 1910 Computer Science I 
Biology 1210-1230 OR Biology 1310-1320
UPEI 1010, 1020, OR 1030

6
8
6
3
6
3
Second Year Semester hours

Physics 2010 Waves and Oscillations
Physics 2020 Mechanics
Physics 2030 Computational Physics
Physics 2120 Electricity, Magnetism, and Circuits
Physics 2210 Modern Physics
Physics 2430 Physics of the Human Body
Physics 2820 Mathematical Physics
Mathematics 2610 Linear Algebra I
Mathematics 2910 Multivariable and Vector Calculus 
Electives

3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
4
3

Third and Fourth Years Semester hours

Physics 3010 Advanced Mechanics
Physics 3120 Electromagnetism I
Physics 3220 Quantum Physics I
Physics 3330 Experimental Physics I
Physics 3420 Introduction to Medical Physics
Physics 3520 Biomedical Imaging
Physics 3720 Statistical Physics I
Physics 4020 Statistical Physics II
Physics 4120 Electromagnetism II
Physics 4210 Quantum Physics II
Physics 4430 Experimental Physics II
Physics 4900 Advanced Research and Thesis
Mathematics 3010 Differential Equations
At least one additional Math course at the 3000 or 4000 level
Electives, at least one of which must be an additional Physics course at the 3000 level or above (Biology 2260 and Biology 4010 are highly recommended, if Biology 1210-1230 NOT taken.) 

3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
12
3
3



12

Total 126


The honours research project will be relevant to Medical or Biological physics.

 

Major

 

Students who intend to major in Physics are advised to consult the Department before registration. The normal University requirements must be met in addition to the Departmental requirements listed below. In exceptional cases, courses may be taken in a different sequence provided that the pertinent prerequisites are fulfilled or permission is granted by the Department.
 

First Year Semester hours

Physics 1110-1120 General Physics I and II 
Mathematics 1910-1920 Single Variable Calculus I and II
Chemistry 1110-1120 General Chemistry I and II
Computer Science 1910 Computer Science I
UPEI 1010, 1020, OR 1030
Electives (Biology 1310-1320 are highly recommended)

6
8
6
3
3
6
Second Year Semester hours

Physics 2010 Waves and Oscillations
Physics 2020 Mechanics
Physics 2030 Computational Physics
Physics 2120 Electricity, Magnetism, and Circuits
Physics 2210 Modern Physics
Physics 2820 Mathematical Physics
Mathematics 2610 Linear Algebra I
Mathematics 2910 Multivariable and Vector Calculus
Electives

3
3
3
3
3
3
3
4
6
Third Year Semester hours

Physics 3120 Electromagnetism I 
Physics 3220 Quantum Physics I
Physics 3330 Experimental Physics I 
Physics 3720 Statistical Physics I
Physics 4410 Experimental Physics I OR Physics 4430 Experimental Physics II 
Three additional Physics courses taken at the 3000 level or above, but at least one must be above the 3000 level
Electives (Mathematics 3010 is highly recommended)

3
3
3
3

3

9
33

Total 120

 

Specialization in Medical and Biological Physics (Major Students)

 

Students can specialize in Medical and Biological Physics within the Honours Major in Physics program.
 

First Year Semester hours

Physics 1110-1120 General Physics I and II
Mathematics 1910-1920 Single Variable Calculus I and II
Chemistry 1110-1120 General Chemistry I and II
Computer Science 1910 Computer Science I 
Biology 1210-1230 OR Biology 1310-1320
UPEI 1010, 1020, OR 1030 

6
8
6
3
6
3
Second Year Semester hours

Physics 2010 Waves and Oscillations
Physics 2020 Mechanics
Physics 2030 Computational Physics
Physics 2120 Electricity, Magnetism, and Circuits
Physics 2210 Modern Physics
Physics 2430 Physics of the Human Body
Physics 2820 Mathematical Physics
Mathematics 2610 Linear Algebra I
Mathematics 2910 Multivariable and Vector Calculus
Electives    

3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3
4
3

Third and Fourth Years Semester hours

Physics 3120 Electromagnetism I 
Physics 3220 Quantum Physics I
Physics 3330 Experimental Physics I
Physics 3420 Introduction to Medical Physics
Physics 3520 Biomedical Imaging
Physics 3720 Statistical Physics I
Physics 4430 Experimental Physics II
One additional Physics course taken at the 3000 level or above 
Electives (Biology 2260, Biology 4010, and Mathematics 3010 are highly recommended)

3
3
3
3
3
3
3
3

33
Total 120

 

Requirements for a BSc with a Major in Physics for Engineering Diploma Students

 

Students enrolled in the Engineering Diploma program may wish to take additional Physics courses and work towards a Bachelor of Science degree. Students intending to enter this program should consult the Physics Department for detailed advice on course selection.

First Year

  • Physics 1110-1120

Second Year

  • Physics 2010
  • Physics 2020 (for students enrolled in the Engineering Diploma Program, this may be replaced by Engineering 3210)
  • Physics 2210
  • Physics 2820  

Third and Fourth Years

  • Physics 3120   
  • Physics—At least seven additional courses taken from the following: Physics 2020 (if not already counted above), 2410, 3010, 3220, 3420, 3610, 3720, 3820, 3910, 4020, 4120, 4140, 4210, 4220, 4410 and Engineering 3420, 3820. At least one of the courses chosen must be at the 4000 level (21 semester hours)

The student must also complete all the requirements for the Engineering Diploma, and take sufficient courses (including Engineering courses) to satisfy the general requirements for a University degree. A total of 120 semester hours of credit is required.

 

Minor

 

Students in the Minor Program in Physics must complete a total of 21 semester hours of Physics including:

  • Physics 1110 – 3 hours
  • Physics 1120 – 3 hours
  • Physics 2210 – 3 hours
  • Four additional Physics courses (12 semester hours) at the 2000 level or above.

Students intending to do a Minor in Physics are advised to take Mathematics 1910-1920 instead of 1120.

 

Minor in Medical and Biological Physics 

 

Students in the Minor Program in Medical and Biological Physics must complete a total of 21 semester hours of course credit, including these three (3) core Physics courses:

General Physics for the Life Sciences:

  • Physics 1210 Physics for Life Sciences I or Physics 1110 General Physics I - 3 hours
  • Physics 1220 Physics for Life Sciences II or Physics 1120 General Physics II - 3 hours
  • Physics 2430 Physics of the Human Body - 3 hours

In addition, four (4) electives (12 semester hours) must be chosen from the following suite of courses:

Foundations of Medical and Biological Physics:

  • Physics 2210 Modern Physics – 3 hours
  • Physics 2420 Introduction to Biomechanics – 3 hours
  • Physics 3420 Introduction to Medical Physics – 3 hours
  • Physics 3510 Advanced Biomechanics – 3 hours
  • Physics 3520 Biomedical Imaging – 3 hours
  • Physics 3910 Radiation Detection and Measurement – 3 hours
  • Biology 2260 Human Anatomy and Histology – 3 hours
  • Biology 4010 Human Physiology and Pathophysiology – 3 hours
  • RAD 2310 Radiographic Physics – 3 hours (available only to students in the Radiography program)
Co-operative Education
Combining classroom studies with practical work experience

The UPEI Co-op Program is an integrated approach to university education which enables students to alternate academic terms on campus with work terms in suitable employment. The success of such programs is founded on the principle that students are able to apply theoretical knowledge from course studies in the workplace and return to the classroom with practical workplace experience. Students who successfully complete all the requirements of the program will have the notation entered on their transcripts and on the graduation parchment.

Students accepted into the program complete at least three paid work terms of normally 14 – 16 weeks duration, but at least 12 weeks, and three professional development courses. Credits earned through completion of work terms are counted as general electives.

The Co-op option is available to full-time students in the Physics Major or Honours program. Applications to the Co-op Education Program are normally made after completion of the first year of study.

Visit the Co-operative Education Program website for more information.

A student works in a lab
A student works in a lab
Admissions Criteria
What's required for science admission?

High School Graduates

Canadian High School Equivalency Chart

  • Grade 12 Academic English
  • Grade 12 Academic Mathematics
  • Two Grade 12 Academic Science subjects (acceptable subjects: Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Computer Science, Oceanography, Animal Science, Environmental Science)
  • One additional Grade 12 Academic course

Please note: Successful completion of Grade 12 Chemistry (or equivalent) is required as a prerequisite for permission to register in CHEM-1110.

Please refer to the UPEI Academic Calendar for complete admissions information.

Fees and Funding
Faculty of Science Programs Tuition

UPEI's undergraduate tuition is the second-lowest in the Atlantic region, and we offer millions of dollars in scholarships and awards. 

Tuition

$6,390 per year, based on 30 credit hours ($639 per 3 credit course).
International students pay $7,470 per year in addition to full-time student tuition.

For a complete breakdown of part-time or full-time study as a student in the Faculty of Science, visit our Tuition and Fees page.

Scholarships and Awards

UPEI supports you and your educational goals. We administer millions of dollars in scholarships and awards to our undergraduate and graduate students every year. Depending on your faculty or program, and year of study, you may be eligible for available awards.

Search the complete list of scholarships for information and application forms. 

Celebrating Student Achievement

Including Guaranteed Entrance Scholarships and Academic Excellence Awards, these awards recognize the academic achievements of all students who meet the eligibility criteria while studying towards their first undergraduate degree.

Visit the Scholarships site for complete information.

Faculty Members
Your mentors. Our professors.

UPEI has about 250 faculty—exceptional scholars, teachers, and mentors, with more being hired each year as we open new, progressive, and unique programs. But the story isn’t just in the numbers. It’s in the quality of our people. Award-winning faculty from around the globe have made UPEI home. Here, you’ll learn directly from these world-class professors and researchers in small classes where you’ll have easy access to them.