Physics Courses

Complete course descriptions can be found in the Grenfell Campus section of the calendar. The University Calendar is the authority for all course information.

  • The 120 credit hour, 40 course program may be completed on a full or part-time basis as set out under and Bachelor of Science with Major Physics and Suggested Program of Study for the Bachelor of Science with Major in Physics.      
  • A student must complete Core Program Requirements as outlined under Grenfell Campus Core Program Requirements.
  • A student must complete an approved concentration of courses known as a Major and elective courses to make up the required total of 40 courses, 120 credit hours. A Minor is not required for this program.

Course Descriptions

For more information on the bachelor of science degree in physics at Grenfell Campus, contact the Chair of Physics.
Note that some required program courses will be offered on alternate years or as necessary for individual student requirements and faculty availability.

​Introductory Physics I is an algebra-based introduction to Newtonian mechanics. Topics covered include motion in one and two dimensions, Newton’s laws, momentum, energy and work, and rotational motion. Previous exposure to physics would be an asset but is not essential. 


CO: Mathematics 1090 or 109B

CR: PHYS 1050

LH: 3; six laboratory sessions per semester

OR: tutorial or problem sessions may be held on weeks when no laboratory is scheduled

PR: Level III Advanced Mathematics or Mathematics 1090 or 109B. It is recommended that students have completed at least one high school physics course; and Science 1807 and 1808.



Introductory Physics II is an algebra-based introduction to oscillations, fluids, wave motion, electricity and magnetism, and circuits. 

LH: 3; normally there will be six laboratory sessions per semester

OR: tutorial sessions may be held on weeks when no laboratory is scheduled

PR: PHYS 1020 or 1050, and Mathematics 1090 or 1000, and Science 1807 and 1808.

General Physics I: Mechanics is a calculus-based introduction to mechanics. The course emphasizes problem solving, beginning with a review of vectors and one-dimensional kinematics. The main part of the course covers motion in two dimensions, forces and Newton’s Laws, energy, momentum, rotational motion and torque, and finally oscillations.

CO: Mathematics 1000

CR: PHYS 1020

LH: 3

PR: Mathematics 1000; Science 1807 and 1808.

General Physics II: Oscillations, Waves, Electromagnetism is a calculus-based introduction to oscillations, wave motion, and electromagnetism. Topics include: simple harmonic motion; travelling waves, sound waves, and standing waves; electric fields and potentials; magnetic forces and fields; electric current and resistance; and electromagnetic waves.

CO: Mathematics 1001

LH: 3

PR: PHYS 1050, or 1021, or 1020 (with a minimum grade of 70%) and Mathematics 1001; Science 1807 and 1808.

Fluids and Thermal Physics examines elasticity, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, kinetic theory and statistical mechanics. 

CO: Mathematics 1001 and PHYS 1051

LH: 3

PR: Mathematics 1001 and PHYS 1051; Science 1807 and 1808.

General Physics VI: Modern Physics is special relativity, quanta of light, atomic structure and spectral lines, quantum structure of atoms and molecules, nuclei and elementary particles.

CO: Mathematics 1001 and PHYS 1051

CR: PHYS 2750

LH: 3

PR: Mathematics 1001, PHYS 1050 (or PHYS 1020 and PHYS 1021), and PHYS 1051; Science 1807 and 1808.

The Foundation of Astronomy represents a general introduction to astronomy. The course emphasizes the scientific method, basic physics, night sky and objects in our solar system. Topics include space science, telescopes, spectroscopy, atomic structure, the formation and evolution of planetary systems, and the detection and properties of exoplanets. 

PR: no pre-requisites​.

Stellar Astronomy and Astrophysics is atomic structure and spectra. The sun: radiation, energetics, magnetic field. Stars: distance, velocity, size, atmospheres, interiors. Variable stars, multiple stars, clusters and stellar associations. Stellar evolution, interstellar matter, structure of the Milky Way Galaxy. Exterior galaxies, quasi-stellar objects, pulsars. Cosmology.

​PR: 6 credit hours in Mathematics at the first year level 

​Subatomic Physics is an introduction to nuclear and particle physics. Topics include nuclear properties and models; radioactive dating; fission; nuclear reactors; accelerators; the detection, classification, and properties of subatomic particles. Applications in areas such as ecology, dosimetry, medical physics and nuclear astrophysics are discussed.

PR: Level III Advanced Mathematics or Mathematics 1090 or 109B. It is recommended that students have completed at least one of Level II and Level III high school physics courses

Computational Mechanics introduces computational methods in the context of Newtonian mechanics. Numerical differentiation and integration, numerical solutions to differential equations and data analysis are applied to projectile motion, N-body systems, oscillations and problems from astrophysics and geophysics. Implementation of numerical methods using computer programming is emphasized.

CO: Mathematics 2000

LH: 2

PR: Mathematics 2000 and PHYS 1051

Electricity and Magnetism is point charges; Coulomb's law; electrostatic field and potential; Gauss' law; conductors; magnetostatics; Ampere's law; Biot-Savart law; dielectric and magnetic materials; electrostatic and magnetostatic energy; Lorentz force; time varying fields; Faraday's law; Lenz's law; Maxwell's equations. 

CO: Mathematics 2260 (or the former Mathematics 3260)

LH: 3

PR: PHYS 1051 and Mathematics 2260 (or the former Mathematics 3260); Science 1807 and 1808.

Electromagnetic Theory includes Maxwell’s equations, energy and momentum in electromagnetic systems, EM waves, potentials and fields, dynamical systems of charges, radiation, the interaction of EM fields with matter, and the relativistic formulation of electromagnetism and its applications. 

PR: PHYS 3060 

Observational Astrophysics covers theoretical topics including celestial mechanics, continuous and line spectra, stellar structure and nucleosynthesis, and stellar evolution. Observational topics include planning observations, acquisition of images with a CCD electronic camera, fundamentals of astronomical image processing, photometry, and stellar spectroscopy using a variety of software packages.

LH: 3

PR: Mathematics 2000, PHYS 2056, PHYS 2151 is recommended. 

Classical Mechanics I covers vector operations, coordinate transformations, derivative of vectors, Newton’s laws, differential equations, kinematics and dynamics of a particle, linear and quadratic air resistance, terminal velocity, momentum of a time varying mass, center of mass systems, angular momentum, moment of inertia, energy, work-energy theorem, forces as the gradient of potential energy, time dependent potential energy, curvilinear one-dimensional systems, energy of a multiparticle system, calculus of variations, and Lagrangian Dynamics.

CO: PHYS 2820, Mathematics 2260 and the former 3220

PR: PHYS 2820, Mathematics 2260 and 3202

Classical Mechanics II covers noninertial frames of reference, Newton's second law in a rotating frame, centrifugal force, Coriolis force, motion of rigid bodies, center of mass, rotation about a fixed axis, rotation about any axis, inertia tensor, Euler's equations with zero torque, coupled oscillators, chaos theory, bifurcation diagrams, state-space orbits, Poincare sections, Hamiltonian dynamics, ignorable coordinate, phase-space orbits, Liouville's theorem, scattering angle, impact parameter, differential scattering cross section, and Rutherford scattering.

CO: Mathematics 3202

PR: PHYS 3220, and Mathematics 2260 and 3202

Elementary Particles and Fields includes the Standard Model, classification of elementary particles and forces of nature, symmetries, conservation laws, quark model, quantum electrodynamics, quantum chromodynamics, and the theory of weak interactions.

PR: Mathematics 3202, Mathematics 2260 (or the former Mathematics 3260), PHYS 2056, PHYS 2400

Thermodynamics covers the first and second laws of thermodynamics. Entropy. Thermodynamics of real substances. Kinetic theory of matter. Introduction to statistical mechanics.

​PR: Mathematics 2000, PHYS 2053 and PHYS 2750 or 2056

Quantum Mechanics I includes a review of elementary quantum physics and covers topics such as wave functions, operators, expectation values, the Schrodinger equation in 1-dimension, states and operators in Hilbert space, coordinate and momentum representations, quantum mechanics in three dimensions, angular momentum, spherically symmetric potentials, and approximation methods.

PR: Mathematics 3202, PHYS 2056, PHYS 3220

Mathematical Physics II examines the functions of a complex variable; residue calculus. Introduction to Cartesian tensor analysis. Matrix eigenvalues and eigenvectors. Diagonalization of tensors. Matrix formulation of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanical spin. Vector differential operators in curvilinear coordinate systems. Partial differential equations of Mathematical Physics and boundary value problems; derivation of the classical equations, separation of variables; Helmholtz equation in spherical polar coordinates.

PR: Mathematics 2260 (or the former Mathematics 3260), and PHYS 3810 (or Mathematics 3202) 

Senior Physics Seminar is a review of current topics in Physics discussed in a seminar format. Seminars are presented by faculty, students, and guest speakers. Topics are normally drawn from the fields of sub-atomic & nuclear physics or astronomy & cosmology. This is a designated Writing course

​PR: normally restricted to Physics students who have completed 78 credit hours or more

Physics Laboratory introduces the student to advanced laboratory work in several areas of physics

​PR: Physics students who have completed 60 credit hours or more; Science 1807 and 1808

Research Experience in Physics is an opportunity for students to participate in original research under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Students are required to present a written report and to give a seminar on their work.

​PR: Physics students who have completed 78 credit hours or more and permission of the Physics Program Chair 

AR = Attendance requirement; CH = Credit hours are 3 unless otherwise noted; CO = Co-requisite(s); CR = Credit can be retained for only one course from the set(s) consisting of the course being described and the course(s) listed; LC = Lecture hours per week are 3 unless otherwise noted; LH = Laboratory hours per week; OR = Other requirements of the course such as tutorials, practical sessions, or seminars; PR = Prerequisite(s); UL = Usage limitation(s).