Programs and Classes

Studying physics at the University of Saskatchewan, Department of Physics and Engineering Physics can mean just taking one Physics or Astronomy course, or taking a full four year Honours Degree and going on to earn a Ph. D., or anything in between. Whatever your interest or desire there is something for you.

Do you only want to take one or two classes? Are you not sure if you will like studying physics and want take one class to see how it goes? Here are some classes in the College of Arts and Science you may want to consider. 

Physics 115.3

Physics and the Universe

Provides the first part of an introduction to physics. Emphasis is placed on mechanics, electric and magnetic fields, electric currents and circuits, and the physics of atoms and particles. The course concludes with a discussion of our current understanding of the history of the universe and a discussion of the frontiers of our current understanding of the physical world. Some applications of physics in technology and the health sciences are also discussed.

Prerequisite(s): Physics 30, Mathematics B30 and C30 (Algebra 30 and Geometry-Trigonometry 30).

Physics 117.6

Physics for the Life Sciences

Introduces students to aspects of physics which are of particular relevance for the health and life sciences. This course can be used as the second part of an introduction to physics. Topics include torque and angular momentum, fluid mechanics, oscillations and waves, thermal physics, optics, and nuclear physics. Emphasis is placed on bio-medical applications of physics.

Prerequisite(s): PHYS 115.

Physics 125.3 

Physics and Technology

Introduces students to aspects of physics with an emphasis on applications in technology and the physical sciences. This course can be used as the second part of an introduction to physics. Topics include torque and angular momentum, fluid mechanics, oscillations and waves, optics, special relativity, and nuclear physics.

Prerequisite(s): MATH 110, PHYS 115 or GE 124.

Astronomy 102.3 

Introduction to Galaxies and Cosmology

Provides an overview of the large scale structure of the universe on a descriptive level. Topics include the structure of our own galaxy, the local group of galaxies, the classification of galaxies, and galaxy clusters. Galactic and extragalactic distance scales are also introduced. Further topics include the energy and matter content of the observable universe, evidence for dark matter and dark energy, and the history of the universe from the big bang to the present epoch. Contemporary experiments and observations in cosmology are also discussed.

No Prerequisites:

Astronomy 103.3

Descriptive Introduction to Stellar Astronomy

Provides a first introduction to stellar astronomy. Topics include Kepler's laws, basic telescope properties, classification of stars, determination of stellar distances, stellar energy generation, and basic properties of white dwarfs, supernovae, pulsars and black holes.

Prerequisite(s) or Corequisite(s): PHYS 115 or GE 124.

After first year, you can choose a suite of classes that will give you a "specialization" in one field of physics. The current set of avalable specializations are:

  • Astonomy
  • Atmospheric, Space, and Plasma Sciences
  • Materials Science
  • Nuclear Science
  • Theoretical Physics

If your are interested in Engineering Physics you will enrol in the College of Engineering. There you will take a standard set of first year classes. You do not need to select your desired engineering dicipline (e.g. Engineering Physics) until you start second year. However there is room in the first year program for a physics elective.

If you are not sure about what you want to do, an advisor in the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics would be happy to talk to you.

Contact Dr. Rainer Dick , Chair of the Undergraduate Affairs Committee.
Phone: (306) 966 6443 

Also check out the Physics and Engineering Physics for more information.

Math Requirements

A special note about math requirements. The study of physics requires some degree of proficiency in math. This is because the concepts of physics are most succinctly expressed and manipulated in mathematical terms. All our introductory physics classes (except ASTR 102) require Mathematics B30 and C30 as prerequisites.

We find that the many students are slowed down in there study of physics in first year classes, not because they find the physics concepts difficult, but because they are not sufficiently confident with the algebra and trigonometry involved. We mention this not to dissuade any prospective students, but to help you to be fully prepared. If you have not practiced your math skills for some time before starting a physics course you may wish to "brush them up".

The department does offer a "Math Readiness" refresher course through the extension division. This is a four-evening crash course in the first week of classes to go over the main math skills required in first year physics and astronomy courses. There are other math refresher courses available on campus and at SIAST.