What is physics?

Physics is the study of interactions and structures of inanimate matter from the largest observed astronomical structures to objects smaller than atomic nuclei. Physics principles are thus relevant for people engaged in research and technology development in many different areas including energy, the environment, health, or advanced materials.

Physics as a fundamental science offers very rigorous methods of inquiry for those interested in pushing the boundaries of knowledge. It is therefore of interest both to students who would like to unravel the mysteries of the physical universe and to students who are interested in advancing modern technologies.  Physics applies to all of these situations because it focuses on the fundamental laws of nature.

Physics is heavily engaged in verification of theoretical reasoning by rigorous, quantitative experimentation. It not surprising that the internet was invented for physics experiments (see e.g. the CERN website http://www.cern.ch) nor is it a wonder that miniaturization and fast computing became feasible due to recent experimental physics discoveries. Since experimentation is at the heart of the subject, it is also an important component of undergraduate programs in physics.

As physics heavily relies on analytical reasoning and quantitative modes of inquiry, the laws of physics are expressed in mathematical form. Mathematics is therefore another important component of any undergraduate physics program.

We have been modernizing the Honours program in Physics to allow students to focus on subfields of physics which match their interests and strengths. We offer specializations in Astronomy, Plasma, Space and Atmospheric Physics, Material Science, Nuclear Physics and Theoretical Physics. We have also been working with our partners in Canada and abroad to enhance the learning experience of our students through research experience and exchange programs. The 4-year Honours program offers unique opportunities for experiential learning.

Our programs with several specializations are described below.

Related programs

The Departments of Mathematics and Statistics and Physics and Engineering Physics have developed an interdisciplinary program in Mathematical Physics. Interested students, particularly students interested in applied mathematics and theoretical physics, should consult the Mathematical Physics program.

Major Average

The major average in Physics programs includes the grades earned in:

  • All PHYS and all courses listed in the Major Requirement C4.

Residency Requirements in the Major

To receive a degree in Physics, students must complete at least two-thirds of the following coursework (to the nearest highest multiple of 3 credit units) from the University of Saskatchewan.

  • Minimum requirements in Major Requirement C4.

See Residency for additional details.