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Program Guidance for Physics Specialists

Tips on how to plan for your Physics Specialist Program of Study.

U of T Physics offers a range of Physics research areas for you to explore. But figuring your way around the Undergraduate Calendar to take advantage of these research interests can be a challenge. To help you out, here is some guidance for specific courses you might take to gain in depth knowledge of different fields.

This guide covers the Physics Specialist Program. Please note that the guide assumes you have taken all compulsory courses in any of the respective programs, and bear in mind that these notes are meant as an informal guide. Please contact the Undergraduate Office (ugcoord@physics.utoronto.ca) for more advice and guidance.

Program Guidance for the Physics Specialist Program

Modern Optics, Quantum Information, and Quantum Computing

If you are interested in modern optics, the fundamentals of quantum mechanics, and their application to quantum information and computing, consider taking some of the following courses as part of your program:

  • Courses specializing in quantum physics and its applications: PHY358H1 "Atoms, Molecules and Solids", PHY456H1 "Quantum Mechanics II", PHY487H1 "Condensed Matter Physics", PHY491H1 "Current Interpretations of Quantum Mechanics".
  • Courses providing practical skills: PHY405H1 "Electronics Lab", PHY407H1 "Computational Physics", PHY408H1 "Time Series Analysis" and PHY426 "Advanced Practical Physics I".
  • Courses in optics: PHY385H1 "Introductory Optics", PHY485H1 "Advanced Classical Optics"
  • Independent study and research courses: PHY371H1, PHY471H1, PHY478H1, etc.

Particle Physics

If you are interested in theoretical or experimental particle physics, consider taking some of the following courses as part of your program requirements:

  • Courses specialized in subatomic physics and particle physics: PHY357H1 "Nuclear and Particle Physics" and PHY489H1 "Introduction to High-Energy Physics". [Note that PHY357 is not a prerequisite for PHY489.]
  • Courses in general relativity: PHY483H1 “Relativity I” and PHY484H1 “Relativity II”.
  • Courses in electrodynamics: PHY450H1 "Relativistic Electrodynamics".
  • Courses providing practical skills: PHY405H1 "Electronics Lab", PHY407H1 "Computational Physics".
  • Independent study and research courses: PHY371H1, PHY471H1, PHY478H1, etc.

Condensed Matter and Materials Physics

If you are interested in condensed matter and materials, consider taking some of the following courses as part of your program requirements:

  • Specialized courses in condensed matter physics: PHY358H1 “Atoms, Molecules and Solids” and PHY487H1 “Condensed Matter Physics”.
  • Courses providing foundations of condensed matter physics: PHY452H1 “Statistical Mechanics” and PHY456H1 "Quantum Mechanics II".
  • Courses providing practical skills: PHY405H1 "Electronics Lab", PHY407H1 "Computational Physics", and PHY426H1 "Advanced Practical Physics I".
  • Independent study and research courses: PHY371H1, PHY471H1, PHY478H1, etc.

Atmospheric, Environmental, and Climate Physics

If you are interested in applying Physics to atmospheric, environmental, and climate science, consider taking some of the following courses as part of your program requirements:

  • Courses specialized in climate and atmospheric physics: PHY392H1 "Physics of Climate" and PHY492H1 "Advanced Atmospheric Physics".
  • Courses providing practical skills: PHY405H1 "Electronics Lab", PHY407H1 "Computational Physics", and PHY408H1 "Time Series Analysis".
  • Courses in electrodynamics and its applications: PHY385H1 "Introductory Optics", PHY450H1 "Relativistic Electrodynamics".
  • Courses on fluids and properties of nonlinear systems: PHY454H1 "Continuum Mechanics", PHY460H1 "Nonlinear Physics".
  • Independent study and research courses: PHY371H1, PHY471H1, PHY478H1, etc.

Geophysics

If you are interested in applying Physics to studies of Earth and Planets, consider taking some of the following courses as part of your program requirements:

  • Courses specialized in geophysics: JPE395H1 "Physics of the Earth", JPE493H1 "Seismology", PHY495H1: “Research Geophysics”.
  • Courses providing practical skills: PHY405H1 "Electronics Lab", PHY407H1 "Computational Physics", and PHY408H1 "Time Series Analysis".
  • Courses on fluids and properties of nonlinear systems: PHY454H1 "Continuum Mechanics", PHY460H1 "Nonlinear Physics".
  • Independent study and research courses: PHY371H1, PHY471H1, PHY478H1, etc.
  • There are also applicable courses offered by the Earth Sciences Department.