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Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

Fac. of Science IT Support

Contact

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Science B 605
University of Calgary
2500 University Dr NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 Canada
office@phas.ucalgary.ca
Tel: (403) 220-5385

Undergraduate Program Coordinator

phasugrd@ucalgary.ca
Tel: (403) 220-8127

Current Student - FAQ

Information useful to all first year majors:  Physics and Astronomy Orientation Slides

Q. Can I take PHYSICS 259 & 369 (for Engineers)?

Q. Can I take PHYSICS 227 and/or 255?

Q. I'm a physics major but I  do not have the pre-requisites to enrol into PHYS 227 or 255. What can I do?

Q. I want to get into PHYSICS 211 or 221 but I'm a few % short of meeting the prerequisites. Can I still get into these classes?

Q. The lecture sections are open and fit my schedule but all the labs that work with my schedule are full.  Can I get overloaded into the lab?

Q. Can I take a course that is equivalent to U of C PHYS 223 at ATHABASCA U. or MRU?

Q. Can I take a course that is equivalent to U of C PHYS 211 or 221 at ATHABASCA or MRU?

Q. 'm in the Physics Program and need to register for PHYS 599 or 598 (the research courses).  How do I do this?

Q. What can I do with a Physics or Astrophysics Degree?  How much money could I make as a Physics/Astrophysics graduate?


Q. Can I take PHYSICS 259 & 369 (for Engineers)?

A. Only if you are registered as a student in the Schulich School of Engineering.  Although these are physics courses, they are taught at the request of the Engineering Department and so approval to take these classes is set by Engineering and NOT by Physics.  Students needing approval to take these classes need to talk to Engineering.  Approval will only be allowed (by engineering) after the date lifting the reserve capacity (in Jan and Sept respectively).


Q. Can I take PHYSICS 227 and/or 255?

A. These classes are restricted to declared majors in Physics & Astronomy or students in Natural Sciences with a Physics concentration.  No one else is allowed to take these classes.  In cases of students who are in the process of (or thinking of) switching majors to physics or astrophysics, we suggest the route below (i.e PHYS 211 or 221 and striving for an A-).


Q. I'm a physics major but I  do not have the pre-requisites to enrol into PHYS 227 or 255.  What can I do?

A. If you're in this situation, you can take PHYS 211 or 221 instead.  If you get an A- in PHYS 211 or 221, we can use that course in lieu of PHYS 227 as satisfying the degree requirements for PHYS 227 in the PHYS and ASPH program.  If you do not get an A- or better, you can still move forward in the PHYS/ASPH stream (i.e. you can take all the required follow up courses) but will need to take PHYS 227 as a co-requisite with PHYS 341 in the Fall of your 2nd year.


Q. I want to get into PHYSICS 211 or  221 but I'm a few % short of meeting the prerequisites. Can I still get into these classes?

A. Students who are a few % short of the high school pre-requisites, need to get approval from the course instructor to take the class.


Q. The lecture sections are open and fit my schedule but all the labs that work with my schedule are full.  Can I get overloaded into the lab?

A. Unfortunately no.  If our labs are full, it means that the rooms are at fire code capacity.  This means that we cannot legally overload students into these lab sections.  You must find a different (open) lab section that fits your schedule.  Additional labs may be added to the roster as demand requires.  Please check your student centre frequently to see if new sections have been added.


Q. Can I take a course that is equivalent to U of C PHYS 223 at ATHABASCA U. or MRU?

A. Unfortunately, Athabasca U. does not have any courses that are equivalent to PHYS 223.  They do offer PHYS 201 & 202  which seem similar in content to U of C PHYS 223 but these are algebra based and not calculus based courses (like PHYS 223).  Thus, they are not considered equivalent and they would transfer as PHYS 2XX.   PHYS 2XX means that they are considered to be university level, first year physics classes, but are not equivalent to anything specific that is taught at the U of C.  A PHYS 2XX course would be fine if your degree only requires you to take a science class, but not if your program requires a specific physics class (e.g. PHYS 223).

MRU PHYS 1202 is equivalent to PHYS 223.


Q. Can I take a course that is equivalent to U of C PHYS 211 or 221 at ATHABASCA or MRU?

A. Athabasca PHYS 204 is equivalent to PHYS 211 or 221. MRU PHYS 1201 is equivalent to PHYS 211/221.  Note that even if classes from other institutes have similar content to PHYS 211/221/223, they MUST be calculus-based in order to be considered truly equivalent.


Q. I'm in the Physics Program and need to register for PHYS 599 or 598 (the research courses).  How do I do this?

A. Registration for PHYS 599/598 is quite a bit different than for other courses.  Although the calendar says that departmental approval is needed, this is actually the last stage of the process.  The registration procedure is as follows:

1) Find a few faculty members that do research that is interesting to you.  This actually involves some legwork on your part.  Check out the PHAS webpage:  http://phas.ucalgary.ca/research  Click on the various research areas.  Check out the people in each area and what they do.

2) Talk to a few potential supervisors and see if they're willing to take on a 599/598 student and if they have a project that is interesting to you. 

3) Once you have identified a supervisor and a project fill out the web registration form found on the 599/598 web page.

4)  The form then gets submitted to the 599/598 coordinator who consults with the supervisor to ensure that all the pieces are in place.  Once they are satisfied, you (the student) will get an email from the PHAS Undergraduate program Director indicating that you are cleared for enrolment.


Q. What can I do with a Physics or Astrophysics Degree?  How much money could I make as a Physics/Astrophysics graduate?

A. Physics/Astrophysics (PHAS) degrees are among the most flexible of any university degree, and our graduating students enter MANY different fields of employment - from the oil and gas sector, to the computer industry, to the financial sector, to teaching, to anything in the high tech sector really.  The reason for this is that PHAS students: 

a) have proven themselves to be smart (you have to be to get a degree in this field!)

b) have excellent problem solving skills

c) have strong math and computer skills

d) are quick learners

So almost any company looks at people with PHAS degrees and realizes that they will only require a bit of job-specific training before they can be unleashed on almost any complex problem.

There is an organization called the American Institute of Physics (AIP) that does research into jobs paths/salaries, etc for students who graduate with a PHAS degree.  A number of their studies can be found at:  http://www.aip.org/statistics/trends/career.html

The studies follow students with physics/astrophysics degrees.  It provides information on starting salaries, location of employment etc.  Once caveat to note is that this is an American study.  Most of it will be applicable to Canada except for the Military and/or Government employment sectors which are much smaller in Canada.  Beyond this,  there are of course a small number (usually about 20%) who decide that they want a career in research and, therefore, opt for the path of graduate school (~ 2 years for a MSc. + another ~4 years for a PhD).