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Bachelor of Science - Physics

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  • Objectives
    The BSc Honours program prepares students for direct entry into graduate work in physics (leading to an MSc or PhD degree). The BSc Major program prepares students for industry, education and, on completion of a qualifying year, graduate work in physics. The Major program has sufficient electives to allow a substantial number of courses to be taken in another discipline (minor program), or even a second Major program in a related discipline.
  • Academic Title
    Bachelor of Science - Physics
  • Course description
    Honours:

    The following courses are required for the Physics Honours degree: All of the courses required for a Physics Major and Mathematics 217a, Physics 461a, 462b, 480, plus any one of Physics 463, 464, 465, 466, 467, 469, 470, and 476.

    Total Requirements: 57 course credits Physics, 15 credits Mathematics, 4 credits Computer Science, and 15 credits of elective courses = 91 course credits.
    When any lecture course (e.g., Phy 191a) also has an associated laboratory course (e.g. Phy 081a), both the lecture and laboratory courses must be taken concurrently. Laboratory credits thus obtained are in addition to the total required lecture credits specified above for the program.

    Entrance Requirements for Honours Program:

    A student will normally be admitted to the honours program after obtaining at least a 70% average on all required U1 physics and mathematics courses. In order to complete an honours degree, a student must normally obtain an average of at least 65% in required physics courses in each academic year.

    Major:

    The following courses are required for a Physics Major: Physics 101a, 106a, 107b, 117a, 210a, 211b, 212b, 213a, 214b, 216b, 218b, 220a, 270a, 271b.Mathematics 106a, 107b, 108a, 109b, Computer Science 111ab.

    Total: 42 course credits physics, 12 credits mathematics, 4 credits computer science, 33 credits options, = 91 course credits.
    When any lecture course (e.g., Phy 191a) also has an associated laboratory course (e.g. Phy 081a), both the lecture and laboratory courses must be taken concurrently.
    Laboratory credits thus obtained are in addition to the total required lecture credits specified above for the program.

    Minor:

    A minor in Physics consists of Physics 101a, 106, 107, 117a and four other lecture courses in Physics selected from 200 level courses. The total course credit requirement for the minor is 24 credits.
    Laboratory Courses:
    When any lecture course (e.g., Phy 191a) also has an associated laboratory course (e.g. Phy 081a), both the lecture and laboratory courses must be taken concurrently. Laboratory credits thus obtained are in addition to the total required lecture credits specified above for the program.

    UNDERGRADUATE COURSES

    Physics 191a Introductory Physics I (Mechanics) 3-3-0
    This course is designed to give students an introduction to classical mechanics. Topics that will be covered include statics, particle kinematics in one and two dimensions, particle dynamics and Newton's Laws, conservation of energy and momentum, and rotational kinematics and dynamics. This course should be taken concurrently with Physics 081.
    Corequisite: Mathematics 191a

    Physics 081a Introductory Physics Laboratory I 1-0-4
    A series of experiments in General Physics to complement the material covered in Physics 191a. This course must be taken concurrently with Physics 191a.

    Physics 192b Introductory Physics II (Electricity and Magnetism) 3-3-0
    This course is designed to give students an introduction to electromagnetism and its applications. Topics that will be covered include Coulomb's Law, electric fields, electric potential, capacitance, direct current circuits, magnetism, electromagnetic induction, alternating current circuits, and electromagnetic waves. This course should be taken concurrently with Physics 082.
    Prerequisite: Physics 191a or the permission of the instructor. Corequisite: Mathematics 192b

    Physics 082b  Introductory Physics Laboratory II  1-0-4
    A series of experiments in General Physics to complement the material covered in Physics 192b. This course must be taken concurrently with Physics 192b.

    Physics 086b  Waves, Optics, & Electromagnetism Laboratory  1-0-4
    A series of experiments in wave motion, geometrical and physical optics, and electricity and magnetism to complement the material covered in the lecture courses Physics 192b and Physics 106b. This course must be taken concurrently with Physics 192b and Physics 106b.
    May not be taken for credit if credit has been granted for Physics 082b and Physics 186b.

    Physics 193a  Physics for the Life Sciences I  3-3-0
    This course is designed to emphasize topics of particular relevance to the life sciences. Topics that will be covered include: mechanics (statics, kinematics, dynamics, conservation of energy and momentum, rotational motion); fluid dynamics (pressure, elasticity, viscosity, diffusion); and, thermodynamics (temperature, heat transport, kinetic theory of gases). Concepts and problem-solving skills are emphasized. This course should be taken concurrently with Physics 083a. This course is required for all students in Biology and Biochemistry.
    Students who have received credit for an equivalent course taken elsewhere may not register for this course. Credit will be given for only one of Physics 191a, 193a, and 199f.
    Corequisite: Mathematics 198a or Mathematics 191a

    Physics 083a  Physics for the Life Sciences Laboratory I  1-0-4
    A series of experiments in college physics to complement the material covered in Physics 193a. This course must be taken concurrently with Physics 193a.
    May not be taken for credit if credit has been granted for Physics 081a or Physics 089f.

    Physics 194b  Physics for the Life Sciences II  3-3-0
    This course is designed to emphasize topics of particular relevance to the life sciences. Topics that will be covered include: vibrations and waves; sound; electrostatics (charges, electric fields and potential); circuits; magnetism (forces, induction, electromagnetic waves); optics (interference, diffraction, instruments); and, modern physics (atoms, radioactivity, MRI, CAT). This course should be taken concurrently with Physics 084b. This course is required for all students in Biology and Biochemistry.
    Students who have received credit for an equivalent course taken elsewhere may not register for this course. Credit will be given for only one of Physics 192b, 194b, and 199f.
    Prerequisite: Physics 193a or Physics 191a or the permission of the instructor.
    Corequisite: Mathematics 199b or Mathematics 192b

    Physics 084b  Physics for the Life Sciences Laboratory II  1-0-4
    A series of experiments in college physics to complement the material covered in Physics 194b. This course must be taken concurrently with Physics 194b.
    May not be taken for credit if credit has been granted for Physics 082b or Physics 089f.

    Physics 199f  Introduction to University Physics  6-6-0
    An introduction to the fundamentals of classical physics. Concepts and problem-solving skills are emphasized. Topics in the area of mechanics include: translational, rotational, and oscillatory motion; Newtonian dynamics; conservation of energy, linear momentum, and angular momentum; heat and the kinetic theory of gases. Topics in the area of electricity and magnetism include: electric fields and potentials; AC and DC circuit theory; magnetism and the properties of magnetic materials; electromagnetic waves and optics.
    Prerequisites: Students must normally have completed upper-level high school physics and mathematics courses, or must satisfy admission requirements into the B.Sc. degree at Bishop's University. Students taking this course require a knowledge of basic calculus which may be gained concurrently.
    Corequisite: Physics 089f
    Students may not have credit for both Physics 199 and other introductory physics courses (i.e., Physics 191 and 192 or their equivalents).

    Physics 089f  Introduction to University Physics Laboratory  2-0-8
    A series of experiments that complements the lecture material in PHY199. This laboratory course includes experiments in measurement and uncertainty, statics, dynamics, collisions, AC and DC circuit analysis, electrostatics, and magnetism.
    Corequisite: Physics 199f
    Students may not have credit for both Physics 089 and other introductory physics laboratory courses (i.e., Physics 081 and 082 or their equivalents).

    Physics 101a  Statistical Methods  3-3-1
    This course is specifically designed to meet the needs of students of physics, chemistry, biology, mathematics and computer science. Topics include: errors of observation, graphical visualization of data; descriptive analysis, elementary probability, permutations and combinations; the binomial, normal and Poisson distributions; random sampling; testing hypotheses, significance levels, confidence limits, large and small sampling methods; regression and correlation; chi-square distribution; analysis of variance.
    Note: In order for students to obtain credit for both Physics 101 and Mathematics 213, Physics 101 must be taken first or concurrently.

    Physics 106a  Waves and Optics  3-3-0
    Wave phenomena. Wave and photon theories of light. Huygen's Principle and its applications. Geometrical optics. Optical instruments. Simple versions of Interference, Diffraction and Polarization of light.
    Co-requisite: Physics 186a

    Physics 186a  Waves and Optics Laboratory  1-0-4
    Experiments in geometrical and physical optics. This course must be taken concurrently with Physics 106a.

    Physics 107b  Thermal and Fluid Physics  3-3-0
    Pressure, hydrostatics, and hydrodynamics. Temperature and Heat. Kinetic theory of gases. Energy, work, heat. First, second, and third laws of thermodynamics. Entropy and Disorder. Specific heat of solids, black body radiation, statistical thermodynamics involving different distributions and their applications.

    Physics 111ab  The Physics of Everyday Phenomena  3-3-1
    This course is designed to meet the needs of non-science students by providing them with a practical introduction to physics and science as it is applies to everyday life. Students are assumed to have no background in math or science. By allowing students to practice science through practical demonstrations of physical phenomena and engaging in small-group inquiry and discussion, they will learn to think logically when solving problems, enhance their scientific literacy, and develop their physical intuition. Typical questions that will be addressed include: Why is the sky blue? What causes a rainbow even when it is not raining? Why purchase a car with an anti-locking brake system (ABS)? Where is lightning most likely to strike and how can you best protect yourself? How do medical scanning procedures such as MRI work? Does a curve ball really curve or is it an optical illusion?
    Note: Students enrolled in a program in the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics cannot use this course as a science elective.

    Physics 112ab  Introduction to Holography  3-1-4
    This course is designed to give students an introduction to the principles of laser holography (3-D photography) while at the same time providing them with the opportunity to create holograms in the laboratory. Students are assumed to have no background in math or science. Students will make holograms using single and multiple beam reflection and transmission techniques. Special topics related to the making of rainbow, colour, and other types of holograms will be discussed and attention will be given to the application of this medium as a form of visual expression. In addition, students will be able to apply their knowledge to create holograms at home (sandbox holography).
    Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. Students in Fine Arts are strongly advised to take a course in Photography before enrolling in this course.
    Note: See Fin 207ab. Students may not take this course for credit if they have received credit for Fin 207ab. Students enrolled in a program in the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics cannot use this course as a science elective.

    Physics 113b  Introduction to Astronomy  3-3-0
    An outline of our knowledge of the size, structure and possible origin of the Universe. Starting with the primitive speculations of the Greeks, the course ends with the theory of the expanding universe and its origin in the "Big Bang".
    Prerequisite: Students should have a background in high school mathematics.

    Physics 114b  Astronomy and Astrophysics  3-3-0
    A survey of our understanding of the physical properties of the universe. Topics to be studied include: observational astronomy, stellar evolution, binary stars, white dwarfs, neutron stars, black holes, galaxies, quasars, large scale structure of the universe, and cosmology.
    Prerequisite: Mathematics 191 (or equivalent), or permission of the instructor; Physics 113 or equivalent is recommended.

    Physics 117a  Introduction to Mechanics  3-3-0
    Statics: equilibrium of bodies subject to many forces. Kinematics; rectilinear, plane, circular and simple harmonic motion. Dynamics: conservation of mechanical energy and momentum; plane and circular motion of particles; rotation of macroscopic bodies.
    Prerequisite: Physics 191a or equivalent
    Corequisite: Mathematics 106a
    Note: See Mat 177a. Students may not take this course for credit if they have received credit for Mat 177a.

    Physics 210a  Electricity and Magnetism I  3-3-0
    Review of vector calculus. Electrostatics: fields and potentials of point charges, dipoles, and distributed charges; Gauss's theorem; Poisson's and Laplace's equations; dielectrics; capacitance. Current electricity.
    Prerequisite: Physics 117a, Mathematics 107b; Corequisite Physics 284
    Offered alternate years

    Physics 211b  Electricity and Magnetism II  3-3-0
    Magnetic phenomena, magnetic induction, Ampere's Law, and solenoids. Faraday's Law and the displacement current. Magnetic and dielectric materials. Magnetic and electric fields: Maxwell's equations of the electro-magnetic field; plane electromagnetic radiation in dielectrics and conducting media. Current electricity: filters; transmission lines. Radiation and Antennae.
    Prerequisite: Physics 210a
    Offered alternate years

    Physics 212b  Electric Circuits and Electronics  3-3-0
    Review of D.C. circuits, Kirchoff's laws, network theorems. Network analysis for A.C. circuits, phasors. Diode circuits and filters. The physical basis of semiconductor devices including semiconductor diodes, junction transistors, and field-effect transistors. The operation of transistor amplifiers, digital electronics and integrated circuits will also be covered.
    Note: See CSC 272.
    Students may not take this course for credit if they have received credit for Computer Science 272.
    Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

    Physics 213a  Modern Physics I  3-3-0
    Fundamentals of modern physics, special theory of relativity, quantization of electro-magnetic radiation, wave properties of particles, the hydrogen atom, atomic and X-ray spectra.
    Prerequisite: Physics 106a, or permission of the instructor; co-requisite Physics 283
    Offered alternate years

    Physics 214b  Modern Physics II  3-3-0
    The hydrogen atom, orbital theory, and the Zeeman effect. Overview of solid state physics. Nuclear structure, nuclear decay, nuclear models, nuclear reactions, and nuclear detectors. Elementary particles.
    Prerequisite: Physics 213a
    Offered alternate years

    Physics 216b  Physical and Contemporary Optics  3-3-0
    Wave theory, polarization, interference diffraction. Basics of coherence theory, lasers, holography. Quantum nature of light.
    Prerequisite: Physics 106a
    Offered alternate years

    Physics 218b  Advanced Mechanics  3-3-0
    Newtonian gravitation: planetary orbits; tides. Relativistic dynamics of particles. The Lagrangian and Hamilton's Principle. Theory of Vibrations and Small Oscillations. Dynamics of macroscopic bodies.
    Prerequisite: Physics 117a, Physics 270a, or permission of the instructor.
    Offered alternate years
    Note: See Mat 278. Students may not take this course for credit if they have received credit for Mat 278.

    Physics 220a  Statistical and Thermal Physics  3-3-0
    The statistical definition of entropy and temperature. Statistical Ensembles. The Planck and Maxwell-Boltzmann distributions. The Fermi and Bose distributions. Thermodynamic functions. Applications of Fermi-Dirac and Bose-Einstein statistics.
    Prerequisite: Physics 107b
    Offered alternate years

    Physics 230b  Relativity  3-3-0
    The geometry of space-time. Relativistic mechanics of particles in curved space-times. Electromagnetic radiation. Applications to cosmology.
    Prerequisite: Physics 117a

    Physics 265b  Data Communications  3-3-0
    This course will cover how data flows in communications networks. Topics: Hardware, software and basic components of data communications; frequency domain representation, modulation, multiplexing; network configurations.
    Prerequisite: Computer Science 111ab, Computer Science 116a, or permission of the instructor.
    Note: See Computer Science 215b. Students may not take this course for credit if they have received credit for Computer Science 265b.

    Physics 270a  Differential Equations  3-3-0
    Techniques for solving first and second order linear differential equations. Systems of first order equations. Power series solutions for second order equations including the method of Frobenius. Various applications of differential equations.
    Prerequisite: Mathematics 107b
    Note: See Mathematics 210a. Students may not take this course for credit if they have received credit for Mathematics 210a.

    Physics 271b  Mathematical Methods of Physics  3-3-0
    Discussion of series solutions in connection with the gamma function and Bessel, Legendre and hypergeometric functions. Laplace transform with applications. Elementary trigonometric Fourier series and boundary value problems. Certain partial differential equations of physics.
    Prerequisites: Mathematics 210a or Physics 270a
    Note: See Mathematics 211a. Students may not take this course for credit if they have received credit for Mathematics 211b.

    Physics 275b  Numerical Methods  3-3-0
    A course introducing those numerical methods best suited to a computer. Error analysis, roots of equations, QR-algorithm, interpolation, Numerical approaches to differentiation, integration and solutions of differential equations.
    Prerequisites: Computer Science 111ab. Mathematics 107, 108
    Note: See Mathematics 225 and CSC 275. Students may not take this course for credit if they have received credit for Mathematics 225 or Computer Science 275.

    Physics 276b  Calculus of Variations  3-3-0
    Euler-Lagrange equations for constrained and unconstrained single and double integral variational problems. Parameter-invariant single integrals. General variational formula. The canonical formalism. Hilbert's independent integral. Hamilton-Jacobi equation and the Caratheodory complete figure. Fields and the Legendre and Weierstrass sufficient conditions.
    Prerequisite: Permission of the Instructor
    Note: See MAT305. Students may not take this course for credit if they have received credit for MAT305.

    Physics 278b  Scientific Programming  3-3-3
    This course is designed as an introduction to programming languages and environments suitable for the numerically intensive applications in the natural sciences and mathematics. Examples will be given to illustrate the use of Fortran in numerical calculations. Other examples will be tackled using the Maple language initially developed to handle problems in symbolic computation.
    Prerequisite: CSC 204
    Note: See CSC 208 and MAT 279. Students may not take this course for credit if they have received credit for CSC208 or MAT 279.

    Physics 279b  FORTRAN Programming  3-3-3
    This course will cover the programming language FORTRAN. Subroutines, libraries, and the use of segmentation techniques will be covered as well as the syntax characteristics of FORTRAN. The course assumes that the student already knows how to program. Programming is done in FORTRAN 90.
    Prerequisite: Computer Science 111ab
    Note: See Computer Science 209. Students may not take this course for credit if they have received credit for Computer Science 209.

    Physics 283  Intermediate Physics Laboratory I  2-0-4
    Experiments in modern physics, classical mechanics, thermodynamics, and low-temperature physics will be carried out. Computer interfaces will be used to collect and analyse data.
    Corequisite: Physics 213a
    Offered alternate years

    Physics 284  Intermediate Physics Laboratory II  2-0-4
    Experiments in electricity and magnetism, electronics, and physical optics will be carried out. Computer interfaces will be used to collect and analyse data.
    Corequisite: Physics 210a
    Offered alternate years

    Physics 461a  Quantum Mechanics I  3-3-0
    Foundation of quantum mechanics; Schrodinger equation, angular momentum, central potentials, harmonic oscillator, hydrogen atom.
    Prerequisite: Physics 214b or permission of the instructor.

    Physics 462b  Quantum Mechanics II  3-3-0
    Matrix mechanics and applications of quantum mechanics to various branches of physics. Perturbation theory, scattering, molecular applications, and Hartree-Fock Theory.
    Prerequisite: Physics 461a

    Physics 463b  Nuclear Physics  3-3-0
    Nuclear structure and systematics; alpha emission, beta decay, gamma emission, two-body systems and nuclear reactions; neutron physics; sub-nuclear particles.
    Prerequisite: Physics 461a

    Physics 464 Condensed Matter Physics 3-3-0
    Topics to be studied include the one-electron theory of solids, energy bands, lattice vibrations, transport theory, and thermodynamic properties.
    Prerequisite: Physics 214, 220, or permission of the department.

    Physics 465a  Electromagnetic Theory  3-3-0
    Static and dynamic electric and magnetic fields; Maxwell's equations and solutions involving plane waves. Covariant formulation of electromagnetic field theory.
    Prerequisite: Physics 211b

    Physics 466ab  Theoretical Topics  3-3-0
    Topics to be studied will be selected from the areas of special and general relativity, particle physics, astrophysics and cosmology. In particular, the covariant nature of physics and various physical symmetries will be investigated.
    Prerequisites: Physics 214, 218, 220; or the permission of the instructor

    Physics 467b  Statistical Mechanics  3-3-0
    Derivation of the laws of thermodynamics from statistical principles. Quantum statistics, arbitrarily degenerate and relativistic perfect gases, transport theory, thermodynamic fluctuations, and low-temperature physics will also be studied.
    Prerequisite: Physics 220b

    Physics 469a  Independent Studies I  3-3-0
    Topics to be determined by the instructor based on student needs.
    Prerequisite: Permission of the department

    Physics 470b  Independent Studies II  3-3-0
    Topics to be determined by the instructor based on student needs.
    Prerequisite: Permission of the department

    Physics 474 Relativistic Astrophysics 3-3-0
    Topics to be studied include: Cosmology, inflation, dark energy, compact objects, relativistic fluid dynamics, gravitational lensing, and gravitational waves.
    Prerequisite: Permission of the department

    Physics 475b  Numerical Methods and Simulations   3-3-0
    This course will cover selected topics in High Performance Computing including cellular automata, finite element methods, molecular dynamics, Monte Carlo methods, and multigrid methods, with applications to classical fields, fluid dynamics, materials properties, nanostructures, and biomolecules.
    Prerequisite: Permission of the department

    Physics 476b  Stellar Astrophysics   3-3-0
    An introduction to the properties of stellar atmospheres and interiors. The equations of stellar evolution, nuclear energy generation, radiative transport and stellar model building will be studied. Further topics include the formation of stars, and the physics associated with supernovae, white dwarfs, neutron stars, pulsars and black holes.
    Prerequisite: Permission of the department

    Physics 480f  Honours Research Dissertation  6-1-6
    Each student is required to carry out either an experimental or theoretical project under the supervision of a faculty member. A plan outlining the proposed research must be submitted for approval during the first four weeks of the course. Each student will present his/her results in the form of a seminar and a written dissertation.
    Prerequisite: U3 Honours Physics registration or permission of the department.

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