Department of Physics


Stage III courses

Stage III courses in physics and geophysics are similar to the advancing Stage II courses. They cover a range of topics in pure and applied physics at a more advanced level. The wide selection offers considerable flexibility in planning a course of study for your personal interests.

PHYSICS 315-356, as listed below, involve lectures only, and PHYSICS 390 and 391 are laboratory-work only courses. GEOPHYS 330 and GEOPHYS 331 include laboratories or fieldwork as a practical component.

PHYSICS 315: Classical and Statistical Physics, PHYSICS 325: Electromagnetism and PHYSICS 350: Quantum Mechanics & Atomic Physics centre on conceptual and mathematical developments of fundamental ideas in physics. To benefit from this material, a GPA of more than 4.0 (corresponding to an average grade of B–) in the recommended preparation is desirable. A student planning postgraduate study in Physics would usually take at least two of these courses. Students with a lower GPA should select from the other Stage 3 courses in physics and geophysics.

Physics students are expected to perform laboratory work to complement their lecture courses. A theoretical Physics major usually includes only one laboratory course, but an experimental Physics major would probably include both laboratory courses. No more than one laboratory should be taken in any one semester.

Students intending to proceed to a Master of Science (MSc) in Physics should include PHYSICS 325 and 15 points from PHYSICS 390–391 in their BSc.

For the purposes of recommended preparation for Stage 3 Physics courses, some course combinations are equivalent:

  • PHYSICS 111 and 210 is equivalent to the combination of MATHS 150 and 250
  • PHYSICS 112 and MATHS 208 are equivalent to PHYSICS 210.

Where MATHS 253 is specified as a prerequisite for a Stage 3 Physics course, MATHS 260 is recommended preparation.

Find information about the course requirements for both the BSc in Physics and Geophysics
 

PHYSICS 331: Classical Mechanics and Electrodynamics


Offered: Semester 1
Credit: 15 Points
Pre/Co-requisites: 15 points from PHYSICS 201, 231, 15 points from PHYSICS 202, 261 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATH 253, 260, ENGSCI 211

Introduces advanced topics in classical mechanics and electromagnetism, including variational and least action principles in mechanics, the physical basis of magnetism, and the four-vector treatment of special relativity and electromagnetism.

Assessment: Coursework 50% Exam 50%

Restriction: PHYSICS 315, 325

Course Coordinator: Malcolm Grimson

 

 

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PHYSICS 332: Fluid Mechanics


Offered: Semester 1
Credit: 15 points
Pre/Co-requisites:  15 points from PHYSICS 201, 231 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATH 253, 260, ENGSCI 211

Surveys fluid mechanics using the Navier-Stokes equations, covering Newtonian and simple non-Newtonian fluids, and examples from soft condensed matter. Different flow regimes will be studied, from small-scale laminar flows to large-scale turbulent and potential flows, and flows in rotating frames of reference. Applications range from microfluidics to geophysical fluids. Numerical approaches and computational tools will be introduced.


Assessment: Coursework 50%, Exam 50%

Course Coordinator: Geoff Willmott

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PHYSICS 333: Lasers and Electromagnetic Waves


Offered: Semester 2
Credit: 15 points
Pre/Co-requisites: : 15 points from PHYSICS 202, 261 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATH 253, 260, ENGSCI 211

Surveys the basic principles of lasers, and explains how the behaviour and propagation of light can be understood in terms of electromagnetic waves described by Maxwell’s equations. The theory and applications of several key optical components will be described, including lasers, optical resonators, fibres and waveguides.


Assessment: Coursework 50%, Exam 50%

Restriction: PHYSICS 326

Course Coordinator: Maarten Hoogerland

 

 

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PHYSICS 334: Statistical Physics and Condensed Matter


Offered: Semester 1
Credit: 15 pts
Pre-/Co-requisites: 15 points from PHYSICS 201, 231, 15 points from PHYSICS 203, 251 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATH 253, 260, ENGSCI 211

Introduces statistical physics and condensed matter physics, and describes how macroscopic properties of physical systems arise from microscopic dynamics. Topics in statistical physics include temperature, the partition function and connections with classical thermodynamics. Topics in condensed matter physics include crystal structures, phonons, electronic band theory, and semiconductors.


Assessment: Coursework 50%, Exam 50%

Restriction: PHYSICS 315, 354

Course Coordinator: Nicola Gaston

 

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PHYSICS 335: Quantum Mechanics


Offered: Semester 2
Credit: 15 points
Pre-/Co‐requisites: 15 points from PHYSICS 203, 251 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATH 253, 260, ENGSCI 211

Develops non-relativistic quantum mechanics with applications to the physics of atoms and molecules and to quantum information theory. Topics include the Stern-Gerlach effect, spin-orbit coupling, Bell’s inequalities, interactions of atoms with light, and the interactions of identical particles.


Assessment: Coursework 50%, Exam 50%

Restriction: PHYSICS 350

Course Coordinator: Howard Carmichael

 

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PHYSICS 340: Electronics and Signal Processing


Offered: Semester 1
Credit: 15 points
Pre-/Co‐requisites: None

Electronics and digital signal processing with a strong emphasis on practical circuit design and data acquisition techniques. Topics will be selected from: linear circuit theory, analytical and numeric network analysis, feedback and oscillation, operational amplifier circuits, Fourier theory, sampling theory, digital filter design, and the fast Fourier transform.

Restriction: PHYSICS 341

Concurrent: Enrolment in PHYSICS 390 is recommended

Course Coordinator: Stuart Murdoch

 

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PHYSICS 356: Particle Physics and Astrophysics


Credit: 15 Points

Pre-/Co-requisites: 15 points from PHYSICS 201, 231, 15 points from PHYSICS 203, 251 and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 21

Particle physics topics covered will include relativistic dynamics and application to fundamental particle interactions, the properties of strong, weak and electromagnetic interactions and the particle zoo. Astrophysics topics will include some of the following: the Big Bang, "concordance cosmology", redshifts, theories of dark matter, extra-solar planets, stellar evolution, supernovae, gravitational wave sources, nuclear astrophysics and the origin of the elements.

Restriction: PHYSICS 355

Concurrent: Enrolment is PHYSICS 390 is recommended

Course Coordinator: David Krofcheck

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PHYSICS 390: Experimental Physics


Credit: 15 Points

Pre-/Co-requisites: At least 15 points from PHYSICS 201, 202, 203, 231, 240, 244, 251, 261

Covers advanced experimental techniques, giving students choices between a wide range of classic physics experiments and open-ended investigations of physical phenomena.

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GEOPHYS 310: Physics of the Earth


Offered: Semester 2
Credit: 15 points
Pre-/Co-requisites:
EARTHSCI 103 or GEOLOGY 103, and PHYSICS 213 or GEOPHYS 213 and 15 points from MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211, PHYSICS 211

Covers the physics of the solid earth from the surface to the core. Specifically, we explore the Earth’s gravitational field (including the rotation and figure of the earth), seismology, heat flow, the magnetic and electromagnetic field to unravel the properties, processes, and structure of the Earth’s interior.

Assessment: Coursework 50%, Exam 50%

Course Coordinator: Kasper van Wijik

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GEOPHYS 311: Atomsphere, Ocean, and Climate Physics


Offered: Semester 1
Credit: 15 points
Pre-/Co-requisites: PHYSICS 201 or 231, and GEOPHYS 213 or PHYS 213, and 15 points from PHYSICS 211, MATHS 253, 260, ENGSCI 211

Introduces the physical and dynamic processes shaping the atmosphere and oceans, covering the thermodynamics of the climate system and the dynamics of global atmospheric and oceanic circulations. It explores the fundamental physical processes that control Earth’s climate and investigates the dilemmas they present in our current understanding of climate

Assessment: Assignments 20%, Tests 20%, Field Trip 10%

Restriction: GEOPHYS 331

Course Coordinator: Roger Davies

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