Physics and Astronomy

High School Background Required
Life After Graduation
First Year Requirements
Further Information

Ranging from astronomical scales through condensed matter, atomic, nuclear and down to fundamental particles, physics and astronomy deal with the properties of matter and energy. From everyday concepts such as forces, heat and electricity to abstract ideas including relativity, gravitation and quantum mechanics, physics is a modern and exciting science closely linked to the latest technological developments. Physics is the basic science that provides the framework for other natural and applied sciences and is the foundation of our understanding of the physical world.

The Honours B.Sc. program in this department is designed to give a broad knowledge of physics or physics and astronomy in the first three years and a choice of specialized courses in the fourth year. Mathematics is essential for studying physics and astronomy and all students are required to take several courses in mathematics during the first two years. Students with interest in interdisciplinary subjects have the opportunity to complement their courses in mathematics and physics with courses in biology, chemistry, computing, etc.

There is a long tradition of excellence in this field at Queen's -- our undergraduate programs attract exceptional students from across Canada who perform very well in external examinations, excel in industry and gain entry into the best graduate schools. Queen's Physics students are trained in observation and experimentation, in mathematics and model building, and develop the confidence to tackle new and intellectually demanding problems in a way that has always placed them at the leading edge of research and development. With mathematical problem-solving skills and solid scientific training, the physics graduate is a highly-sought after employee.

Most science students take an introductory physics course: either PHYS 104, PHYS 106 or PHYS 117, broadly speaking for physics, physical science and life science students respectively. The department also offers popular courses designed for non-science students: PHYS P15/3.0, Astronomy I: The Solar System, PHYS P16/3.0, Astronomy II: The Active Universe and PHYS P20/3.0, Physicists in the Nuclear Age (this course is only offered as a distance course).

High School Background Required

Arts Concentrations: 4U Advanced Functions and 4U Calculus and Vectors and 4U Physics or recognized equivalents required

Science Concentrations:
4U Advanced Functions and 4U Calculus and Vectors and 4U Physics or recognized equivalents required; 4U Chemistry or recognized equivalent is recommended (and is required for Specialization plans in Astrophysics and Physics).

Life After Graduation

  • Science and technology careers in fields such as optics and lasers
  • Aerospace
  • Computers and electronics
  • Image processing and medical physics
  • Careers in finance, education and management
  • Academic, industrial, and government research
  • Further career information can be found at

First Year Requirements

Go to Choose Your First Year Courses for more information.

Further Information

Physics and Astronomy Home Web Page
tel: 613-533-2707
fax: 613-533-6463

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