Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Getting to know Physics & Astronomy


The Department of Physics at Queen’s is one of Canada’s leading teaching and research institutes in Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy. Our faculty include high-profile, world class physicists and astronomers such as Nobel Laureate Art McDonald. Queen’s has the largest, combined research group in astronomy, astrophysics and astroparticle physics in North America. The Physics Department also created the first Engineering Physics program in Canada. World-leading researchers in quantum optics, nanoscience and nanophotonics merge our strength in applied physics with fundamental research in condensed matter physics and optics.  

Physics at Queen’s combines high calibre research with an intermediate-scale learning setting enabling attention and care towards undergraduate teaching as well as exposure to a broad range of topics and expertise. Our students will learn in an engaging environment with the opportunity to conduct research in state-of-the-art laboratories, including inter-disciplinary research, as well as projects involving international collaborators such as experiments in dark matter and neutrinos at SNOLAB

A Common Start

Students in our Faculty are admitted into Arts, Science or Computing but the focus is on a common first year. Through self-exploration, and while you settle into university life, you have the chance to work with our advisors and faculty to uncover where your real interests and opportunities for success are. Sometimes that discovery happens fairly quickly, and for other students it takes some work and time before the “ah-ha!” happens – either way your first year at Queen’s will be a great experience.

First-Year Students going into Physics

Program information and FAQs for first-year students interested in physics can be found in these slides from our annual Physics Info Night for ASC1. You can download a pdf file of the slides by clicking Program Information and FAQs.

  • ASC1 Information Night slide 1 with title page
  • ASC1 Information Night slide 2 showing agenda
  • ASC1 Information Night slide 3 showing Physics Degree Plans
  • ASC1 Information Night slide 4 showing Honours Degrees in Physics
  • ASC1 Information night slide 5 continued with Honours Degrees in Physics
  • ASC1 Information night slide 6 showing second year courses for Physics and Astrophysics
  • ASC1 Information night slide 7 showing second year courses for Mathematical Physics
  • ASC1 Information night slide 8 showing second year math courses
  • ASC1 Information night slide 9 showing info for Major or Specialization in third year for Physics and Astrophysics
  • ASC1 Information night slide 10 showing fourth year for physics and astrophysics major and specialization.
  • ASC1 Information Night slide 11 showing fourth year Physics course topics
  • ASC1 Information night slide 12 showing Physics Minor info
  • ASC1 Information night slide 13 showing info on Accelerated Master's in Physics program
  • ASC1 Information night slide 14 showing first slide of FAQ
  • ASC1 Information night slide 15 showing second slide of FAQ
  • ASC1 Information night slide 16 showing third slide of FAQ
  • ASC1 Information night slide 17 showing final slide on FAQ
  • ASC1 Information night slide 18 showing after graduation
  • ASC1 Information night slide 19 asking Why study physics?
  • ASC1 Information night slide 20 showing Physics is cool image
  • ASC1 Information night slide 21 ending with question How much good a goose needs to prepare for 3000 km migration

Course Highlights

In 2nd and 3rd years, students study topics such as classical mechanics, electromagnetism, thermodynamics, advanced laboratory, relativity and quantum mechanics. In 4th year, students have the opportunity to take specialized courses in current, modern subjects such as nanoscience, medical physics, lasers, nuclear and particle physics, solid state physics and general relativity.

What can I learn studying Physics & Astronomy?

  • Knowledge of physics theories and mathematical models
  • Proficiency in mathematics
  • Facility for quantitative mathematical and computational analysis
  • Experience with laboratory equipment
  • Design experiments and develop and write research proposals
  • Review scientific literature
  • Draw conclusions from data and evaluate sources of error
  • Explain technical information clearly in writing and verbal communication
  • Use statistical software
  • Adopt a systematic, analytical approach to problems