Honours Chemical Physics

There is a rich boundary region between Chemistry and Physics, particularly in areas such as materials science, condensed matter physics, nuclear chemistry and surfaces science. Several faculty at UBC hold joint appointments in Chemistry and Physics and others are members in one department while holding an associate membership in the other. Many faculty collaborate with counterparts in the other department and share the outstanding interdisciplinary research facilities at UBC, such as AMPEL and TRIUMF. Combined Honours Chemical Physics is a challenging program which is designed to provide strong students with an excellent preparation for an advanced degree in either department with interests that lie in the boundary region between Chemistry and Physics.

Meeting the requirements for both departments requires creative scheduling of the courses listed below. Beyond first year, there is some flexibility in the order in which courses are taken, especially between Physics and Chemistry. Generally we advise taking the Math courses as soon as possible since this makes the upper level physics courses easier. Note several courses listed below have prerequisites not listed below (e.g. CHEM 320). A different course is deemed to be an adequate replacement (e.g. PHYS 304 is sufficient for CHEM 320).

A coop program is possible and has the advantage of gaining practical work experience while earning money. However, in this program the coop option could delay your graduation by between one and two years.

The following is a short description of the program. Please be aware the official requirements for the program are listed in the UBC calendar - please see the appropriate calendar section for more information.

Year 1 Terms 1 and 2 Description Credits
Communication Requirement1   3
CHEM 121 (or 111)2 Structural Chemistry 4
CHEM 123 (or 113)2 Physical and Organic Chemistry 4
MATH 1203 Differential Calculus 4
MATH 1214 Integral Calculus 4
PHYS 107, 108, 109 (or 117, 118, 119)5 Enriched Physics I, Enriched Physics II and Experimental Physics 7
Electives6   6
Total Credits   32

1Of the 6 credits required to satisfy the Communication Requirement, 3 credits are specified in third year (CHEM 300). The remaining 3 credits must be chosen from the list of acceptable courses. ENGL 112 is recommended. ENGL credits beyond those needed to satisfy the Communication Requirement may be applied towards the Faculty of Science Arts Requirement. SCIE 113 may be used to satisfy part of the Communication Requirement but not part of the Arts Requirement.

2Students without Chemistry 12 should take CHEM 111+113 instead of CHEM 121+123.

3MATH 180 or 184 may substitute for MATH 120. MATH 100 or 102 or 104 may substitute for MATH 120 by increasing the electives by 1 credit. MATH 110 may substitute for MATH 120 by decreasing the electives by 2 credits.

4MATH 101 or 103 or 105 may substitute for MATH 121 by increasing the electives by 1 credit.

5Advanced Credit or Placement in Physics are both excellent preparation but they are NOT a substitute for these first year Physics courses, which are prerequisites for all second year Physics courses. Students with AP credits should contact the Department for advice. Students without Physics 12 must take PHYS 100 prior to PHYS 107 or 117.

6The elective credits taken throughout the program must include at least 12 credits in the Faculty of Arts (excluding Arts credits used to satisfy the Faculty of Science Communication Requirement).
Students without Biology 11 or 12 must take 3 credits of 100-level BIOL. BIOL 111 or 121 are recommended. For students with Biology 11 or 12, at least 3 credits must be a science course in ASTR, ATSC, BIOL, EOSC, or GEOB. See the Biology Requirement for further details.
It is recommended that one of the electives in first or second year be a course in CPSC.
Some course alternates have different credit value. The number of electives in each year is chosen to balance the total number of credits (i.e., make the yearly total equal to 32 or 34). However, since the number of available elective credits may not be a multiple of three, students are permitted to move elective credits between years. A minimum of 30 credits must be taken each Winter Session.

Year 2 Term 1 Description Credits
CHEM 208 Coordination Chemistry 3
CHEM 2037 Introduction to Organic Chemistry 4
MATH 2178 Multivariable and Vector Calculus 4
MATH 223 (or 221)9 Matrix Algebra 3
PHYS 200 Relativity and Quanta 4
PHYS 219 Intermediate Experimental Physics I 2
Year 2 Term 2    
PHYS 216 Intermediate Mechanics 3
CHEM 213, 245 Organic Chemistry, Lab 4
MATH 215 Differential Equations I 3
PHYS 229 Intermediate Experimental Physics II 1
Electives6   3
Total Credits Year 2   34

7Students with CHEM 235 and a score of 76% or higher in CHEM 233 may apply for admission to this specialization and will be allowed to use CHEM 233 and 235 in place of CHEM 203.

8MATH 217 can be replaced by MATH 200 and 317 using 2 credits of electives.

9MATH 223 (221) may be taken in first year.

Year 3 Term 1 Description Credits
CHEM 300 Communicating Chemistry 3
CHEM 304 Fundamentals of Physical Chemistry 3
CHEM 315 Chemistry Integrated Laboratory I 1
CHEM 329 Research Ethics and Data Analysis Skills 1
PHYS 210 Computational Physics 3
PHYS 301 Electricity and Magnetism 3
PHYS 309 (or 319 in term 2)10,11 Electrical Laboratory 3
Year 3 Term 2    
CHEM 21110,11 Introduction to Chemical Analysis 4
CHEM 319 Practical Skills for Chemical Research 1
MATH 31610,11 Elementary Differential Equations II 3
PHYS 304 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 3
PHYS and CHEM Electives12   3
Electives6   3
Total Credits Year 3   34

10 MATH 316 may be moved to T1, in exchange for PHYS 309 which can be replaced by PHYS 319 in T2.

11CHEM 211 may be moved to T1, in exchange for PHYS 309 which can be replaced by PHYS 319 in T2.

12Chosen from 300- and 400-level PHYS and CHEM lecture courses. At least 3 credits must be chosen from 400-level PHYS lecture courses and at least 3 credits must be chosen from 400-level CHEM lecture courses. Recommended PHYS courses includes PHYS 401, 402, 408, 410, 474. PHYS 402, 410 are strongly recommended for students intending to pursue graduate work in physics. Recommended CHEM courses include CHEM 401, 402, 407, 408, 410, 417.

Year 4 Terms 1 and 2 Description Credits
One of BIOC 202, CHEM 305, 327 Biophysical Chemistry 3
CHEM 412 Electronic Structure of Atoms and Molecules 3
CHEM 449 or PHYS 449 Honours Thesis 6
PHYS 401 or 40813 Electromagnetic Theory / Optics 3
One of PHYS 306, 402, 403, 474   3
PHYS and CHEM Electives12   9
Electives6,14   5
Total Credits Year 4   32
Total Credits for Degree   132

13 Students selecting PHYS 408 decrease the number of PHYS Electives by 1 credit.

14Students who intend to continue in graduate school in Physics should note that program requires less math than normal for an undergraduate Honours degree and should consider choosing MATH 300, 301, 318 or 400 as an elective. Students heading for graduate school in Chemistry should consult advisor about additional Chemistry courses.


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