Sample courses

Courses offered in the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science will enhance your understanding of the world around us. From the molecular to the macular, from positrons to weather predictions, Physics and Atmospheric Sciences courses will inform and challenge you. In lectures, you’ll be introduced to key topics, while labs provide you with opportunities to ask questions and explore related subjects.

PHYC 1190
Introduction to Physics

This course concentrates on mechanics (forces and motion). Primarily for students interested in Physical Sciences and Engineering. Students entering this course must be familiar with algebra, graphs, and trigonometry, and should be taking calculus (MATH 1000.03/1010.03 or MATH 1280.03/1290.03) concurrently. Ideas are introduced through in-class demonstrations enabling students to relate physical theory to events in the real world. Students explore many concepts via hands-on labs.

Prerequisites: High School Physics equivalent to the Nova Scotia 12 level. Students not having a physics credit equivalent to Nova Scotia Grade 12 Physics are strongly advised to take PHYC 0010.00 available in the summer and in the fall term. See the College of Continuing Education at:
Exclusions: Credit will be given for only one of 1190.03, 1280.03, or 1310.03

PHYC 1300
Physics in and around You

If you're in biology, psychology, the arts, or environmental sciences—or if you're preparing for the MCAT or medicine, dentistry, and applied health sciences—this class provides an introduction to physics. It is accepted as a prerequisite to advanced physics classes when combined with MATH 1000 and 1010. Basic concepts in physics are applied, where possible, to realistic biological models. For example, you'll learn how forces and torques are related to muscles and joints, electricity to cellular activity, fluids to blood circulation, and more.

Prerequisites: High school physics equivalent to Nova Scotia Grade 12 level is highly recommended. If you don't have a physics credit equivalent to Nova Scotia grade 12 physics, you are strongly advised to take PHYC 0010.00 (available in the summer and in the fall term). For more information, see the College of Continuing Education at

PHYC 2310
Energy and the Environment

This topical class gives you a solid background in the physical principles and limitations of using renewable energy sources. You’ll also be introduced to energy conversion and storage systems, including solar power and heating; wind, tidal, geothermal, hydroelectric, and nuclear power; hydrogen technology; and electrical and mechanical energy storage. Plus, you’ll discover how these energy options affect the global climate and environment.

Prerequisites: PHYC 1100 or PHYC 1300, MATH 1010, CHEM 1011 or permission of the instructor.

PHYC 3303
Materials Science

After completing this class, you’ll know the principles needed to understand the physical properties of materials, such as thermal and mechanical stability, and electrical and optical properties. You’ll cover all phases of matter, from gases, liquids, films, liquid crystals, perfect crystals, defective solids, to glasses. You’ll also learn about fascinating processes like photography and xerography.

Prerequisites: PREREQUISITES: CHEM 2301 or PHYC 3200 (which may be taken concurrently) or ERTH 2001/2002 or ENGI 2800 or permission of the instructor.