Course Planning and Course Enrollment

Course Planners

All Physics MSc and PhD students are required to complete a Course Planner in consulation with their senior supervisors and/or supervisory committees. This course plan will ensure that students meet their graduate program requirements, and take courses relevant to their research interests.

Please follow these steps to complete your course plan:

  1. Review the information relevant to your degree below.
  2. Download and complete a course planner (see below) in consultation with your senior supervisor before enrolling in your first term courses.
  3. If you do not yet have a senior supervisor, please consult with the graduate program assistant or the graduate chair for course advising.
  4. Once your supervisor has agreed to your course plan, please submit the Course Planner to the graduate program assistant for your file.
  5. Keep a copy of your course planner to refer to in future terms and for your Annual Progress Review with your supervisory committee.

Please note that your course planner is meant as a guideline to complete your degree requirements. Your course plan can be changed at any time during your program provided it is approved by your senior supervisor and the graduate program chair.

Course Planner Downloads

MSc Course Planning

Please review the Physics MSc course requirements on the MSc Course Planner or on the MSc Program page.

The following is a sample plan that would allow a student to complete their MSc coursework in their first year of the program. Please note that this is a sample only; you should create a course plan specific to your research goals in consultation with your senior supervisor or the Physics graduate chair.

Fall Term

Required Courses

  • PHYS 801 Student Seminar (1 unit with completion of 4 terms)
  • PHYS 802 Introduction to Graduate Studies (2 units)
  • PHYS 898 MSc Thesis (MSc students enroll in this course every term until graduation)

Core Physics Courses

Students planning to pursue a PhD in Physics will typically take these two core courses in the Fall term:

  • PHYS 810 Advanced Quantum Mechanics (3 units)
  • PHYS 821 Advanced Electromagnetism I (3 units)

Spring Term

Required Courses

  • PHYS 801 Student Seminar
  • PHYS 898 MSc Thesis (MSc students enroll in this course every term until graduation)

Core Physics Courses

Students planning to pursue a PhD in Physics will typically take the following course in the Spring term:

  • PHYS 841 Statistical Mechanics (3 units) 
  • Note: High Energy Physics students may subsitute PHYS 812 for PHYS 841 as a core course with permission from their senior supervisor.

Elective Course (3 units)

To complete the 15 unit MSc course requirement, a student taking 801, 802 and all three core Physics courses would take one additional elective in consultation with his or her senior supervisor.

PhD Course Planning

Please review the Physics PhD course requirements on page 3 of the PhD Course Planner or on the PhD Program page.

The Physics graduate program assistant will provide you with a Course Planner created in consultation with the Physics Graduate Program Committee (GPC). This Course Planner is based on the transcripts you submitted with your application. The GPC may grant equivalent credit for courses you took at other institutions and will recommend additional courses required to complete your PhD course requirements.

Please review this course planner with your senior supervisor and submit the approved plan with any required revisions to the graduate program assistant.

Required Courses

  • PHYS 801* Student Seminar (1 unit with completion of 4 terms)
  • PHYS 802* Introduction to Graduate Studies (2 units)
  • PHYS 899 PhD Thesis (placeholder course)

*If you did not already complete these courses during an MSc at SFU, you are required to take PHYS 801 and PHYS 802. PHYS 802 is offered each Fall term.

Core Physics Courses

PhD students are required to take any of the three of the core Physics courses for which they did not receive equivalent credit.

Fall Term Core Course Offerings
  • PHYS 810 Advanced Quantum Mechanics (3 units)
  • PHYS 821 Advanced Electromagnetism I (3 units) or PHYS 822 Advanced Electromagnetism II (3 units)
Spring Term Core Course Offerings
  • PHYS 841 Statistical Mechanics (3 units) 
  • Note: High Energy Physics students may substitute PHYS 812 for PHYS 841 as a core course with permission from their senior supervisor.
 
 

Course Plans

The following are lists of Physics grad courses that are relevant to MSc or PhD students in the associated research areas and should be used as guides in filling out course plans. Students are also free to take grad courses in other SFU departments or western Canadian universities in consultation with their supervisor.  All grad students must take PHYS 801 and PHYS 802.  In addition to these, MSc students must complete 12 graduate credits and take at least one of the starred (*) courses in the lists below.  Besides 801 and 802, PhD students must complete 21 graduate credits (which may include prior MSc coursework), and obtain credit for 3 of the starred (*) courses (note: either PHYS 821 or PHYS 822 can be taken to satisfy the Advanced Electromagnetism requirement).

Condensed Matter Theory

  • PHYS 810*   Advanced Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 821*   Advanced Electromagnetism I
  • PHYS 822*   Advanced Electromagnetism II
  • PHYS 841*   Statistical Mechanics
  • PHYS 811    Topics in Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 812    Introduction to Quantum Field Theory
  • PHYS 849    Nanophysics
  • PHYS 861    Solid State Physics I
  • PHYS 862    Solid State Physics II
  • PHYS 881    Critical Phenomena
  • PHYS 881    Quantum Field Theory II
  • PHYS 890    General Relativity

Condensed Matter Experiment

  • PHYS 810*   Advanced Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 821*   Advanced Electromagnetism I
  • PHYS 822*   Advanced Electromagnetism II
  • PHYS 841*   Statistical Mechanics
  • PHYS 811    Topics in Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 849    Nanophysics
  • PHYS 855    Modern Optics
  • PHYS 861    Solid State Physics I
  • PHYS 862    Solid State Physics II
  • PHYS 863    Surface Science
  • PHYS 864    Structural Analysis of Materials
  • PHYS 881    Experimental Methods
  • PHYS 881    Magnetism
  • PHYS 881    Control Theory

Atomic, Molecular, Optical

  • PHYS 810*   Advanced Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 821*   Advanced Electromagnetism I
  • PHYS 822*   Advanced Electromagnetism II
  • PHYS 841*   Statistical Mechanics
  • PHYS 811    Topics in Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 855    Modern Optics
  • PHYS 861    Solid State Physics I
  • PHYS 862    Solid State Physics II
  • PHYS 881    Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics
  • PHYS 881    Control Theory
  • PHYS 881    Experimental Methods

Biophysics/Soft Condensed Matter Theory

  • PHYS 810*   Advanced Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 821*   Advanced Electromagnetism I
  • PHYS 822*   Advanced Electromagnetism II
  • PHYS 841*   Statistical Mechanics
  • PHYS 811    Topics in Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 812    Introduction to Quantum Field Theory
  • PHYS 833    Biological Physics Laboratory
  • PHYS 846    Nonlinear Physics
  • PHYS 847    Topics in Soft-Condensed Matter & Biological Physics
  • PHYS 881    Control Theory
  • PHYS 881    Critical Phenomena
  • PHYS 881    Non-Equilibrium Statistical Physics

Biophysics/Soft Condensed Matter Experiment

  • PHYS 810*   Advanced Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 821*   Advanced Electromagnetism I
  • PHYS 822*   Advanced Electromagnetism II
  • PHYS 841*   Statistical Mechanics
  • PHYS 833    Biological Physics Laboratory
  • PHYS 846    Nonlinear Physics
  • PHYS 847    Topics in Soft-Condensed Matter & Biological Physics
  • PHYS 855    Modern Optics
  • PHYS 881    Control Theory
  • PHYS 881    Experimental Methods
  • PHYS 881    Non-Equilibrium Statistical Physics

High Energy Particle Physics

  • PHYS 810*   Advanced Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 821*   Advanced Electromagnetism I
  • PHYS 822*   Advanced Electromagnetism II
  • PHYS 841*   Statistical MechanicsPHYS
  • PHYS 812    Introduction to Quantum Field Theory
  • PHYS 871    Introduction to Elementary Particle Physics
  • PHYS 881    Instrument Techniques
  • PHYS 881    Particle Physics II
  • PHYS 881    Quantum Field Theory II

Cosmology

  • PHYS 810*   Advanced Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 821*   Advanced Electromagnetism I
  • PHYS 822*   Advanced Electromagnetism II
  • PHYS 841*   Statistical Mechanics
  • PHYS 811    Topics in Quantum Mechanics
  • PHYS 812    Quantum Field Theory
  • PHYS 871    Introduction to Elementary Particle Physics
  • PHYS 881    Quantum Field Theory II
  • PHYS 890    General Relativity
  • PHYS 891    Cosmology

Enrolling in Courses

All courses must be approved by the chair of the graduate program commitee and the student's senior supervisor (once the student has made supervisory arrangements). All Physics graduate students must enroll in PHYS 898 (MSc) or PHYS 899 (PhD) every term to remain active in their graduate programs.

Please login to the SFU Student Information System to enroll in courses. Instructions for using the Student Information System for course enrollment are located here.

Finally, please familiarize yourself with the Dates and Deadlines associated with enrolling in or dropping courses. These deadlines can affect your fees, or the notation you receive on your SFU transcript.

Enrolling In Your First Term

New Students (MSc)

Please enroll in the following courses during your first term:

PHYS 801: Student Seminar

This course requires department permission to enroll. The graduate program assistant will automatically enroll you in this course. If you have not been enrolled by the first day of the term, please contact the graduate program assistant to request enrollment.

You will enroll in this course in each Fall and Spring term until you complete your PHYS 801 requirements.  

PHYS 802: Introduction to Graduate Research and Teaching

Please enroll yourself in this course using the Student Information System.

PHYS 898: MSc Thesis

Please enroll yourself in the G100 section of this course during each term of your program, beginning with the first term. Failure to do so could result in automatic withdrawal from your graduate program.

All Other Courses

Please be sure to consult with your senior supervisor and submit a course planner to the graduate program assistant before enrolling in courses for your first term. Some courses may have undergraduate prerequisites and will require departmental permission. If you are unable to enroll yourself in a course using the student information system, please contact the graduate program assistant and ask to be enrolled.

 

New Students (PhD)

Please enroll in the following courses during your first term:

PHYS 801: Student Seminar

This course requires department permission to enroll. The graduate program assistant will automatically enroll you in this course. If you have not been enrolled by the first day of the term, please contact the graduate program assistant to request enrollment.

You will enroll in this course in each Fall and Spring term until you complete your PHYS 801 requirements.

PHYS 802: Introduction to Graduate Research and Teaching

Please enroll yourself in this course using the Student Information System.

PHYS 899: PhD Thesis

Please enroll yourself in the G100 section of this course during each term of your program, beginning with the first term. Failure to do so could result in automatic withdrawal from your graduate program.

All Other Courses

The graduate program assistant will send you a PhD Course Planner with recommended PhD coursework. Please review this course planner with your senior supervisor before enrolling in courses. If you are making revisions to the course plan, please contact the graduate program assistant.

Note that some courses may have undergraduate prerequisites and will require departmental permission. If you are unable to enroll yourself in a course using the student information system, please contact the graduate program assistant and ask to be enrolled.

 

Important Notes and Policies Regarding Course Planning and Enrollment

 

PHYS 801, PHYS 898 and PHYS 899

PHYS 801

  • Students are required to attend the PHYS 801 Student Seminar through the course of 4 terms and make presentations in 2 of those terms to meet the course requirements.
  • PHYS 801 requires departmental permission to enroll. Students should be enrolled in PHYS 801 every Fall and Spring term until they complete their course requirements. If you are not automatically enrolled by the first day of the term, please attend the seminar and contact the graduate program assistant to request enrollment.
  • Students will receive a grade of 'IP' (In Progress) on their transcripts in terms they are enrolled in the course. In the term the course is completed, they will receive a grade of 'CO' (Complete), and will receive credit for the course.

PHYS 898

  • MSc students should enroll themselves in PHYS 898 every term during their degree program. Failure to do so could result in automatic withdrawal from your graduate program.
  • PHYS 898 is a placeholder course for MSc program enrollment and thesis research.
  • Once thesis requirements are completed, the student will receive a 'CO' (Complete) grade on their transcript.
  • If a student will be off campus for a term, they must enroll in the G200 section of PHYS 898 by emailing the Graduate Program Assistant.

PHYS 899

  • PhD students should enroll themselves in PHYS 899 every term during their degree program. Failure to do so could result in automatic withdrawal from your graduate program.
  • PHYS 899 is a placeholder course for PhD program enrollment and thesis research.
  • Once thesis requirements are completed, the student will receive a 'CO' (Complete) grade on their transcript.
  • If a student will be off campus for a term, they must enroll in the G200 section of PHYS 899 by emailing the Graduate Program Assistant.

Graduate Courses at Other Institutions / Western Dean's Agreement

Graduate Courses from Other Institutions / Western Deans Agreement

With permission from the senior supervisor and the department, Physics graduate students may take courses from other institutions in accordance with SFU Graduate General Regulation 1.7.6.

SFU graduate students may take courses at any of the participating institutions under the Western Dean's Agreement (WDA).

Courses Offered By Other SFU Departments

Graduate Courses from Other Departments

With permission from the senior supervisor and the Physics graduate chair, Physics graduate students may take courses from other departments at SFU. Please contact the department offering the course and follow their instructions to enroll.

Undergraduate Course Enrollment as a Graduate Student

Undergraduate Courses

Physics graduate students cannot count any undergraduate course units towards their program requirements. However, in consultation with their Senior Supervisor, PhD students may choose to take relevant undergraduate courses in addition to their graduate course requirements.

Auditing Courses

Auditing Courses

Graduate students may audit graduate courses, with permission of the instructor, senior supervisor and graduate program chair of the student's department. Such audits are recorded as AU on the student’s transcript.

Prior to enrolment, the student and instructor must agree on the requirements for auditing the class. These requirements must include regular attendance at class meetings, completion of readings and participation in class activities.

Audited courses will not count toward degree requirements.

A student may change enrolment status in a course from audit to regular enrolment, or from regular enrolment to audit until the deadline for late enrolment for the term. Normally, no further change in enrolment status will be permitted after that date.