800-Level Course Descriptions

PHYS 801 Student Seminar

Student Seminar

PHYS 801

Discussion of recent developments in physics, based on student seminars. Attendance is required for all first and second year students proceeding toward MSc or PhD degrees in physics. Course offered regularly. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

PHYS 802 Introduction to Graduate Studies: Research and Teaching in Physics

Introduction to Graduate Studies: Research and Teaching in Physics

PHYS 802

Basic skills for research and teaching in physics. Required for all students beginning an MSc or PhD degree in physics. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.

PHYS 810 Advanced Quantum Mechanics

Advanced Quantum Mechanics

PHYS 810

Advanced non-relativistic and some basic relativistic quantum mechanics: symmetries, Schroedinger/Heisenberg pictures, mixtures, variational and perturbative methods, Dirac equation. Prerequisite: PHYS 415, or equivalent.

PHYS 811 Topics in Quantum Mechanics

Topics in Quantum Mechanics

PHYS 811

A selection of topics which could include: foundations of quantum mechanics, quantum information theory, Bell's inequality, electron in a magnetic field, formal scattering theory, and others of current interest. Prerequisite: PHYS 810 or equivalent.

PHYS 812 Introduction to Quantum Field Theory

Introduction to Quantum Field Theory

PHYS 812

A first course in relativistic quantum field theory (QFT), mainly quantum electrodynamics (QED). Canonical quantization of the Klein-Gordon, electromagnetic, and Dirac fields; gauge freedom; Feynman diagrams and rules, with applications to scattering cross sections and pair creation; renormalization, with applications to the anomalous magnetic moment of the electron and the Lamb shift. Prerequisite: PHYS 810 or equivalent.


Quantum Information Science

PHYS 816

Includes topics such as qubits, density matrices, mixed states, entanglement, basic quantum algorithms, quantum cryptography, computational models and complexity, introductory quantum error correction, and applications. Students with credit for PHYS 416 may not take this course for further credit. Prerequisite: Recommended Prerequisite: PHYS 385 and either PHYS 384 or MATH 314 and 419, or equivalent, with a minimum grade of C-.

PHYS 821 Electromagnetic Theory

Advanced Electromagnetism I

PHYS 821

Advanced topics in classical electromagnetic theory: review of Maxwell's equations in free space and in macroscopic media, with applications in contemporary research; relativistic unification of electromagnetism; Lagrangian and Hamiltonian methods in electromagnetism. Prerequisite: PHYS 421 or equivalent.

PHYS 822 Advanced Electromagnetism II

Advanced Electromagnetism II

PHYS 822

Advanced topics in electromagnetic waves: propagation and polarization in free space and in macroscopic media, including dispersive and anisotropic media; conducting and dielectric waveguides and resonators; radiation, scattering, and diffraction. Prerequisite: PHYS 421 or equivalent.

PHYS 833 Biological Physics Laboratory

Biological Physics Laboratory

PHYS 833

Experiments in biological and soft condensed matter physics including investigation of Brownian motion, molecular order and biophysical forces using techniques such as optical trapping, NMR, spectroscopy and x-ray diffraction. Attention will also be given to more general skills, including experimental design, operating and troubleshooting experimental equipment, data analysis, and the presentation of experimental results. Prerequisite: PHYS 231 or MBB 309W; PHYS 347 or 344 or MBB 323 or CHEM 360; or permission of the department.

PHYS 841 Statistical Mechanics

Statistical Mechanics

PHYS 841

Review of ensembles and thermodynamics, ideal gases, imperfect classical gases, classical and modern theories of phase transitions, renormalization group. Course offered regularly. Prerequisite: PHYS 445 or equivalent.



PHYS 846

Nonlinear dynamics and chaos. Pattern formation and an introduction to turbulence. Prerequisite: PHYS 384 or equivalent.

PHYS 847 Topics in Soft-Condensed Matter and Biological Physics

Biological and Soft-Matter Physics

PHYS 847

An introduction to one of several topics in biological and soft-matter physics. Recent versions have focused on physical perspectives on molecular and cell biology: the roles of diffusion, entropy, free energy, and information in the structural, material, and functional properties of living and soft-matter systems. Prerequisite: Recommended prerequisite: PHYS 445 or equivalent.

PHYS 849 Topics in Nanophysics

Topics in Nanophysics

PHYS 849

Topics in nanophysics including: growth and fabrication of nanostructures, mechanical constraints on nanostructure formation, electronic and optical properties of reduced dimensional structures, quantum wells, molecular nanostructures, nanowires and quantum dots, ballistic transport and diffusive transport, tunneling, magneto-transport, interference effects. Applications to various nanodevice structures will illustrate key concepts. Prerequisite: PHYS 365 (Semiconductor Devices) or equivalent or PHYS 465 (Solid State Physics) or equivalent, or permission of the instructor.

PHYS 855 Modern Optics

Modern Optics

PHYS 855

Optical physics, including geometrical and physical optics, waves in anisotropic media, coherence, image formation and Fourier optics, guided wave optics and selected advanced topics such as lasers, nonlinear optics, photonics and quantum optics. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor.

PHYS 861 Introduction to Solid State Physics

Introduction to Solid State Physics

PHYS 861

Free electron theory, crystal structure, band theory, Bloch's theorem, electron dynamics, phonons, semiconductors. Course offered regularly. Prerequisite: PHYS 465 or equivalent, and PHYS 415.

PHYS 862 Solid State Physics II

Solid State Physics II

PHYS 862

Special topics in solid state physics such as superconductivity, magnetism, optical properties of solids, electron correlations. Course offered regularly. Prerequisite: PHYS 861.

PHYS 863 Surface Science, Thin Films and Interfaces

Surface Science, Thin Films and Interfaces

PHYS 863

Review of surface science techniques: Auger, XPS electron spectroscopies, low energy electron diffraction (LEED), high energy electron diffraction (RHEED), Scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM). Review of thin film deposition techniques: molecular beam epitaxy of metallic and semiconductor multilayer and superlattice structures. Physics and chemistry of surfaces and interfaces. Course offered occasionally. Prerequisite: PHYS 810, 821, 861 or permission of the department.

PHYS 864 Structural Analysis of Materials

Structural Analysis of Materials

PHYS 864

The application of transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and x-ray diffraction techniques to the study of the structure of materials. Hands-on instruction about the operation of a TEM and x-ray diffractometers is provided. The basic theory required for analyzing TEM and x-ray images and diffraction data is described. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor.

PHYS 871 Introduction to Elementary Particle Physics

Introduction to Elementary Particle Physics

PHYS 871

Elementary particle phenomenology; classification of particles, forces, conservation laws, relativistic scattering theory, electromagnetic interactions of leptons and hadrons, weak interactions, gauge theories, strong interactions. Prerequisite: Recommended Corequisite: PHYS 812.


General Relativity and Gravitation

PHYS 890

Gravity and space-time, Einstein's equations and their solution, tests of relativity, black holes, stellar equilibrium and collapse, and cosmological models. Students with credit for PHYS 490 may not take this course for further credit.



PHYS 891

Topics in Cosmology actively investigated today. The course includes a review of the current cosmological model and observations that support it. Theoretical issues associated with the remaining unsolved problems in Cosmology are discussed, as well as the type of observations that can test the existing ideas. The course assumes a basic knowledge of General Relativity.

Additional Graduate Course Options

Graduate courses outside our department may also count towards course requirements. 

Options include graduate courses offered from other SFU departments (if of relevance to degree research and approved by supervisory committee and grad program chair), and courses offered from other universities via the Western Dean's Agreement (WDA). Please note that enrollment in WDA courses needs to be approved months in advance of the start of the term.

Non-Credit Course Options