New Students

Welcome to Simon Fraser University physics. We hope that you find your studies here rewarding. A physics degree will provide you with an understanding of physical principles that govern the universe and with critical thinking, modelling, mathematical, experimental and analytical skills.  We want to instill in our students an attitude of inquiry, intellectual curiosity and an appreciation for scientific discovery.  Physics students are known for their problem-solving skills, have been trained to communicate effectively and to work productively with good time-management skills and persistence.  Upon completion of a physics degree our graduates will be well prepared for a wide range of career paths (see our careers page for more information).   

As a new student you no doubt have many questions about what courses you should be taking and what options are available to you. We hope you will find these web pages useful. A full first year of physics usually consists of 8 physics credits, 2 of which involve laboratory work. We have four streams of first year physics: standard, enriched, studio and life-sciences streams.  The enriched stream provides the best preparation for those seeking to complete a physics program.  We have suggested schedules for each of our physics programs and a web page with typical course offerings to help you plan your courses.  We also have a guide to help you succeed in your physics courses.

If you find in the course of your studies that you would like to major in physics, we offer many different ways to study physics within our various programs, depending on your specific interests: Physics, Applied Physics, Biological Physics, Chemical Physics and Mathematical Physics.  If you are in a program other than physics, consider a minor in Physics or Nuclear Science to complement to your major program. We also have a Physics Breadth Course - Introduction to Astronomy - that satisfy quantitative breadth requirements and have been specially designed for nonphysicists.  If you'd like to discuss your plans with me, send me a message to set up an appointment.

Remember the words of Isaac Newton: "To explain all of nature is too difficult a task for any one man or even any one age.  Tis much better to do a little with certainty and leave the rest for others that come after you."   

Best wishes in your studies! 

Cameron Forde
Undergraduate Advisor


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