The theories of physics are written in the language of mathematics. Ever since the days of Galileo and Newton, the concepts of physics have also inspired the development of new fields of mathematics. This is still the case today. As we push forward the frontiers of understanding fundamental ideas about the innermost workings of particles, the extremes of black holes, or the origin of the Universe, we are continually confronted by having to invent new mathematics.
An education in theoretical physics will give you a deep conceptual understanding of how things work, and how the universe fits together. It will also give you the skills to think from first principles, and to express that thinking analytically in mathematical models. Those skills are highly sought after not only in fundamental research but also in the worlds of industry, finance, education, and the public service.
- Te Kura Matū | School of Physical and Chemical Sciences has many collaborations nationally and internationally that give access to some of the best facilities around the world. For example, UC is a member of CERN, the enormous particle accelerator centre in Geneva and also collaborates in the IceCube neutrino experiment at the South Pole.
- UC is ranked in the top 250 universities in the world for Physics and Astronomy (QS World University Rankings by Subject, 2019).
- UC physicists are currently involved in obtaining fundamental theoretical understandings of cosmology and astroparticle physics.
Theoretical physicists are often trained in mathematics departments, and any theoretical physics programme will contain a large amount of mathematics. At UC, we have a Mathematical Physics degree at the Bachelor of Science with Honours level, which includes 400-level Physics and Mathematics.
Students who embark on this pathway should prepare by taking a Bachelor of Science (BSc) with a double major in Mathematics and Physics.
At 200-level, include the following courses in your BSc degree:
- PHYS 203 Relativistic and Quantum Physics
- PHYS 205 Waves, Optics and Mechanics
- PHYS 206 Electromagnetism and Materials
- PHYS 285 Technical and Professional Skills for Physicists
- MATH 201 Multivariable Calculus
- MATH 202 Differential Equations
- MATH 203 Linear Algebra
- MATH 240 Analysis and Groups
At 300-level include:
- PHYS 310 Thermal, Statistical and Particle Physics
- PHYS 311 Quantum Mechanics
- PHYS 313 Advanced Electromagnetism and Materials
- PHYS 326 Classical Mechanics and Symmetry Principles
- MATH 302 Partial Differential Equations
- MATH 365 Applications of Complex Variables
- two courses from MATH 321, MATH 343, MATH 353, MATH 363
Mathematical physics graduates are highly sought after, not only in fundamental research but also in the worlds of industry, finance, education, and the public service.
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