Physics and Astronomy

Top Reasons to study Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manitoba

1) You’re at home in the universe

Astronomy and astrophysics examine the universe, galaxies and stars; stellar birth, evolution and death; how explosions of stars create fast-moving cosmic ray particles and pulsars; how the rotation of galaxies reveals the presence of dark matter; and cosmology and the evolution of the universe. Physics explores the universe from the grandest to most minute; from the structure of the cosmos to the structure of sub-atomic particles, and all the forces that hold them together and apart.

2) You want access to state of the art equipment

Our students have access to on-site planetarium and research laboratories with state of the art equipment including: high-resolution mass spectrometers, helium liquefier, dilution refrigerator for milikelvin temperatures, and an ultrasonics research laboratory. Students also have access to International re-search facilities such as: TRIUMF (Canada’s national sub-atomic physics lab), Compute Canada, National high-performance computing system, Jefferson National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory in the United States.

3) You want outstanding research opportunities

At the U of M, students have opportunities to work in laboratories and gain research experience as early as their second year.

4) You’re seeking joint and diverse program options

Our program options include Physics, Subatomic, Nuclear, Condensed Matter, Astronomy and Astro-physics, Medical and Biological Physics, and joint program options include Math and Physics, Chemistry and Physics, Computer Science and Physics.

5) We have world class research underway

Our faculty are leading experts in the fields of astrophysics, atomic and molecular physics, condensed matter and materials physics, mass spectrometry, mathematical physics, medical physics, and subatomic physics.

Minimum High School Prerequisites

Manitoba high school graduation with five full credits at the Grade 12 level in courses designated as S, G or U.

A minimum 85 percent average over the following courses, with no less than 60 percent in each course:

  • English 40S,
  • Pre-Calculus Math 40S (required) and;
  • Chemistry 40S (required for entry into joint chemistry/physics degree) and;
  • Physics 40S (required)


If you don’t have the appropriate high school courses, or you would like to refresh your knowledge in a subject area, the University offers the following preparatory courses.

Biology BIOL 1000, Biology: Foundations of Life
Chemistry CSKL 100,  Chemistry Skills, Offered through Extended Education
Mathematics, Math Skills, Offered through Extended Education
Physics, PSKL 100, Physics Skills, Offered through Extended Education

What will I learn?

Bachelor of Science (BSc)

Program Options

  • 3-year general
  • 4-year Majors
  • 4-year Honours
  • 4-year Joint Honours (Mathematics, Computer Science, and Chemistry)
Sample Courses
  • PHYS 1050: Mechanics
  • PHYS1810, The Magnificent Universe
  • PHYS 2210: Understanding Electricity and Magnetism
  • PHYS 2380: Quantum Physics
  • PHYS 2390: Theoretical Physics
  • PHYS 3220: Medical Physics and Physiological Measurement
  • PHYS 3630: Electro- and Magnetodynamics and Special Relativity
  • PHYS 3670: Classical Thermodynamics
  • PHYS 4230: The Phenomenology of Galaxies
  • PHYS 4400: Medical Imaging
  • PHYS 4520: Applied Nuclear Science

What can I do with this degree?

Career Opportunities:

Physics graduates are highly sought after employees. A physics education emphasizes problem-solving and abstract thinking and this training makes physics graduates very desirable employees in a wide variety of areas including education, finance, and journalism. These fundamental skills as well as training in practical subjects such as optics, lasers, computer interfacing, image processing, and electronics also make them very desirable employees in high tech companies.

Opportunities for Future Studies include:

The University of Manitoba offers graduate programs in Physics and Astronomy for Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

A comprehensive study of employment prospects for Canadian Physics Graduates (the Highly Qualified Personnel Study) was conducted by members of the CAP as part of a review of Canadian Academic Physics. This study was based on 945 responses from individuals who obtained their BSc. in Physics between 1985 and 1996. Of these, roughly 25% had gone on to complete an MSc. as their highest degree and 25% had gone on to complete a PhD. Among the findings of this study are:

  • The level of unemployment within this group was 2-3% with unemployment of those with graduate degrees being less than 1%
  • Physics graduates can find employment in a wide range of areas. For the group covered by the survey, who were relatively recent graduates, the distribution was:
    • Research and Development – 25.8%
    • Teaching – 24.1%
    • Computing – 12.2%
    • Health Sciences – 6.2%
    • Management and administration – 4.6%
    • Product Development – 4.0%
    • Consulting – 4.0%
    • Sales and Marketing – 3.4%
    • Other – 15.8%

For more information please explore the Canadian Association of Physicists website.

Possible Careers

Research & Development
  • Research Scientist
  • Experimental Physicist
  • Theoretical Physicist
  • Acoustics Physicist
  • Condensed Matter Physicist
  • Materials Scientist
  • Electronics Research Scientist
  • Cosmologist
  • Planetary Scientist
  • Exploration Geophysicist
  • Observational Astronomer
  • Computational Astrophysicist
  • Theoretical Astrophysicist
  • High Energy Physicist
  • Nuclear Physicist
  • Solar Physicist
  • Extragalactic Astronomer
  • Stellar Astronomer
  • University Professor
  • College Professor
  • High School Physics Teacher
  • High School Science Teacher
  • High School Mathematics Teacher
  • Elementary School Teacher
Computer Hardware & Software
  • Analyst
  • IT Consultant
  • Programmer
  • Semiconductor Physicist
  • Software Engineer
  • Systems Analyst
  • Technical Support
  • Web Developer
  • Data Scientist
Health Care
  • Biophysicist
  • Health Physicist
  • Medical Physicist
  • Optics Physicist
  • Plasma Physicist
  • Radiation Physicist
  • Imaging Physicist
  • Energy & Environment
  • Atmospheric Scientist
  • Ocean Scientist
  • Remote Sensing
  • Physicist
  • Meteorologist
  • Climatologist
  • Nuclear Power Scientist
Applied Physics & Engineering
  • Forensic Physicist
  • Application Engineer
  • Associate Engineer
  • Design Engineer
  • Development Engineer
  • Electrical Engineer
  • Engineering Technician
  • Field Engineer
  • General Engineer
  • Laser Engineer
  • Manufacturing Technician

Career Profiles

Jim Peebles [BSc(Hons)/58, DSc/89]
2019 Nobel Prize in Physics

Widely recognized as one of the key architects of the field of physical cosmology, the study of the universe’s origin, structure, and evolution. His work has led to worldwide recognition and awards, including the Shaw Prize and the Crafoord Prize. In 2017, Dr. Peebles was recognized with the highest honor in the province, the Order of Manitoba. Read more

Mark de Jong
Chief Technology Officer, Canadian Isotope Innovation

The driving force behind world-class research facility Canadian Light Source’s novel approach to tackling a global shortage of medical isotopes – due to the impending shut down of aging nuclear reactors around the world – with a safe, uranium-free method. Now de Jong is helping drive Canadian Isotope Innovations Corp. in commercializing those isotopes. Read more

Dr. Melanie Martin, [BSc (Hons.)/95] – Physics & Astronomy

A visionary physicist who has pioneered the development of microscopic MRI techniques, applying them to the physiological changes in living tissues – work that has the potential to speed up and improve the diagnosis and treatment of nervous system disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Schizophrenia. Read more