Physics and astronomy major Map

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graphic of the queen\'s university logo and tricolourPHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY Major Map


1st Year

2nd Year

3rd Year

Final Year

Get the Courses You Need

Take PHYS 104 or 106. Take MATH 110 or 111, MATH 120 or 121. CHEM 112 is also recommended. If you’re thinking about specializing in Astrophysics, take CHEM 112. For plan requirements or thresholds, see the Arts and Science website.
Speak to an academic counselor at the Arts and Science Office or the Undergraduate Chair for help.

Take PHYS 206, 212, 239, 242 and 250 lab. Be sure to take the 200-level MATH courses that are required, as 300-level PHYS relies on them. Astrophysics specialization students take PHYS 216.
Speak to an academic counselor at the Arts and Science Office or the Undergraduate Chair for help with program requirements.

Complete all 300-level requirements/core courses for the major or specialization. This is a challenging year with courses like PHYS 344 and 345 (quantum mechanics), and the full-year lab course PHYS 350.

PHYS 590 Honours Thesis is required for the Physics or Astrophysics specialization plans. Physics Majors can also complete PHYS 590 if suitably prepared. Take option courses in your areas of interest. Apply to graduate on SOLUS.

Get Relevant Experience

Join teams or clubs on campus such as Queen’s Astronomy Club, Queen's University Experimental Sustainability Team (QUEST), Queen’s Space Engineering Team (QSET), Queen’s Solar Design Team, etc.
See the Co-Curricular Opportunities Directory or AMS Clubs Directory for more ideas.

Look into summer jobs by talking to the department or Career Services.
Consider entrepreneurial opportunities at programs like the Queen’s Summer Innovation Initiative (QSII) and the Summer Company Program.

Stay during the summer as a research assistant to a faculty member or research group.
Investigate off-campus summer jobs involving research (such as at SNOLAB). Apply for NSERC USRA, or directly to individual faculty members and research groups in Physics and Astronomy.

Investigates or full-time jobs related to careers of interest.
Check out Inquiry@Queen’s which promotes undergrad research and present your past summer research work.

Get Connected with Your


Volunteer on or off-campus with different community organizations such as Science Rendezvous or Let’s Talk Science. Consider joining an intramural sport or an athletics team. Off-campus community organizations welcome Queen’s students – see what’s out there!

Get involved with the Departmental

Student Council (DSC). Connect with professors at socials or attend departmental public lectures.

Start or continue volunteering with organizations such as Women in Science and Engineering (WISE).

Do targeted networking with people working in careers of interest (with alumni, using LinkedIn, etc.)
Connect with professors at events hosted by the DSC. Consider going to networking workshops at Career Services. Attend the departmental colloquium to connect to current research.

The Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference is hosted by and for undergrads.
Consider joining professional associations like the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) or the Canadian Astronomical Society (CASCA).

Get Thinking Globally

The Queen’s University International Centre will be your first stop to internationalizing your degree. Speak to a QUIC advisor or get involved in their many programs, events and training opportunities.

Is an exchange in your future? Start thinking about where you would like to study abroad. Apply in January for a 3rd year exchange through the International Programs Office.
Physics research is often international and collaborative. Get involved in summer research with faculty members to explore those global connections.

Build your intercultural competence by getting involved with other cultures or by practicing or improving your language skills. Stop by QUIC for ideas to go abroad, volunteer at QUIC or attend one of their events.

Prepare yourself to work in a multi-cultural

environment by taking QUIC’s Intercultural

Competency Certificate, and start thinking about work or further studies abroad.

Get Ready for Life After Graduation

Grappling with program decisions? – go to different Major Nights by the departments or various Career Fairs during the year. Get some help deciding by visiting Career Services or taking the Choosing a Major workshop.

Explore different careers of interest by reading books in the Career Services Career Advising and Resource Area, such as Alternative Careers in Science, talking to people whose jobs interest you, or connecting with alumni on LinkedIn.

Start focusing on areas of interest. Learn about the requirements for careers of interest– do they need additional schooling? If so, prepare to take the required tests (like the LSAT or MCAT). Attend Grad School workshops at Career Services if interested.

Apply to jobs or future education, or make plans for other adventures. Prepare reference letters if you’re applying to graduate school. Make an appointment with Career Services for help with future plans.

Caution: *This map is meant as a guide to provide suggestions throughout your university career. The activities, resources, and careers mentioned are possibilities – you are not restricted to them and you don’t have to follow this exact timeline. Every person (including you!) will find their own unique path through their degree at Queen’s and beyond.

Where could I go after graduation?



Alternative energy



Atmospheric science and modeling



Computer engineering

Computer simulations

Education and teaching

Financial quantitative modelling

Forensic science

Fundamental physics research


Technology industry


Information specialist


Medical imaging



Nuclear engineering




Planetary science

Private and public research


Remote sensing


Space science

*some careers may require additional training

Physics and Astronomy at Queen’s

Why study Physics and Astronomy?

Through studying Physics at Queen’s, you will be trained in observation and experimentation, in mathematics and model building, and will develop the confidence to tackle new and intellectually demanding problems, placing you at the leading edge of research and development in science and technology. This program deals with the properties of matter and energy, from everyday concepts such as force, heat and electricity to abstract ideas of relativity and quantum mechanics. The department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy also offers a Specialization Plan in Astrophysics.

What program options are there?

  • Specialization – Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Astrophysics

  • Specialization – Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Mathematical Physics

  • Specialization – Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Physics

  • Major in Physics(Science) – Bachelor of Science (Honours)

  • Minor in Physics with Bachelor of Arts or Science

See the department website for course requirements.

Getting what you need to succeed in the workplace

What do employers want?

In a recent survey from the Canadian Council of Chief Executives the top 6 skills sought by employers were:
1 People skills

2 Communication skills

3 Problem-solving skills

4 Analytical abilities

5 Leadership skills

6 Industry-specific Knowledge

How do I get the skills I need?

It is important to develop a balanced skill set – many of which you will develop during your studies. To stand out from the crowd, gain experience outside the classroom through the multitude of clubs and activities in and around Queen’s. Check out ideas in the Get Relevant Experience section of this map.

What can I learn studying Physics and Astronomy at Queen’s?

  • Knowledge of physics theories and mathematical models

  • Proficiency in mathematics

  • Facility for quantitative mathematical and computational analysis

  • Experience with laboratory equipment

  • Design experiments and develop and write research proposals

  • Review scientific literature

  • Draw conclusions from data and evaluate sources of error

  • Explain technical information clearly in writing and verbal communication

  • Use statistical software

  • Adopt a systematic, analytical approach to problems

What makes ME special?

You have a unique set of skills and experiences. Take the time to think about the skills you have personally developed at Queen’s. Explaining your strengths with compelling examples will be important for applications to employers and further education. For help, check out the Career Services skills workshop.

Physics and Astronomy Major Map

How to use this map

• Got questions about careers and classes?

• Feeling a little lost or overwhelmed by choices?

• Wondering what you are “supposed” to be doing?
Use this map to plan for success in five overlapping areas of career and academic life. Each map helps you explore possibilities, set goals and track accomplishments. To make your own custom map, use the My Major Map tool.

Don’t stress if you haven’t done all of the suggested activities. The map is not a prescription – it’s a tool for finding your own way at Queen’s.

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Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Faculty of Arts and Science

Stirling Hall

64 Bader Lane

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