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[canada] relevant fields in physics

  1. Mar 1, 2005 #1
    I am curently in grade 10 and have aspirations of becoming a physicist, but I am unsure of what undergraduate school to apply to when the time comes. I know some schools are better for certain things (I am in Canada btw), therefore my selection of schools is very important. I am very interested in theoretical physics, but know there is nihil for work out there for a theoretical physisict other than working at a uni, and positions are difficult to obtain. Could someone please tell me the most highly sought after types of physicists in industry, and compile a list of appropriate undergraduate schools in canada for that field in physics? I hear there is demand for physicists to design medical equipment, but I am not a biology person, and do not plan on doing biology later whilst in high school.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 1, 2005 #2
    One thing that you might consider is going to a university in the United States. It will get you to be familiar with the country as you will probably work with others in it later in life.
  4. Mar 1, 2005 #3
    I really do not wish to go to school in the States. I think it would be easier financially.

    Were I to go to school in canada, what is the most promising field, and what Canadian undergraduate schools are most appropriate?
  5. Mar 1, 2005 #4
    it depends on where you live

    I m from ontario and in ontario the best physics schools include mcmaster university, university of toronto, and waterloo university, the last one being very good for grad schools in physics and engineering physics
  6. Mar 2, 2005 #5
    I have had a great physics education at UBC. We have plenty of good physicists in condensed matter, biophysics and laser physics, which are the most industry-related fields. Most departments will list the research interests (i.e. areas) of their faculty somewhere on their websites.
  7. Mar 2, 2005 #6


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    I say choose one of the following:

    University of Waterloo
    University of Toronto
    McMaster University
    Queen's University

    Yes, stay out of the US. I don't see how someone would recommend that route, especially for undergrad. For graduate school, I would understand a little better, but undergrad, come on.
  8. Mar 2, 2005 #7
    I attend UWaterloo for the Mechanical Engineering program. I was in a similar situation as you in grade 12. I got accepted into Physics and Engineering, but I didn't know what to choose. Either way, I'd say your best be is U of Waterloo, they have the New Quantum Computing Facility just off campus and the profs. here are soo wicked. Never mind that the city is basically run by students and there is soo much to do all the time.


  9. Mar 3, 2005 #8
    IMO, it's probably a little bit early for you to start thinking about schools to go to. Spend some of your spare time in the physics section of the library and find a few books in the areas you're interested in. You'll probably want to stay away from the journals, since they'll contain a bunch of stuff that will go way over your head at this point. Physics Today and Physics in Canada would be good ones to start with. Books by people like John Gribbin, and Stephen Hawking (the more pop-sci kind of books meant to introduce things to regular people are what I have in mind) are also good ones to start with. Find an area(s) you're interested in and let that dictate what schools you pick.

    FWIW, I personally don't feel there's much difference between physics programs at the undergraduate level (in Canada). A physics BSc is by necessity fairly general and covers a wide range of subjects and all schools will cover the same subjects. The primary goal at the undergraduate level is to get a solid background in physics and all the programs will give you that. Specializing in a particular field comes at the graduate level, and it's not until you get to there that the school you pick becomes really important.

    Unless you're desperate to get out of the province you're living in now or to get away from home, pick a school that's close to you. Tuition will be cheaper and you'll be going to school with friends and other people you know which will make the transition easier.
    Don't be too quick to dismiss the medical physics field. Just because there's a 'medical' in front of it doesn't mean you need a biology degree or a lot of biology courses. There will be some biology requirements (usually just anatomy and physiology) which can be a bit onerous for non-bio types (like me) but nothing a good physicist can't handle. People with no more than jr. high biology can do quite well in the medical physics field. I had my last real biology course in 9th grade before I took anatomy and physiology in the first year of my MSc (8 years later). I did ok in anatomy and struggled through physiology, but managed to learn (and retain) enough to get me through a medical physics residency and the board exams.
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2005
  10. Mar 3, 2005 #9
    The feedback provided is much appreciated. I am looking into computational physics, and it looks pretty neat. In terms of graduate schools, would waterloo be best for that field?
  11. Mar 3, 2005 #10


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    You're thinking way ahead of yourself. Graduate school shouldn't be a question.
  12. Mar 3, 2005 #11
    My undergrad, Kettering University (formerly GMI Tech, Flint, MI) started offering a discounted price to Canadians for enrollment. Most of the school got upset. Average price for american, in michigan student = $20,000USD, for canadians , $17500CAD
    Thats right, 17k CANADIAN dollars. Such a ripoff for us americans, they get it for almost half our price just because the school wanted to increase enrollment.

    Don't go there though. They have a decent physics progam, but its really small. And the calibre of students that attend there are dropping due to them wanting more students. This makes them lower their cutoffs.
  13. Mar 3, 2005 #12


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    Tuition in Ontario, Canada is less than $5000 for most school. The average tuition in Quebec, Canada is still under $2000.

    That's right, those are Canadian dollars.

    They don't call it a great country for nothing. Low tuition, free health care, etc...
  14. Mar 5, 2005 #13
    Hey Guys lets not forget the exciting stuff that is going on in Saskatoon...


    Canada has alot to offer in the field of physics. A major thing at the U of Calgary is its new Bioengieering faculty. And it is kinda big on R&D in the field of medical physics. (I have heard good things about the U of A too!!!)
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