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Canadian Physics Departments

  1. Aug 23, 2004 #1
    Which undergraduate physics departments are really exceptional? I am considering McGill, UBC, Queen's, McMaster, U of Toronto, and Waterloo. I do have some U.S. schools in mind, but I find it much harder to choose Canadian schools. Are Canadian departments on the same level as the top U.S. departments (Cornell, Caltech, etc.)? If so, which university has the best department in Canada?
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 24, 2004 #2
    It all depends on what you are looking for. It also helps if you know where you want to be later on.
  4. Aug 24, 2004 #3
    My dream is to get Ph.D. and become a professor of theoretical physics. I have gone through some texts including the volumes of The Feynman Lectures on Physics, and I think parts on nuclear and quantum physics really hooked me into it.

    I know it's a long way off, but I would like universities that have undergraduate research opportunities and more interactions with professors. Oh, and, I would like to be in an 'intelligent environment'.
  5. Aug 25, 2004 #4


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    Some intelligent people don't like to share, and some do.

    I'm sure you'll find a good atmosphere in any Physics program. Who would take a Physics program, and not actually love Physics? It makes almost no sense to take that route.

    I would go with a school that have the courses you are interested in. If you are looking at Waterloo, and they got 2 Quantum Mechanics courses, and 1 Nuclear, it probably isn't the best option. I think it is most important to find the schools that have specifically what you want. If you also enjoy Astronomy, and they don't offer Astronomy at a particular school, why go there? After finding out what schools has what you want, then start looking at other things. Wherever you go, there will be Physics students, or else the program wouldn't exist, and you are going to learn the most you can. If you are reading about Physics as it is, chances are regardless of what you are being taught, you will be to anxious to learn what happens next term, and start reading up on that topic right away.

    Also, look at the profs too. Find out their background(usually on the website). What might happen is that in 3rd/4th year, and you start getting pretty deep on certain topics. You might want to start applying them to your ideas or your fields of interests, and when you inquire to your teacher about it you want them to be helpful. If you're interested in T.O.E., and your profs don't give a rats ass about it, well than good luck.

    There are so many things to look for, and reputation should be one of the last options.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2004
  6. Aug 25, 2004 #5

    UBC offers quite a bit. Astrophysics, quantum physics. They also have TRIUMF.
  7. Aug 26, 2004 #6


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    I'm at UBC. I enrolled there for the Engineering Physics program. It's really great; it's even a co-op program. And it offers a unique robotics project in the summer (I just took that in June and July). AFAK, the regular physics program seems really cool as well, and yes TRIUMF is practically on campus. I can't really vouch for other Cdn universities. I know U of T is well reknowned, so is McGill, but more in a general sense (for prestige/reputation, but probably not for physics in particular).
  8. Aug 26, 2004 #7
    I went through UBC, I loved the department and the location is just awesome (though it's very expensive to live in Vancouver). UBC is one of the few schools with an undergraduate course in General Relativity if you're interested. PM me if you want a more detailed description of their honours program.
  9. Aug 26, 2004 #8
    If you want the best program in Canada, you want to go to the best University in canada. Waterloo. It is the only shool in canada that has the technology in order to do some of its quantum experiments. You can major is Quantum Computiong, astrophysics, relativity. Its the best program fro physics in Canada. U of Toronto has better professors, but it lacks funding for certain sectors. Im going there for Mech. Engineering, and its been ranked the best University in Canada for 11 years in a row. (exspecially because of its engineering dept, math dept, and science dept.)
  10. Aug 26, 2004 #9


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    I heard McGill has the guys who "invented" quantum teleportation working there. But they teach informatics and not physics!!

    Although I might switch to McGill at some point, I'm starting class at University of Montreal (Université de Montréal) in 4 days in mathematics & physics (less lab and experiments :yuck: ). What's the word about that university? Any good for physics and math?
  11. Aug 26, 2004 #10


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    I agree with Waterloo. I'm not aware about the Physics, but I do know they are strong in Engineering and Math.
  12. Aug 27, 2004 #11
    I have known a couple of PhD students from U of Manatoba. They have a good program and a good relationship with Argonne Nat Lab near Chicago. They are very involved with the Canadian Penning Trap project that Dr. Guy Savard runs there (He also is a professor at the U. of Chicago). I have seen undergrads come in over the summer to work at the experiment. They are doing precise mass measurements of short-lived nuclei produced at the ATLAS liner accelerator. Just a thought.
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