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Physics and Astronomy

Physics and astronomy allow us to explore other worlds. In this program you’ll study:

  • gravity
  • relativity
  • quantum mechanics
  • galaxies
  • astrophysics
  • geophysics
  • mechanics
  • and more

Potential careers

What can you do with a physics and astronomy degree? Here are a few jobs and fields that relate to the program:

  • academia
  • aerospace
  • data science
  • earth & ocean science
  • energy technologies
  • environmental science
  • finance
  • government policy
  • industrial research & development
  • information technology
  • management consulting
  • medicine & health science
  • K-12 education
  • scientific computing

Some of these roles may require post-graduate studies or training. 

Find a career that fits you

Experience & connections

Opportunities in the physics and astronomy program

Opportunities outside your program

  • With a work study position you can develop skills during your study term.
  • Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community while you build skills.

Networks you can connect to

Here are a few professional associations related to physics and astronomy:

Hands-on learning opportunities

These courses in the physics and astronomy program offer extensive hands-on learning.


Co-op work terms
Alternate academic study with paid work terms to gain workplace experience


PHYS 248 - Computer Assisted Mathematics and Physics
Work on numerical solutions for physics problems

PHYS 342 - Computational Modeling and Analysis
Develop and apply a toolkit for numerical and data analysis

PHYS 410 - Topics in Mathematical Physics I
Apply mathematical methods to solving physical problems

PHYS 411 - Time Series Analysis
Gain experience handling time series data sets

PHYS 426 - Fluid Mechanics
Develop and analyze simulations of fluid dynamics

Field experience

PHYS 120 - Physics I
Tour a local physics research institution and interact with scientists

PHYS 130 - Physics II
Tour local physics research institutions to witness physicists at work


PHYS 229 - Introduction to Experimental Physics
Learn the principles of experiment design and measurement, data acquisition and analysis

ASTR 329 - Introduction to Observational Astronomy
Learn observational and data analysis techniques in astronomy

PHYS 429A - Honours Laboratory
Conduct research-oriented experiments and learn measurement techniques

All first, second and third year physics and astronomy courses have labs that include hands-on learning. 

Professional and technical skill development

PHYS 280 - Special Topics in Physics
PHYS 480 - Advanced Special Topics in Physics
Develop skills in a more advanced field under the guidance of a faculty member

Work experience

Work experience work terms
Take part in a modified co-op program requiring one or two work experiences

These courses are not always offered as described.

What you'll learn

Every student at UVic builds skills all employers look for. At UVic Co-op & Career we call these  "competencies". This is what you’ll learn in the physics and astronomy program.


  • use analytical methods to study, explain and predict the workings of the physical world
  • understand mechanics, relativity, oscillatory and wave motion
  • understand electricity and magnetism, optics and thermodynamics
  • understand quantum and particle physics, and statistical mechanics
  • use mathematics to describe the physical world
  • make explicit assumptions and approximations
  • develop mathematical models that produce outcomes or behaviours of physical systems
  • plan, carry out, analyze and report the results of an experiment or investigation
  • assess uncertainties and compare results with expected outcomes and relate conclusions to physical models
  • compare the results of predictive calculations with those from experimentation or observation
  • apply the principles of physics, astronomy and astrophysics and medical physics
  • apply the principles of astronomy and astrophysics to geophysics, ocean and atmospheric physics, and solid-state physics

Scientific method

  • use experimental techniques to solve problems
  • search and assess scientific literature
  • gather evidence through observation and experimentation
  • analyze data
  • formulate a clear, answerable question
  • use inductive reasoning and deductive methods to develop a testable, falsifiable hypothesis and predict expected results
  • design quantitative approaches and experiments to test and evaluate hypotheses
  • observe and record the results of research
  • use mathematical and statistical methods and analytical tools to evaluate data
  • draw conclusions
  • communicate results and ideas in scientific reports and papers and oral presentations
  • identify the need for further research
  • communicate effectively

Computer skills

  • develop and use scientific software to support research
  • create, modify and use scientific software
  • develop and use computer modeling as a proxy for physical experimentation
  • develop and use computational methods to analyze large data sets

Field work

  • observe the behaviour and properties of subjects and phenomena
  • make measurements of subjects, phenomena or their environment
  • identify and collect samples for analysis
  • use field equipment, tools and machinery

Lab work

  • use safe and careful practices
  • keep accurate lab records
  • take precise measurements and identify potential sources of error
  • troubleshoot and optimize methods and techniques
  • develop methods and procedures
  • analyze, change and characterize compounds, samples or devices
  • use lab instruments
  • maintain, calibrate and troubleshoot equipment
  • evaluate lab data

Education and training

  • teach science at a level appropriate to the audience
  • train and supervise others to perform scientific and lab procedures

What's next?

To explore more visit the physics and astronomy site. For degree planning contact your adviser for help.