Engineering Physics

ATLAS particle physics experiement

Advanced physics is at the core of many modern technologies-from communications and computing systems to earthquake prediction, medical imaging, and much more.

Engineering physicists have unique strengths to help bring discoveries from the lab into real-world innovations.  Engineers with expertise in physics help develop advanced nanomaterials for solar energy, build quantum computers, and create cancer therapies. Some develop models of complex systems like Earth's atmosphere or the inner workings of living cells to help us understand environmental and medical issues. Others explore the formation of planets and solar systems, or develop the tools to help us probe the nature of matter itself.

EngSci's Engineering Physics major is ideally suited for those with a strong interest in pure or applied physics who see its creative possibilities. The major has been part of the EngSci program for almost six decades, a testament to the central role this discipline plays in technological advances.

The program provides a unique combination of fundamental physics and engineering design skills that prepare students to work on a broad range of applications. Subjects covered include particle physics, cosmology, quantum optics, planetary physics, theoretical physics, and areas of non-finance mathematics. Students can learn about applications in optics, energy generation, astrophysics, electronics, climate, geophysics, economics, and more.

Courses are taught by professors from U of T's Departments of Physics, Mathematics, Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, Electrical & Computer Engineering, and others.


I would like to study physics. How do I decide between EngSci's Engineering Physics major vs. an undergraduate program in U of T's Department of Physics?

Engineering physics in EngSci allows students to keep a broader range of career options open as engineers and/or physicists.

Students in this major have access to the same advanced physics courses as students in the Department of Physics, but they take fewer such courses overall. Nevertheless, EngSci students are often accepted into graduate physics programs at the world's top universities and some have become professors in experimental and theoretical physics.

An undergraduate degree in physics prepares you to work as a physicist, while EngSci's engineering physics major prepares you to work as a physicist or an engineer.

What type of careers are open to graduates from this major?

Engineering physics graduates are well prepared for exciting careers in a variety of sectors within academia, industry, and entrepreneurship. About half enter the workforce directly, while the rest pursue graduate studies at top schools around the world in engineering- and science-related fields.

How flexible is this major's curriculum?

If you have an interest in a particular field of physics or mathematical physics, the curriculum has the flexibility to allow you to focus on courses related to those interests. Graduates appreciate the many options provided by courses covering a wide spectrum of theoretical and experimental physics topics. You can view the technical electives available in the major in our academic calendar.

What types of summer opportunities exist for students in this major?

In addition to support for summer research and employment offered through EngSci or the Engineering Career Centre, students in this major have close contact with world-renowned professors in U of T's Department of Physics with extensive networks in academia and industry. Many of these offer summer research positions, some of which have included field trips to international labs like CERN in Geneva, Switzerland.

How many students from this major do a PEY Co-op after third year?

In the past several years, over half of students in the engineering physics major have participated in the PEY Co-op Program at companies like AMD (Advanced Micro Devices), Ehvert Mission Critical, INTEL (formerly Altera), Marvell Technology Group (US), Schneider Electric Asia Pacific, ZS Associates, and more.

Sample Courses

PHY327 - Advanced Physics Laboratory

Experiments in this course are designed to form a bridge to current experimental research. A wide range of experiments are available using contemporary techniques and equipment. In addition to the standard set of experiments, a limited number of research projects are also available. Many of the experiments can be carried out with a focus on instrumentation.

PHY354 - Advanced Classical Mechanics

This course covers symmetry and conservation laws, stability and instability, generalized co-ordinates, Hamilton's principle, Hamilton's equations, phase space, Liouville's theorem, canonical transformations, Poisson brackets, and Noether's theorem.

PHY335 - Introduction to Quantum Mechanics I

This course provides a review of elementary quantum mechanics, (photo-electric and Compton effects, Bohr model, de Broglie waves); some bound (harmonic oscillator, hydrogen atom) and unbound (potential barriers) solutions of the Schrodinger equation; probability interpretation; operators and the theory of measurement; expectation values and uncertainties; angular momentum (orbital and spin); and magnetic resonance as an application.

ECE357 - Electromagnetic Fields

An introduction to transmission line theory: voltage and current waves, characteristic impedance, reflections from the load and source, transients on the line, Smith's chart, impedance matching. Fundamentals of electromagnetic theory: Maxwell's equations, Helmholtz's theorem, time retarded scalar and vector potentials, gauges, boundary conditions, electric and magnetic fields wave equations and their solutions in lossless and lossy medium. Plane wave propagation, reflection and transmission at boundaries. Constitutive relations and dispersion. Radiating dipole and waveguides.

PHY483 - Relativity Theory

Students learn the basis of Einsteins theory: differential geometry, tensor analysis, gravitational physics leading to General Relativity. The course also covers theory starting from solutions of Schwarzschild, Kerr, etc.

Did you know...?

Students can further their knowledge in student clubs
like UTAT, U of T's Supermileage Team, and more.

Find more student clubs here.

Where this major can take you

Engineering physics graduates are innovators in areas as diverse as particle physics research, data analytics, management consulting, and many more.  Meet some of our alumni.

Recent engineering physics graduates have pursued graduate studies in engineering fields, physics and mathematics at Cambridge, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Harvard, MIT, Stanford University, UC Berkeley, University of Toronto, and more.

Some graduates work in academia as professors in engineering disciplines, geophysics, mathematics, particle physics, and more. Others work in industry for companies such as Algorithmics, AMD, Citigroup, Hewlett Packard, MacDonald Dettwiler & Associates, McKinsey & Company, Royal Bank of Canada, and more.

Entrepreneurial graduates have started companies like Light Matter Interactions, ReefNet, and Spectral Applied Research.


Pierre Savard at CERN

Chair of the Engineering Physics major

Professor Pierre Savard (Physics)

Professor Savard is the Canada Research Chair in Experimental High Energy Physics. His research includes Higgs boson physics and the search for dark matter as part of the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider.

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