Ocean physics

Campus: St. John's Faculty: Faculty of Science
Department: Physics and Physical Oceanography Honours available: Yes
Degree(s): Bachelor of science; Joint arts and science degree
Length: Four years
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Many students come to Memorial, in part, because of our strength in ocean research and our geographical proximity to the ocean. This unique program, aimed at students looking for interdisciplinary training in both physics and oceanography, strengthens that connection. Ocean physics provides students with basic and essential knowledge to study the physics of the ocean, atmosphere and climate and contains connections with the disciplines of meteorology, atmospheric science and environmental science.

Physics at Memorial

Many of our undergraduates are actively involved in physics research programs. This experience provides both summer employment and an excellent preparation for a career in industrial or university research. Memorial is the only Eastern Canadian university offering physics with an ocean focus. 

Admission requirements

You may apply for admission into the Faculty of Science by indicating bachelor of science as your program choice on the undergraduate application for admission.

Direct entry into the Faculty of Science from high school is subject to meeting the general admission requirements for Memorial University, including appropriate courses in mathematics and a laboratory science.

Admission to the major

To declare the ocean physics major, you must complete 30 credit hours (10 courses), including the following:

  • six credit hours in critical reading and writing (CRW) courses, including at least three credit hours in English
  • six credit hours in mathematics
  • six credit hours in physics
  • six credit hours in a second science subject, other than mathematics and physics

Upon completion of these courses, you should contact the Department of Physics to declare the major.

Sample first year

Wondering what courses you would take in your first year? Check out a sample program of suggested courses for physics students.

Sample courses beyond first year

PHYS 2300 - Introductory Physical Oceanography
PHYS 3340 - Principles of Environmental Physics
PHYS 2053 - Fluids and Thermodynamics
PHYS 3300 Intermediate Physical Oceanography

Career opportunities

A bachelor of science degree, with a major in ocean physics, prepares students for a variety of careers including:

  • oceanography
  • meteorology
  • environmental officer

Note: some of these careers may call for supplementary education or preparation in the form of graduate studies, experiential learning or professional courses and exams.