In first year university, much of your schedule will be required courses which are prerequisites to upper year courses. These will give you the basics that you need in order to continue on in the program as well as some breadth of study into subjects other than your major. While you have the option of taking other courses, most science students will have a similar first year schedule to the example listed below.

Sample First Year

  • 1.0 credit in Physics
  • 1.0 credit in an experimental science (other than Physics)
  • 1.0 credit in Calculus
  • 0.5 credit in Linear Algebra
  • 0.5 or 1.0 credit in Computer Science
  • 1.0 or 0.5 credit from either the Science First-year Seminar (NSCI 1000) or an Arts and Social Sciences elective

Physics and another experimental science

First year physics includes a lecture and laboratory component, with one half credit course in the first term and the other half credit in the second term. The second credit in another experimental science can be filled by taking any of Chemistry, Biology, or Earth Science, all with laboratory components as well.

Mathematics and Computer Science

In order to learn physics, a significant amount of math is necessary. Depending on your program, you will have a set of required math courses.It is important to take those courses as advised in the year by year breakdown for programs. Not only is it important to learn the mathematics but, often, the math courses are prerequisites for later physics courses.

 Basic computer programming is also used in the physics program. There are different choices for streams of computing courses in the different programs. In most programs, we advise taking a first required computer course in first year. You will then have the knowledge for later courses. The choice of that course will  determine which later courses you may take based on prerequisite structure.

First-Year Seminar and Arts and Social Science electives

Carleton introduces issues of contemporary science in a First-year Seminar, Seminar in Science (NSCI 1000). If you choose this elective, you will attend six special lectures given by prominent Canadian researchers, as well as small group seminars led by a committed professor who acts as both your mentor and teacher. Through assignments, presentations and discussions, you will develop the analytical and communication skills needed for success in the world of science.

If you do not wish to do the First-year Seminar, you are welcome to take another Arts and Social Science elective. This can be anything from English to Psychology to Film Studies - a full list of possible electives is listed in the Undergraduate Calender each year. This requirement is to ensure that students have a breadth of knowledge when they complete their degrees.