Physics for Modern Technology is a newly established, very applied bachelor's degree in physics and instrumentation at Kwantlen Polytechnic University, a teaching-led university in Greater Vancouver.
Modelled after similar programs running successfully in Europe, this program is aimed at students who wish to work in high tech industry after graduation. Although progression to graduate school is still possible, it is not our primary goal. The initial stages of program development involved visits to institutions in Ireland, which informed the program’s content and shape. Back in Vancouver, local high tech companies were consulted on the need for graduates of such a program and on suitable program content. An industry advisory committee provides ongoing and invaluable input.
Students can declare the major after a typical first year science. Years 2, 3 and 4 include recognizable physics content such as E & M, relativity, classical mechanics, quantum mechanics and solid state physics. In addition, we place a significant focus on laboratory and hands-on components, with many courses taught in the laboratory. These include applied optics, control systems, and signal & image processing. There is a one-semester project in third year and a two-semester project in fourth year. To aid preparation for the workplace, students also complete two business courses and a work term of at least 14 weeks’ duration.
Summer 2017 saw the first group of students successfully complete their work terms in the following areas: robotics, remote sensing, scientific camera development, laser optics, manufacturing engineering, and biomedical engineering. Several students continued to work for their employers after completion of the work term on a part-time or temporary full-time basis. The program sees its first graduates this year.