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Map out your career pathway from the start of your academic journey!

Get the information you need for academic planning and connect with experiences to develop the knowledge, skills and attributes that employers are seeking.

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Chemical/Physical Sciences
at the U of M


As a physical sciences student at the University of Manitoba, you will learn about the properties of energy and non-living matter. The Faculty of Science has many opportunities for you to explore with three main areas of study in the physical sciences:

  1. Chemistry: the study of the properties of atoms and molecules, of which all matter is composed. The department offers study in analytical, inorganic, organic and physical chemistry. The department of chemistry, in conjunction with the department of microbiology, also offers joint programs in biochemistry and biotechnology (*see Life Sciences Compass for biochemisty and biotechnology programs).
  2. Physics: the study of the structure and behaviour of matter, transfer of energy and interactions of matter and energy. The department also offers a specialized honours program in biological and medical physics and joint programs in conjunction with the departments of chemistry, mathematics and computer science.
  3. Astronomy: the study of the universe, galaxies and stars.

Skills you will gain by studying CHEMICAL/PHYSICAL SCIENCES

  • The ability to observe the natural world and develop hypotheses or explanations of physical phenomena
  • The ability to design and conduct experiments to quantitatively test hypotheses, selecting appropriate techniques and procedures
  • The ability to collect and analyze data using statistical analysis and computer modelling techniques and make reasoned judgments on the basis of the available data
  • The ability to build and operate complex equipment


This resource is meant as a guide to provide suggestions throughout your time at university. Develop a plan and timeline that suits you best. Make intentional choices for your courses and work experiences.

* Refer to the Academic Calendar for a complete list of program requirements.

Year 1 - 30 credit hours



Course requirements: PHYS 1050 (or PHYS 1020) and PHYS 1070, MATH 1500 and MATH 1700, plus additional course requirements for your major*

To do this year:

  1. Chemistry or physics—what’s right for you? An academic advisor in the Faculty of Science can help you decide.
  2. For academic support, visit the Chemistry or Physics Help Centre or attend a Supplementary Instruction session through the Academic Learning Centre.


Start planning your career:

  1. Meet with a career consultant to generate career ideas based on your interests, values, personality and skills.
  2. Research occupations that match your skills and interests.
  3. Set up a careerCONNECT account to view job postings and register for workshops and events.
  4. Set up your Co-Curricular Record (CCR), an official record of university-approved activities.


Link experiences to your career interests. Options include:

  1. Student groups including Astronomy Club, Chem Club, Organization of Physics University Students and Science Students’ Association.
  2. Join the University of Manitoba Volunteer Program to volunteer for Science, Engineering & Technology Day.
  3. Student work opportunities including Work-Study, STEP Services or Federal Student Work Experience Program.
  4. Experiential education opportunities such as the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge and Alternative Reading Week Winnipeg.


Considering international opportunities? Attend World Opportunities Week in November for information about opportunities around the world.

Explore communities and cultures you want to work with: Visit Migizii Agamik, the International Centre for Students or learn about local agencies via the Manitoba Contact Guide.


Year 2 - 60 credit hours



Course requirements: Refer to the Academic Calendar for course requirements in your honours or major program

To do this year:

  1. Meet with a department and science advisor to declare your honours or major program.
  2. Considering a professional program? Refer to the Applicant Information Bulletin to familiarize with the pre-professional requirements.
  3. Consider taking a minor and choose courses that will open opportunities.


Make professional connections:

  1. Join the Career Mentor Program to learn from professionals.
  2. Attend career fairs to connect with employers.
  3. Attend the Faculty of Science Colloquium Series and Condensed Matter Seminars.
  4. Develop professional connections with professors by applying for an Undergraduate Research Award.

Market your skills: Develop your resumé and cover letter and refine your interview skills.


Explore student research opportunities: Apply for a research assistant position, Undergraduate Research Award or NSERC grant.

Gain practical experience by volunteering: Check out Let's Talk Science, The Manitoba Museum, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority and Winnipeg Interdisciplinary Student-Run Health (WISH) Clinic.

Earn while you learn: Consider applying to the Science Co-operative Education program once you have completed 60 credit hours in chemistry or the joint chemistry-physics program.


Develop global career skills and expand intercultural learning: Consider an international student exchange to Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, an international internship or service-learning program, My World Abroad or SWAP for a “working holiday.”

Staying local? Check out the World W.I.S.E. Ambassador Program or one of the local service-learning programs. Consider learning a new language and culture through the Volunteer Language Exchange Program.


Year 3 - 90 credit hours



Course requirements: Refer to the Academic Calendar for course requirements in your honours or major program

To do this year:

  1. Meet with your department advisor and science advisor for honours or major program approval.
  2. Meet with your co-op advisor (if applicable).


Investigate your career options:

  1. Look at sample job postings to ensure you have the qualifications upon graduation.
  2. Develop employability and essential skills sought by employers.
  3. Explore supports available to entrepreneurs for business planning such as the TechFutures Program.
  4. Create a LinkedIn profile to network with professionals.

Consider continuing your studies: Check out the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Extended Education or other professional programs.


Continue or start research: Participate in the Undergraduate Research Poster Competition.

Check out student job opportunities with: City of Winnipeg, Mini U and WISE Kid-Netic Energy.

Search for job opportunities online: Check out Science.ca, Eco.ca, Job Bank, Find My Job, Indeed or other search engines.

Use your networks and connections: Inquire about unadvertised job openings (the "hidden job market").


Did you travel abroad? Write an article about your experience for World W.I.S.E magazine.

Participate in the multicultural opportunities on campus: Attend International Week, participate in the Intercultural Development and Leadership Program or take part in the Graduation Pow Wow.


Year 4 - 120 credit hours



Course requirements: Please refer to the Academic Calendar for course requirements in your honours or major program

To do this year:

  1. Meet with your department advisor and science advisor for honours or major program approval.
  2. Meet with your co-op advisor (if applicable).
  3. Confirm eligibility to graduate with a science advisor and declare intent to graduate in Aurora.


Start job search 9 months in advance: Contact Career Services to refine your job search and self-marketing strategies. You can visit the office up to 6 months after graduation.

If you are continuing on to a professional program or graduate school: Finalize your application materials and required tests. Use the awards database to search for funding and awards to help finance your continuing education. Contact your department to find out how their awards deadlines are advertised.


Ensure you have references in place: Ask your professor for a reference or a letter of recommendation if you're applying for graduate school.

Find opportunities to market yourself: Present your research at the CAP Congress or CSC Conference.

Assess your resumé: Identify any gaps in experience and fill them through volunteering, work placements or internships such as the Science and Technology Internship Program.


Prepare to work in a multicultural environment: Visit Canada's National Research Centre for Truth and Reconciliation on campus or register for a Workplace Cultural Competence Workshop through Extended Education.


Sample Jobs



Chemistry Option

Physics and Astronomy Option

*Options requiring education and/or training beyond a bachelor’s degree


What Do Employers Want?


Industries such as aerospace, biotechnology, business, education, government and medicine would value a physical sciences degree in combination with the employability skills that are highly sought after by employers. These include:*

  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Numeracy and data use
  • Teamwork
  • Oral and written communication
  • Digital technology
  • Industry specific knowledge
  • Continuous learning

Attain skills through your classroom education by taking advantage of experiential education opportunities.

*Information has been adapted from Employability Skills 2000+ and Workplace Education Manitoba – Essential Skills.



239 Machray Hall, 186 Dysart Road
(204) 474-8256, science_advisor@umanitoba.ca

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Tristan Smythe

"Don’t be afraid to ask questions! Most professors love talking about their research and asking them is a good way to learn about science and put your classes into context." Tristan Smythe, chemistry student

Information for Career Counsellors (PDF)

Chemical/Physical Sciences Compass (PDF)

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