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Program information

MSc and PhD program requirements

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers programs of study and research leading to the degrees of Master of Science (MSc) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). 

Students arriving with a BSc degree usually enter the MSc program, which combines a set of graduate courses with an original research project leading to a thesis. The MSc is normally completed within 24 months.

The PhD program has a research focus and a completed MSc (or equivalent) is the normal pre-requisite for entry. However, with approval, students in the Masters program may request to transfer to the PhD program prior to completion of the MSc degree via an MSc-to-PhD transfer exam.

Students in both the MSc and PhD programs are assigned a (provisional) supervisor from the time they enter the program, and in addition their progress is monitored and guided by a supervisory committee (described in more detail below) comprising several faculty members.

For descriptions of courses referred to below, please consult our Course Offerings. Note: in what follows, a one term graduate course has a weight of 1.5 course units; a 2 term graduate course has a weight of 3.0 course units.

General Info

Assumption

Assumption

Both the MSc and PhD degrees in Physics and Astronomy require a basic knowledge of Physics, in addition to a depth of knowledge in the field of specialization.

Standards

Standards

Graduate students must maintain a cumulative GPA of at least 5.0 (B), with no individual grade below B-, for all required courses (namely those specified by the student's supervisory committee as part of the program). Grades of B- or below trigger a memo from the Faculty of Graduate Studies and are automatically reviewed by the supervisory committee. Grades of C+ or below are considered failures for required courses, with a subsequent recommendation for action by the supervisory committee.
(Note: Required courses are those specified by the supervisory committee for the student's program. The student may elect to take additional courses, and these will be identified on the student's transcript as electives.)

Supervisory Relationship Policy

Supervisory Relationship Policy

The Department of Physics and Astronomy policy on the expectations and responsibilities of supervisors, committee members and graduate students is consistent with the Faculty of Graduate StudiesResponsibilities in the Supervisory Relationship Policy

Composition of a Supervisory Committee

Composition of a Supervisory Committee
  • MSc. : A minimum of two members: An academic supervisor from the home academic unit plus at least one member from within the home academic unit. The final oral examining committee must include at least one person from outside the home academic unit.
  • PhD : A minimum of three members: The academic supervisor from the home academic unit plus at least one other member from within the home academic unit plus at least one member from outside the home academic unit. Additional members may be added with approval of the Dean

You can also find more information from the Academic Calendar.

Supervisory Committee Meetings

Supervisory Committee Meetings

The graduate supervisory committee is to meet at least once every eight months for an MSc program and at least once a year for a Ph.D. program to monitor the student progress and to provide guidance towards a timely completion of the student's program. A brief report signed by the supervisor and the student is to be handed in to the Graduate Secretary within two weeks of each meeting. Since these meetings are in the student's interests, ensuring that they occur at the required intervals is the equal responsibility of the supervisor and the student. Additional meetings of the committee may be called by the supervisor, the student, or any committee member who sees a need. The graduate student may and is expected to seek out their supervisor, and other committee members, on an individual basis to ask for advice on any aspect of their thesis research progress. As well, they are expected to keep all their committee members appraised of progress and important developments.

A good practice is for the student to prepare a one or two page bulleted summary on one piece of paper with information such as:
• student name and date of meeting
• date of entry in program and date of last supervisory committee meeting
• summary of courses and units taken, including grades
• summary of sources of funding (awards, TA, RA, etc.)
• attendance at conferences, summer schools, presentations, talks or posters
• attendance at research meetings of importance
• brief summary of research activities, goals and plans

For MSc supervisory committee meetings:
The first meeting should:
• review course grades
• plan the next 8 months of research
The second meeting should:
• review the timeline and aim at a defense before 24 months
• agree on milestones towards completion

For PhD supervisory committee meetings:
• each meeting should review the timeline for completion
• the candidacy exam should take place in the first 18 months (no later than 24)

Post-Candidacy Progress

Post-Candidacy Progress

After the Candidacy Exam, the student is to consult with the supervisor to formalize a proposed completion timeline with a goal defense date. This program outline form is to be handed in to the Graduate Secretary within one week after the exam. Progress along the proposed timeline will be monitored in two ways:

  • continuation of annual supervisory meetings
  • at 6 month intervals between committee meetings, the student and supervisor complete a timeline review and revise the completion plans as needed

MSc Programs

MSc in Physics

MSc in Physics
Normal Prerequisites

UVic Honours degree in Physics, or equivalent. Students admitted to the Masters program, but with backgrounds judged to be less than that of a UVic Honours degree (e.g., a Major degree), are normally required to take additional undergraduate courses in Physics and Mathematics to satisfy the stated prerequisite.

Program Requirements
  1. PHYS 500A, 500B and 502A plus an additional 1.5 units chosen from the PHYS graduate course list (6.0 units)
  2. Additional courses as required (3.0 units)
  3. Colloquium PHYS 560 (0.0 units)
  4. Thesis (normally 6.0 units) PHYS 599
  5. Final oral examination

Total (minimum) 15.0 units

MSc in Physics - Concentration in Astronomy

MSc in Physics - Concentration in Astronomy
Normal Prerequisites

UVic Honours degree in Physics or Astronomy, or equivalent. Students admitted to the Masters program, but with backgrounds judged to be less than that of a UVic Honours degree (e.g., a Major degree), are normally required to take additional undergraduate courses in Physics, Astronomy and Mathematics to satisfy the stated prerequisite. 

Program Requirements
  1. ASTR 561 (1.5 units)
  2. A minimum of 4.5 units chosen from Physics and/or Astronomy graduate courses (4.5 units)
  3. A minimum of 3.0 additional units, as required - 3.0 units
  4. Colloquium ASTR 560 (0.0 units)
  5. Thesis (normally 6.0 units) PHYS 599
  6. Final oral examination

Total (minimum) 15.0 units

MSc in Physics - Concentration in Medical Physics

MSc in Physics - Concentration in Medical Physics
Normal Prerequisites

UVic Honours degree in Physics, or equivalent. Students admitted to the Masters program, but with backgrounds judged to be less than that of a UVic Honours degree (e.g., a Major degree), are normally required to take additional undergraduate courses in Physics and Mathematics to satisfy the stated prerequisite. 

Program Requirements
  1. PHYS 534, 539, 540, 544, 545, 546 (7.0 units)
  2. Additional courses, normally at the graduate level - 3.0 units
  3. Colloquium PHYS 560 (0.0 units)
  4. Thesis (normally 6.0 units) PHYS 599
  5. Final oral examination

Total (minimum) 16.0 units

MSc in Physics - Concentration in Ocean Physics

MSc in Physics - Concentration in Ocean Physics
Normal Prerequisites

UVic Honours degree in Physics, or equivalent. Students admitted to the Masters program, but with backgrounds judged to be less than that of a UVic Honours degree (e.g., a Major degree), are normally required to take additional undergraduate courses in Physics and Mathematics to satisfy the stated prerequisite. 

Program Requirements
  1. Normally a minimum of 6 graduate course units (at least 3 units chosen from PHYS 500A, 500B, 502A, 502B, 505, 510) (6.0 units)
  2. Additional undergraduate or graduate courses as required (minimum) (3.0 units) (A student who has not previously taken PHYS 426 or its equivalent would normally take it as part of this requirement. Students (admitted to the master's program) not having at least one 1.5 unit senior undergraduate course in each of Electromagnetic Theory and Modern Physics are normally required to complete these courses in addition to the above requirement.
  3. Colloquium PHYS 560 (0.0 units)
  4. Thesis (normally 6.0 units) PHYS 599
  5. Final oral examination  

Total (minimum) 15.0 units

PhD Programs

PhD in Physics

PhD in Physics
Normal Prerequisites
  1. The equivalent of an Honours Physics or Astronomy degree
  2. The Physics or Astronomy MSc course requirements, or equivalent
Program Requirements
  1. Such other courses as required by the supervisory committee, with the total number of course units beyond the BSc level being normally at least 12.0 (of which at least 9.0 must be graduate) and including at least 4.5 units of the core courses (PHYS 500A, 500B, 502A), or their equivalent
  2. Colloquium PHYS 560 (0.0 units)
  3. Satisfactory completion of a candidacy examination, PHYS 693 (3.0 units)
  4. Dissertation (normally 30 units) PHYS 699
  5. Final oral examination

PhD in Physics - Concentration in Astronomy

PhD in Physics - Concentration in Astronomy
Normal Prerequisites
  1. The equivalent of an Honours Physics or Astronomy degree
  2. The Physics or Astronomy MSc course requirements, or equivalent
Program Requirements
  1. Such other courses as required by the supervisory committee, with the total number of course units beyond the BSc level being normally at least 10.5 (of which at least 7.5 must be graduate).
  2. Colloquium ASTR 560 (0.0 units)
  3. ASTR 661 (1.5)
  4. Satisfactory completion of a candidacy examination, PHYS 693 (3.0 units)
  5. Dissertation (normally 30 units) PHYS 699
  6. Final oral examination

PhD in Physics - Concentration in Medical Physics

PhD in Physics - Concentration in Medical Physics
Normal Prerequisites
  1. The equivalent of an Honours Physics or Astronomy degree
  2. The Physics or Astronomy MSc course requirements, or equivalent
Program Requirements
  1. Such other courses as required by the supervisory committee, with the total number of course units beyond the BSc level being normally at least 13 and including at least 3 units from PHYS 500A, 500B, 502A 502B, or their equivalent
  2. Colloquium PHYS 560 (0.0 units)
  3. Satisfactory completion of a candidacy examination, PHYS 693 (3.0 units)
  4. Dissertation (normally 30 units) PHYS 699
  5. Final oral examination

PhD in Physics - Concentration in Ocean Physics

PhD in Physics - Concentration in Ocean Physics
Normal Prerequisites
  1. The equivalent of an Honours Physics or Astronomy degree
  2. The Physics or Astronomy MSc course requirements, or equivalent
Program Requirements
  1. Such other courses as required by the supervisory committee to bring the total of graduate course units beyond the BSc level to at least 12, of which at least 9 units must be graduate
  2. Colloquium PHYS 560 (0.0 units)
  3. Satisfactory completion of a candidacy examination, PHYS 693 (3.0 units)
  4. Dissertation (normally 30 units) PHYS 699
  5. Final oral examination

Certificate Program

A CAMPEP accredited Certificate Program in medical physics is available.

Normal Prerequisites

Minimum requirements include a PhD in physics (non-medical) or closely related discipline

Program Requirements

Completion of the following five coures: PHYS 534; PHYS 535; PHYS 539; PHYS 540; and PHYS 544

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