Two researchers working with adaptive optics components
PhD student Masen Lamb, left, and Dr. Kim Venn working with adaptive optics components at NRC Herzberg in Saanich. Photo: UVic Photo Services.

Our department offers the following MSc and PhD graduate programs:


Please visit our frequently asked questions page.

Graduate Resources

Further program information is available below:

Our department has 21 faculty members and emphasizes excellence in a small number of specialties. The department benefits greatly from its proximity to a number of outstanding government laboratories where many adjunct faculty are also involved in our graduate programs: NRC Herzberg, TRIUMF, Vancouver Island Cancer Centre, Institute of Ocean Sciences, Pacific Geoscience Centre, Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis.

The graduate program in Physics and Astronomy is structured so that students are fully engaged in research by the end of their first year of courses. Financial aid is available in the form of scholarships, teaching assistantships and grant-funded research assistantships.

Why UVic?

Our faculty members have won prestigious Killam, Steacie, Leverhulme, Reinhardt, Guggenheim and Sloan Foundation Fellowships. The department also currently hosts 1 CRC Chair and a CIfAR scholar. Other major prizes include the Annie Jump Cannon award (American Astronomical Society), PECASE and CAREER awards (National Science Foundation). The Faculty of Science Excellence in Research award has been awarded to our professors 6 times in the last 10 years.

The University of Victoria is the second largest NSERC astronomy grantee in Canada worth over half a million dollars annually. Individual large CFI grants totalling a further half a million dollars have been used to develop an astronomical instrumentation laboratory and high performance computing cluster.

Meet some of our graduates

Our graduate students are very successful in securing faculty positions in Physics and/or Astronomy. Graduate students from the Department of Physics and Astronomy have also been awarded numerous provincial and national awards, including regular receipt of NSERC doctoral awards. Some recent special prizes include:

  • Andy Pon (Astronomy) 2014 Plaskett medal (awarded by CASCA for best Canadian PhD thesis); 2014 Governor General's gold medal
  • Helen Kirk (Astronomy) 2010 Plaskett medal (awarded by CASCA for best Canadian PhD thesis)
  • Greg Poole (Astronomy) 2007 Governor General's gold medal
  • Brigitte Vachon (Particle Physics) 2004 Governor General's gold medal
  • Steve Robertson (Particle Physics) 1999 Governor General's gold medal

Below are some examples of our graduate almuni:

  • Andy Pon PhD in Astronomy (2013), Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Leeds
  • Ryan Leaman PhD in Astronomy (2012), Postdoctoral Fellow, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics
  • Quinn Matthews PhD in Physics (2012), Postdoctoral Fellow, Deeley Research Centre, BC Cancer Agency, Vancouver Island Centre
  • Nikola Milutinovic MSc in Astronomy (2009), Ocean Physicist, ASL Environmental Services
  • Karl Bush PhD in Physics (2009), Faculty member, Stanford School of Medicine
  • Aaron Ludlow PhD in Astronomy (2009), Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Bonn
  • Brian York MSc in Astronomy (2008), Research Analyst, Space Telescope Science Institute
  • Joshua LaForge MSc in Physics (2007), Process Engineer, Intel Corporation
  • Andreea Font PhD in Astronomy (2005), Senior Lecturer, Astrophysics Research Institute, Liverpool John Moores University
  • Eric Hayashi PhD in Astronomy (2004), currently working in private industry (Google)
  • Paul Jackson PhD in Physics (2004), Associate Professor, University of Adelaide
  • Matt Dobbs PhD in Physics (2002), Associate Professor, McGill University and Senior Fellow (CIfAR). Dr Dobbs was awarded the Canadian Association of Physicists Herzberg Medal in 2014
  • Brigitte Vachon PhD in Physics (2002), Tier II Canada Research Chair (McGill). She is the leader of the Canadian effort on the ATLAS High Level Trigger
  • Kevin Graham PhD in Physics (2001), Associate Professor, Carleton University
  • James Taylor PhD in Astronomy (2001), Assistant Professor, University of Waterloo and an affiliate member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
  • Michael Balogh PhD in Astronomy (1999), past PPARC Fellow and now Associate Professor, University of Waterloo. Dr Balogh has been awarded over 2500 hours of telescope time and is recipient of an Early Researcher Award
  • Dave Patton PhD in Astronomy (1999), Chair, Department of Physics & Astronomy, Trent University
  • Steve Robertson PhD in Physics (1999), Associate Professor, McGill and Senior Scientist (IPP)
  • Frans Pretorius MSc in Physics (1996), Awarded the APS 2003 Nicholas Metropolis Award and 2010 Aneesur Rahman Prize for Computational Physics and is now a Sloan Fellow, CIFAR scholar and Professor at Princeton
  • Luc Simard PhD in Astronomy (1996), Staff Astronomer at the HIA and the instruments group leader for the Thirty Metre Telescope project
  • Manuella Vincter PhD in Physics (1996), Professor, Carleton University
  • Leopoldo Infante PhD in Astronomy (1990), previous Director of the Department of Astronomy and now Director of Astro-Engineering, Universidad Catolica in Santiago, Chile
  • Stephen Holland BSc in Astronomy (1989), Research scientist, Goddard Spaceflight Centre, NASA 
  • Judith Irwin MSc in Astronomy (1978), Professor, Queens' University and author of the successful textbook "Astrophysics - Decoding the Cosmos"