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 25 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:

  • Patrick deNiverville (PhD 2016) [recipient of the 2017/18 CAP PPD Thesis Award for best Canadian PhD thesis in particle physics], Postdoctoral Fellow, IBS Daejon
  • Andy Pon (PhD 2014) [recipient of the 2014 Plaskett medal awarded by CASCA for best Canadian PhD thesis and the 2014 Governor General's gold medal], Software Developer, 3vGeomatics, Vancouver
  • Helen Kirk (PhD 2010) [recipient of the 2010 Plaskett medal awarded by CASCA for best Canadian PhD thesis], Research Officer, Herzberg Astronomy and Astrophysics Research Centre
  • Greg Poole (PhD 2007) [recipient of the 2007 Governor General's gold medal], Astronomy Data and Computing Services (ADACS) Project Scientist with Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing at Swinburne University, Australia
  • Brigitte Vachon (PhD 2004) [recipient of the 2004 Governor General's gold medal], Associate Professor, McGill University
  • Steve Robertson (PhD 1999) [recipient of the 1999 Governor General's gold medal], Research Scientist, Institute of Particle Physics (IPP) and Associate Professor, McGill University

Below are some examples of our graduate almuni: