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MSc Program
PhD Program
Interdepartmental Program


     Graduate teaching and research in physics at the University of Guelph are operated through the Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute.

Director of the institute
Bruce Torrie (Department of Physics, Waterloo, 1-519-888-4567 Ext. 3502)
(E-mail: torrie@scimail.uwaterloo.ca)

Administrative assistant for the program
Margaret Mayne (Department of Physics, Waterloo, 1-519-888-4567 Ext. 6874)
(E-mail: gwp@scimail.uwaterloo.ca)

Acting departmental chair
James Davis (220 MacNaughton, Ext. 526595/8541)
(E-mail: jhd@physics.uoguelph.ca)

Departmental graduate co-ordinator
Eric Poisson (448 MacNaughton, Ext. 53949)
(E-mail: poisson@physics.uoguelph.ca)

Departmental graduate secretary
Reggi Vallillee (209 MacNaughton, Ext. 52262)

Graduate Faculty

Robert L. Brooks
BS Villanova, MSc, PhD Alberta - Professor

Leonid S. Brown
MSc, PhD Moscow State - Assistant Professor

J.L. 'Iain' Campbell
BSc, PhD, DSc Glasgow - Professor

James H. Davis
BS, BA Moorehead State College, PhD Manitoba - Professor

John R. Dutcher
BSc Dalhousie, MSc British Columbia, PhD Simon Fraser - Professor

Saul Goldman
BSc, PhD McGill - Professor

Christopher G. Gray
BSc Queen's, MA, PhD Toronto, FRSC - Professor

F. Ross Hallett
BSc, MSc Calgary, PhD Pennsylvania State - Professor

Bryan R. Henry
BSc British Columbia, PhD Florida State - Professor

Kenneth R. Jeffrey
BSc, MSc, PhD Toronto - Professor and Chair

Gabriel Karl
BA Babes-Bollyai, PhD Toronto, FRSC - Professor

Jimmy Law
BSc, PhD London - Professor

Anna T. Lawniczak
MSc Wroclaw, PhD Southern Illinois - Associate Professor

Jacek Lipkowski
MSc, PhD, DSc Warsaw - Professor

Bernard G. Nickel
BE, MSc Saskatchewan, PhD California, FRSC - Professor

Elisabeth J. Nicol
BSc Mount Allison, MSc, PhD McMaster - Professor

Joanne M. O'Meara
BSc, PhD McMaster - Assistant Professor

Eric Poisson
BSc Laval, MSc, PhD Alberta - Associate Professor

Xiao-Rong Qin
BSc, MSc Tsinghua (Beijing), PhD Simon Fraser - Assistant Professor

George H. Renninger
BS Rochester, PhD Princeton - Professor

John J. Simpson
BASc, MA Toronto, DPhil Oxford, FRSC - Professor

William R. Smith
BASc, MASc Toronto, MSc, PhD Waterloo - Professor

Donald E. Sullivan
BSc McGill, PhD M.I.T. - Professor

Carl E. Svensson
BSc, PhD McMaster - Assistant Professor

Daniel F. Thomas
BSc Alberta, PhD Toronto - Associate Professor

Faculty from the University of Waterloo
Anthony Anderson
MA, DPhil Oxford - Professor

Peter F. Bernath
BSc Waterloo, PhD M.I.T. - Professor

James A. Blackburn
BSc Manitoba, MSc, PhD Waterloo - Professor*

William R. Bobier
BSc Queens, MSc Waterloo, PhD Cambridge - Professor

Melanie C. Campbell
BSc Toronto, MSc Waterloo, PhD Australian National, FAAO - Professor

Z.Y. 'Jeff' Chen
BSc Fuden, PhD Maryland - Associate Professor

Marita C. Chidichimo
Licentiate Buenos Aires, PhD Cambridge - Associate Professor

Sydney G. Davison
BSc, MSc, PhD, DSc Manchester, FInstP - Professor

Thomas P. Devereaux
BSc New York, MSc, Phd Orego - Associate Professor

Walter W. Duley
BEng McGill, DIC, PhD Imperial College, DSc London - Professor

Michael Fich
BSc Waterloo, MSc, PhD California - Associate Professor

James Forrest
BSc Simon Fraser, MSc, PhD Guelph - Assistant Professor

Michel Gingras
BSc, MSc Laval, PhD British Columbia - Associate Professor

M. Faridh Golnaraghi
BASc, MASc Worcester Polytechnic Institute, PhD Cornell - Professor

Frank O. Goodman
BSc, PhD, DSc London, FInstP, FAIP - Professor

Bae-Yeun Ha
BSc, MS Korea, PhD Maryland - Assistant Professor

Gretchen L. Harris
BA Mount Holyoke College, MA Wesleyan, PhD Toronto - Associate Professor

John W. Hepburn
BSc Waterloo, PhD Toronto - Professor

Michael Hudson
BSc Montreal, PhD Cambridge - Assistant Professor

S.H.J. Idziak
BSc McGill, PhD Pennsylvania - Assistant Professor

Jan Kycia
BSc McGill, MSc Pennsylvania, PhD Northwestern - Assistant Professor

Raymond Laflamme
BSc Quebec, PhD Cambridge - Professor

James R. Lepock
BS, MS West Virginia, PhD Pennsylvania State - Professor and Chair

Tong K. Leung
BSc, PhD British Columbia - Associate Professor

Stanley P. Lipshitz
BSc Natal, MSc South Africa, PhD Witwatersrand - Professor

John Lit
BSc, DipEd Hong Kong, DSc Laval - Professor*

Wing-Ki Liu
BSc, MSc, PhD Illinois - Professor

Robert B. Mann
BSc McMaster, MSc, PhD Toronto - Professor

James Martin
BSc, MSc, PhD Waterloo - Assistant Professor

F.R.W. McCourt
BSc, PhD British Columbia, PhD Alberta - Professor

Robert G. McLenaghan
MSc Queen's, PhD Cambridge - Professor

Linda F. Nazar
BSc British Columbia, PhD Toronto - Associate Professor

Hartwig Peemoeller
BSc Winnipeg, MSc Victoria, PhD Waterloo - Associate Professor

Mik M. Pintar
BSc, MSc, PhD Ljubljana - Professor

Joseph Sanderson
BSc, PhD London - Assistant Professor

Gunter A. Scholz
BSc Simon Fraser, MSc McMaster, PhD Simon Fraser - Associate Professor

James J. Sloan
BSc, PhD Queen's - Professor

Donna Strickland
BEng McMaster, PhD Rochester - Assistant Professor

Bruce H. Torrie
BASc Toronto, PhD McMaster - Professor

John Vanderkooy
BEng, PhD McMaster - Professor

Marek Wartak
MSc, PhD Technical University of Wroclaw - Associate Professor*

Paul S. Wesson
BSc London, PhD Cambridge, FRAS London - Professor

David Yevick
AB Harvard, MA, PhD Princeton, Docuent Lund - Professor

* Cross or joint appointments with the Department of Physics, Wilfrid Laurier University

Professors Emeriti
Donald E. Brodie
BSc, MSc, PhD McMaster (W)

Peter A. Egelstaff
BSc, PhD London, FRSC (G)

Charles W. Fischer
BASc, MASc, PhD Waterloo - Associate Professor

Robin W. Ollerhead
BSc Western Ontario, MS, PhD Yale - Professor

Raj K. Pathria
BSc, MSc Panjab, PhD Delhi - Professor

James R. Stevens
BA, MA, PhD Toronto (G)

     The Departments of Physics at the Universities of Guelph and Waterloo offer a joint program leading to MSc and PhD degrees. The Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute consists of members from both university departments and is administered by a joint co-ordinating committee. Students interested in graduate work in physics at either university should send applications for admission to the director of the Institute. Students are ultimately registered at the university at which their advisor is located. A student comes under the general regulations of the university at which he or she is registered, and the degree is granted by that university.

MSc Programs

     The MSc programs provide for emphasis on astrophysics and gravitation, atomic, molecular and optical physics, biophysics, chemical physics, condensed matter and material physics, industrial and applied physics, and subatomic physics. .
    Three options are available for the MSc degree:
  • A research-based option in which the student is required to complete four one-semester courses (at least 2.0 course credits) and a thesis.
  • A coursework option in which the student is required to complete eight one-semester courses (at least 4.0 course credits), one of which must be a research project course that includes a report.
  • A co-operative option in which the student spends two semesters working in a government or industrial laboratory. The student is required to complete four one-semester courses (at least 2.0 course credits) and a thesis.

Admission Requirements
     Application for admission should be made as early as possible on forms obtained from the director of the Guelph-Waterloo Physics Institute. Successful applicants are encouraged to start their graduate studies in May or September, but a January starting date is possible. Academic transcripts and other supporting documents should be forwarded as soon as they become available. Admission to the program cannot be granted until all requirements have been met and all documents submitted.
     Applications are considered by the Admissions Committee. Only students who are graduates of approved universities and colleges are eligible for admission. An honours degree in physics, or the equivalent, with first or upper second-class standing, is normally required for entry into an MSc program. It should be noted that students will normally be admitted only if an advisor can be found to oversee their research. Since there are a limited number of openings each year, applicants are advised to state alternative areas of research on the preference form supplied.

MSc Co-operative Option
     Admission to the co-op option is restricted to Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Applicants for admission to the MSc program must have a first-class or high upper second-class honours degree in physics from a recognized university.

Degree Requirements
Research-Based MSc Option
     Four one-term courses (at least 2.0 course credits) acceptable for graduate credit and a thesis based on original research are required. The subject of research must be approved by the candidate's supervisory committee and the thesis must be read and approved by the supervisory committee. One of the four courses may be an undergraduate course approved by the student's supervisory committee and the graduate co-ordinator. If it is a physics course, it must be at the fourth-year level.
     For all students (except those in biophysics**) the four courses must include at least one of Quantum Mechanics 1 (PHYS*7010), Statistical Physics 1 (PHYS*7040) and Electromagnetic Theory (PHYS*7060). An MSc student in this program who shows a particular aptitude for research and has a superior record in fourth-year undergraduate and three one-term graduate courses may be permitted, upon recommendation of the advisor and with the approval of the co-ordinating committee, to transfer into the PhD program without completing an MSc thesis.

MSc Co-operative Option
     Students enter the co-op MSc program in September. The first term of the program is spent taking two courses (for all except those in biophysics **, one of these courses must be chosen from PHYS*7010, PHYS* 7040 and PHYS*7060) and performing the duties of a regular teaching assistant. During this term, the student will discuss work-term prospects with the Guelph and Waterloo personnel responsible for co-op activities and conduct interviews with potential employers. Satisfactory performance in this phase of the program allows the student to spend the next two terms working in an industrial or government laboratory. Upon completion of the work terms, the student must submit a work report as discussed below.
     The student must complete a minimum of two additional graduate courses and complete a research project under the supervision of a faculty member in accordance with the regular thesis requirements of the MSc degree program, as outlined by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
**Exception: In place of the core physics course biophysics students may choose any course approved by the student's supervisory committee and the graduate co-ordinator.

Part-time Course-Based MSc Option
     Eight one-term courses acceptable for graduate credit, including a project course summarized in a report, are required. The project must be approved by the candidate's advisor and the report read and approved by the advisor and one other faculty member. These courses must include Quantum Mechanics 1 (PHYS*7010), Statistical Physics 1 (PHYS*7040), and Electromagnetic Theory (PHYS*7060). Two of the courses may be approved undergraduate courses; the approval must be by the advisory committee and the graduate co-ordinator. If they are physics courses they must be at the fourth-year level. This program is recommended for those planning careers requiring a broad non-specialized knowledge of physics (for example, high school teaching).

PhD Programs

     Two options are available for the PhD degree:
  • A research-based option in which the student is required to complete four one-semester courses (2.0 credits) and a thesis.
  • A co-operative option in which the student spends two semesters working in a government or industrial laboratory. The student is required to complete four one-semester courses (2.0 credits) and a thesis.

Admission Requirements
     An MSc degree from an approved university or college is normally required for entrance into the PhD program.

PhD Co-operative Option
     Applicants must have or expect to obtain an MSc degree in physics from a recognized university. Admission to the co-op option is restricted to Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

Degree Requirements
     Four one-term courses not including any already taken for MSc credit are required; courses taken during the MSc program and in excess of those required will, however, be allowed for PhD credit. By the end of the first year of the program, all three of Quantum Mechanics 1 (PHYS*7010), Statistical Physics 1 (PHYS*7040) and Electromagnetic Theory (PHYS*7060) should be completed. (Exception: Biophysics students must have taken at least one of Quantum Mechanics 1 (PHYS*7010), Statistical Physics 1 (PHYS*7040), and Electromagnetic Theory (PHYS*7060) by the completion of the first year of the PhD program.) One of the required courses may be an undergraduate course outside the student's main field of study and must be approved by the student's supervisory committee and the graduate co-ordinator. No undergraduate course in physics may be taken for credit.
     After two or three terms in the program, PhD candidates are required to pass a qualifying examination. This is an oral examination of approximately two hours' duration before a committee that includes representation from the student's advisory committee. It is designed to test the student's knowledge of the fundamentals and applications of physics related to the thesis topic. PhD students must meet their advisory committee members at least once a year to present a written and oral report on their progress. Candidates must present a thesis embodying the results of original research conducted by them on an advanced topic. The thesis is defended before a committee which may also examine the student's knowledge of related material.

PhD Co-operative Option
     Students normally enter the co-op PhD program in September, following completion of their MSc degree. The student first spends one or two academic terms on campus, taking a minimum of two courses per term and performing the regular duties of a teaching assistant. During this time, the student will discuss work term prospects with the Guelph and Waterloo personnel responsible for co-op activities and conduct interviews with potential employers. After satisfactory performance in the academic term(s), the student spends a full year in an industrial or government laboratory.
     Students must complete all three of the core courses PHYS*7010, PHYS*7040 and PHYS*7060 by the end of their first two academic terms in the program. (Exception: Biophysics students must at least one of the three core courses.) A total of four graduate courses (2.0 credits) are required (excluding those already taken for MSc credit).
     The student is required to pass a qualifying examination and complete, under the supervision of a faculty member, a research project on an advanced topic. A thesis embodying the results of original research conducted by the student must be presented and defended before a committee.

Interdepartmental Programs

Biophysics Interdepartmental Group
     The Department of Physics participates in the MSc/PhD programs in biophysics. Professors Davis, Hallett, Jeffrey, Millman and Renninger are members of the Biophysics Interdepartmental Group (BIG). These faculty members' research and teaching expertise includes aspects of biophysics; they may serve as advisors for MSc and PhD students in biophysics. Please consult the Biophysics listing for a detailed description of the graduate programs offered by the Biophysics Interdepartmental Group.


* Courses offered annually. Other courses are offered on an alternate year basis and as requested.

Course/(Credit Value) Term Course Description
Core Courses
Quantum Mechanics I (0.5)
* Review of formalism of nonrelativistic quantum mechanics including symmetries and invariance. Approximation methods and scattering theory. Elementary quantum theory of radiation. Introduction to one-particle relativistic wave equations.
Quantum Mechanics II (0.5)
   Concepts of relativistic quantum mechanics, elementary quantum field theory, and Feynman diagrams. Application to many-particle systems. Prerequisite: 701 or equivalent.
Statistical Physics I (0.5)
* Statistical basis of thermodynamics; microcanonical, canonical and grand canonical ensembles; quantum statistical mechanics, theory of the density matrix; fluctuations, noise, irreversible thermodynamics; transport theory; application to gases, liquids, solids.
Statistical Physics II (0.5)
   Phase transitions. Fluctuation phenomena. Kubo's theory of time correlation functions for transport and spectral properties; applications selected from a variety of topics including linearized hydrodynamics of normal and superfluids, molecular liquids, liquid crystals, surface phenomena, theory of the dielectric constant, etc. Prerequisite: PHYS*7040 or equivalent.
Electromagnetic Theory (0.5)
* Solutions to Maxwell's equations; radiation theory, normal modes; multipole expansion; Kirchhoff's diffraction theory; radiating point charge; optical theorem. Special relativity; transformation laws for the electromagnetic field; line broadening. Dispersion; Kramers-Kronig relations. Magnetohydrodynamics and plasmas.
Applications of Group Theory (0.5)
   Introduction to group theory; symmetry, the group concept, representation theory, character theory. Applications to molecular vibrations, the solid state, quantum mechanics and crystal field theory.
Scattering Theory (0.5)
   Review of potential theory of scattering. Applications chosen from elastic- and inelastic-neutron X-ray, light, charged-particle, and atomic and molecular beam scattering.
Subatomic and Nuclear
Quantum Field Theory (0.5)
   Relativistic quantum mechanics. Quantum electrodynamics. Covariant perturbation theory. Non-abelian gauge theories. Prerequisite: PHYS*7010 or equivalent.
Green's Function Method (0.5)
   Review of essential quantum field theory. Zero and finite temperature. Green's functions. Applications.
Nuclear Physics (0.5)
   Static properties of nuclei; alpha, beta, gamma decay; two-body systems; nuclear forces; nuclear reactions; single-particle models for spherical and deformed nuclei; shell, collective, interacting boson models.
Intermediate and High Energy Physics (0.5)
   Strong, electromagnetic and weak interactions. Isospin, strangeness, conservation laws and symmetry principles. Leptons, hadrons, quarks and their classification, formation, interactions and decay.
Introduction to Quantum Information Processing (0.5)
F   Quantum superposition, interference, and entanglement. Postulates of Quantum Mechanics. Quantum computational complexity. Quantum Algorithms. Quantum communication and cryptography. Quantum error correction. Implementations.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
Galactic Structure (0.5)
   Introduction to statistical theory and distribution laws. Statistical theory of the galactic system. Stellar motions in the solar vicinity. Galactic rotation. Space distribution of stars and their relation to the galaxy. Distribution of various galactic objects. Application to extra-galactic systems.
Astrophysics (0.5)
   The fundamental astronomical data: techniques to obtain it and the shortcomings present. The classification systems. Wide- and narrow-band photometric systems. The intrinsic properties of stars: colours, luminosities, masses, radii, temperatures. Variable stars. Distance indicators. Interstellar reddening. Related topics.
Cosmology (0.5)
   Friedmann-Robertson-Walker metric and dynamics; big bang thermodynamics; nucelosynthesis; recombination; perturbation theory and structure formation; anisotropies in the Cosmic Microwave Background; statistics of cosmological density and velocity fields; galaxy formation; inflation.
Selected Topics in Astronomy (0.5)
(offered on demand)   
Selected Topics in Astrophysics (0.5)
(offered on demand)   
Atomic and Molecular
Atomic Physics (0.5)
   Emphasis on atomic structure and spectroscopy. Review of angular momentum, rotations, Wigner-Eckart theorem, n-j symbols. Energy levels in complex atoms, Hartree-Fock theory, radiative-transitions and inner-shell processes. Further topics selected with class interest in mind, at least one of which is to be taken from current literature.
Molecular Physics (0.5)
   Angular momentum and the rotation of molecules; introduction to group theory with application to molecular vibrations; principles of molecular spectroscopy; spectra of isolated molecules; intermolecular interactions and their effects on molecular spectra; selected additional topics (e.g., electronic structure of molecules, experimental spectroscopic techniques, neutron scattering, correlation functions, collision induced absorption, extension of group theory to molecular crystals, normal co-ordinate analysis, etc.).
Condensed Matter (Including Chemical Physics, and Conductivity and Superconductivity)
Liquid State Physics (0.5)
   Physical properties of atomic liquids; distribution functions and equilibrium properties, elementary perturbation theories and integral equation theories; simple metals, simple computer simulation; viral expansions and thermodynamic derivatives of g(r); experimental determination of g(r).
Solid State Physics I (0.5)
* Phonons, electron states, electron-electron interaction, electron-ion interaction, static properties of solids.
Solid State Physics II (0.5)
   Transport properties; optical properties; magnetism; superconductivity; disordered systems.
Selected Topics in Theoretical Condensed Matter Physics (0.5)
Photoconductivity and Luminescence (0.5)
   Electron processes in crystals, photoconductive processes. Electrode effects, imperfection and energy band transitions, scattering traps and trapping effects. Recombination kinetics, luminescence. Experimental methods and analysis.
Optical Properties of Semiconductors (0.5)
   Reflection and refraction of electromagnetic waves at dielectric and conducting interfaces. Dispersion, absorption processes, photo effects, magneto-optical effects, emission of radiation.
Quantum Theory of Solid Surfaces (0.5)
   Brief historical review. Molecular orbital approach to surface and chemisorption states. Use of Kronig-Penny, Mathieu potential and Nearly-Free-Electron models. Crystal composition, next-nearest-neighbour interactions, sp- hybridization and applied-field effects on surface states will be discussed.
Cellular Biophysics (0.5)
* The physics of cellular structure and function; membrane theories, diffusion and active transport, bioelectric phenomena; intracellular motion, thermodynamics; selected topics of current interest and seminar.
Molecular Biophysics (0.5)
* Physical methods of determining macromolecular structure: energetics, intramolecular and intermolecular forces, with applications to lamellar structures, information storage, DNA and RNA, recognition and rejection of foreign molecules.
Radiation Biophysics (0.5)
   Physical properties and biological effects of different kinds of radiation: action of radiation on various cellular constituents: target theory, genetic effects, repair of radiation damage, physics of radiology and radiotherapy, isotropic tracers.
Selected topics in Experimental Biophysics (0.5)
(offered on demand)   
Biophysics of Organ Systems (0.5)
   Specialized cells and organs; the nerve impulse and its propagation, muscle contraction, sensory transducers, the central nervous system; haemodynamics, the red-blood corpuscle, homeostasis; selected topics of current interest, and seminar.
Special Topics in Biophysics (0.5)
(offered on demand)   
Interuniversity Graduate Course in Biophysics (0.5)
(offered on demand)   
Applied Physics (including Technical Methods)
Electron Microscopy and Electron Diffraction (0.5)
   Introduction to electron optics and the electron microscope; kinematical and dynamical theories of electron diffraction by perfect crystals and by crystals containing lattice imperfections, limited-area electron diffraction, dark- field microscopy, interpretation of electron-diffraction patterns and diffraction-contrast effects in electron microscope images, selected experimental methods in electron microscopy.
Basic Theory of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (0.5)
* Quantum mechanics of spins in magnetic field; Bloch equations; NMR apparatus; the various nuclear-spin interactions; spin temperature; density matrix; spin-lattice relaxation; double resonance.
Selected Topics in Experimental Physics (0.5)
* A modular course in which each module deals with an established technique of experimental physics. Four modules will be offered during the winter and spring semesters, but registration and credit will be in the spring semester. Typical topics are neutron diffraction, light scattering, acoustics, molecular beams, NMR, surface analysis, etc.
Nonlinear Optics (0.5)
   Classical and Quantum Mechanical descriptions of nonlinear susceptibility, nonlinear wave propogation, nonlinear effects such as Peckel's and Kerr effects, harmonic generation, phase conjugation and stimulated scattering processes.
Quantum Electronics (0.5)
   Optoelectronic component fabrication, light propogation in linear and nonlinear media, optical fiber properties, electro-optic and acousto-optic modulation, spontaneous and stimulated emission, semiconductor lasers and detectors, nose effects in fiber systems.
Microprocessors in the Physics Laboratory (0.5)
   Interfacing and programming of microprocessors for applications in physics, including signal averaging, auto- and cross-correlation analysis, multichannel spectrum analysis, and Fourier transformation. Consideration of hardware versus software methods for optimization of speed and system size.
Special Courses (offered on demand only)
Selected Topics in Theoretical Physics (0.5)
Special Lecture and Reading Course (0.5)
Selected Seminar and Module Course (for inter-departmental students) (0.5)
Special Topics in Physics (0.5)
Interinstitution Exchange (0.5)
   At the director's discretion, a PhD student may receive course credit for a term of specialized studies at another institution. Formal evaluation is required.
MSc Project (0.5)
   Study of a selected topic in physics presented in the form of a written report. For students whose MSc program consists entirely of courses


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