2004-2006 University of Guelph Graduate Calendar

VIII. Graduate Programs


MSc Program

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, subatomic physics, and quantum computing.

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 course work 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, available from the web-site http://gwp.on.ca/

The admission requirements are as follows:

  • An honours BSc degree in physics (or equivalent) with at least a B standing (75%) from a recognized university.

  • Three letters of reference, two of which normally are from academic sources.

  • Proof of competency in English (for applicants whose prior education was in a language other than English). See the University regulations on English Language Proficiency Certification.

  • GRE Physics Subject Test score for all applicants who have completed their post-secondary education outside of Canada.

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. 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 (see web-site http://gwp.on.ca/)..

MSc Co-operative Option

In addition to the admission requirements described above, admission to the co-op option is restricted to Canadian citizens and permanent residents.

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 advisory committee and the thesis must be read and approved by the advisory committee. One of the four courses may be an undergraduate course approved by the student's advisory 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). A 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 advisory committee and the graduate co-ordinator.

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 the core courses Quantum Mechanics 1 (PHYS*7010), Statistical Physics 1 (PHYS*7040,) and Electromagnetic Theory (PHYS*7060). [Exception: biophysics students taking the course-based MSc option are required to take only one of the core courses PHYS*7010, PHYS*7040 and PHYS*7060.] This program is recommended for those planning careers requiring a broad non-specialized knowledge of physics (for example, high school teaching).