IX. Graduate Programs


PhD Program

The PhD program is research-based and offered in the fields of: 1) astrophysics and gravitation; 2) atomic, molecular and optical physics; 3) biophysics; 4) chemical physics; 5) condensed matter and material physics; 6) industrial and applied physics; 7) subatomic physics; and 8) quantum computing.

Admission Requirements

A MSc degree in physics from an approved university or college with at least a B standing (75%) is normally required for entrance into the PhD program. Other requirements are the same as those described above for the MSc program (see web-site http://gwp.on.ca/).

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. The extra courses must be identified prior to admission. The core courses for the program are Quantum Mechanics 1 (PHYS*7010), Introduction to Quantum Field Theory (PHYS*7030), Statistical Physics 1 (PHYS*7040), Electromagnetic Theory (PHYS*7060), Introduction to Quantum Information Processing (PHYS*7670), and Fundamentals of Astrophysics (PHYS*7810). By the end of the first year of the program, three of the core courses, including one of Quantum Mechanics 1 (PHYS*7010), Statistical Physics 1 (PHYS*7040) and Electromagnetic Theory (PHYS*7060) or their equivalent 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 advisory committee and the Graduate Program Coordinator. No undergraduate course in physics may be taken for credit.

An average of at least 70% must be obtained in the required courses. A minimum grade of 65% is required for a pass in each course. No more than two courses, of the first four taken, can have a grade of less than 70%. If a student does not meet these minimum grade requirements, or receives a failing grade in any course, he/she may be required to withdraw from the program.

PhD candidates are required to pass a Qualifying Examination normally during the first year of the program; in any case, it must be passed no later than the fifth semester in which he/she is enrolled. 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 closely related to the thesis topic. An assessment of the student's ability in research will be a factor in determining the examination result. If a student has not passed the Qualifying Examination by the end of the fifth semester in which they are enrolled, he/she may be required to withdraw from the program.

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.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1