IX. Graduate Programs


MSc Program

The MSc programs is offered in the following fields: 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

Application for admission should be made as early as possible using on-line application methods described on the web-site https://uwaterloo.ca/waterloo-guelph-physics-graduate-studies/student-resources/how-apply. Successful applicants are encouraged to start their graduate studies in May or September, but a January starting date is possible. Program offices should be consulted for admission deadlines.

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/).

Degree Requirements

Students enrol in one of two study options: 1) thesis, or 2) course work and major research project.


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 Program Coordinator. If it is a physics course, it must be at the fourth-year level.

For all students one of the courses must include at least one of Quantum Mechanics 1 (PHYS*7010), Introduction to Quantum Field Theory (PHYS*7030), Statistical Physics 1 (PHYS*7040), Electromagnetic Theory (PHYS*7060), and Fundamentals of Astrophysics (PHYS*7810). 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.

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.

Course Work and Major Research Project (MRP)

Eight one-term courses (0.50 unit weight) 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. [Exception: biophysics students taking the course-based MSc option are required to take only one of the core courses PHYS*7010, PHYS*7030, PHYS*7040, PHYS*7060, PHYS*7670, and PHYS*7810]. Two of the courses may be undergraduate courses approved by the advisor and the Graduate Advisory Committee. 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).

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