Graduate programs in Physics and Geophysics

The Department of Physics at the University of Alberta is one of the leaders in physics teaching and research in Canada. We are proud of our high standards and of our international reputation in research and teaching.

At the University of Alberta, our graduate students play an important part in, and make significant contributions to, our research and teaching efforts. They are an integral part of the team that maintains our standards. We make every effort to ensure that their years of graduate studies are personally and academically rewarding. 

We offer thesis-based graduate programs:

  • Master of Science
  • Master of Science, Geophysics specialization
  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Doctor of Philosophy, Geophysics specialization

Master of Science (MSc)

Students with the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree are normally admitted into the MSc program. After the first academic year, the student's supervisory committee reviews his/her progress. If progress is satisfactory it is possible for the student to transfer into the PhD program without completing the MSc. No course credits are lost and no time is lost in comparison with students who entered the PhD program directly.

  • Students in the MSc program in Physics who have the equivalent of the Honours BSc degree from University of Alberta are required to take a minimum of four one-semester courses during their MSc program. At least two of these courses must be taken in the Department of Physics, and a minimum of two courses must be at the 500-level or above. In order to register to courses in another department, students need prior approval of their supervisory committee and the Associate Chair.
  • A research project, the results of which are presented in a thesis, and an oral examination are also required.

The normal duration of the MSc program is two years. The Department is committed to providing financial support to students through the normal duration of their program.

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Students who hold a Master of Science degree equivalent to that of a MSc from University of Alberta are normally admitted directly into the PhD program.

The following requirements are for students entering the PhD program with the equivalent of a MSc in Physics from University of Alberta. Students entering the PhD program with the equivalent of an Honours BSc degree in Physics from University of Alberta are subject to the same requirements plus those of the MSc program stated above:

  • Students in the PhD program in Physics who have the equivalent of the MSc degree from University of Alberta are required to take a minimum of four one-semester courses during their PhD program.  At least two of these courses must be taken in the Department of Physics, and a minimum of two courses must be at the 500-level or above.
  • When the course requirements are successfully completed and the research project is well defined and underway, each PhD student must pass an oral candidacy examination.
  • At the end of the program, the student's research is presented in thesis form, and defended in a final oral examination.
  • The minimum time for a PhD degree is three academic years of study and research after the Honours BSc degree or two academic years after the equivalent of the MSc degree at University of Alberta.

The normal duration of the PhD program is considered to be four years for students entering the program with the equivalent of a MSc in Physics from University of Alberta, and five years for those entering with the equivalent of an honours BSc in Physics. The Department is committed to providing financial support to students through the normal duration of their program.