The Master of Science in Physics
The Master’s Program is designed to give students a deeper appreciation of physics while giving them a comprehensive exposure to research methodology that will allow them to become independent researchers. Research is being carried out in the following areas:
- Astrophysics (High Energy Phenomena, Stellar and Binary Evolution, Pulsars)
- Solid State Physics (Condensed Matter Physics, Many-Body Theory, Highly Correlated Systems)
- Theoretical Physics (Cosmology, Gravitational Theory, Dark Energy)
- Particle Physics (Lattice Quantum Chromodynamics)
MSc Entrance Requirements
The program is open to graduates of any university of recognized standing who have obtained at least a Bachelor’s degree with honours with a Class II standing (GPA of 3/4 or its equivalent). An applicant who has followed a combined program (e.g., majors in math and physics), must have obtained at least a Class II standing in their physics courses. Applicants who do not satisfy these requirements may, with the permission of the University, be admitted to a qualifying year to bring their standing up to that of an honours degree. Alternatively the department may require students to do additional courses to those that are considered mandatory to meet the minimum requirements. Even if MSc applicants meet the minimum requirements, the department is not obligated to accept applicants based on the availability of supervisors, financial considerations, ability to offer the necessary courses, or the ranking of more qualified candidates.
MSc Program Requirements
- Apart from any qualifying year, the minimum period of residence for the degree shall be one academic year of full-time study including research, or its equivalent in part-time study. This requirement must be met regardless of the amount of graduate work previously completed in any other program or at any other university.
- The maximum time allowed for the fulfilment of the MSc requirements shall be four consecutive years, excluding any qualifying years, in the case of full-time students. The thesis of a full time MSc student must be submitted through the supervisor and the department for transmission to the internal and external examiners by the end of the third year.
- The candidate will be assigned, by the chairperson, to a supervisor who shall be a faculty member of the physics department and who will be responsible for advising the candidate and directing his/her thesis research.
- The thesis shall be read by two examiners other than the supervisor, one of whom shall be an external examiner who is a specialist in the candidate’s field of interest. The examiners shall be selected by the supervisor in conjunction with the physics department. A thesis will be accepted only following its approval by both examiners. A thesis may be returned to the candidate for revision on the advice of one or both examiners, and subsequently re-examined.
- Candidates will be required to defend their thesis through an oral examination by examiners selected by the department. Students must pass the oral examination in order to fulfill the requirements of the degree.
The MSc degree requires the successful defense of a thesis (Physics 600; 15 credits), participation in the seminar series (Physics 580 & 581; 18 credits), and the completion of a minimum of 12 credits (4 courses) from lecture courses offered at the 500-level. Additional courses may be required of the student depending on his/her background. Course selection is determined in consultation with the thesis supervisor and departmental chair. Students must register in the thesis course (Physics 600) for each year that they are enrolled in the program. The minimum number of credits required to complete the MSc degree is 45. The following is a list of courses that can be offered:
- Quantum Mechanics I (PHY561)
- Quantum Mechanics II (PHY562)
- Condensed Matter Physics (PHY564)
- Electromagnetic Theory (PHY565)
- Theoretical Topics (PHY566)
- Statistical Mechanics (PHY567)
- Advanced Quantum Theory (PHY571)
- Particle Physics (PHY572)
- Advanced General Relativity (PHY573)
- Relativistic Astrophysics (PHY574)
- Numerical Methods and Simulations (PHY575)
- Stellar Astrophysics I (PHY576)
- Many-Body Quantum Theory in Condensed Matter Systems (PHY577)
- Selected Topics in Astronomy and Astrophysics (PHY578)
- Selected Theoretical Topics (PHY579)
- Graduate Seminar I (PHY580)
- Graduate Seminar II (PHY581)
- Stellar Astrophysics II (PHY586)
- Thesis Research Dissertation (PHY600)
Minimum Total: 45 course credits: PHY600 (15 credits); PHY580 & 581 (18 credits); 4 lecture courses (12 credits) = 45 course credits. A detailed listing of course content can be found here.
Full-time students are eligible for financial support in the form of research assistantships, teaching assistantships, and/or a full tuition scholarship. These are awarded on a competitive basis in conjunction with advice from the chair of physics. In addition, graduate students may be supported by international exchange scholarships and research grants awarded to individual supervisors. The department strives to ensure that the minimum support paid to graduate students will be approximately $10000 per year. Amounts smaller than this are possible and are decided on a case by case basis. If students hold NSERC PGS A awards or other major scholarships, the total remuneration could be in excess of $20000.
Cost of Living as a Graduate Student:
The cost of living for students enrolled full-time in Bishop’s is quite modest by Canadian standards. For example, the cost of housing is less than $5000 per year (and can be as low as $2500 for shared accommodation). The cost of tuition for Quebec residents is about $55 per credit (an average of $1670 per year). Students from outside Quebec and International Students must pay more (See the Fees section of the Academic Calendar). Student fees (less than $1000 per year) must also be paid. The basic cost of food, clothing, and transportation are moderate (about $6000 per year).
MSc Application Process
Potential students can initiate a pre-admissions process by completing this form and following the instructions at the bottom of the form. The formal part of the application process (a fee is required) can be initiated once the applicant has been contacted by the Chair of the physics department. The formal online registration process is available here. Please note that there is no formal deadline for applications, but to receive the fullest consideration for registration in September, we encourage students to apply before May 1st.