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  Prospective Students

Prospective Student Menu

  Contacts
  Degree programs and requirements
  Admission requirements
  Research fields
  Financial considerations
  Application procedures
  Course requirements
  Living in Kingston
  FAQ
Welcome to the Graduate Studies homepage for the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy at Queen's University! Our department provides exciting opportunities for graduate students to study in many stimulating research environments. In addition to a large number of high-profile professors, we have recently recruited many new world-class physicists who are setting up exceptional research programs in cutting-edge areas of theoretical, applied and experimental physics. We have had record intakes of excellent new graduate students, bringing our department total to over 70 Canadian and International students. We continue to have openings every year for good graduate students and we suggest that you apply early (our deadline for applications is Feb 15). It's a great time to come to Queen's, so don't hesitate to contact us!
Contacts
Stéphane Courteau Professor
Coordinator of Graduate Studies

courteau@astro.queensu.ca

Loanne Meldrum
Graduate Administrator

loanne@physics.queensu.ca

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Degree programs and requirements
For the M.Sc. or M.A.Sc. degree, the requirements are:

 Research and Thesis. Completion of a research project and presentation of a thesis within two years of initial registration.
  The Departmental requirements for the master's degree program are a minimum of two full graduate courses (or four half-courses), plus research and thesis. At most, one of these four graduate level half courses can be jointly offered (double-numbered) with an undergraduate course. At least one full course (or two half-courses) must be from among those offered by the Department of Physics. At most, one full course (two half-courses) may be taken from a department other than Physics, subject to the approval of the Department of Physics.

For the Ph.D. degree, the requirements are:

 Research and Thesis. Completion of a research project and presentation of a thesis within four years of initial registration.
 An oral candidacy exam will be given early in the Ph.D. program to ensure that students attempting the PhD program have the potential to successfully complete the research for their thesis in a reasonable length of time; a demonstrated ability to initiate and complete independent research is a principal requirement of the PhD. This examination shall consist of an oral defence of (i) a written thesis proposal, and (ii) a report on an assigned research area question.
  (i) The Departmental requirements for the doctoral program are usually a minimum of 31/2 full graduate courses (or 7 half-courses) beyond the bachelor's degree level, plus research and thesis. Only two of these seven graduate level half courses can be jointly offered (double-numbered) with an undergraduate course. The courses must include the following half-courses or their equivalent: PHYS-831* or -832* or an approved substitute from the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and PHYS-825*. In exceptional cases, subject to the approval of the Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy proficiency in Quantum Mechanics at the level of PHYS 345 will be accepted in lieu of PHYS 825.
(ii) In addition to the above-mentioned courses, all PhD students must participate in PHYS-901, a series of seminars to be presented by the PhD students themselves. PhD students will be required to present a seminar on their research area/problem in each of their second and third years of registration in the PhD program. Also, all PhD students must attend at least 2/3rds of these seminars in each of their first, second, and third years. (Students who are unable to attend this number of talks due to field work will be required to make alternative arrangements, to be approved by the Coordinator of the Physics 901 course.) In addition to the PhD students in attendance at these seminars, the Coordinator of the Physics 901 course, the chair of the student's supervisory committee, the student's supervisor, and other interested faculty members will also be present. This course shall be given a Pass/Fail grade.
If either of the PHYS 901 Course Coordinator or the chair of the student's supervisory committee judges that a student's presentation is substandard, the student will be required to present another talk no later than one month after the regularly scheduled seminar, the audience for which will be determined by the PHYS 901 Course Coordinator and the student's supervisory committee.

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Admission requirements
MSc. or M.A.Sc. degree
The minimum qualification for admission is second class standing in one of the following degrees awarded by a recognized university
 an honours bachelor degree in Science
 a bachelor degree in Applied Science

NOTE: You must have an undergraduate degree in Engineering or Applied Science in order to register in the M.A.Sc. program.

Ph.D. degree
The minimum qualification for admission to the Doctoral Program is a master's degree in Science or Applied Science. Students registered in our Master's program who show exceptional promise and have a first-class standing may be admitted to the doctoral program without completing the requirements for the master's degree.

TOEFL requirements
A minimum score of 550/213 is required, however above 580/237 is preferred.

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Research Fields
The Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy at Queen's University is one of the leading physical research institutes in Canada. Students and faculty conduct research within their labs in Stirling Hall, but also at external facilities such as the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories, the HPCVL supercomputer and telescopes around the world. Research is broadly categorized into 4 groups:

 Engineering and Applied Physics
 Condensed Matter Physics & Optics
 Astrophysics and Astronomy
 Particle Physics and Astrophysics

Queen's Physics Department also offers an associated program in Medical Physics.

Students interested in Graduate work in the Department of Physics are encouraged to email the faculty listed in the above websites for more information about the research topics they offer.

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Financial Considerations
If accepted into our Graduate program, students are guaranteed the following minimum stipends:

 M.Sc. or M.A.Sc.: $24,250 p.a. for a two year period
 Ph.D. : $25,450 p.a. for a four year period

The stipend is made up of funding you receive as a TA (teaching assistant), as well as internal fellowships and bursaries and support from your supervisor.

The amounts cited above represent the minimum; stipends can range up to ~$30,000 if students are awarded external scholarships (NSERC, OGS, etc).

Incoming students holding an NSERC PGSM and PGSD receive an additional $5000 for their first year, on top of their regular stipend.

Graduate tuition fees for domestic (Canadian and landed immigrant) students are typically ~$6000. International student fees are ~$11,400. The department will provide a tuition bursary of $5,000 to international students to bring their fees to approximately the same level as domestic students.

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Application procedures
Successful admission into the Graduate Program in the Department of Physics involves:

 Meeting the Admission Requirements (see above)
 Being accepted by a faculty supervisor.

Before applying, you are encouraged to visit the websites of our Research Faculty (see under Research Fields above) and consider the research areas that interest you.

When your application is complete it will be forwarded to the Department and reviewed by all faculty members in the research fields you have indicated. If at least one faculty member wishes to have you join his or her group, then the Department will recommend to the Graduate School that you be admitted into graduate studies.

Applications to the graduate program are handled by the School of Graduate Studies. Application procedures and online forms can be found by visiting their webpage, and clicking on "prospective students."

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Course Requirements
For course requirements see "Degree Programs and Requirements" above. Other useful information is linked below:

 Physics Department Graduate course listing
 Queen's Graduate studies Calendar

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Living in Kingston
The following websites provide useful links about living in Kingston.

 Queen's student information
 Queen's international student living expenses/costs etc.
 Information for International students
 Queen's housing information
 Information about the City of Kingston
 Kingston maps: Housing / City of Kingston
 Kingston weather

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Frequenty Asked Questions
How do I find out about individual faculty research projects in the department?
The research programs of all faculty members are listed on their individual web pages (see links to these under "Research Fields" above). Feel free to contact individual professors if you want more information about the research projects they offer.

Do I need to take the GRE general and subject exams?
We do not require you to take these, however a good performance in the exams may strengthen your application.

Am I guaranteed financial support? For how long?
If you are accepted into Graduate studies in our department then we guarantee at least the minimum stipends listed in the "Financial Support" section above. Master's students will receive this stipend for a period of two years from their initial registration date; Ph.D. students for a period of four years from this initial date.

Am I expected to teach undergraduate students?
Yes. Teaching is considered an enriching part of the Graduate student experience. A typical TA (Teaching Assistant) requirement is 9 hours per week in the fall and winter teaching terms, and the payment associated with this contributes to your stipend. The 9 hours generally consists of 6 hours face-to-face teaching and 3 hours of preparation/marking time. Scholarship holders (NSERC/OGS/OGSST) are also expected to act as TAs, but typically they are only expected to do 5 hours/week.

Can I transfer from a MSc to a PhD program without submitting an MSc thesis?
Yes. Provided you maintain an 80% or above in your graduate courses and have the support of your supervisor, you can be considered for promotion directly to a Ph.D. Typically this is done after one year of the M.Sc. You will be required to prepare a research proposal outline the work to date as well as your research plan for the PhD.

How many students per year are promoted from the MSc to the Ph without submitting an MSc thesis?
Each year we have between 2 and 5 students who are promoted.

Will I have a supervisory committee?
All PhD students have a supervisory committee that meets once a year to evaluate your work and make sure satisfactory progress has been made. Master's students do not normally have a supervisory committee, however the student's work is evaluated yearly to ensure progress is satisfactory.

Can I apply after the deadline of February 15th?
Yes, however openings in many research groups fill up quickly and students applying after February 15th may not receive their first choice of research topic.

Do you accept students for January admission?
Occasionally, in special circumstances. However this makes coursework and TA assignments somewhat problematic both for the student and the department.



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