Research Interests

Along with my students and colleagues, I study the formation, evolution, structure, and distribution of galaxies. Research topics involve our own Milky Way, M31 and other nearby galaxies, stellar populations in external galaxies, galaxy dynamics, properties of field and cluster galaxies, scaling relations, distribution of visible and dark matter in the Universe, numerical simulations of galaxies, and testing cosmologically-motivated structure formation models. Central to my research efforts is the development of original tests to elucidate fundamental theoretical and/or empirical puzzles in extragalactic astronomy.

My research also involves assembling extensive data bases for structural parameters of nearby galaxies and applying/devising numerical methods for their analysis. Through observing programs that I lead, or via collaborations, my students have access to some of the best observational research facilities worldwide.

Research Opportunities

I am always keen to add more driven and talented students to my research group. Feel free to contact me by email ( if my research is of interest to you.

I welcome applications from students interested in exploring topics in Galactic and Extragalactic Astronomy at the MSc or PhD levels. Research topics range from stellar populations in globular clusters and nearby galaxies to the dynamical modelling of galaxies and the distribution of dark matter in the universe, and involve a mix of observational projects, data modeling, numerical analysis and simulations. My students travel all over the world to present their research at conferences and workshops or to attend winter/summer schools or for astronomical observations. I typically supervise highly motivated students and care very much about their future career. I am proud that all my former graduate students are employed in astronomy.

Students are encouraged to apply prior to the Feb 15 departmental deadline though applications are always considered until all research positions are filled. All students accepted into the physics program at Queen’s are guaranteed full funding for two years for an MSc or four years for a PhD.

Stéphane Courteau with former advisor Sandra Faber and grand-advisor Vera Rubin and some of Stéphane’s current and former students. Left to right: Jonathan Sick, Joel Roediger, Stéphane Courteau, Sandra Faber, Vera Rubin, Aaron Dutton, Lauren MacArthur, Mike McDonald, Kelly Foyle, and Melanie Hall. Taken at the “Galaxy Masses” workshop at Queen’s University in June 2009 (click on “Gallery” for more photos).