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Rothney Astrophysical Observatory

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Department of Physics and Astronomy

Science B 605
University of Calgary
2500 University Dr NW
Calgary, AB T2N 1N4 Canada
Tel: (403) 220-5385

Gerri Evans

Graduate Application Enquiries
Tel: (403) 220-3618

Tracy Korsgaard

Graduate Program Coordinator
Tel: (403) 220-3617

Doctoral (PhD) Thesis-based

This degree must be completed on a full-time basis.

See the Faculty of Graduate Studies webpage for information for managing your program. To see a visual timeline of your PHD degree with important dates and milestones, please visit the Program Timelines page.

Program Requirements

  1. The student must choose one of five broad areas of specialization: Astrophysics, Physics, Radiation Oncology Physics, Space Physics, and Medical Imaging (interdisciplinary).

  2. All students must have a supervisor. When admitted to our graduate program, you are assigned an interim supervisor to assist you with your course selection, registration, etc., however this may not be your final supervisory. You have a maximum of four months from the time your program begins (either September or January) to finalize your supervisor. Your supervisor is then responsible for directing the research component of your degree, as well as for some fraction of your financial support package.

  3. Course Requirements:
    • For all specializations except Radiation Oncology Physics, students must complete a minimum of two half-course equivalents at the 600-level or higher
    • A minimum of six half-course equivalents at the 600-level or higher for students entering the PhD program without a master's degree
    • For students in the Radiation Oncology Physics specialization, those who have completed the University of Calgary CAMPEP-accredited MSc program, or an equivalent CAMPEP-accredited MSc program elsewhere, there are no course requirements. However, students without this background who are accepted into the PhD Radiation Oncology Physics program must complete eight half-course equivalents: MDPH 623, MDPH 625, MDPH 633, MDPH 637, MDPH 639, and MDSC 689.01, and two Physics graduate core courses such as PHYS 609, PHYS 611, PHYS 613 or PHYS 615.
    • In addition, all students are required to take a minimum of three terms of the Graduate Seminar, although the normal load is four terms, and additional terms may be required of students on an as need basis.

  4.  Students must meet annually with their supervisory committee.

  5. PhD students must complete a Pre-Candidacy Meeting and two examinations throughout their program.
    • Oral Candidacy Exam: must be taken within 28 months of initial registration in the program (or 36 months if the student is entering the PhD program with a bacherlor's degree or transferring from a master's degree before the master's degree is complete).
    • Thesis Oral Exam: students must write and orally defend a research thesis. The thesis must be in a form that is publishable in refereed scientific journals.

Supervisory Committee

Within 12 months of starting a PhD degree, your supervisory committee will be formed by your supervisor, in general in consultation with you, the student. This committee will consist of a minimum of 3 faculty members, usually but not necessarily members of PHAS. You will thereafter meet with this committee at least once every 12 months to review your progress. For full information see the Graduate Supervisory Committee page.

Completion Time

Full degree requirements must be completed within a maximum of six years, but students must complete their course requirements within four registration years. Students registered in the PhD program will receive financial support for four years. An additional year may be available depending upon circumstances and satisfactory performance.

Advanced Credit

The applicant must make advanced credit requests as part of the admission process. Credit will not be given for course work taken as part of another completed degree/diploma or for courses taken to bring the grade point average to a required level for admission.

See the University of Calgary Graduate Studies Calendar for more information.