Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
"Nanorobots, carbon nanotube sensors, quantum computers and microfluidic cell sorters: I'm fascinated by the possible applications of new technologies like these and I also love learning how they work down to the most fundamental level. The Engineering Physics graduate program at Queen's allows me to combine these two interests. In my study of nano-electromechanical systems, I can continue learning about the strange and wonderful world of quantum mechanics while acquiring practical technical skills in the design of devices that may someday improve an aspect of four lives”
Jennifer Campbell Ph.D. candidate & 2012 3MT winner
The Department of Physics at Queen’s University is one of the leading Canadian research institutes in Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy. Our faculty includes high-profile, world-class physicists who work on cutting edge areas of theoretical, computational, applied and experimental physics.
Our students have the opportunity to engage in international collaborations as well as inter-disciplinary research with other departments at Queen's, and work in state-of-the-art laboratories. Students in Condensed Matter Physics, Optics, and Engineering Physics work on a number of innovative research projects, including nanophotonics, nonlinear and quantum optics, nanophysics, quantum materials, theoretical biophysics, Bose-Einstein condensation, organic light-emitting devices, and semiconductor spintronics.
Students can work with Parteq Innovations to file intellectual property based on their research inventions.
Students in the Astrophysics and Astronomy program can carry out observational research programs at leading astronomical facilities around the world or related theoretical studies of galaxy formation, structure and evolution, dark matter, general relativity, as well as planetary and stellar astrophysics. Numerical investigations also benefit from access to the High Performance Computing Virtual Lab (Centre for Advanced Computing) supercomputer.
Students in experimental particle astrophysics carry out research in SNOLAB, a world-leading research facility located 2km underground near Sudbury, Canada. Experiments at SNOLAB use ultra-low background detectors to search for the dark matter particles produced soon after the Big Bang, and to study the properties of neutrinos to better understand how they shaped the evolution of the universe.
Our students also have the opportunity to work with medical researchers in the Medical Physics Research Group at the nearby Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario and at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.
Many of our students are involved in community outreach efforts such as Science Rendez-vous and the Queen’s Observatory Public Program. Our students enjoy the acclaimed beauty of the Queen's campus and the city of Kingston, an affordable lifestyle, and proximity to pristine nature and heritage sites.
Career paths – employment opportunities
Students in the Astrophysics and Astronomy program have the opportunity to carry out observations at astronomical facilities in New Mexico, Hawaii, India, Australia and the Canary Islands. Students in the experimental particle astrophysics group carry out research at SNOLAB, the underground science laboratory near Sudbury, Ontario.
M.Sc. and M.A.Sc.: 2 years
Ph.D.: 4 years
For a select group of students, we allow accelerated entry to the Ph.D. program after one year in the Master’s program.
Method of Completion
M.Sc. and M.A.Sc: Course work, research project, thesis & defence
Ph.D.: Course work, research project, thesis & defence, seminar series
We encourage you to identify an area of research interest and contact a potential supervisor before applying.
Engineering & Applied Physics
- Lynann Clapham: Non-destructive strain evaluation, applied magnetics
- Jun Gao: Organic and polymer light emitting devices
- Andy Kerr (CCSEO): Clinical cancer care, radiation physics
- Robert Knobel: Mesoscopic device physics at low temperature
- Jordan Morelli (adjunct): Controlled fusion, plasma physics renewable energy.
- Kevin Robbie: Optics of thin films, chiral and carbon-based materials, glancing angle deposition
- John Schriener (CCSEO): Clinical cancer care, radiation physics
- Marsha Singh: Small-angle X-ray scattering
Condensed Matter Physics
- Tucker Carrington: Theoretical and computational research in molecular quantum dynamics
- Marc Dignam: Theoretical in nonlinear and quantum optics of nanostructures
- James Fraser: Ultrasfast nanostructure dynamics, laser material processing, and coherent imaging
- Robert Gooding:Statistical mechanics applied to theoretical problems in chromosome biology and cancer genetics
- Stephen Hughes: Theoretical research on nanophotonics and quantum optics
- Alastair McLean: Scanning probes, nanostructures and nanophotonics
- Jean-Michel Nunzi: Optical and electronic properties of organic materials and devices, chiral photonics, solar cells
- James Stotz: Semiconductor spintronics and quantum dots
Astrophysics & Astronomy
- Stéphane Courteau: Dark matter, formation, structure and evolution of galaxies
- Martin Duncan: Formation and evolution of planetary systems
- David Hanes: Globular star clusters, observational cosmology
- Judith Irwin: Interstellar medium in galaxies, disk-halo connection, galaxy outflows
- Kayll Lake: Black holes and the evolution of the Universe
- Kristine Spekkens: Radio astronomy, dark matter, formation, structure and evolution of galaxies
- Gregg Wade: Stellar atmosphere and evolution, magnetic fields in stars.
- Larry Widrow: Dark matter, galactic dynamics
Experimental Particle Astrophysics
- Mark Boulay: low-energy neutrinos, neutrinoless double-decay and the search for dark matter
- Mark Chen: neutrino physics, geoneutrinos, dark matter and cosmic rays
- Philippe Di Stefano: cryogenic detectors for dark matter and other applications
- Gilles Gerbier: Dark matter search, neutrino physics, innovative instrumentation
- Ryan Martin: Neutrino physics, dark matter detection, germanium detectors, neural networks
- Tony Noble: aspects of astroparticle physics
- Wolfgang Rau: direct search for dark matter using cryogenic detectors
- Alex Wright: Low energy solar neutrinos, neutrionoless double beta decay, geoneutrinos, and reactor antineutrinos
Basic Funding Package (teaching assistantship, internal fellowships, bursaries and supervisor support):
Master’s Programs: minimum $24,715 per year
Ph.D.: minimum $25,915 per year
We encourage you to apply for additional funding through external scholarships (NSERC, OGS, etc.). Entering graduate students who win federal government tri-council awards are automatically provided a $5,000 top-up award by Queen’s.
M.Sc.: an honours bachelor degree in Science, Engineering or Applied Science
M.A. Sc.: a bachelor degree in Engineering or Applied Science
Both must be awarded by a recognized university, with a minimum second-class standing
Ph.D.: 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.
For international students, if required, a TOEFL total score of at least 580 (paper-based) or TOEFL iBT minimum scores of: writing (24/30); speaking (22/30); reading (22/30); listening (20/30), for a total of 88/120. Applicants must have the minimum score in each test as well as the minimum overall score.
Key Dates and Deadlines
Application Deadline: February 15. You may apply at any time, however applications received by Feb. 15 get the greatest opportunities for research positions and fellowships.
Notification of Acceptance: Typically 4 weeks after reception of your complete application.
The Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy is very excited to launch a new initiative which offers a combined program of a BScH/MSc (Physics). This program offers an opportunity for students in the 4th year of their Honours program (Physics) to take up to 2 courses in Physics at the graduate level which would then allow these students to enter the graduate program with advanced standing. Research begun in the 4th year thesis project could be carried forward as a foundation for the graduate thesis, which would create an opportunity for exceptional students to complete the graduate degree within 4 terms.
Admission to the combined program is a two-step process.
Students will have the option to apply for admission to the combined program (permission to take graduate level courses) in the winter term of the 3rd year, in parallel with the process for admittance to the Honours year and the thesis research project (PHYS 590). All applications will then be reviewed by the undergraduate chair.
If accepted into the combined program, in Year 4 of the BSc (Honours) program students will be permitted to take up to two 3.0 graduate level courses for a total of 3 or 6 credits towards the 12 credits required for the MSc degree. It is the student’s responsibility to gain admission to these graduate courses following acceptance into the program. These courses will be counted as electives or science options (or as core courses) towards completion of the degree requirements in the BSc(Hons) program. Only 1 of these courses may be a combined undergraduate/graduate (400/800) level course. The second (and all subsequent) graduate courses must be graduate only (800 and/or 900 level).
For admission to the MSc program in Physics with advanced standing, students will be expected to complete the standard SGS application process, have an overall B+ or higher in the previous 2 years of their undergraduate program, and have demonstrated significant research productivity in the 4th year thesis project. In order for the student to be granted advanced standing in the M.Sc. degree program, they must have received a final grade of at least B- (B minus) in the graduate course(s) taken during the 4th year and meet all other requirements for admission to the MSc program in Physics.
Students should submit their application to the Graduate Assistant and at that time should provide a copy of their transcript, a CV (resume), and the names of their potential Project Supervisors.
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