Program Details

The department prides itself on providing graduate students with innovative, world-class research opportunities in a collegial environment.

The Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science is a large comprehensive department with research programs covering all major areas of physics including computational, experimental and theoretical research in atmospheric physics, geophysics, quantum optics, condensed matter physics, novel Materials, applied physics, subatomic physics and astrophysics, and biophysics.

Research avenues in medical physics include precision radiotherapy and radio surgical techniques in the treatment of cancer patients, image guidance, and innovation in magnetic resonance and nuclear medicine imaging.  Graduate students may conduct their work in state-of-the art hospital treatment and imaging facilities and within dedicated laboratories. Coursework in medical physics meet the standards defined by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP).

MSc

Choose a research supervisor

Before you begin your studies at Dalhousie, we encourage you to visit the department or start an email correspondence with faculty members whose research interests you. The best way to find a research supervisor whose interests best match yours is to:

  • Discuss ideas and projects with several prospective supervisors
  • Ask faculty members for descriptions of possible research projects
  • Write to the Graduate Secretary for general information

Degree requirements

Students are normally required to complete four half-credit courses at the 5000 level or higher. Courses are expected to have some relevance to the students’ research. The courses do not have to be offered by the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science.

Upon failure of any course (grade less than B-), a student will be withdrawn from the graduate program and must apply to the department for reinstatement. Reinstatement is at the discretion of the Department of Physics and Atmospheric Science and the Faculty of Graduate Studies, following input from the supervisory committee. If a student fails two courses, re-admission is at the discretion of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and is highly unlikely.

In addition to the course work, students in the master's program are also expected to complete a thesis project and defend it orally before a panel of peers. 

Program structure

First year:

  • Begin conducting research
  • Pass graduate courses
  • Work as a teaching assistant (TA) or research assistant (RA)
  • Meet with your supervisory committee before the year’s end

Year two:

  • Continue and complete research
  • Deliver a departmental seminar on a topic unrelated to your research
  • Work as a teaching assistant (TA) or research assistant (RA)
  • Write your master's thesis
  • Undergo a final oral defence of your thesis

Further information:

 

PhD

Choose a research supervisor

Before you begin your studies at Dalhousie, we encourage you to visit the department or start an email correspondence with faculty members whose research interests you. The best way to find a research supervisor whose interests best match yours is to:

  • Discuss ideas and projects with several prospective supervisors
  • Ask faculty members for descriptions of possible research projects
  • Write to the Graduate Secretary for general information

Program structure

First year:

  • Carry out research
  • Take and pass two or three graduate-level courses
  • Serve as a teaching assistant (TA) for undergraduate courses
  • Meet with a supervisor and supervisory committee before the year’s end

Second year:

  • Continue research
  • Finish coursework
  • Serve as a teaching assistant (TA) for undergraduate courses
  • Submit PhD Qualifying Report and pass an oral examination
  • Deliver a departmental seminar on a topic unrelated to your research
  • Meet with a supervisor and supervisory committee before the year’s end

Third year:

  • Continue your research
  • Finish course requirements
  • Serve as a teaching assistant (TA) for undergraduate courses
  • Meet with a supervisor and supervisory committee before the year’s end

Fourth year:

  • Continue and complete research
  • Deliver a departmental seminar on your research
  • Submit a PhD thesis and pass the oral examination

Further information:

Read Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations for detailed information about graduate studies programs at Dalhousie.

Transfer from MSc to PhD

First year:

  • Carry out research
  • Take and pass two or three graduate-level courses
  • Serve as a teaching assistant (TA) for undergraduate courses
  • Meet with a supervisor and supervisory committee before the year’s end

Second year:

  • Continue research
  • Finish coursework
  • Serve as a teaching assistant (TA) for undergraduate courses
  • Submit PhD Qualifying Report and pass an oral examination
  • Deliver a departmental seminar on a topic unrelated to your research
  • Meet with a supervisor and supervisory committee before the year’s end

Third year:

  • Continue your research
  • Finish course requirements
  • Serve as a teaching assistant (TA) for undergraduate courses
  • Meet with a supervisor and supervisory committee before the year’s end

Fourth year:

  • Continue and complete research
  • Deliver a departmental seminar on your research
  • Submit a PhD thesis and pass the oral examination

Further information:

Read Faculty of Graduate Studies regulations for detailed information about graduate studies programs at Dalhousie

Program requirements

A minimum of three half-credit courses is normally required to complete the PhD program course requirement. Students should complete a total of seven half-credit graduate courses beyond their undergraduate degree, including those from the MSc. The Supervisory Committee has the right to require additional courses, beyond the minimum, depending on the student’s background.

A qualifying examination will be taken in the first half of the PhD program. 

At the end of the program, a public (oral) defence of the thesis with an external examiner will be arranged.

Qualifying report

Within 18 months of registering in the PhD in Physics and Atmospheric Science program, students must submit a qualifying report of up to 70 pages. This report should include a literature survey and a significant research proposal for the PhD thesis. This is followed by an oral examination.

PhD defense

A PhD defence is open to the public and the Faculty of Graduate Studies arranges and publicizes the PhD defence in consultation with the supervisor and the student.

The PhD candidate makes a 20-minute oral presentation of the work, and then the members of the Examination Committee question the candidate. The external examiner, the members of the supervisory committee and the supervisor vote on the outcome of the thesis defence.

Important dates

Admission deadlines

  • For September: June 1st (Canadian), April 1st (Non-Canadian)
  • For January: November 15th (Canadian), August 31 (Non-Canadian)
  • For May admission: February 28/29 (Canadian), December 31 (non-Canadian)
  • If you have missed an application deadline, please contact the department directly to inquire if there is still room in the program.

Funding deadlines: