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University of British Columbia, Full Time Masters Degrees in Physics

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The Department of Physics and Astronomy is a broad-based department with a wide range of research interests covering many key topics in contemporary physics, astronomy, and applied physics. Read more

Program Overview

The Department of Physics and Astronomy is a broad-based department with a wide range of research interests covering many key topics in contemporary physics, astronomy, and applied physics. See elsewhere in the Calendar for graduate program descriptions of Astronomy and Engineering Physics. In addition, an accredited Master of Science program is offered with a sub-specialization in Medical Physics. Departmental research activities are supported by several computing and experimental facilities, and excellent electronics and machine shops. Much of the Department's research is enhanced by local facilities such as the TRIUMF National Laboratory, the Advanced Materials and Process Engineering Laboratory (AMPEL), and the BC Cancer Agency, UBC, and associated teaching hospitals, in addition to many specialized research laboratories housed within the Department. There is a great deal of collaboration and overlap of interests among the various groups, and incoming graduate students are currently attracted to research opportunities in many subfields of physics:
- Applied Physics
- Medical Physics
- Biophysics
- Nuclear and Particle Physics
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics
- Condensed Matter Physics
- Theoretical Physics

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Science
- Specialization: Physics
- Subject: Science
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Science

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The M.A.Sc. program requires a minimum of 30 credits, with the thesis counting for 12 credits. The remaining 18 credits must include at least 12 credits from graduate courses in any Science or Applied Science department, and may include up to 6 300- or 400-level credits in undergraduate courses. Read more

Master of Applied Science

Program Requirements

The M.A.Sc. program requires a minimum of 30 credits, with the thesis counting for 12 credits. The remaining 18 credits must include at least 12 credits from graduate courses in any Science or Applied Science department, and may include up to 6 300- or 400-level credits in undergraduate courses. All M.A.Sc. students are required to satisfy the Department's course requirements.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Applied Science
- Specialization: Engineering Physics
- Subject: Engineering
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Science

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The University academic year begins the first week of September, and the academic year is divided into a 13 week first term - September, October, November - and a 14 week (including reading week in mid-February) second term - January, February, March. Read more

Graduate Programs

The University academic year begins the first week of September, and the academic year is divided into a 13 week first term - September, October, November - and a 14 week (including reading week in mid-February) second term - January, February, March. There is a formal examination period scheduled at the end of each term. The four month summer term is devoted to research. The usual period for completing an MSc is two to two and one half years while that for a PhD is about five years. All students accepted for the MSc or PhD will be offered a package of funding which includes a research assistantship and a teaching assistant ship - two years guaranteed for the MSc, five years guaranteed for the PhD.

The normal times for a student to begin their programme of study are September 1 or January 1. It is also possible to begin May 1 upon Departmental approval and agreed supervisor selection.

The Department offers MSc and PhD degrees - each degree requires graduate courses and research work reported in a thesis. Each degree requires 12 credits of course work, unless the candidate already holds an approved MSc. Most courses are worth 3 credits.

Students are generally encouraged to complete all their course requirements in their first year if possible in order to allow a more efficient use of time for their research projects. A one credit pass/fail seminar course is part of the requirements. An individual programme is designed by consultation between the graduate advisor, the student's supervisor (if known), and the student at the time of his or her arrival. There are no entrance or cumulative examinations.

Students accepted into the MSc program may transfer directly to a PhD degree program after one year without completing their MSc, provided they have completed in the first year a minimum of 12 credits of course work with an overall average of at least 80%, 9 credits of 80% standing, and one of the seminar courses CHEM 540A, 540B or 540C.

The progress of each PhD student is evaluated once a year at a meeting of the faculty. A supervisory committee is formed for each student; this committee normally consists of the research supervisor and three other faculty members, one of whom is chosen by the student. In their second year, PhD students are required to pass a comprehensive examination. This exam consists of an oral report of their research progress and questioning on their work and the background related to it - this meeting is normally the last requirement before the thesis and must be passed in one or two attempts to achieve candidacy.

At the completion of the thesis, both MSc and PhD students must defend their results and thesis at a formal oral defense. In the case of PhD students an external examiner, chosen in consultation with the supervisor and the graduate advisor, is also asked by the Faculty of Graduate Studies to review the thesis.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Science
- Specialization: Chemistry
- Subject: Science
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Science

Research focus

Biological & Medicinal Chemistry, Catalytic Processes, Chemical Physics, Chemical Synthesis, Environmental Chemistry, Interfacial and Surface Chemistry, Materials & Polymer Chemistry, Molecular Spectroscopy, Nuclear and Radiochemistry

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Theoretically, experimentally, and observationally oriented Master of Science (M.Sc.), Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs are offered in a number of key areas of geophysics. Read more

Program Overview

Theoretically, experimentally, and observationally oriented Master of Science (M.Sc.), Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs are offered in a number of key areas of geophysics. Current interests include topics in observational and theoretical glaciology; climate variability; geodynamics of the crust, mantle, and core of Earth and other planets; geological fluid mechanics; volcanic processes; origin and structure of planetary magnetic fields; reflection seismology; time-series analysis and wavelet processing; inversion methodologies with application to reflection seismology, mineral exploration, and environmental studies; computational electrodynamics; seismology with observational programs in crustal and upper mantle studies; earthquake studies focused on understanding past and current tectonic processes in Western Canada; and theoretical model studies to investigate wave propagation in laterally heterogeneous media.

Program Requirements

Geophysics students who have not completed a course in physics of the Earth at either the senior undergraduate or graduate level will be required to register for EOSC 453. The M.A.Sc. program consists of a 12-credit thesis and 18 credits of coursework. A minimum of 24 credits must be at the 500-level and above.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Applied Science
- Specialization: Geophysics
- Subject: Science
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Science

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Theoretically, experimentally, and observationally oriented Master of Science (M.Sc.), Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs are offered in a number of key areas of geophysics. Read more

Program Overview

Theoretically, experimentally, and observationally oriented Master of Science (M.Sc.), Master of Applied Science (M.A.Sc.), and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs are offered in a number of key areas of geophysics. Current interests include topics in observational and theoretical glaciology; climate variability; geodynamics of the crust, mantle, and core of Earth and other planets; geological fluid mechanics; volcanic processes; origin and structure of planetary magnetic fields; reflection seismology; time-series analysis and wavelet processing; inversion methodologies with application to reflection seismology, mineral exploration, and environmental studies; computational electrodynamics; seismology with observational programs in crustal and upper mantle studies; earthquake studies focused on understanding past and current tectonic processes in Western Canada; and theoretical model studies to investigate wave propagation in laterally heterogeneous media.

Program Requirements

Geophysics students who have not completed a course in physics of the Earth at either the senior undergraduate or graduate level will be required to register for EOSC 453. The M.Sc. program consists of a 12-credit thesis and 18 credits of coursework. A minimum of 24 credits must be at the 500-level and above.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Science
- Specialization: Geophysics
- Subject: Science
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Science

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We engage in fundamental research in atmospheric science, both independently and in cooperation with federal and provincial laboratories and other research groups around the world. Read more

General Information

We engage in fundamental research in atmospheric science, both independently and in cooperation with federal and provincial laboratories and other research groups around the world. The emphasis of the research is on studies of processes and developing physical understanding of the atmosphere. The research commonly involves field or laboratory measurement and observation; data analysis and interpretation; and numerical model construction, modification and validation.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Science
- Specialization: Atmospheric Science
- Subject: Science
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Options
- Faculty: Faculty of Science

Program Description

Programs leading to the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees are offered under the joint sponsorship of the Department Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences and the Department of Geography. There are also several biometeorology professors from the Faculty of Land and Food Systems who can also supervise Atmospheric Science students.

Theoretical knowledge is an important part of this program and a wide range of courses are available. Courses can also be taken from outside of this list.

The M.Sc. thesis based program consists of twelve credits of thesis, 18 credits of course work and a thesis defence. Average time to completion is two years. However, this is very much dependent on the student so completion may take longer.

The Co-op M.Sc. consists of ATSC 597, ATSC 598, six credits of ATSC 548 and 24 credits of additional coursework. Co-op M.Sc. students must also have identified in advance an employer who will pay a salary during the Co-op work terms, and must satisfy eligibility requirements set by the UBC Co-op Program. Students normally complete this degree within two years.

Finally there is also a course-based M.Sc. option. This consists of three credits of a major essay and 27 credits of additional coursework. Most fulltime students will complete within one year.

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The M.Sc. (astronomy) program requires a thesis and 18 credits of coursework. Up to 6 credits may be 300 or 400 level courses. The course selection is determined in consultation with the student's supervisor and/or the Graduate Advisor. Read more
The M.Sc. (astronomy) program requires a thesis and 18 credits of coursework. Up to 6 credits may be 300 or 400 level courses. The course selection is determined in consultation with the student's supervisor and/or the Graduate Advisor. One of PHYS 500, 501, 504, 508, 516 is required along with the Astro degree requirements.

Quick Facts

- Degree: Master of Science
- Specialization: Astronomy
- Subject: Science
- Mode of delivery: On campus
- Program components: Coursework + Thesis required
- Faculty: Faculty of Science

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