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Physics

Location

  • Department of Physics
  • Ernest Rutherford Physics Building
  • 3600 University Street
  • Montreal QC H3A 2T8
  • Canada
  • Telephone: 514-398-6485 (Graduate Information)
  • Fax: 514-398-8434
  • Email: graduate [dot] physics [at] mcgill [dot] ca
  • Website: www.physics.mcgill.ca

About Physics

The Department of Physics currently has a faculty of approximately 40 members, including several holders of Canada Research Chairs and many other prestigious named Chairs. Additionally, we host an impressive number of postdoctoral fellows and research associates and run one of the largest and most vibrant graduate programs in North America. The graduate student enrolment is currently approximately 150.

Faculty members in the Department of Physics are recognized internationally for their excellence. Our members have received national and international prizes and fellowships including Les Prix Du Quebec, Steacie Prize, Sloan Fellowships, NSERC, and others too many to list here. They are also in constant demand as reviewers and referees. Students who earn advanced degrees from the Department of Physics will not only get an excellent education, they will also receive valuable guidance and network contacts to help with subsequent career steps.

The Department offers full M.Sc. and Ph.D. degree programs in a wide range of disciplines including astrophysics, atmospheric physics, bio-physics, condensed-matter physics, high-energy physics, laser spectroscopy, material physics, non-linear dynamics, nuclear physics, statistical physics, and medical-radiation physics.

Although most of the teaching and research facilities are located in the Ernest Rutherford Physics Building, the Department has space and research facilities in the Wong Materials Science Centre, adjacent to the Rutherford Building on McGill's lower campus. Our groups also conduct research at laboratories around the world including Argonne, CERN, FermiLab, SLAC, and TRIUMF.

Departmental researchers enjoy technical support in the areas of engineering, electronics, and precision machining. The Department maintains an excellent conventional machine shop as well as the McGill Nanotools-Microfab facility. Most of the scientific computing is done with an extensive in-house network of powerful workstations and several Beowulf clusters.

Remote access to supercomputing sites in Canada and the United States is also possible including the McGill HPC super-computing facility which is a part of the nationwide network of High Performance Computing Installations in Quebec.

The Department of Physics currently guarantees financial support of $22,000 per year for every graduate student. This minimum level of support can be supplemented by winning one of McGill's large number of in-house scholarships, worth up to $25,000 per year. For details, see www.physics.mcgill.ca/grads/finance.html.

Graduate students in the Department of Physics come from many different countries and cultures from all over the world, providing a stimulating cosmopolitan atmosphere in the Department. This, coupled with the unique opportunities afforded by the city of Montreal, guarantees a quality of life that is second to none among Canadian universities. For graduate admission and application information, please visit www.physics.mcgill.ca/grads/application.html.

Fields of Research:

High-Energy Physics

Theoretical: The McGill high energy theorists have interests in a wide range of areas within quantum field theory, string theory, quantum gravity, and cosmology. Research areas of the high-energy theory faculty include applications of quantum field theory techniques to relativistic heavy ion collisions, baryogenesis, superstring cosmology, theory of cosmological perturbations, black hole physics, supergravity, three dimensional gravity, and various topics related to the physics and mathematics of superstring theory. The high-energy theorists have close connections to the nuclear theory group, the astrophysics group, the high-energy experimentalists, and to members of the Mathematics Department.

Experimental: The experimental high-energy physics group is engaged in a number of experiments at the research frontiers of the field, both in subatomic physics and in high-energy astrophysics. These include:

  • Electron-positron collisions: a group works on the BaBar experiment at SLAC and R&D for the proposed SuperB experiment at LNF in Italy, with specific interest in CKM matrix elements and physics beyond the Standard Model through studies of rare decays, and on R&D for a future International Linear Collider, with interest in calorimeter development.
  • Electron-proton collisions: a group is studying high-energy lepton-quark interactions using data from the ZEUS experiment at DESY in Hamburg, with interest in deep inelastic scattering and flavour production.
  • Hadron-hadron collisions: CDF and Dzero groups employ Fermilab's energy frontier Tevatron proton-antiproton accelerator to study top and bottom quarks and search for the Higgs boson. A group is also involved in major contributions to the next energy frontier at CERN's LHC, with work on the High Level Trigger for the ATLAS experiment.
  • High-energy particle astrophysics: ground-based gamma-ray astronomy using the newly commissioned VERITAS telescope array and development of the next-generation detector.

Students at the M.Sc. and Ph.D. levels are offered a strong program of research in a challenging and rapidly advancing field. Short term master's projects are based mainly on instrumentation or data analysis conducted on campus, while Ph.D. research may involve an extended stay at one of the world's major research laboratories.

Nuclear Physics

Theoretical: Current research programs include transport equations for heavy ion collisions at intermediate energy; nuclear equation of state from heavy ion collisions; fragmentation at intermediate energy; electromagnetic probes in relativistic heavy ion collisions; effective Lagrangians for hadronic systems at finite temperature; and Quark-Gluon Plasma, QCD.

Experimental: Current research programs in experimental nuclear physics at McGill are focused on two main axes:

  • The study of heavy-ion reactions at relativistic energies to determine the properties of nuclear matter at high temperatures and density. This program is being performed at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, and at the Large Hadron Collider facility at CERN.
  • The study of ground state properties of unstable nuclei using laser spectroscopy techniques and ion traps. This work is being carried out using the Canadian Penning trap facility at the Argonne National Laboratory and at the accelerator ISOLDE (CERN), and the ISAC facility at TRIUMF.

Furthermore, the Nuclear Physics Group has an active in-house research program that applies the ion trap and laser techniques to the detection of trace quantities of material and contaminants, and to ion spectroscopy.

Condensed Matter Physics

Theoretical: Current research programs involve the nonequilibrium, ab-initio modelling of molecular and nanoelectronic systems and devices; the study of quantum effects in interacting mesoscopic electron systems; nonequilibrium phenomena in extended systems; and applications of statistical mechanics to problems in biophysics.

Experimental: Current research programs involve the study of the time evolution of non-equilibrium systems via x-ray diffraction, fundamental quantum properties of strongly correlated systems at temperatures very near absolute zero, macromolecular interactions in living cells using single-photon and two-photon imaging, molecular electronics and nanoelectronic systems by scanning probe microscopy, dynamics and mechanical properties of soft matter systems and spatial organization and dynamics in living cells, mechanical behaviour of very small systems by high-resolution force microscopy, electronic properties that emerge at the limits of miniaturization and quantum computing, and nuclear methods to study interactions in magnetic materials that lead to exotic magnetic ordering behaviour. This includes studies of novel materials such as carbon nanotubes, graphene, unconventional superconductors, guantum dots, heterostructures, amorphous systems, and spin glasses.

Astrophysics

Research in the astrophysics group covers a wide range of topics including cosmology, galaxy formation, high-energy astrophysics, and extrasolar planets. This involves observations at all wavelengths, from gamma rays and X-rays to sub-mm, infrared and radio, using international observatories in space and on the ground. Experimental groups at McGill are involved in development and operation of ground-based high-energy gamma-ray observatories, and cosmic microwave background experiments. Theoretical work includes studies of how astrophysics and observational cosmology can experimentally determine the most important properties of dark matter and dark energy, studies of the diverse physics of neutron stars, and extrasolar planet formation.

Nonlinear Variability in Geophysics

This group studies nonlinear dynamical processes in the atmosphere and other geophysical systems, especially those associated with turbulent, chaotic, and extremely variable behaviour. Emphasis is placed on multifractal analysis and modelling as well as the development of new theories and techniques covering wide ranges of scale in time and space. Data from a variety of in situ and remotely sensed sources are used. This includes satellite data of the Earth's atmosphere and surface as well as high-quality precipitation data from the McGill Radar Weather Observatory.

Master of Science (M.Sc.); Physics (Thesis) (45 credits)
McGill graduates have gone on to successful careers in academia and industry as well as in government. Our former students teach in colleges and universities world-wide and others have research positions in governmental and industrial laboratories. Still others work in the financial sector or as entrepreneurs making good use of the analytic and quantitative problem-solving skills acquired during their education as physicists. Consult the Department for more information about this program.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.); Physics
McGill graduates have gone on to successful careers in academia and industry as well as in government. Our former students teach in colleges and universities world-wide and others have research positions in governmental and industrial laboratories. Still others work in the financial sector or as entrepreneurs making good use of the analytic and quantitative problem-solving skills acquired during their education as physicists. Consult the Department for more information about this program.
Taken from Programs, Courses and University Regulations 2014-2015 (last updated Jul. 22, 2014).

Physics Admission Requirements and Application Procedures

Admission Requirements

M.Sc.

The normal requirement is a B.Sc. in Physics or equivalent, with high standing.

Ph.D.

The normal requirement is an M.Sc. in Physics or equivalent. On the recommendation of the Departmental Graduate Committee, fast-tracking from the M.Sc. program into the Ph.D. program may be granted after one year, if:

  • the student has fulfilled the M.Sc. coursework requirements, or;
  • the Committee determines that the student qualifies based on the student's academic record.

All students who transfer to the Ph.D. program are required to fulfil Ph.D. coursework requirements in addition to the courses taken as an M.Sc. candidate.

Application Procedures

McGill’s online application form for graduate program candidates is available at www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply.

See Application Procedures for detailed application procedures.

Financial Assistance

Financial assistance will be offered to students in the form of a bursary, and teaching and research assistantships. For new students, financial support will be offered at the time of acceptance. Forms are given and filled out on registration day.

Additional Requirements

The items and clarifications below are additional requirements set by this department:

Application Deadlines

The application deadlines listed here are set by the Department of Physics and may be revised at any time. Applicants must verify all deadlines and documentation requirements well in advance on the appropriate McGill departmental website; please consult the list at www.mcgill.ca/gps/contact/graduate-program.

Canadian International Special/Exchange/Visiting
Fall: Jan. 15 Fall: Jan. 15 Fall: Jan. 15
Winter: Sept. 15 Winter: Sept. 15 Winter: Sept. 15
Summer: N/A Summer: N/A Summer: N/A

Admission to graduate studies is competitive; accordingly, late and/or incomplete applications are considered only as time and space permit.

Taken from Programs, Courses and University Regulations 2014-2015 (last updated Jul. 22, 2014).

Biology

Biology

Location

  • Department of Biology
  • Stewart Biological Sciences Building, Room W4/8
  • 1205 Dr. Penfield Avenue
  • Montreal QC H3A 1B1
  • Canada
  • Telephone: 514-398-5478
  • Fax: 514-398-5069
  • Email: graduate-admissions [dot] biology [at] mcgill [dot] ca
  • Website: http://biology.mcgill.ca

About Biology

The Department offers graduate training in many areas of biology with particular strengths in the following areas: Molecular Biology and Genetics; Cell and Developmental Biology; Ecology, Biodiversity, and Conservation; Evolution; Neurobiology; Bioinformatics; and Plant Biology. In addition to the regular M.Sc. and Ph.D. programs, the Biology Department offers specialized programs, known as “concentrations” in certain specific areas: Neotropical Environment (NEO), Bioinformatics, and Environment.

Graduate programs leading to the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees are offered. Both are research-intensive degrees, and the emphasis in both programs is on development of the intellectual and technical skills necessary for independent research. The main component of both degrees is a thesis presenting results of this work and the student’s original contribution to scientific knowledge. Formal coursework, usually in the form of literature-based seminar courses, is minimal and typically completed within the first year. To complement their classroom and laboratory training, students regularly attend other seminar series and journal clubs and present their own work annually in a formal seminar.

In addition to working with world-class researchers, graduate students in Biology have access to top-notch research infrastructure. The recently renovated Stewart Biology Building and the newly constructed Bellini Life Sciences Complex are equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities for sophisticated imaging, robotic, and genetic techniques, to name a few. These in-house capabilities are complemented by a wide range of field research facilities, which include the Gault Nature Reserve at Mont St. Hilaire (Quebec), the Morgan Arboretum (Quebec), the Huntsman Marine Science Centre (New Brunswick), the Subarctic Research Laboratory (Quebec), the Bellairs Research Institute (Barbados), the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama), and the limnology research station at the Wilder and Helen Penfield Nature Reserve on Lake Memphremagog (Quebec). These resources are also extended by affiliation with other organizations such as the Redpath Museum, the Biotechnology Research Institute of the National Research Council of Canada, the Groupe Interuniversitaire de Recherches Océanographiques du Québec (GIROQ), the McGill Macdonald campus, the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital, the Jewish General Hospital, the Montreal General Hospital, the Montreal Children's Hospital, and the Royal Victoria Hospital. (Note that MUHC-affiliated hospitals and institutes are scheduled to move to the new Glen site in June 2015. Buildings and room numbers are to be confirmed.)

The Department specifies a minimum level of support for all graduate students. This amount is $15,500 per annum plus tuition fees. The required minimum duration of support is two years for the M.Sc. program, five years for a Ph.D. student entering as Ph.D. 1 (directly from a bachelor's degree), and four years for a Ph.D. student entering as Ph.D. 2 (after having completed a master's degree).

The graduate program of each student is established and regularly evaluated by a three-member supervisory committee appointed by the Graduate Training Committee and chaired by the student’s thesis supervisor.

Master of Science (M.Sc.); Biology (Thesis) (45 credits)

The typical graduate student in this program has a strong background knowledge in cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, organismal biology, ecology, developmental biology, and statistics, often with special strengths in the area of proposed study. Given the continuing trend toward interdisciplinary work, the program also accepts some students with a high scholastic standing who have completed a program in fields other than biology (medicine, engineering, chemistry, physics, etc.). Admission is based on an evaluation by the applicant’s potential supervisor, who is the faculty member who will provide supervision and financial support for the student’s research, and by the Biology Graduate Training Committee. Prospective graduate students are encouraged to contact faculty members with whom they wish to study before applying for admission.

Alumni have gone on to pursue a wide range of careers. Many go on to pursue postdoctoral research and later assume faculty positions, while others work as researchers in industry, wildlife biologists, forensic technologists, or science policy advisers, to name a few.

Master of Science (M.Sc.); Biology (Thesis) — Environment (48 credits)

The Environment graduate concentration offers students the opportunity to pursue environment-focused graduate research in the context of a range of different fields, including Anthropology, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Biology, Bioresource Engineering, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Entomology, Epidemiology, Experimental Medicine, Geography, Law, Microbiology, Plant Science, Parasitology, Philosophy, Renewable Resources, and Sociology. Through a program consisting of research, seminars, and two courses, this concentration adds a layer of interdisciplinarity that challenges students to develop and defend their research and think in a broader context. Students graduating from the M.Sc. or Ph.D. program under the Environment concentration will therefore be able to understand and critically analyze an environmental problem from several perspectives (e.g., social, cultural, scientific, technological, ethical, economic, political, legislative) and at a local, national, regional, and/or international scale. In addition, they will be able to explore and critically assess analytic and institutional approaches for alleviating the selected environmental problem, and to effectively communicate research findings to both specialist and lay audiences. Coordinated and administered through the McGill School of Environment (MSE), the Environment concentration is aimed at students who wish to use interdisciplinary approaches in their graduate research on environmental issues and who wish to benefit from interactions that will occur as they interact with students from a wide range of disciplines.

Master of Science (M.Sc.); Biology (Thesis) — Neotropical Environment (48 credits)

The McGill-Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) Neotropical Environment Option (NEO) is a research-based concentration for M.Sc. or Ph.D. students in the departments of Anthropology, Biology, Bioresource Engineering, Geography, Natural Resource Sciences, Plant Science, and Political Science at McGill University. The NEO is aimed at students who wish to focus their graduate research on environmental issues relevant to the Neotropics and Latin American countries. The typical NEO student has a very strong interest in conservation because NEO courses focus on conservation issues. Students in the program have diverse backgrounds, including both Latin American and Canadian students, and must either speak Spanish or enrol in a Spanish course when they enter the program. NEO favours interdisciplinary approaches to research and learning through the participation of researchers from McGill and from STRI. Accordingly, each student will have two co-supervisors, one from McGill and one from STRI. Students will complete their research in Latin America, and the NEO's core and complementary courses will be taught in Panama. Participation in the MSE-Panama Symposium presentation in Montreal is also required. Through this educational approach, NEO seeks to facilitate a broader understanding of tropical environmental issues and the development of skills relevant to working in the tropics.

Master of Science (M.Sc.); Biology (Thesis) — Bioinformatics (48 credits)

The goal of the Bioinformatics concentration is to train students to become researchers in the interdisciplinary field of Bioinformatics, which lies at the intersection of biological/medical sciences and mathematics/computer science/engineering. This work includes the development of strategies for experimental design, the construction of tools to analyze datasets, the application of modelling techniques, the creation of tools for manipulating Bioinformatics data, the integration of biological databases, and the use of algorithms and statistics. The Bioinformatics graduate concentration consists of a number of interdisciplinary courses, as well as a seminar designed to bring students from many backgrounds together and to provide a thorough overview of research in this field. The typical entering student will be affiliated with one of about fourteen different “home” departments in three different faculties, chosen based on his/her specific field of expertise, and will therefore meet the specific requirements for that department. The student will additionally be evaluated according to requirements specific to the Bioinformatics concentration. Students in this concentration will have access to five specialized courses that are open only to students within the Bioinformatics concentration. At the M.Sc. level, students successfully completing the Bioinformatics concentration will be fluent in the concepts, language, approaches, and limitations of the field.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.); Biology

The typical graduate student in this program has a strong background knowledge in cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, organismal biology, ecology, developmental biology, and statistics, often with special strengths in the area of proposed study. Given the continuing trend toward interdisciplinary work, the program also accepts some students with a high scholastic standing who have completed a program in fields other than biology (medicine, engineering, chemistry, physics, etc.). Admission is based on an evaluation by the applicant’s potential supervisor, who is the faculty member who will provide supervision and financial support for the student’s research, and by the Biology Graduate Training Committee. Prospective graduate students are encouraged to contact faculty members with whom they wish to study before applying for admission.

Alumni have gone on to pursue a wide range of careers. Many go on to pursue postdoctoral research and later assume faculty positions, while others work as researchers in industry, wildlife biologists, forensic technologists, or science policy advisers, to name a few.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.); Biology — Environment

The Environment graduate concentration offers students the opportunity to pursue environment-focused graduate research in the context of a range of different fields, including Anthropology, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Biology, Bioresource Engineering, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Entomology, Epidemiology, Experimental Medicine, Geography, Law, Microbiology, Plant Science, Parasitology, Philosophy, Renewable Resources, and Sociology. Through a program consisting of research, seminars, and two courses, this concentration adds a layer of interdisciplinarity that challenges students to develop and defend their research and think in a broader context. Students graduating from the M.Sc. or Ph.D. program under the Environment concentration will therefore be able to understand and critically analyze an environmental problem from several perspectives (e.g., social, cultural, scientific, technological, ethical, economic, political, legislative) and at a local, national, regional, and/or international scale. In addition, they will be able to explore and critically assess analytic and institutional approaches for alleviating the selected environmental problem, and to effectively communicate research findings to both specialist and lay audiences. Coordinated and administered through the McGill School of Environment (MSE), the Environment concentration is aimed at students who wish to use interdisciplinary approaches in their graduate research on environmental issues and who wish to benefit from interactions that will occur as they interact with students from a wide range of different disciplines. This concentration is available in: Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (Bioresource Engineering, Entomology, Microbiology, Plant Science, Parasitology, Renewable Resources), Arts (Anthropology, Geography, Philosophy, Sociology), Law, Medicine (Epidemiology and Experimental Medicine), and Science (Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Biology, Earth and Planetary Sciences, Geography).

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.); Biology — Neotropical Environment

The McGill-Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) Neotropical Environment Option (NEO) is a research-based concentration for M.Sc. or Ph.D. students in the departments of Anthropology, Biology, Bioresource Engineering, Geography, Natural Resource Sciences, Plant Science, and Political Science at McGill University. The NEO is aimed at students who wish to focus their graduate research on environmental issues relevant to the Neotropics and Latin American countries. The typical NEO student has a very strong interest in conservation because NEO courses focus on conservation issues. Students in the program have diverse backgrounds, including both Latin American and Canadian students, and must either speak Spanish or enrol in a Spanish course when they enter the program.

NEO favours interdisciplinary approaches to research and learning through the participation of researchers from McGill and from STRI. Accordingly, each student will have two co-supervisors, one from McGill and one from STRI. Students will complete their research in Latin America, and the NEO's core and complementary courses will be taught in Panama. Through this educational approach, NEO seeks to facilitate a broader understanding of tropical environmental issues and the development of skills relevant to working in the tropics.

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.); Biology — Bioinformatics

The goal of the Bioinformatics concentration is to train students to become researchers in the interdisciplinary field of Bioinformatics, which lies at the intersection of biological/medical sciences and mathematics/computer science/engineering. This work includes the development of strategies for experimental design, the construction of tools to analyze datasets, the application of modelling techniques, the creation of tools for manipulating Bioinformatics data, the integration of biological databases and the use of algorithms and statistics.

The Bioinformatics graduate concentration consists of a number of interdisciplinary courses, as well as a seminar designed to bring students from many backgrounds together and to provide a thorough overview of research in this field. The typical entering student will be affiliated with one of about fourteen different “home” departments in three different faculties, chosen based on his/her specific field of expertise, and will therefore meet the specific requirements for that department. The student will additionally be evaluated according to requirements specific to the Bioinformatics concentration. Students in this concentration will have access to five specialized courses that are open only to students within the Bioinformatics concentration. At the Ph.D. level students will be fluent in the concepts, language, approaches, and limitations of the field and will also have the capability of developing an independent bioinformatics research program.

Taken from Programs, Courses and University Regulations 2014-2015 (last updated Jul. 28, 2014).

Biology Admission Requirements and Application Procedures

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have a B.Sc. in a discipline relevant to the proposed field of study with an overall cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 3.0/4.0 or a CGPA of 3.2/4.0 for the last two full-time academic years. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required, but may be submitted. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is required of applicants to graduate studies whose mother tongue is not English, and who have not completed an undergraduate or graduate degree from a recognized foreign institution where English is the language of instruction or from a recognized Canadian institution (anglophone or francophone). A score of 550 on the paper-based TOEFL or 86 on the Internet-based test with each component score not less than 20 or 6.5 on IELTS is the minimum standard for admission. Specific programs may have additional requirements.

Admission is based on an evaluation by the Graduate Training Committee and on acceptance by a research director who can provide adequate funding for personal and research expenses. Prospective graduate students are encouraged to contact staff members with whom they wish to study before applying for admission.

Application Procedures

McGill’s online application form for graduate program candidates is available at www.mcgill.ca/gradapplicants/apply. All applicants should read the academic faculty and admission procedure sections on the Biology Department website before completing the application form. These guidelines contain specific information on the application process, summaries of the research areas of staff, and contact information.

See Application Procedures for detailed application procedures.

Additional Requirements

The items and clarifications below are additional requirements set by this department:
  • Acceptance by a research director who can provide adequate funding for personal and research expenses

Application Deadlines

The application deadlines listed here are set by the Biology Department and may be revised at any time. Applicants must verify all deadlines and documentation requirements well in advance on the appropriate McGill departmental website; please consult the list at www.mcgill.ca/gps/contact/graduate-program.

Canadian International Special/Exchange/Visiting
Fall: March 15 Fall: Jan. 15 Fall: Same as Canadian/International
Winter: Oct. 15 Winter: Aug. 15 Winter: Same as Canadian/International
Summer: N/A Summer: N/A Summer: N/A

Admission to graduate studies is competitive; accordingly, late and/or incomplete applications are considered only as time and space permit. All inquiries pertaining to admission procedures should be directed to the Graduate Admissions Secretary.

Note: Applications for Summer term admission will not be considered.
Taken from Programs, Courses and University Regulations 2014-2015 (last updated Jul. 22, 2014).

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