MSc Degree

MSc Degree

Admission Requirements

Graduates with an honours degree or equivalent in astronomy, physics, or engineering physics from a recognized university may be admitted as Candidates for the M.Sc. degree if they attained at least B+ standing (or at least second class honours from a United Kingdom university). Applicants holding such a degree but for which a deficiency is evident in critical areas of background preparation may be required to register in appropriate courses at the senior undergraduate level to raise their qualifications to the minimum admission level. Other requirements expected of students applying for graduate studies at York University are summarized by the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

MSc Degree by Thesis

Research

Candidates must conduct research under the general direction of a supervisor and supervisory committee and then write up and defend a thesis describing the work.

Progress in research is monitored by the supervisory committee through meetings with the student and by a progress report consisting of a written paper and an oral presentation each year. In the event of failure to achieve satisfactory progress, the student will normally be required to withdraw from the program. Satisfactory progress in research results in credit for PHYS 6001 3.0: MSc Research Evaluation.

Courses

In addition to the Research Evaluation, candidates must successfully complete a minimum of 9 course credits or equivalent. Courses must be selected in consultation with the candidate’s supervisor.

Physics Stream
Courses must include PHYS 5000 3.0: Quantum Mechanics I and PHYS 5020 3.0: Electromagnetism. The remaining 3 course credits may be selected from the Graduate Program in Physics and Astronomy or other science-related graduate programs.

Astronomy Stream
Courses must include PHYS 5090 3.0: Stars and Nebulae or its equivalent, PHYS 5490 3.0: Astronomical Research, and one half-course chosen from among: PHYS 5020 3.0: Electromagnetism; PHYS 5030 3.0: Statistical Mechanics; PHYS 5120 3.0: Gas and Fluid Dynamics.  In addition, any candidate who lacks background in observational and/or theoretical methods of astronomy should consider taking PHYS 5390 3.0: Astronomical Techniques.

MSc Thesis and Oral Examination

The research and thesis should demonstrate the candidate’s ability in the area of investigation, and should normally be of such a standard as to warrant publication in the scientific literature. After the formal submission of the thesis, an oral examination centered on the thesis research is held. Prior to the oral examination, each candidate delivers a formal public lecture describing his/her research work.

Composition of Examining Committee

A thesis examining committee shall consist of at least three voting members, including the Chair, as follows:

  • Two graduate faculty members chosen from the program and/or supervisory committee, at least one of whom must be from the supervisory committee.
  • One graduate faculty member at arm’s length from the thesis, and normally from outside the program.

The Chair of the examining committee shall be chosen from among the voting members. Members of the student’s thesis supervisory committee may be members of the examining committee, but the principal supervisor may not serve as the Chair of the examining committee.

Oral Exam Timeline

  • Six weeks before the oral exam — submit the thesis to the Supervisory Committee, allowing two weeks for the Committee to read the thesis.
  • Four weeks before the oral exam — receive the corrected thesis from the Supervisory Committee, allowing one week for corrections.
  • Three weeks before the oral exam — complete the required oral examination forms (available from the Program office) for submission to the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
  • Three weeks before the oral exam — distribute hard copies of the corrected thesis to the Examining Committee.
  • Oral exam.
  • One week after the oral exam — required corrections to the thesis should be completed, especially if there is a time constraint, e.g., registration for another term, impending departure from the country, etc. 

MSc Degree by Research Project

Research

Candidates must conduct research under the general direction of a supervisor and supervisory committee and then write up and describe it in a written report.

Progress in research is monitored by the supervisory committee through meetings with the student and by a progress report consisting of a written paper and an oral presentation each year. In the event of failure to achieve satisfactory progress, the student will normally be required to withdraw from the program. Satisfactory progress in research results in credit for PHYS 6001 3.0: MSc Research Evaluation.

Courses

In addition to the Research Evaluation, candidates must successfully complete 15 course credits. Courses must be selected in consultation with the candidate’s supervisor.

Physics Stream
Courses must include PHYS 5000 3.0: Quantum Mechanics I and PHYS 5020 3.0: Electromagnetism. To complete the remaining course requirements, candidates must select at least 3 course credits from the Graduate Program in Physics and Astronomy, and another 6 course creditsmay be selected from the Graduate Program in Physics & Astronomy or other science-related graduate programs. At least 7.5 course credits must be from courses not integrated with an undergraduate course.

Astronomy Stream
Courses must include PHYS 5090 3.0: Stars and Nebulae or its equivalent, PHYS 5490 3.0: Astronomical Research, and one course chosen from among: PHYS 5020 3.0: Electromagnetism; PHYS 5030 3.0: Statistical Mechanics; PHYS 5120 3.0: Gas and Fluid Dynamics. To complete the remaining course requirements, candidates must select at least 3 course credits from the Graduate Program in Physics and Astronomy, and another 3 course credits may be selected from the Graduate Program in Physics and Astronomy or other science-related graduate programs. Any candidate who lacks background in observational and/or theoretical methods of astronomy should consider taking PHYS5390 3.0: Astronomical Techniques. At least 7.5 course credits must be from courses not integrated with an undergraduate course.

MSc Degree by Coursework

Candidates take a broad selection of courses to gain advanced training in physics and/or astronomy. There is no research requirement.

Courses

Candidates must successfully complete 24 course credits, including a minimum of 9 course credits per academic year.  The progress of each coursework MSc student will be reviewed annually by the Executive Committee of the graduate program. In the event of failure to achieve satisfactory progress, the student will lose full-time status in the program.

Courses must include PHYS 5000 3.0: Quantum Mechanics I and PHYS 5020 3.0: Electromagnetism. To complete course requirements, candidates must select half of the remaining course credits from the Graduate Program in Physics and Astronomy, and the remaining course credits may be selected from the Graduate Program in Physics and Astronomy or other science-related graduate programs.  At least 9 course credits must be from courses not integrated with an undergraduate course.