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Degrees Offered: Ph.D., M.Sc.


Professor Emeritus

H. Richer


B. Gladman, M. Halpern, J. S. Heyl, P. Hickson, G. Hinshaw, J. Matthews, D. Scott, I. Stairs, L. Van Waerbeke.

Associate Professor

A. Boley, K. Sigurdson.

Assistant Professors

W. Man, J. McIver.

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. Research activities are supported by several computing and experimental facilities within the Department, as well as excellent electronics and machine shops.

UBC research in astronomy and astrophysics covers most areas of current interest in this broad field, including a wide range of theoretical and observational studies in astronomy, and also experimental and theoretical studies in cosmology. Research at optical wavelengths includes searches and orbital determination for asteroids and comets, photometric studies of stellar populations, particularly globular clusters, studies of distant galaxies and active galactic nuclei, and time-resolved spectroscopy of variable stars and active binary star systems. Studies at microwave and radio frequencies include research on variable radio sources, searches for pulsars, the early stages of star formation, relativistic jets, and balloon-borne measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation. A variety of theoretical work complements this research, with topics that range from planetary dynamics and the structure of neutron stars, to theoretical studies of structure formation in the early universe. Development of astronomical instrumentation is also supported.

Doctor of Philosophy

Admission Requirements

Students are normally admitted to the Ph.D. program after obtaining an M.Sc. and meeting the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies admission requirements. Alternatively, well-qualified students admitted to the M.Sc. program may transfer to the Ph.D. program after a year's residence at UBC, if they have at least 12 credits in M.Sc. coursework with an overall average of at least 85%, clear evidence of research ability, approval of the dissertation supervisor, and meet all other Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requirements.

Program Requirements

A minimum of 12 credits in graduate-level courses in any science or applied science departments are normally required for the Ph.D. These credits may be from an M.Sc. degree at UBC or elsewhere. Details of the course load are determined in consultation with the supervisory committee, and must conform to the Department's course requirements.

Students who do not already have credit for the required master's degree courses for their program or the equivalent graduate level courses from another university (approved by Graduate Chair) must take these courses in the Ph.D. program.

Students admitted with an M.Sc. require a further 6 credits in graduate-level coursework in any science or applied science department at UBC for the Ph.D.

All doctoral students are required to successfully complete a comprehensive examination. The major requirement for the Ph.D. is completion of a research dissertation meeting the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies requirements.

Master of Science

Admission Requirements

The prerequisite for the M.Sc. program is a B.Sc. in physics or astronomy (single or combined). An overall average of at least 80% in third- and fourth-year courses is expected for entry into the program.

Program Requirements

The M.Sc. program requires a minimum of 30 credits, including an 18-credit thesis. The remaining 12 credits must be relevant graduate courses in the Faculties of Science or Applied Science. All Astronomy M.Sc. students are required to satisfy the program's course requirements.

Contact Information

Department of Physics and Astronomy
6224 Agricultural Road
Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z1
Tel: 604.822.4245
Fax: 604.822.5324
Shiho Mehrhoff, Graduate Coordinator

The University of British Columbia

Student Services
Vancouver Campus
1874 East Mall
Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1

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