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About the University of Calgary
Graduate Studies Calendar 2017-2018 Program Descriptions Physics and Astronomy PHAS
Physics and Astronomy - PHAS
Contact Information

Location: Science B, Room 605
Program number: 403.220.3617
Fax: 403.289.3331
Email address: gradinfo@phas.ucalgary.ca
Web page URL: phas.ucalgary.ca

1. Degrees and Specializations Offered

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Master of Science (MSc), course-based and thesis-based

The PhD and MSc degree may be completed on a full-time or a part-time basis.

Specializations:

  • Astrophysics
  • Medical Physics
  • Physics
  • Radiation Oncology Physics*
  • Space Physics
  • Medical Imaging (interdisciplinary)**

*Radiation Oncology Physics and Medical Imaging are not offered to the course-based MSc degree.

**See the calendar section on Interdisciplinary Specializations for further information.

Diplomas and Certificates:

  • Postdoctoral Diploma in Radiation Oncology Physics
  • Postdoctoral Certificate in Radiation Oncology Physics
2. Admission Requirements

In addition to Faculty of Graduate Studies and Faculty of Science requirements, the Department requires:

a) A University of Calgary Honours background in Physics, Engineering Physics, Astronomy/Astrophysics, or equivalent.

b) For some applicants, a satisfactory score on the Advanced Physics Graduate Record Examination.

c) All applicants for whom English is not their first language must also submit a Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) score or an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score. The minimum acceptable TOEFL score is 560 on the paper-based exam, or 86 on the Internet-based exam. For the IELTS examination (academic version), the minimum acceptable score is 6.5.

d) Two reference letters.

Master of Science

Applicants to the Master of Science program, whose background does not include the equivalent of an undergraduate honours degree in the proposed area of study, may require additional make-up courses. Such applicants should consult with the department regarding their admission status.

Postdoctoral Diploma in Radiation Oncology Physics

For the Postdoctoral Diploma program, applicants must possess a PhD from a CAMPEP accredited graduate program or equivalent and an appointment as an Associate Medical Physicist by the Alberta Health Services.

Postdoctoral Certificate in Radiation Oncology Physics

In addition to Faculty requirements, the Department requires a PhD in Physics, Medical Physics, Biophysics, Biomedical Engineering. Applicants with PhDs in sciences other than those listed above may consult with the department regarding possible admission. A minimum GPA of 3.50 over an applicant's last 60 units (10 full-course equivalents) of course work is required before an applicant may be considered for admission; however, exceptional students with extenuating circumstances may be considered.

3. Application Deadline

Complete applications are due by January 15 for September admission.
January admissions will not normally be considered.

Late applications will be considered if any openings remain in the graduate program.

4. Advanced Credit

The applicant must make advanced credit requests as part of the admission process. Credit will not be given for course work taken as part of another completed degree/diploma or for courses taken to bring the grade point average to a required level for admission.

Postdoctoral Certificate in Radiation Oncology Physics: Credit for a maximum of 3 units (0.5 full-course equivalent) may be given for a course taken as part of previous graduate and/or undergraduate (minimum 600-level courses) degree. Coursework content will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. This course must be deemed equivalent to those offered by the program and have been taken within the past 5 years. Oral examination may be required.

5. Program/Course Requirements

In addition to Faculty of Graduate Studies and Faculty of Science requirements, the Department requires:

That all students, with the exception of registrants in the Postdoctoral Diploma program, in Radiation Oncology Physics and the Postdoctoral Certificate in Radiation Oncology Physics, register in the Graduate Seminar, Physics 691, during Fall and Winter Terms of the first two years in program.

Master of Science (thesis-based)

a) For students specializing in Astrophysics, Physics, or Space Physics, 12 units (2.0 full-course equivalents), including at least two of Physics 609, 611, 613, and 615, plus two elective courses at the 500 or 600 level, as approved by the Graduate Chair.

b) For students specializing in Medical Physics, 15 units (2.5 full-course equivalents), including Medical Physics 623, 625, at least two of Physics 609, 611, 613, and 615, plus one elective courses at the 500 or 600 level, as approved by the Graduate Chair.

c) For students specializing in Radiation Oncology Physics, 24 units (4.0 full-course equivalents), including Medical Physics 623, 625, 633, 637, 638, 639, and two of Physics 609, 611, 613, and 615, and 1.5 units (0.25 full-course equivalent), Medical Physics 632.

Master of Science (course-based)

This program may be taken part-time or full-time.

a) That the student choose one of the three broad areas of specialization: astrophysics, physics, or space physics. Medical physics and Radiation Oncology Physics are not available as a course-based degree.

b) Thirty units (5.0 full-course equivalents) are required. In addition to Physics 603, 605, 609, 611, 613, and 615, twelve units (2.0 full-course equivalents) will be within the area of specialization:

Astrophysics – Astrophysics 699 plus 9 units (1.5 full-course equivalents) labelled ASPH (two of these may be at the 500 level). Physics 629 and Space Physics 679 may be taken instead of Astrophysics courses.

PhysicsPhysics 699 plus 6 units (1.0 full-course equivalent) labelled ASPH, PHYS, or SPPH (these may be at the 500 level) plus 3 units (0.5 full-course equivalent) labelled PHYS, at the 600 level or above.

Space Physics – Space Physics 699 plus 9 units (1.5 full-course equivalents) labelled SPPH, at the 600 level or above. Physics 509 may replace a SPPH course.

d) A comprehensive examination with a written and oral component.

Doctor of Philosophy

a) A minimum of 6 units (1.0 full-course equivalent) at the 600 level or higher for students who hold a master's degree.

b) A minimum of 18 units (3.0 full-course equivalents) at the 600 level or higher for those entering the doctoral program without a master's degree.

c) For students specializing in Radiation Oncology Physics who do not hold an accredited MSc degree in Radiation Oncology Physics, Medical Physics 623, 625, 632, 633, 637, 638, 639, and two courses from Physics 609, 611, 613, or 615.

Postdoctoral Diploma in Radiation Oncology Physics

Twenty-four units (4.0 full-course equivalents) including Medical Physics 711, 712, 721, 722, 731, 741 and two of Human Resources and Organizational Dynamics 793, 741 or Strategy and Global Management 797.01.

Postdoctoral Certificate in Radiation Oncology Physics

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers a postdoctoral certificate in Radiation Oncology Physics. This certificate program is a two-term program for students with PhDs in Physics wishing to transition to a career in clinical radiation oncology physics. Students will acquire a broad background in medical physics including radiation physics, radiobiology, radiation safety, medical imaging and the modern practice of radiation oncology, through intensive coursework and hands-on experience. The program is designed to meet all the recommendations in Report 197S of the American Association of Physicists in Medicine. At the completion of this program students will be well-prepared to begin a residency in medical physics. Potential candidates for this program must hold a PhD in Physics or a related discipline.

The program requirements consists of six courses (Medical Physics 623, 625, 633, 637, 638, 639) and one quarter-course equivalent (Medical Physics 632). The semester schedule below is for full-time students:

Fall
Medical Physics 623 Radiological Physics and Radiation Dosimetry
Medical Physics 638 Imaging for Radiation Oncology Physics
Medical Physics 639 Radiobiology and Radiation Safety for Medical Physicists

Winter
Medical Physics 625 Radiation Oncology Physics
Medical Physics 632 Clinical Rotation in Radiation Oncology Physics
Medical Physics 633 Radiation Oncology Physics Laboratory
Medical Physics 637 Anatomy and Statistics for Medical Physicists
Ethics and Errors – offered not for credit

No substitutions accepted.

Graduation requires successful completion of all required courses with a minimum grade of "B".

6. Additional Requirements

Postdoctoral Certificate in Radiation Oncology Physics: Regular attendance at Radiation Oncology Rounds, Grand Rounds and non-credit training sessions such as the Ethics and Errors course (winter term) – offered not for credit.

7. Credit for Undergraduate Courses

Credit for a maximum of 6 units (1.0 full-course equivalent) may be given for courses taken at the 500 level.

Postdoctoral Certificate in Radiation Oncology Physics: No credit will be given for undergraduate-level courses.

8. Time Limit

Expected completion time is two years for full-time students in a thesis master’s program, three years in a course-based program, four years in a doctoral program, and two years in the Postdoctoral Diploma program. Maximum completion time is four years for a thesis master’s program, and six years for a course-based master’s or a doctoral program. Expected completion time is 8 months (two terms) for a student in the Postdoctoral Certificate in Radiation Oncology Physics program.

9. Supervisory Assignments

Newly admitted students will normally be supervised by the Graduate Director or an interim supervisor in their field of interest during the first 8 months in program. During this time students will normally complete all of the course work and have an opportunity to become acquainted with the research of potential supervisors within the department. Students are responsible for securing a permanent supervisor from among the researchers in the department within the first four months in program. Registrants in the Postdoctoral Diploma program are supervised by the Director of Medical Physics or designate, Tom Baker Cancer Centre.

The MSc program has a supervisory committee requirement which follows the same requirements and rules as the PhD.

Postdoctoral Certificate in Radiation Oncology Physics: All students will be supervised by the Postdoctoral certificate co-ordinator or delegate co-ordinator for the duration of their program.

10. Required Examinations

In addition to Faculty of Graduate Studies requirements, the Department requires:

Master of Science (course-based)

Two weeks before the comprehensive oral examination, students must write a three-hour, closed-book comprehensive examination, prepared by the Departmental Graduate Affairs Committee in collaboration with the supervisor.

Master of Science (thesis-based)

Thesis Examination

Scheduling of the Examination

All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student’s draft thesis document before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Committee

The Internal Examiner may be internal to the home program.

The thesis examination is open.

Doctor of Philosophy

Candidacy

There is a mandatory pre-candidacy meeting, which has to be held within the first 18 months of the PhD for students admitted directly to the PhD program, and within the first 26 months for students transferring from the MSc to the PhD program. The pre-candidacy meeting involves the supervisory committee and two additional faculty members, who intend to serve as examiners in the candidacy exam later on. Based on the proposed research project and on an assessment of the student’s background knowledge, the meeting serves to define a list of topics that will form the basis for the background questions in the candidacy exam. This list is official once it has been approved by the Graduate Program Director.

Students are required to complete the oral candidacy exam. This exam will include questions on the thesis proposal and on relevant background knowledge as defined in the pre-candidacy meeting.

Revised candidacy requirements will be posted in the 2016-2017 academic year.

Thesis Examination

Scheduling of the Examination

All members of the Supervisory Committee must have reviewed the student’s draft thesis document before an examination can be scheduled.

Composition of the Committee

The Internal Examiner may be internal to the home program.

The thesis examination is open.

Postdoctoral Certificate in Radiation Oncology Physics

Students are evaluated through assignments and course-based examinations.

11. Research Proposal Requirements

Students entering a doctoral program with a completed master’s degree must submit a written thesis proposal within 24 months of initial registration. Students entering a doctoral program with a bachelor’s degree, or who have transferred into the doctoral program from a master’s program, must submit a written thesis proposal within 28 months.

12. Special Registration Information

Registration in the Postdoctoral Diploma program is contingent upon employment by the Alberta Health Services as an Associate Medical Physicist.

13. Financial Assistance

Financial assistance may be available to qualified students. For information on awards, please see the Awards and Financial Assistance section of this Calendar.

Students applying for scholarships must submit their applications to the Department by January 15.

Registrants in the Postdoctoral Diploma program must hold an Associate Medical Physicist position, which is a paid appointment.

14. Other Information

See the Department website.

15. Faculty Members/Research Interests

The active research interests of the staff can be found at ucalgary.ca/phas/research

Astronomy and Astrophysics:
ucalgary.ca/astronomyastrophys

Environmental Physics:
ucalgary.ca/envirophys

Complexity Science:
ucalgary.ca/complexity

General Relativity:

Isotope Science:
ucalgary.ca/uofcisl

Medical Physics:
ucalgary.ca/rop

Quantum Optics:
iqis.org/; and
qis.ucalgary.ca/QO

Space and Plasma Physics:
phys.ucalgary.ca