University of Washington
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. We are a vibrant community that engages in a wide range of research directions, from probing the origin of the universe to exploring emergent phenomena in complex systems, that provide deep insights into the nature of the universe and practical solutions that will help define the world of tomorrow. Departmental research activities are supported by several computing and experimental facilities, and excellent electronics and machine shops.
Our graduate programs include approximately 200 graduate students, working on experiments and theory in research fields that include: Applied Physics, Astronomy/Astrophysics, Atomic/Molecular/Optics, Biophysics, Condensed Matter, Cosmology, Gravity, Medical Physics, Nuclear Physics, Particle Physics, and String Theory.
The Department of Physics & Astronomy at UBC is noted for the excellence of its research and its high academic standards and integrity. It is one of the largest and most diverse physics and astronomy departments in Canada. We are constantly rated as one of the top Physics & Astronomy programs in the world. 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.
Each year, our faculty bring over $20 million in research grants. This enables us to maintain world-class research laboratories and computational facilities, attract distinguished post-doctorate researchers, and support highly skilled engineers and technicians whose expertise is critical to our research.
The Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies establishes the minimum admission requirements common to all applicants, usually a minimum overall average in the B+ range (76% at UBC). The graduate program that you are applying to may have additional requirements. Please review the specific requirements for applicants with credentials from institutions in:
Each program may set higher academic minimum requirements. Please review the program website carefully to understand the program requirements. Meeting the minimum requirements does not guarantee admission as it is a competitive process.
Applicants from a university outside Canada in which English is not the primary language of instruction must provide results of an English language proficiency examination as part of their application. Tests must have been taken within the last 24 months at the time of submission of your application.
Minimum requirements for the two most common English language proficiency tests to apply to this program are listed below:
Overall score requirement: 90
Overall score requirement: 6.5
Some programs require additional test scores such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or the Graduate Management Test (GMAT). The requirements for this program are:
The GRE is not required.
All applicants have to submit transcripts from all past post-secondary study. Document submission requirements depend on whether your institution of study is within Canada or outside of Canada.
A minimum of three references are required for application to graduate programs at UBC. References should be requested from individuals who are prepared to provide a report on your academic ability and qualifications.
Many programs require a statement of interest, sometimes called a "statement of intent", "description of research interests" or something similar.
Students in research-based programs usually require a faculty member to function as their supervisor. Please follow the instructions provided by each program whether applicants should contact faculty members.
Permanent Residents of Canada must provide a clear photocopy of both sides of the Permanent Resident card.
All applicants must complete an online application form and pay the application fee to be considered for admission to UBC.
|Fees||Canadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / Diplomat||International|
|Installments per year||3||3|
|Tuition per installment||$1,767.18||$3,104.64|
|Tuition per year|
(plus annual increase, usually 2%-5%)
|Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible)||$3,200.00 (-)|
|Other Fees and Costs|
|Student Fees (yearly)||$1,057.05 (approx.)|
|Costs of living (yearly)||starting at $17,366.20 (check cost calculator)|
Applicants to UBC have access to a variety of funding options, including merit-based (i.e. based on your academic performance) and need-based (i.e. based on your financial situation) opportunities.
Applicants who are interested in the production, preparation, and application of nuclear isotopes for science and medicine may consider the IsoSiM program that provides additional funding and professional development opportunities. Applicants who are interested in quantum materials may consider the QuEST program. Applicants who are interested in nanomaterials synthesis, characterization and application, and nanoscience instrumentation may consider the NanoMat program.
All full-time students who begin a UBC-Vancouver PhD program in September 2021 or later will be provided with a funding package of at least $22,000 for each of the first four years of their PhD. The funding package may consist of any combination of internal or external awards, teaching-related work, research assistantships, and graduate academic assistantships. Please note that many graduate programs provide funding packages that are substantially greater than $22,000 per year. Please check with your prospective graduate program for specific details of the funding provided to its PhD students.
All applicants are encouraged to review the awards listing to identify potential opportunities to fund their graduate education. The database lists merit-based scholarships and awards and allows for filtering by various criteria, such as domestic vs. international or degree level.
Graduate programs may have Teaching Assistantships available for registered full-time graduate students. Full teaching assistantships involve 12 hours work per week in preparation, lecturing, or laboratory instruction although many graduate programs offer partial TA appointments at less than 12 hours per week. Teaching assistantship rates are set by collective bargaining between the University and the Teaching Assistants' Union.
Many professors are able to provide Research Assistantships (GRA) from their research grants to support full-time graduate students studying under their direction. The duties usually constitute part of the student's graduate degree requirements. A Graduate Research Assistantship is a form of financial support for a period of graduate study and is, therefore, not covered by a collective agreement. Unlike other forms of fellowship support for graduate students, the amount of a GRA is neither fixed nor subject to a university-wide formula. The stipend amounts vary widely, and are dependent on the field of study and the type of research grant from which the assistantship is being funded. Some research projects also require targeted research assistance and thus hire graduate students on an hourly basis.
Canadian and US applicants may qualify for governmental loans to finance their studies. Please review eligibility and types of loans.
All students may be able to access private sector or bank loans.
Many foreign governments provide support to their citizens in pursuing education abroad. International applicants should check the various governmental resources in their home country, such as the Department of Education, for available scholarships.
The possibility to pursue work to supplement income may depend on the demands the program has on students. It should be carefully weighed if work leads to prolonged program durations or whether work placements can be meaningfully embedded into a program.
Canadian residents with RRSP accounts may be able to use the Lifelong Learning Plan (LLP) which allows students to withdraw amounts from their registered retirement savings plan (RRSPs) to finance full-time training or education for themselves or their partner.
Please review Filing taxes in Canada on the student services website for more information.
Applicants have access to the cost calculator to develop a financial plan that takes into account various income sources and expenses.
108 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 2 graduates are seeking employment; for 11 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 95 graduates:
These statistics show data for the Doctor of Philosophy in Physics (PhD). Data are separated for each degree program combination. You may view data for other degree options in the respective program profile.
This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.
|2021||Dr. Dehn used short-lived elementary particles called muons to study the magnetic and electronic properties of transition-metal compounds. His studies demonstrated that bound states comprised of a positive muon and an electron exist in magnetic materials, and explored the implications of this discovery for the study of magnetism with muons.|
|2021||Glass-forming materials are solid upon cooling but remain disordered on a molecular scale. Dr. Fujimoto has examined the near-surface molecular motion of two such glass-formers: a polymer and an ionic liquid. His characterization of these dynamics contributes to an understanding of the fundamental physics governing these materials.|
|2021||Certain phases of matter admit an intriguing connection to gravity, providing a fruitful way to study exotic objects such as black holes and wormholes. Dr. Lantagne-Hurtubise studied toy models of such holographic quantum matter, discovering new phenomena and developing connections to physical platforms where they may be experimentally probed.|
|2021||Dr. Zonno studied the physical properties of quantum materials, such as superconductors and rare-earth compounds, by employing laser excitations and chemical substitution. Her results testify to the importance of electron-electron interactions in dictating the behavior of these materials, which may play a vital role in future technologies.|
|2021||Dr. Wong searched for exotic particles beyond the Standard Model of particle physics with the ATLAS detector at the CERN Large Hadron Collider. The searches helped constrain new physics scenarios, including leptoquarks and hidden strong dynamics. He also contributed to the upgrade of a tracking system of the detector, allowing efficient recording of collision data.|
|2021||Dr. Qu explored methods of modifying graphene on a silicon carbide substrate using adsorbed and intercalated atoms. Using a variety of surface characterization techniques, she studied the electronic properties of the resulting materials. This research helps us understand how graphene could eventually be used in everyday electronics.|
|2021||Dr. Maryam Shirmohammad conducted research on development of novel methods of Raman spectroscopy. She made a discovery in enhancement of intensity of the acquired Raman signals. This can revolutionize the practice of cancer screening/diagnosis through analysis of VOC biomarkers of breath.|
|2021||Dr. May studied quantum gravity, which is the theory describing black holes and the big bang. He made contributions in understanding the role of quantum entanglement in the emergence of space and time from a quantum mechanical description.|
|2021||Some advanced cancers can be treated with the radioactive isotope called actinium-225, yet current actinium supplies are limited and rely on decades-old material from nuclear weapons. Dr. Robertson used TRIUMF's particle accelerator to develop alternative actinium production methods that could support widespread use of actinium-based therapies.|
|2021||Dr. Lan developed an ion trap to separate and identify atoms through their mass and light emission. His research contributes to understanding whether one of the most mysterious fundamental subatomic particles known as neutrinos behave as their own anti-particles.|
Physics provides research opportunities in many subfields of physics, including
I was born and raised on Vancouver Island, and attended Queen's University in Kingston, ON for my undergraduate degree. After a few years of Ontario winters I was ready to move back to the west coast! UBC has a great reputation for graduate school programs and is in one of the most beautiful cities...
First and foremost, my priority for graduate school was to attend a world-class institution contributing to shaping my field of research. Second, I hoped to find a collaborative research environment that cared about its community. The Stewart Blusson Quantum Matter Institute at UBC is both of those...