Our Graduate Studies in Physics program is a joint graduate program offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Waterloo and Department of Physics at the University of Guelph. Please review the Supervisors & Research and Programs sections to the left for more information on your options for study.
You may apply for admission through either the University of Waterloo or the University of Guelph. Your choice of University will not impact your final decision regarding a supervisor or campus, faculty at both institutions will have access to your application.
You should indicate potential supervisors on your application form to increase the chances of matching with a supervisor.
To begin your application, choose the University where you think you may be doing your research.
Application forms and supporting documents are due by the deadlines outlined in the table below.
Students who meet these deadlines will be eligible for consideration for any major awards and scholarships (OGS, Tri-Agency Scholarships and internal UW awards) to which they have applied.
|Starting Term||Application Deadline**|
|Fall (Sept - Dec)||February 1st|
|Winter (Jan - Apr)||June 1st (previous year)|
|Spring (May - Aug)||October 1st (Previous year)|
** For Domestic students (Canadians and Permanent Residents) applications will be considered after these deadlines, although this may impact your eligibility for major awards and scholarships in your first year.
Please note: The department strongly recommends that international students apply at least nine months prior to the start of the term, to allow sufficient time to arrange for a study permit.
Note: that application procedures and deadlines for collaborative and other programs may differ from those for the regular physics MSc and PhD programs listed on this page. Please refer to program websites for details:
Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology (WIN) Collaborative Program in Nanotechnology
Minimum Degree Requirements
An honours degree in physics or equivalent, from an approved institution, with first or upper second class standing (equivalent to minimum of 75% by Ontario standards) is normally required for entry into the MSc program; an MSc degree in Physics is normally required for entrance into the PhD program.
Note that this is a competitive program with a limited number of openings each year; approved applicants are admitted to either of these research programs ONLY if a supervisor can be found.
Students DO NOT need to find a supervisor prior to applying. However, we strongly recommend that they indicate some potential supervisors on their OUAC or Supplementary Information form. Applicants are also encouraged to contact potential supervisors after submitting their application. Supervisors looking for graduate students are able to view potential graduate student applications once they are approved by the Admissions Committee.
Note: Applications will NOT be reviewed by the Admissions Committee until ALL application documents have been uploaded and/or completed.
- OUAC application (complete online); NOTE: be sure to declare ALL post-secondary institutions attended (past and current; this includes incomplete studies and transfer courses). There will be a place to indicate up to 3 areas of study, and a place to list potential supervisors. You are strongly encouraged to indicate potential supervisors even if you haven't contacted them yet.
- Supplementary Information Form (SIF) providing information on preference of research area, scholarly contributions, scholarships and statement of interest; NOTE: Guelph applicants complete the Supplementary Information Form and upload through UofG WebAdvisor; Waterloo applicants complete the online SIF
- In order to permit the Admissions Committee more flexibility and to achieve greater success in placement, please study our website and indicate below your preference of research area.
- Do you prefer experimental or theoretical research, or are you undecided?
- If openings are not available in your chosen area(s) as indicated above, would you be willing to accept an offer in an area that has openings? (yes or no)
- In 250 words or fewer, succinctly state your research interests and goals, and how you intend to achieve them.
- Please list any evidence of research experience A) fourth year thesis or research project, coop research terms, NSERC USRAs, B) scientific presentations or scientific papers authored or co-authored (maximum 500 words).
- Any scholarships received.
- Academic Transcripts from each post-secondary institutions attended showing all courses and marks along with a transcript legend/key/grading scale in original language with a certified translation (if not in English); NOTE: transcripts generated from a self service/web information system must display full name, academic program, university name and logo, and transcript legend/key/grading scale
- THREE references
- Physics SUBJECT Graduate Record Exam (GRE); if previous/current degrees were NOT taken at a Canadian university you must submit a physics subject GRE with a minimum score of 800
- English Language Proficiency (ELP) Certification if your first language is not English; see UW ELP requirements; see UofG ELP requirements.
Note: Applicants who have arranged to take a GRE and/or TOEFL at a future date may apply with these tests pending. As soon as the test results are received, the application package will be reviewed (providing all other documents have been received as well).
- Do I have to provide a GRE?
If you are applying from an institution outside of Canada we require a Physics Subject GRE. If you are unable to provide this your application will still be considered, but at a lower priority.
- Do I have to provide a TOEFL/IELTS?
If English is not your first language, if the language of instruction at your 4 year BSc degree granting institution is not English or if your BSc degree granting institution is not listed on the ELP exemptions list then you need to provide an ELP.
- My average, PGRE score, TOEFL/IELTS score is below the minimum requirement, can I still apply?
Yes. Your application is considered as a whole package, if one of the metrics is below the minimum requirement you will still be considered.
- I have a BSc, can I apply directly to the PhD program?
You should apply to the MSc program. Exceptional students may be considered for accelerated MSc or direct to PhD programs, but the majority of applicants holding a BSc degree will be made offers into the MSc program.
- Can I indicate a supervisor without contacting them first?
Yes. Your application will be more successful if you indicate 2-3 supervisors that you are interested in working with as well as areas of research that you are interested in.
- Can I contact potential supervisors?
Yes. Be specific in your correspondence, let them know about your research experience, publications, presentation and what aspects of their research you are interested in. Avoid sending generic messages.
- I would like to work with supervisors at both campuses, where should I apply?
Be sure to indicate which supervisors you are interested in. Apply to the campus that you most see yourself attending.