Doctoral students in Physics and Astronomy have the opportunity to make original and significant contributions to science within a department recognized globally for leading research. The PhD program appeals to students planning a career in academia, government labs, leadership roles, and industry. The programs connects students with state-of-the-art experimental and computational facilities both here and at collaborating institutions, and with world-renowned researchers in one of six focus areas: Astronomy and Astrophysics, Complexity, Environmental and Isotope Physics, Radiation Oncology Physics, Quantum Information and Quantum, Atomic, and Molecular Optics, and Space Physics. These focus areas lie within program specializations that students apply to: Physics, Astrophysics, Space Physics or Radiation Oncology Physics (including Medical Imaging/Medical Physics).
The PhD under Radiation Oncology Physics (ROP) is a Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Program (CAMPEP) accredited program. Students interested in this specialization typically have a MSc from a CAMPEP accredited program or closely related degree to be admitted. The PhD specializing in ROP is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Physics Education Programs (CAMPEP) and provides didactic background, research experience and clinical training for a career in Radiation Oncology Physics. The majority of our graduates have gone on to residencies in Clinical Radiation Oncology Physics in Canada and beyond.
The department's per capita funding level is the highest within UCalgary's Faculty of Science. Admission is competitive, favouring students who demonstrate academic excellence and leadership.
Completing this program
Astronomy & Astrophysics: Research topics may include radio, optical, infrared and space astronomy, computational astrophysics, star formation, the interstellar medium, and general relativity.
Isotope and Environmental Physics: Research topics may include nuclear decay processes, the effect of human activity on the environment, the development of analytical and instrumental techniques, isotope composition of trace gases and aerosols, source apportionment studies, and isotope fractionation.
Radiation Oncology Physics: Research topics may include intensity modulated and image guided radiation therapy, prostate brachytherapy, and stereotactic radiosurgery.
Space Physics: Research topics may include precipitation mechanisms, remote sensing magnetospheric dynamics, and the solar-terrestrial interaction.
Complexity: Research topics may include complex networks, self-organized criticality, statistical and computational physics, and non-linear dynamics.
Quantum Information and Quantum, Atomic, and Molecular Optics: Research topics may include the study of information, communication and computation using devices that are governed by quantum principle as well as the interaction between light and matter.
Candidacy: Students will prepare a thesis proposal as well as take an oral exam on background knowledge of the research topic and the student's proposal.
Thesis: Students will be required to submit and defend an original research thesis.
- Medical Physics
- Radiation Oncology Physics
- Space Physics
- Computational Neuroscience (interdisciplinary)
- Medical Imaging (interdisciplinary)
Researcher, technician, radiation oncology, medical or clinical physicist, professor, instructor, data science/mining, communications, journalism, entrepreneur, environmental, financial, strategic management and/or IT consultant, quantitative analyst, risk assessment, insurance, bioinformatics.
A PhD in physics and astronomy is usually considered a final degree; in some cases, students may pursue postdoctoral work.