The PhD program in the Department of Physics provides the opportunity to pursue advanced studies that culminates in original research in Physics. Students will do both coursework and a research-based thesis. A PhD in Physics provides students with expertise necessary to develop their own independent research program for careers in academia, government or industry.
Applicants must satisfy the University admission requirements as stated in Graduate General Regulations 1.3 in the SFU Calendar. A master's degree in Physics, or the equivalent, is required. Students who are in the MSc program in Physics and have demonstrated strong academic and research performance may transfer to the doctoral program, with the approval of the student's supervisory committee. Also see the Graduate General Regulations on University transfer requirements.
This program consists of course work and a thesis for a minimum of 30 units. The minimum course requirements for the Physics PhD program are determined on an individual basis. Upon admission, the graduate program committee will review a student's previous coursework and set minimum requirements according to the guidelines provided below. For students with MSc degrees not from SFU, the graduate program committee will award credit for equivalent coursework.
The Physics department requires that students complete a combined total of 24 units of coursework during the master's and PhD programs.
Students must complete
Discussion of recent developments in physics, based on student seminars. Attendance is required for all first and second year students proceeding toward MSc or PhD degrees in physics. Course offered regularly.
Fr 1:30 PM – 4:20 PM
SSCC 9000, Burnaby
Fr 1:00 PM – 4:20 PM
SSCC 9000, Burnaby
Basic skills for research and teaching in physics. Required for all students beginning an MSc or PhD degree in physics. Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
Advanced non-relativistic and some basic relativistic quantum mechanics: symmetries, Schroedinger/Heisenberg pictures, mixtures, variational and perturbative methods, Dirac equation. Prerequisite: PHYS 415, or equivalent.
Review of ensembles and thermodynamics, ideal gases, imperfect classical gases, classical and modern theories of phase transitions, renormalization group. Course offered regularly. Prerequisite: PHYS 445 or equivalent.
Mo, We, Fr 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM
AQ 5039, Burnaby
and one of
Advanced topics in classical electromagnetic theory: review of Maxwell's equations in free space and in macroscopic media, with applications in contemporary research; relativistic unification of electromagnetism; Lagrangian and Hamiltonian methods in electromagnetism. Prerequisite: PHYS 421 or equivalent.
Advanced topics in electromagnetic waves: propagation and polarization in free space and in macroscopic media, including dispersive and anisotropic media; conducting and dielectric waveguides and resonators; radiation, scattering, and diffraction. Prerequisite: PHYS 421 or equivalent.
and 12 other units of graduate courses
and a thesis
Graded on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis.
Research and Thesis Requirements
A major portion of this program is conducting original research. A thesis, embodying new and important results or original research, must be presented and defended at the conclusion of the degree program.
- PhD students must demonstrate the ability to perform and disseminate independent research that makes a significant, publishable contribution to knowledge in the discipline.
- PhD students must demonstrate the following disciplinary knowledge:
- mastery of the core subjects in physics, which include classical mechanics, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics;
- mastery of more specialized topics related to one's research topic;
- and breadth of knowledge in physics at an advanced level.
Students are expected to complete the program requirements within 12 terms (four years) after completing an MSc, or 15 terms (five years) after completing a BSc for students who transfer directly after one year from the MSc to the PhD program.
Academic Requirements within the Graduate General Regulations
All graduate students must satisfy the academic requirements that are specified in the Graduate General Regulations, as well as the specific requirements for the program in which they are enrolled.