Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Queen's University
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Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy
Department of Physics, Engineering Physics & Astronomy

Accelerated MSc and MASc

Masters of Science (MSc)

The Department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy offers a combined program of a BScH/MSc (Physics). This program offers an opportunity for students in the 4th year of their Honours program (Physics) to take up to 2 courses in Physics at the graduate level which would then allow these students to enter the graduate program with advanced standing. Research begun in the 4th year thesis project could be carried forward as a foundation for the graduate thesis, which would create an opportunity for exceptional students to complete the graduate degree within 4 terms.

Admission to the combined program is a two-step process:

Step 1:

Students with a minimum A- (A minus) average will have the option to apply for admission to the combined program (permission to take graduate level courses) in the winter term of the 3rd year, in parallel with the process for admittance to the Honours year and the thesis research project (PHYS 590). All applications will then be reviewed by the undergraduate chair. If accepted into the combined program, in Year 4 of the BSc (Honours) program students will be permitted to take up to two 3.0 graduate level courses for a total of 3 or 6 credits towards the 12 credits required for the MSc degree.

It is the student’s responsibility to gain admission to these graduate courses following acceptance into the program. These courses will be counted as electives or science options (or as core courses) towards completion of the degree requirements in the BSc(Hons) program. Only 1 of these courses may be a combined undergraduate/graduate (400/800) level course. The second (and all subsequent) graduate courses must be graduate only (800 and/or 900 level).

Step 2:

For admission to the MSc program in Physics with advanced standing, students will be expected to complete the standard SGS application process, have an overall B+ or higher in the previous 2 years of their undergraduate program, and have demonstrated significant research productivity in the 4th year thesis project. In order for the student to be granted advanced standing in the M.Sc. degree program, they must have received a final grade of at least B- (B minus) in the graduate course(s) taken during the 4th year and meet all other requirements for admission to the MSc program in Physics.

Applications: Students should submit their application to the Graduate Assistant and at that time should provide a copy of their transcript, a CV (resume), and the names of their potential Project Supervisors.

For more information, please visit the School of Graduate Studies.


FAQ for Physics & Astronomy students

Do I have to take any courses in the summer?
How does this program affect NSERC USRA funding?
Arts and Science Accelerated MSc students may hold an NSERC USRA during the summer when they started their Accelerated MSc research, as students do not have to take any courses.
What if I decide to discontinue the MSc program or transfer to another school?
Either the student or supervisor can choose not to pursue the Accelerated MSc degree after the first summer. The student will still receive the BScH degree assuming successful completion of 4th year course requirements (including counting the graduate courses that were taken).
Could an Accelerated MSc student be promoted to the PhD program?
Yes, just like any 'regular' MSc student, by applying during the fifth year of studies. Students can continue on to a PhD program if they have a first-class average, the supervisor supports the transfer, and they successfully pass a promotion mini-defense.


Masters of Applied Science (MASc)

The Accelerated Master's Degree program allows strong students in the Engineering Physics programs to begin work towards a Master's degree while completing their undergraduate degree. By working on a research project that will become their master's thesis during the summers after third and fourth years, the students can graduate with a full thesis-based master's degree in 12-16 months after finishing their Bachelor's degree. This saves approximately a year of time compared to students enrolled in the standard master's program. Students also get to work on larger research projects, which would not normally be offered to undergraduate students.

• Engineering Physics students apply for Accelerated Master's Degree in Applied Science (MASc) during winter term of 3rd year.

• Students must have first class grades (GPA of 3.7 or higher) and complete an application form.

• Students accepted to the program will complete their BSc degree after 4 years (with the rest of their class cohort) and complete MASc degree 12-16 months  later.

• Students are paid during the summers after 3rd and 4th years.

• Students take ENPH 456 (summer after 3rd year) and ENPH457 F/W to replace ENPH 455 and two 4th year electives, and take two Graduate level courses during 4th year (that then transfer for credit to the MASc degree program). ENPH456 and ENPH457 are a research project with significant engineering design, supervised by one (or more) faculty members and graded by a committee of professional engineers.

• After 4th year (and graduation with a BSc degree in Engineering Physics), students immediately begin a graduate research project (during the summer), take the remaining two Graduate-level courses (F/W after 4th year), and complete and defend a thesis during the following summer. It is most likely that the research project will be a continuation/expansion of the 456/457 undergraduate research thesis.

Timeline for Engineering Physics Students

Click the plus sign to expand.

Year 1 (third year post-secondary)

  1. January: Co-ordinator requests available projects from department researchers.
  2. February: Announcements to current 3rd year Engineering Physics students about available projects.
  3. February: Supervisors interview students and make provisional offers of acceptance. Co-ordinator organizes matching , and offers any acceptances.
  4. March 1st: Undergraduate Engineering Physics Chair and Graduate Chair review projects, student resumes and transcripts, and make formal offers for acceptance to Accelerated MASc program.
  5. May-August: Students take ENPH 456, working full time in supervisors' labs on an Advanced Thesis Project (BSc) that can be preparatory work for the MASc project, but is sufficiently distinct for separate BSc thesis and presentation. Students apply to the department, with approval from  School of Graduate Studies, for permission to take graduate courses as "Special Student".
  6. September 1st: Students submit report of summer research, including literature review for both BSc Thesis Project and proposed MASc Research Project. Coordinator marks progress report for ENPH 456 final grade.

Year 2 (fourth year post-secondary)

  1. September-December: Students take EngPhys 4th year courses, excluding ENPH 455, adding ENPH 457, and adding two graduate-level courses (over fall and winter terms), and continuing work on BSc Thesis Project. Students register in the two graduate-level courses at no extra cost.
  2. October: Students are encouraged to apply for graduate scholarships(NSERC, OGS, others)
  3. December 1st: Students submit abstract of research conducted so far, targeted for submission to an existing scientific conference; coordinator marks abstract for fall-term component of ENPH 457. Students may actually submit abstract to a conference, but optional.
  4. January-February: Students apply for the MASc program in the department of Physics, Engineering Physics and Astronomy
  5. January-April: Students take 4th year courses, excluding ENPH 455, adding ENPH 457 and two graduate-level courses (over fall and winter terms), and continuing  working on BSc Thesis Project.
  6. March: Students write and submit BSc Thesis report, and give Poster presentations in a distinct session co-organized with ENPH 455 Posters. Students also present a conference-style oral presentation tailored to the conference to which the abstract was (perhaps) submitted in December. Marking by the BSc Thesis grading committee for ENPH 457 final grade.
  7. April: Students complete BSc courses and join the degree list for Spring (May) convocation with their BSc cohort.

Year 3 (fifth year post-secondary)

  1. May-December: Students  begin graduate studies full-time, working on thesis research, and taking remaining two graduate-level courses. Students request transfer of the two graduate courses taken in previous Fall/Winter for MASc credit
  2. January-August: Students complete graduate research, write and defend thesis, and graduate with MASc degree at Fall (November) convocation. Alternately, students can apply to transfer to a PhD program without a full thesis, the same as Masters students.

FAQ for Engineering Physics students

Are the two courses taken during the 4th year counted toward both the BSc and the MASc?
No. The two courses (ENPH456 and ENPH457) are weighted with enough units to replace ENPH 455 and two 4th year tech. electives-sufficient to complete the BSc. The 2 graduate courses taken in the 4th year will only be counted for the MASc degree.
How does this program affect NSERC summer USRA funding?
No effect - students in the Accelerated MASc program will be registered in a course during the summer, and therefore are not eligible for USRA funding.
What if you decide you don't want to pursue the MASc degree (either at all, or transfer to another school after the BSc)?
Either the student or supervisor can choose not to pursue the accelerated MASc degree after the first summer. The student would then revert to the normal ENPH program, take 455 and the two tech electives, and graduate as normal. If the student has already taken ENPH456/457 and the graduate course, he or she can still finish the BSc requirements and are not forced to complete the MASc degree. The two graduate courses may be transferred to another school, if that school allows it.
Could a MASc student be promoted to the PhD program?
Yes, just like any 'regular' MASc student, by applying during the fifth year of studies. Students can continue on to a PhD program if they have a first-class average, the supervisor supports the transfer, and they successfully pass a promotion mini-defense.



Accelerated MSc and MASc students receive generous research stipends during the summer months after their third and fourth years. For details, please contact your Undergraduate Chair.