Graduate Program Information

For help, contact the VP Academic.


Even if you are not taking any courses, you need to confirm your registration with the REGN RCGR every year.

Fall : CRN 2234

Winter CRN 2262

MSc Program

MSc students are required to take five graduate courses during the two year Master’s program. These 5 courses include four (4) 500-level courses et one (1) 600-level courses minimum. The 500-level courses can be replaced by 600-level courses (690 and 692 do not count).

The total number of credits required for a Physics Master’s degree is 45. Therefore, in addition to the 15 course credits, Master’s students are required to register for 30 credits in research to get the required 45 credits in total. Those research credits are:

  • PHYS 692: Master Thesis (6 credits)
  • PHYS 690: Master Thesis (24 credits)

Usually, the course load (the 5 courses) is taken during the first year together with PHYS 690 and the second year consists of research work with the PHYS 692 credits.

NOTE THAT students with appropriate previous coursework and background may obtain permission from the department to substitute two of the courses (6 credits in total) by the PHYS 691 (Thesis Preparation) and PHYS 693 (M.Sc Research).

However, MSc. students can choose to spread the course load over the two years. There is no regulation forcing you to take your classes the first year (unless your supervisor strongly encourages you to do so). In the case that you wish to spread your classes over the two years of your MSc (maybe because of the course offering), you have to complete your credit load up to 12 credits per semester with enough of the PHYS 69* credits. Again, you need approval for the PHYS 691 and PHYS 693. In any case, the “Course Selection Form” has to be filled out with the student’s supervisor at the beginning of the first semester.

In all cases, you need 45 credits to graduate. This is part of the new requirements as of Fall 2010.

The Department administration will not remind you, or notify you if you don’t have all those credits. And this is not something you want to find out after having submitted your thesis. For more information, please contact Sangyong Jeon: jeon at physics dot mcgill dot ca

PhD Program

PhD students are required to take two 600-level courses (these are actual classes and not the 690-type classes). As of Fall 2010, PhD Students who have obtained a MSc Degree in physics at McGill and those who are fast-tracking from the M.Sc. to the PhD program are exempted from taking one of the two courses, but are still required to take one 600-level course. This is not a retroactive change, so that students who started their PhD before Fall 2010 must follow the requirements of the previous McGill Calendar.

For the PhD program, there is no need to register for the 690-type classes, since there is no credit requirements. PhD Students are research Full-time students.

Finally, PhD students have to pass the Ph.D. preliminary examination.

Program duration

The completion of graduate degrees must be done within a strictly enforced time limit.

ccording to the McGill Graduate and post-Graduate studies Calendar: “Candidates for master’s degrees must complete the degree within three years of initial registration.

For the PhD program, the duration limit is six years. More precisely, you will not be able to register after your PhD-7 year (Note that student generally start their PhD in the year PhD-2). Check your Minerva Unofficial transcript to know which year you are in.

If you are not finished your thesis before the end of your PhD-7 or MSc-3, you:

  • will not be able to register as a student
  • will not receive a RA stipend anymore
  • will need to finish your thesis as soon as possible
  • will have two options to submit your thesis:
    • Within two years, you can be reinstated to submit, with support of the department and your supervisor
    • After two years, you will have to re-apply and be re-admitted to the Ph.D. program before submitting

From GPS General Information, Regulations and Research Guidelines:

Candidates entering Ph.D. 1 must follow a program of at least three years residency at the University; this is a minimum require­ment, and there is no guarantee that the work of the degree can be completed in this time, but students are expected to complete within the maximum specified period. Only exceptional candidates holding a bachelor’s degree will be considered for direct admission to Ph.D. 1 level. A student who has obtained a master’s degree at McGill Univer­sity or at an approved institution, in a relevant subject and is pro­ceeding to a Ph.D. degree will, on the recommendation of the department, be admitted to Ph.D. 2; in this case, the residency requirement for the program is two years. In the doctoral program, students must be registered on a full-time basis for one more year after completion of the residency (i.e., Ph.D. 4 year) before continuing as additional session students until completion of the program.

Progress report

Physics graduate students must fill out annual progress reports with their supervisors. This is mandatory and required by the University to help you keep track of your progress and also to allow your supervisor to evaluate your research progress.

The report has two sections, first on progress made and the second on future goals, to help ensure that the degree is on track and completed in a reasonable amount of time.

The forms can be found here:

The department should send reminders about the form and will inform you of the deadlines

Thesis submission

What follows is a summary of the content of the long and detailed document sent by the McGill GPSO (see attachment at the bottom of the page). You are encouraged to read it if you need more information. If you still need clarification after reading this page and the attached document, you can contact the MGAPS VP Academic, or for more direct help, contact Sangyong Jeon. Finally, McGill GPSO posted a Frequently Asked Questions document that can be useful.


The thesis submission timelines have changed. Here are the details and some exemples: The “Initial Thesis Submission Deadline” has been REMOVED. Now, only the final submission deadline matters. It affects two things: * Whether or not, you will have to pay one more semester of registration (see below - Thesis Evaluation Status) * When you will be granting your degree.

So, if you want to avoid having to pay for an extra semester, or if you want to start a new degree (at McGill or elsewhere) or start a job which requires your degree, you have to do your final submission according to the following deadlines:

Final submission deadline Graduation
December 15th February
April 15th June
August 15th October

If you do not submit by this deadline, you have to wait FOUR (4) MONTHS and pay an extra semester of fees (see below - Thesis Evaluation Status).

Thesis evaluation status

The new “Thesis evaluation status” has been created for students who must remain registered for an extra semester after the initial submission, for example, when failing to meet the deadline for the final submission (listed above).

This “Thesis Evaluation Status” term correspond to a FULL-TIME term with REDUCED FEES, while your thesis is being evaluated. “Reduced” means that you only have to pay the administrative/society fees, which amounts to a total of about 300 dollars (details about the fees are in the document below).

To summarize (with examples):

  • if you submit your INITIAL and FINAL version of the thesis the same term:
    • you will only have to pay the full fees of the term that you started.
    • ex: Initial submission on August 25th (passed the August 15th deadline), and Final Submission on Dec. 3rd (before the Dec. 15th deadline). Both submission are the same semester, and so, you only pay, the tuition fees of the Fall semester.
  • if your submit your INITIAL and FINAL version of the thesis in consecutive terms:
    • you will pay full tuition fees on the semester of your initial submission and “Thesis Evaluation Status” fees during the followings semester(s), until your thesis is submitted.
    • ex: Initial submission on Nov. 13th, and Final Submission on Dec 17th (PASSED the Dec. 15th deadline). You will have to pay for the “Thesis Evaluation Status” term in the Winter term, and wait for the June Graduation