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Undergraduate Physics
at McMaster University


Learn about how the Department of Physics & Astronomy connects research with undergraduate education with our unique model here

Choose Physics at McMaster for ...


1. Hands-on experience
2. World class research and facilities
3. Quality: Our students are Award Winners
4. Cross-disciplinary research
5. Engaging careers: Love your future job
6. Reliable employment: Physics pays


enlightened Visit our new Honours Biophysics Program starting 2012/2013


1. McMaster Physics means hands-on experience.

McMaster Physics and Atronomy students get paid Summer Research (25-30 positions every year funded by NSERC and McMaster) to work in research labs using cutting edge equipment and national facilties. We fund students to present their research at conferences (CUPC) and our students win top prizes year after year.

McMaster's Honours Physics Co-op program includes two 8-month terms of paid relevant work experience over a 5 year degree. Employment rates in this program have been consistently at 100% with students placed in high calibre research and industry positions both inside Canada (e.g. TRIUMF, RIM, OPG) and internationally (e.g. NASA, CERN). Dedicated office of Science Career and Co-op Education (SCCE) provides everything from job postings and career development workshops to individual resume critiques and mock interviews.


2. McMaster's Physics and Astronomy Department is world class

McMaster Physics and Astronomy department ranks among the highest in research grants and publications per faculty member and our faculty have recieved numerous awards. You are taught by the professors who make the discoveries and you can also participate in our research yourself through summer research, co-op or an undergraduate thesis.

Our faculty are affiliated with The Perimeter Institute, SHARCNET High Performance Computing (Director), Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research (Director) and McMaster's Origins Institute (Director). Our researchers (including students!) use international facilities including neutron facilties, particle accelerators, telescopes and space based instruments.


3. McMaster Physics students are Award Winners

Mac students consistently win awards at the Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference including first place finishes for the past four years (2010-2013). Our students have also received numerous in-course awards including the Chancellor's Gold Medal 2011 and the Governor General's Academic Medal 2010, 2008, 2007 and 2006.

4. Physics is about cross-disciplinary research.

Physics is about the big questions and the small ones. It can lead anywhere you want to go. At McMaster we offer courses in:
Computational physics, quantum mechanics, relativity, nuclear physics, optical physics, soft condensed matter physics, solid state physics, astrophysics, biophysics, medical physics and origins.
We have students and professors in the Physics & Astronomy Department researching everything from string theory and cosmology to genomics and the origins of life. There are trained physicists working as Faculty in every department in the Sciences, from math to biology.

You can also study physics through McMaster's Integrated Science Program, Arts and Science Program and in conjunction with the Origins program.


5. Physics leads to engaging careers.

Physics provides both hard science training and transferrable skills such as experimental design, modeling, computing, critical thinking and problem solving. 97% of graduates say their physics training has contributed to their career (regardless of what they do).
McMaster Physics Graduates are now working in
Aerospace, manufacturing, medicine and medical industries, energy, education, finance, government, nuclear industry, hi tech, law, industrial R&D, fundamental research ...and much more!


6. Physics is a solid investment.

Physics graduates are 98 % employed and enjoy the highest mid-career salaries of any science. This includes the majority of graduates who do not continue in academia. At No. 6 out of 50 Majors according to the Wall Street Journal, Physics graduates out-earn most Engineering graduates and far outperform Business and Finance majors.


Undergraduate Stories:


Michael Birch, 4th year Honours Mathematics and Physics, has been involved with research since after his first year at McMaster. During his first and second summers he worked in Dr. Alan Chen's group under the supervision of Dr. Balraj Singh in the areas of nuclear data evaluation and nuclear astrophysics. During this experience Michael travelled to various locations, including Vancouver, BC, New York, NY, and Munich, Germany, for experiments and conferences. He has presented research at four conferences, notably the 2012 Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference (CUPC) where he was awarded best talk in the Particle and Nuclear Physics section. Michael has held two NSERC USRAs (2012, 2013), the second of which during his most recent research experience with Dr. An-Chang Shi in the field of theoretical soft-condensed matter. This research is on-going and will continue into his fourth year honours thesis project. Michael was the Chair of the Organizing Committee for the 2013 CUPC which was held at McMaster in October 2013.

Casey Marjerrison, 5th year Honours Physics Co-op, began her research in the preparation and characterization of hard condensed matter systems with Dr. Bruce Gaulin in the summer of 2011. She presented the results of her research at the 2011 Canadian Undergraduate Physics Conference (CUPC) in Saskatoon, SK where she was awarded first place for her poster. Casey continued her work with Dr. Gaulin during her first four-month co-op work term in the winter session of 2012. She spent her second four-month work term at the Paul Scherrrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland. Durting this period she presented research at the forth European Crystal Growth Conference in Glasgow, Scotland. Casey also presented research at the 2012 CUPC in Vancouver, BC in teh fall of 2012. Casey returned to the Brockhouse Institute for Materials Research under the supervision of Dr. John Greedan where she is currently investigating norganic materials from a physical chemistry perspective. In the summer of 2014 she will attend teh IUCr conference in Montreal.