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Graduate Degree Programs

Description & typical timeline for our MSc and PhD programs

The Department of Physics offers MSc and PhD graduate programs that are directed primarily to qualified students seeking a career in scientific research, with an emphasis on doctoral-stream studies. The available programs and a list of graduate faculty are given in the Academic Calendar of the School of Graduate Studies (SGS). Application deadlines for each year are given at the School of Graduate Studies site. The tabs below reiterate some of this information, with hyperlinks to practical information elsewhere in the physics web site. Additional information is also given in the physics graduate student handbook pages.

This table gives an overview of the timeline for common physics graduate degree options. Note that the UofT academic year is divided into three four-month terms; Fall (September to December), Spring (January to April) and Summer (May to August). Students typically start in September, but a January (Winter term) start is also possible.

MSc Option 1
followed by
4-year PhD

Direct-entry PhD
5-year PhD
(no MSc)

MSc Option 2
followed by
4-year PhD

4-year PhD
(entering with MSc)



3.0 FCE
(6 lecture courses)

Select at least
2.0 FCE
(4 lecture courses)

Select 2.0 FCE (4 lecture courses) for first year (and enrol in 1.0FCE research course)

(Some students enter the Department after a physics MSc elsewhere. They skip the first year in this table.)

week 1

Choose supervisor if taking
only 2 lecture courses in Fall

Jan 15

Choose supervisor (if have not already)

Jan 31

Submit 1-page progress report to graduate office

June 15

Select MSc report assessor

Select MSc examination cmte

week 3

Submit Option-I MSc Report

Submit DE year-1
progress report

Submit Option-II MSc Research Report


Confirm PhD supervisor

SECOND ACADEMIC YEAR (first academic year for 4-year PhD students):


week 2

Option-II MSc Oral Examination (latest)

Enrol in at least 2 lecture courses (1.0 FCE), to complete by the QE


Select remaining lecture courses, to complete a minimum of 3.0 FCE (6 lecture courses) by the QE


Choose PhD supervisory committee
Discuss expectations for PhD Qualifying Examination


PhD Qualifying Examination

Submit a 5-page thesis proposal 1 week prior.



Yearly meetings with PhD supervisory committee are required to remain in good standing. (Submit a short progress report 1 week prior.)

PhD COMPLETION: FINAL 3 MONTHS (e.g., leading up to August of 4th PhD year):


Submit PhD Thesis to Graduate Office (who sends to supervisory committee)


Departmental PhD Oral Examination


Submit revised PhD Thesis to Graduate Office (who sends to External Examiner)

FOE day

SGS Final Oral Examination