Information for New & Current Grad Students

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Welcome to the Department of Engineering Physics!  This is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know to get you ready to be a grad student in Eng Phys.  Use the menu below to find what you’re looking for.  Don’t forget to use the “Grad Links” menu in the right toolbar for frequented pages.  Still need more information?  Email the Department’s Graduate Administrative Assistant.  Alternatively, please refer to the following for more detailed inquiries:

  • engphys@mcmaster.ca – Admission questions about your application to the Department of Engineering Physics
  • askgrad@mcmaster.ca – General inquires for the School of Graduate Studies (not pay, admissions, or record related)
  • gradpay@mcmaster.ca – Questions about your pays (TA/RA, Research Scholarships, external scholarships, etc.)
  • sgsonline@mcmaster.ca – Admission questions regarding your application in Mosaic
  • student.accounts@mcmaster.ca – Questions about how much tuition and fees are owing and payments made by AP Refund
View the New Grad Student Welcome Orientation Presentation.
What To Do When You Arrive

Some “musts” to get you started

Logistics

Campus Map, Departmental Office, Connecting to the Internet, Printing, Booking Resources, Computer Problems, Student Lounges, Equipment in Labs/Offices, Desk Assignments

Information for International Students

English Language Support, International Student Success Centre

Safety

Training and Required Courses, EOHSS

Your Studies

School of Graduate Studies (SGS), Graduate Course Offerings, Comprehensive Exams, PhD Transfer Exam, Defending your Thesis

Your Finances

Travel and Expense Claims, Payment Agreement, Student Account, Tuition and Fees

Teaching Assistantship (TA) Information

Preferences, Postings, Assignments

Graduate Students Association

The Phoenix, Softball, Budgeting, Health & Dental

Housing

On-Campus and Off-Campus Housing and Resources

Other Campus Services

Campus Store, Master Institute for Innovation & Excellence in Teaching & Learning, Student Wellness, Student Accessibility Services, and much more

 

What To Do When You Arrive

Upon your arrival, it is imperative that you familiarize yourself with the Departmental Office and Graduate Administrative Assistant.  Come to the Departmental Office in John Hodgins Engineering Building, Room A315 (JHE A315).  You’ll also need to:

  • Submit your final transcripts to the Departmental Office
  • Review SGS’ information for New Students
    • This is a vital step, as this page instructs you on how to change your mailing address, provide bank information, and much more.
  • For international students, obtain a SIN number (see the page above)
  • For international students, submit your work permit to the School of Graduate Studies (SGS), with a copy to the Departmental Office
  • Complete your online Registration Mosaic
  • Activate your MacID and McMaster Email through UTS
    • Your McMaster Email will be the means of communication throughout your studies in Engineering Physics at McMaster
  • Check-in with Supervisor
  • Attend the New Student Orientation Meeting (check the Calendar of Events for date and details)
  • Check the Calendar of Events for course Organizational Meetings
  • Arrange for Parking
  • Review your Health & Safety requirements and complete the necessary training and courses
  • Obtain a photocopier code from the Departmental Office
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Logistics

Campus Map

Located in beautiful west Hamilton, McMaster’s main campus is bicycle and pedestrian friendly and easily accessed by municipal (HSR bus service) and GO Transit.

 Departmental Office

The Departmental Office is located in the John Hodgins Engineering Building, Room A315. Office hours are 8:30 am – 4:30 pm; closed daily from 12:00 – 1:00 pm for lunch.

Your Mailbox

You will be given a mailbox in the Departmental Office, JHE A315.  Aside from your McMaster email account, any hard copy distributions will be put in your mailbox.  Please make sure you check it frequently.

Connecting to the Internet

Please visit University Technology Services’ site for information on how to connect using your wireless devices, such as your smartphone and/or laptop.

Printing and Photocopying

To obtain a photocopier code, please send an email to the Department’s Undergraduate Administrative Assistant. The photo copier is located in JHE A303.

 Computer Problems

Please contact the Department’s Laboratory Technician, Peter Jonasson.

Equipment in Labs / Offices

Please consult with your Supervisor.

Student Lounges

The following rooms are available for student use:

  • ABB 237
  • JHE 328
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Information for International Students

 English Language Support

Whether English is your second or third language, the Student Success Centre offers several services to help non-native speakers improve their spoken and written English. We provide the Speakeasy Program (one-on-one support from a volunteer student) and Conversation Circle (group-based support).  Visit the Student Success Centre for more details.

International Student Services (ISS)

International Student Services provides core services and programs for registered international students, exchange students, visiting scholars, and their families.

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Safety

Training and Required Courses

Please consult with your Supervisor as well as the Graduate Administrative Assistant to ensure that you are completing all necessary courses.  You can refer to the Department’s Health and Safety pages for more information.

Environmental & Occupational Health Support Services (EOHSS)

EOHSS is a team of health, safety and risk management specialists committed to supporting the University’s commitment to creativity, innovation and excellence, and strives to achieve these standards in the areas of environmental and occupational health, safety, loss prevention and mitigation.

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Your Studies

School of Graduate Studies (SGS)

The School of Graduate Studies is located in Gilmour Hall, Room 212 as a resource for you throughout your time at McMaster–from recruitment to registration to convocation.  SGS can assist in several areas, including, but not limited to payroll, policies & guidelines, financial matters, and much more.

Graduate Course Offerings

A complete listing of all graduate courses can be found on the Department’s Graduate Courses page.  Please check regularly as this list is often updated.

Graduate Course Organization Meetings

At the beginning of each academic term, instructors hold organizational meetings for their courses to determine the schedule.  Please see the Calendar of Events for all current meetings.  Please check back regularly for updates.

PhD Thesis Proposal

PhD students will present a thesis proposal to their Supervisory Committee, normally at the first Supervisory meeting after completion of one term in their program.  For students starting in September or January, this would normally occur at their first Supervisory meeting prior to the next August 31.   For students starting in May, this would occur no later than their second Supervisory meeting prior to August 31 of the next year.

A written report must be submitted to your Supervisory Committee 2 weeks prior to the Supervisory Committee meeting.  The report should be 20-25 pages in length (no longer than 25 pages), including figures and references.  References should be no more than 2 pages.  The report should follow the guidelines for the preparation of theses with regard to line spacing, font size, margins, and reference listing.

You will be required to give a 20 minute presentation to your Supervisory Committee which addresses the content of the report, followed by questions related to your presentation and written report.

The focus of your report and presentation should be:

  1. A literature review or survey describing the current status of the field;
  2. A description of the fundamental concepts involved and a discussion on the gaps and discrepancies in the existing knowledge base related to your thesis topic;
  3. The details on your research plan to address these gaps and discrepancies in the existing knowledge base; and
  4. A brief summary of the research achievements up to this point.

Sufficient detail on the research methods should be provided so that the Supervisory Committee can judge its technical feasibility, the availability of resources and the suitability of the timeframe.

The thesis proposal is meant as an educational and planning tool.  It should in no way prevent the student, the Supervisor and the Supervisory Committee from making needed changes during the duration of the program in the normal manner.

The thesis proposal is intended to assist in guiding the student towards successful completion of their dissertation and to provide additional context at a critical stage to the Supervisory Committee.   It is not an academic assessment and its presentation to the Supervisory Committee does not constitute a ‘thesis proposal defence’.

The thesis proposal will not exempt the student from other reports normally provided to the Supervisory Committee on his/her progress since starting the program or since his/her last Supervisory Committee meeting.

Comprehensive Exams

During their course of study, doctoral candidates will be required to pass a Departmental Comprehensive Examination.  Historically, the Comprehensive Exam has been held in two parts (Part I and II).  The Department has recently streamlined its Comprehensive Exam requirements by eliminating Part II. Effective September 2016, all incoming Ph.D. students will be required to complete Part I of the Comprehensive Exam only.  In-course students will still be required to complete both Part I and II.

Part I

Part I will be an oral examination to test your undergraduate level of knowledge and understanding of mathematics, physics, and the engineering sciences.  The oral examination is conducted with 3 departmental committee members.  You will receive 3 questions or topics, 3 weeks in advance of the exam.  You will be required to give a presentation on each of the 3 topics which should not exceed seven minutes. If an extension is granted, you will not be allowed to continue for more than two additional minutes. After each presentation, the examination committee members will ask questions related to the topic as well as questions aimed at general knowledge and comprehension. Both breadth and depth of knowledge will be assessed. Recognition will be given to the fact that it is impossible to cover all areas of a topic completely. However, you should demonstrate an overall comprehension of topics in general, and the ability to solve selected problems.

Part II

Part II will take the form of an oral examination designed to examine your understanding of, and approach to, your proposed dissertation research. A written report must be submitted to your exam committee no later than one week before the exam.  The report should be 20-25 pages in length (no longer than 25 pages), including figures and references.  References should be no more than 2 pages.  The report should follow the guidelines for the preparation of theses with regard to line spacing, font size, margins, and reference listing.

You will be required to give a 20 minute presentation which addresses the content of the report, followed by questions related to your presentation and written report.  The format of this exam is oral with the supporting report.

The focus of your report and presentation should be:

i) the fundamental concepts involved and a discussion on the gaps and discrepancies in the existing knowledge base related to your thesis topic, and

ii) the details on your research plan to address gaps and discrepancies in the existing knowledge base, and a brief summary of the research achievements up to this point

The purpose of this examination is not to measure your progress nor to provide guidance towards meeting the requirements for your doctoral program.  Rather, this exam is intended to assess your understanding of your thesis topic.  As such, approximately ¾ of your report and presentation should be comprised of item (i), while no more than ¼ (5 to 6 report pages) should be comprised of item (ii).

The members of your examination committee are normally comprised of your thesis supervisory committee.

Recognition will be given to the fact that it is impossible to cover all areas completely within this time frame. However, you should demonstrate a thorough comprehension of your research field and answer detailed questions from the exam committee. Both the breadth and depth of your knowledge in this field will be examined as well as the overall quality of your research plan and progress.

Timing

You will normally take Part I within 8 months of admission to the doctoral program, and no later than the first 18-months of study. Part II is taken no later than 24 months in the program.

Typically, Comprehensive Exams are scheduled October to December and January to March.  You will be notified when the exam will be scheduled, with a chance to notify us of any conflicts.  It is recommended that you consult with your Supervisor regarding procedures and best practices.  It is your responsibility to ensure all resources are booked in advance, including but not limited to a laptop, projector, and any other resources that you may require.  Typically if you are scheduled to have your exam in Term 1, you would be notified in early October.  If you are scheduled to have your exam in Term 2, you will be notified by December.

Both parts of the Examination may, at the discretion of the Department, be repeated once.

PhD Transfer Exam

A student transferring from the Master’s to the Ph.D. will be required to complete a transfer exam.  The transfer examination will be completed with their intended PhD Supervisory Committee (for the purposes of the transfer exam, this committee will be referred to as the Examination Committee).  The transfer exam will count towards the requirement of the PhD thesis proposal (see PhD Thesis Proposal section). A written report must be submitted to the Examination Committee 2 weeks prior to the Examination Committee meeting.  The report should be 20-25 pages in length (no longer than 25 pages), including figures and references.  References should be no more than 2 pages.  The report should follow the guidelines for the preparation of theses with regard to line spacing, font size, margins, and reference listing.

The student will be required to give a 20 minute presentation to the Supervisory Committee which addresses the content of the report, followed by questions related to the presentation and written report.

The focus of the report and presentation should be:

  1. A literature review or survey describing the current status of the field;
  2. A description of the fundamental concepts involved and a discussion on the gaps and discrepancies in the existing knowledge base related to the thesis topic;
  3. The details of the research plan to address these gaps and discrepancies in the existing knowledge base; and
  4. A brief summary of the research achievements up to this point.

Sufficient detail on the research methods should be provided so that the Supervisory Committee can judge its technical feasibility, the availability of resources and the suitability of the timeframe.

Defending Your Master’s

Your Supervisor will give you an indication if you are ready to defend and will form a defense committee.  Once a defense date has been finalized, the Graduate Administrative Assistant will send a notice out.  You must provide a copy of your defense to all defense committee members 10-business days prior to the defense date.  It is your responsibility to ensure all resources are booked in advance, including but not limited to a laptop, projector, and any other resources that you may require.

Defending Your PhD

Your PhD Defense is completely different from your Master’s Defense.  The PhD Defense is completely administered by the School of Graduate Studies.  You must review the following information, and follow the steps outlined by the School of Graduate Studies.  Any questions regarding this process should be directed to the School of Graduate Studies.

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Your Finances

Your Funding

It is imperative that all students review payment information delivered by SGS.  Students are responsible for covering the cost of tuition and fees, as well as any other supplies necessary to complete your program.  At the beginning of each academic year, you will be given the chance to review all sources of funding as well as their terms.  Please make sure you are budgeting appropriately depending on the terms of funding.

To view the timing of payments, please refer to the “Graduate Payment Schedule” on the page above to know when your pays will be deposited in to your bank account.

Student Account

As a student at McMaster, it is important that you understand your student account.  You can view this information by logging in to Mosaic.  If you have detailed questions about your Student Account, please visit Student Accounts and Cashiers.

Tuition and Fees

Upon fully completing your Payment Agreement, you will have a chance to review your tuition and fees.  A detailed outline is also available from Student Accounts and Cashiers.  Please review your PA carefully, as it is your responsibility to pay for tuition and fees.

Travel and Expense Claims

If you require a reimbursement, you may submit Travel and Expense claims through the Mosaic system by logging in with your MacID.  Once logged in, click on the Documentation tab.  Under Travel, you will find instructions on how to complete and submit Travel and Expense claims.  If you have any questions about this process, please contact the Graduate Administrative Assistant.  Please note that these claims will require a valid chartfield string and approval from your Supervisor.

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Teaching Assistantship (TA) Information

As outlined in your offer letter, you may be eligible to receive a TA Assignment from the Department.  If you have questions about your Assignment, please contact the Graduate Administrative Assistant.  Please be aware that you are paid for your TA duties during the term that you work.

Preferences

During the middle of summer (approximately June/July annually), the Graduate Administrative Assistant will email the TA Choice Form to all eligible students.  This must be completed and returned by the deadline indicated in the email request.

Posting

During the middle of summer (approximately June/July annually), a posting of all available courses will be posted on Mosaic, the CUPE bulletin board, located across from the Departmental Office, JHE A315, with a listing of all the courses and their TA requirements.  This information is also available from the Administrator.

Assignment

It is pertinent that you refer to your offer letter and understand how many hours of TA duties will be assigned to you.  Annually, once the TA Assignments have been completed and agreed upon by the Department, the TA Assignments will be emailed to all Graduate Students and Faculty Members.  Any questions about these TA Assignments should be directed toward the Graduate Administrative Assistant.

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Graduate Students Association

The Graduate Students Association (GSA) was incorporated in the province of Ontario in November 1970 as a not-for-profit non-share capital corporation.

The mandate of the GSA is:

  1. To promote the welfare and interests of the members through the provision of facilities and opportunities for social, athletic and intellectual activities;
  2. To represent the members before the duly elected and appointed authorities of McMaster University, and
  3. To promote communication and participation in all matters of common interest between the members of the Association and the members of other student organizations, both at McMaster and in other educational institutions.

Please visit their website to get more information on the following:

  • Budgeting
  • Health & Dental Benefits
  • The Phoenix
  • Softball and Soccer
  • Getting Involved
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Housing

On-Campus Housing

McMaster’s Housing and Conferences Services is available to help locate housing on-campus.  Please visit their website or contact them for more details.

Off-Campus Housing

The Off-Campus Resource Centre (OCRC) is available to assist students locate housing around campus.  The OCRC serves primarily as a rental listing service for landlords. There is also a variety of housing-related resources for students and others visiting McMaster on a temporary basis. Drop in to the office to pick up a copy of the Hamilton Bus Route Map, inquire about referrals to local legal clinics, and view the full listings in-person.

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Other Campus Services

Campus Store

The Campus Store is your one-stop-shop for all your textbooks, lab books and other supplies, as well as all your Marauder apparel.

Student Wellness Centre

Whether you have a health emergency, a question about nutrition or contraceptive option, a sprain or strain, aches and pains or a bad case of the flu, the Student Wellness Centre operates a full health and counselling clinic staffed with physicians, nurses, wellness educators, psychologists, counsellors and a psychiatrist.

If you need information about your Health Plan »

Campus Dentist

Located in the Student Centre (behind Travel Cuts), Campus Dentist offers checkups, fillings, wisdom teeth extractions and teeth whitening. New patients and emergencies are welcome, and all insurance plans are accepted.

If you need information about your Health Plan »

Student Accessibility Services

Student Accessibility Services offers various supports for students with disabilities. SAS works with full-time and part-time students, as well as prospective students, assisting with academic and disability-related needs.

Student Success Centre

The Student Success Centre Offers a wide variety of career and professional development services, as well as leadership training opportunities.

McMaster Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Learning and Teaching (MIIETL)

The McMaster Institute for Innovation and Excellence in Learning and Teaching is designed to enable your success in teaching and learning.

Human Rights & Equity Services

Human Rights and Equity Services (HRES) aims to make McMaster a community where all students, staff and faculty can learn, work and live in equality and respect by promoting an environment free of sexism, racism, heterosexism, discrimination against people with disabilities and all other forms of harassment and discrimination. Services provided include Consultation and Advice, Awareness and Education, and Resolution of Complaints.

Ombuds Office

The Ombuds Office provides impartial, independent, and informal dispute-resolution advice and assistance to all members of the McMaster University community, free of charge. It is available to handle university related complaints and concerns, whether they are academic or non-academic problems.

Mosaic

Mosaic is a World Wide Web application built to allow you, the student at McMaster University, to register for courses, request transcripts (unofficial and official), view student account information, and much more.  More information can be found here.

Technology Services for Graduate Students

University Technology Services (UTS) provides a range of computing services such as Mosaic, Academic computing facilities, and an e-mail account on the UnivMail Server, as well as computing help, and technological advice and assistance.

Sustainability

McMaster University has developed the Office of Sustainability to better manage all aspects of University functioning in terms of sustainability. The office is intended to be a catalyst for change within the University and encourages staff, faculty and students to join in to help create a sustainable culture here at McMaster. Feel free to contact the Office of Sustainability with any questions, concerns or ideas.

University Secretariat

The University Secretariat is a source of information, advice and guidance on matters of jurisdiction, strategy, policy and process to all members of the McMaster community.

Please note that this is NOT a comprehensive list. There are more services listed in Section 7 of the Graduate Calendar.

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