Mathematical, Computer, Physical, and Molecular Sciences (MSc Program)

Chair of the Mathematical, Computer, Physical and Molecular Sciences Graduate Committee: Dr. Andrea Gorrell

*Applicable Supervisors:

Biochemistry
Chow H. Lee, Professor
Geoffrey Payne, Professor
Stephen Rader, Professor
Kerry Reimer, Professor
Sarah Gray, Associate Professor
Andrea Gorrell, Associate Professor
Sarah Gray, Associate Professor
Martha Stark, Adjunct Professor

Chemistry
Erik Jensen, Professor
Chow H. Lee, Professor
Jianbing Li, Professor
Margot Mandy, Professor
Guy Plourde, Professor
Stephen Rader, Professor
Kerry Reimer, Professor
Ron Thring, Professor
Andrea Gorrell, Associate Professor
Todd Whitcombe, Associate Professor
Martha Stark, Adjunct Professor

Computer Science
Alex Aravind, Professor
Liang Chen, Professor
Waqar Haque, Professor
Lee Keener, Professor
David Casperson, Associate Professor
Jernej Polajnar, Associate Professor
Roger Wheate, Associate Professor
Desanka Polajnar, Adjunct Professor

Mathematics
Lee Keener, Professor Emeritus

Iliya Bluskov, Professor
Jennifer Hyndman, Professor
Kevin Keen, Professor
Pranesh Kumar, Professor
Samuel Walters, Professor
David Casperson, Associate Professor
Daniel Ryan, Associate Professor

Physics
Ahmed Hussein, Professor Emeritus

Ian Hartley, Professor
Erik Jensen, Professor
Elie Korkmaz, Professor
Margot Mandy, Professor
Mark Shegelski, Professor
Matthew Reid, Associate Professor

Website:  http://www.unbc.ca/mcps

Mathematical, Computer, Physical and Molecular Sciences (MCPMS) is one stream of the Master of Science degree in the College of Science and Management. Thesis and project options are available. The thesis option has, as a substantial component, the completion of an original research program, culminating in the preparation of a thesis, and will prepare graduates for careers in research or for further academic study. The project option provides training across disciplines particularly suitable to individuals with more defined career objectives, as well as provides a mechanism for non-traditional students (e.g. working students, teachers, and professionals) to upgrade their skills. Students within the MCPMS stream will, upon successful completion of the degree requirements outlined herein, obtain an MSc with one or any combination of the following study areas noted parenthetically on their transcript: Mathematics, Biochemistry, Computer Science, Chemistry, and Physics.

All students must participate in a Graduate Seminar course (one of MCPM 704-1.5, BCMB 704-1.5NRES 704-1.5,  CPSC 704-1.5, MATH 704-1.5), CHEM 714-1.5) for at least two semesters during their course of studies.

Thesis Option

The Master of Science thesis option is designed for candidates who wish to develop career interests related to scientific research or who intend to pursue further academic research degrees. The degree is expected to attract students from traditional science disciplines such as physics, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science. MSc students within the MCPMS stream are required to complete 3 credit hours of Graduate Seminar, a minimum of 12 credit hours of approved electives, and a 12 credit-hour thesis (MCPM 790-12). It is expected that the electives will consist of scientifically oriented courses, and that the thesis will involve an independent investigation resulting in a scientific contribution.

The 12 elective credit hours must be graduate-level study (i.e., at or above the 600 level) selected from the science courses available at UNBC. A maximum of 6 credit hours from independent studies can be counted towards the elective requirement. Specific details of course work are determined by the research area undertaken by the student. The supervisory committee ensures the appropriate selection of elective courses, and may require a student to complete more than 12 elective credit hours if, for example, weaknesses in the student's background exist (including undergraduate prerequisites for graduate courses) or if additional courses are required for professional accreditation.

Related to the MSc thesis (MCPM 790-12), students are required to (a) make an oral presentation of the thesis proposal to the supervisory committee; (b) write an original thesis based on the research completed (in accordance with established UNBC guidelines); (c) give a public lecture on the completed thesis; and (d) present an oral defense of the thesis to the examining committee. All course requirements must have been satisfied prior to the oral defense.

Summary of Thesis Option
Graduate Seminar  3 credit hours
Elective Courses12 credit hours
MSc Thesis12 credit hours
Total Required27 credit hours

Project Option

The Master of Science project option is designed for candidates who wish to upgrade their skills, or who are constrained in their ability to undertake a traditional research thesis. MSc students within the MCPMS stream are required to complete 3 credit hours of Graduate Seminar, a minimum of 18 credit hours of approved electives, and a 6 credit-hour project. Given the course-intensive nature of this option, MSc projects are limited, subject to sufficient teaching resources and a critical mass of faculty within an area of defined specialization. It is expected that the electives will consist of scientifically oriented courses, and that the project will involve an independent investigation resulting in a scientific contribution, although this contribution need not include original research. Because of the high weighting of course offerings for this option, it is restricted to designated specializations that have been decided upon within each program area. Designation of a specialization implies that sufficient resources are available to ensure that required courses within the specialization can be offered to fulfill the requirements for the degree.

The 18 elective credit hours must be graduate-level study (i.e., at or above the 600 level) selected from the science courses available within the designated specialization. A maximum of 6 credit hours from independent studies can be counted towards the elective requirement. Normally, students in the study area of Physics or a combination of study areas including Physics are expected to take PHYS 710-3.  Specific details of course work will in part be determined by the nature of the project undertaken by each student. The supervisory committee will ensure the appropriate selection of elective courses, and may require a student to complete more than 18 credit hours if weaknesses in the student's background exist (including undergraduate prerequisites for graduate courses) or if additional courses are required for professional accreditation.

In order to complete an MSc project successfully, a student is required to (a) make a presentation of the project proposal to the supervisory committee; (b) write a project report; (c) give a public lecture on the completed project; and (d) pass an evaluation of the project and report with the examining committee. All core and elective course requirements must have been satisfied prior to the oral presentation of the Project.

Summary of Project Option
Graduate Seminar  3 credit hours
Elective Courses18 credit hours
MSc Project  6 credit hours
Total Required27 credit hours

Recommended Progression

The normal time for completion of the MSc is two academic years. While this is the recommended time line, it may be adjusted at the discretion of the supervisory committee to suit a particular student's research and program needs.

The Graduate Seminar courses (MCPM 704-1.5, NRES 704-1.5, BCMB 704-1.5, CPSC 704-1.5, MATH 704-1.5, CHEM 714-1.5) are offered during all September  and January Semesters. Students are expected to enrol in a seminar course at least two times during their degree program.

Electives may be taken at any time during Years I and II. The sequencing of electives is determined by the student in discussion with the supervisory committee. Over the September and January Semesters of Year I, the student, under the direction of the supervisory committee, develops a thesis or project proposal. By the end of the January semester, the student should have successfully defended their proposal to the supervisory committee. This allows the student to undertake the collection of data during the Summer of Year I. It is expected that the student will have successfully defended the thesis or completed the evaluation phase of the project by the end of Year II.

Admission, Regulations and Committee Structures

Admission Requirements

In addition to the admission application requirements outlined in Section 1.0 of the Graduate Academic Calendar, acceptance to the MSc program is contingent upon the prospective student finding a member of the faculty to serve as her/his supervisor. Applicants must also provide a completed Teaching Assistantship Application and a completed Funding Worksheet. Both forms are included with the application material for this program. Normally, at least two of the three letters of recommendation, exclusive of any letter provided by an intended supervisor, must be from individuals who are able to comment on the applicant's academic and research potential.

Application deadlines are found in this calendar under "Semester Dates" or online at www.unbc.ca/calendar/graduate, also under "Semester Dates." The Mathematical, Computer, Physical, and Molecular Sciences Msc Program accepts students for the September and January Semesters.

For additional information about graduate admissions or to download application materials, go to the Graduate Programs website at www.unbc.ca/graduateprograms.
Transfer Students

On the recommendation of the program concerned, the Vice Provost Student Recruitment or designate may accept courses taken at other institutions for credit toward a UNBC graduate program. At the time of application, it is recommended that applicants clearly state in a letter the intent to transfer courses and identify the courses to be considered for possible transfer.

Normal Time Required for Completion

Normally, the degree should be completed in two years or less. Students may take longer to complete the degree depending on their personal circumstances and the nature of their research or Project involvement.

Committee Structure

Students are advised by a supervisory committee consisting of at least three members, including the academic supervisor who will normally serve as the chair of the committee. At least one of the committee members must be from outside the student's program. The committee will be struck during the student's first term of study.