Department of Physics and Astronomy

Department of Physics and Astronomy

A Department of Physics was established at York University in 1964, initially at Glendon College and subsequently at the Keele campus in 1965, as one of the three major participants with Biology and Chemistry in the Interdisciplinary Science (IS) Program. Students were first admitted to master’s and doctoral degree Programs in Physics at York in 1968.

In 1981, following growth in the range of undergraduate majors and the eventual closure of the IS Program, a subsection of the Department was severed to form what has become the Department of Earth and Space Science and Engineering (ESSE) in the Lassonde School of Engineering. In the late 1980s, the Department decided to expand its presence in astronomy and astrophysics. The resulting growth in astronomical research activity led in 1991 to the introduction of official Streams of study in astronomy in both the undergraduate and graduate Programs. Soon after, to enhance the University's image in astronomy, the names of the Department and the Graduate Program were changed to Physics and Astronomy. In 2007, prompted both by growing appreciation of the relevance of physics to the life sciences and by decanal demands for growth in enrolments, the Department introduced its Undergraduate Program in Biophysics.