CAPSS 2024
Canadian Astroparticle Physics Summer School
May 5-11, 2024

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the goal of CAPSS?

Many students going into grad school decided whether they intend to pursue their graduate career without having ever taken an astronomy or particle physics course; even those pursuing astroparticle physics! We aim to give students the opportunity to learn more about these fascinating topics before they make such a decision! Students will attend lectures at a world-class institute and will have preferential access to top-of-the-line educators and facilities during the school both at Queen’s and at SNOLAB, the world-class science facility 2km underground in Sudbury.


Where is CAPSS being hosted?

To the best of our abilities, we will hold CAPSS in-person at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON, and SNOLAB in Sudbury, ON, following applicable public health requirements. If additional public health guidance is issued, the university’s event planning guidelines may be adjusted, which could impact what components of CAPSS are held in person. However, we do not expect such changes to be necessary.


Will there be a CAPSS 2025?

CAPSS 2018 was the inaugural edition of the Canadian Astroparticle Physics Summer School, and it and CAPSS 2019 were very successful. CAPSS 2020 was canceled due to the pandemic, and in 2021 was held virtually. Finally, in CAPSS 2022 we held an in-person CAPSS at Queen’s, and a virtual visit to SNOLAB, while in 2023 we returned to a fully in-person school. We plan to continue to hold CAPSS in person annually, with CAPSS 2025 hopefully being announced in Fall 2024.


Who are the instructors? What is the full program for CAPSS 2024?

This is on our Information page. Note, all instructors and the final schedule has not be confirmed yet for 2024.

Prof. Joseph Bramante (Queen’s/MI)
Prof. Erica Caden (SNOLAB/Laurentian)
Prof. Ken Clark (Queen’s/MI)
Prof. Guillaume Giroux (Queen’s/MI)
Prof. Ian Lawson (SNOLAB/Laurentian)
Prof. Ryan Martin (Queen’s)
Prof. Tony Noble (Queen’s/MI)
Prof. Nahee Park (Queen’s)
Dr. Tom Sonley (SNOLAB)
Prof. Kristine Spekkens (Royal Military College)
Prof. Aaron Vincent (Queen’s/MI)
Prof. Lawrence Widrow (Queen’s)


Who is the target audience for CAPSS?

This school is targeted at strong 2nd year and 3rd year undergraduate students in a Physics, Astronomy or Engineering program. We also welcome more senior students, particularly those not graduating this summer or who are not already accepted for graduate studies. Both Canadian and international students are welcomed to apply.


Are there any course requirements for CAPSS?

While there are no set course prerequisites to attend CAPSS, we require at least two years of standard undergraduate course curricula from a Physics, Astronomy or Engineering program. Please include in your application materials a list of courses that will be completed this Winter term before attending CAPSS.


I am a 1st year undergraduate student. Can I apply to CAPSS?

We strongly suggest you wait until at least your second year to apply to CAPSS, as you will likely not have the necessary background to fully benefit from the school. However, you can certainly apply for consideration!


I am a 4th year undergraduate student. Can I apply to CAPSS?

We welcome applications from 4th year and more senior undergraduates, particularly if they will not have graduated by the time they attend CAPSS, i.e. if they will still be in their undergraduate program for next fall.


I am a graduate student. Can I apply to CAPSS?

As this school has been developed with undergraduate students in mind, we are not accepting applications from graduate students. However, do consider the Graduate Instrumentation and Detector School (GRIDS), which typically occurs in June.


I am an international undergraduate student. Can I apply to CAPSS?

We welcome applications from both Canadian and international students. Note that with the school held in person, you will need to secure your own travel to and from the school. Sorry for the inconvenience!


I am a Queen’s University undergraduate student. Can I apply to CAPSS?

We welcome applications from students from all universities, including Queen’s University.


How can I apply to CAPSS?

Find out how to apply here.


What are the admission criteria for CAPSS?

Selection of successful applicants will be performed by a committee that will be judging complete application packages which must include the following:

  • Sent via email with the subject line that reads “CAPSS 2024 YOUR_LAST_NAME FIRST_INITIAL”
  • Their most recent academic transcript (unofficial transcripts are permitted), including a list of classes you will complete by CAPSS (if not included in your transcript)
  • letter of interest (1 page maximum) outlining why you would like to participate in CAPSS; this must specify in what year the applicant currently is and whether you will have graduated by the time you attend CAPSS 2024.

These documents should be sent attached to the same email and respect the following naming convention:

– FirstnameLastname_Transcript.pdf
– FirstnameLastname_Letter.pdf

Additionally, applicants must arrange for one reference letter to be sent to Applicants should ensure that their referee specifies the name of the applicant their letter is for. It is highly recommended that the reference letter writer can speak to the applicant’s experience and work ethic in Physics or physical science courses, as well as any possible research experience. The letter writer should not be a fellow student.

You will receive an email confirming receipt of your application, and we will only contact you regarding your reference letter if it has not been received by the deadline, so please inquire if you do not receive a confirmation.

The application period has been extended to Feb 15th, 2024.


Can I send you my referee’s letter in my application package directly?

No, reference letters must be sent to us at directly from the referee.


What is the application deadline?

The deadline to apply has been extended to February 15th, 2024, for both applications and reference letters.


Can I submit an incomplete/late application package and still be considered?

No, we will only accept complete application packages sent to us by the application deadline at


Can I edit my application package once it has been submitted?

No, you will not be able to modify your application package once we have received it.


When will I hear back about my application?

Due to the number of applicants, applicants are likely not be notified about the status of their application until early March.


Can I receive any course credits for attending CAPSS?

No, this summer school is a non-credit program. However, attending to CAPSS will greatly benefit your education and research experience moving forward!


How many students will you be accepting?

Given CAPSS is intended to be held in person, we must limit the number of students for the classes, accommodations, and food constraints. We will likely admit about 20 students.


Is there a registration fee? When is it due?

There is no registration fee, but successful applicants will need to pay a reimbursable deposit of $100. This is to reserve their spot at CAPSS. Successful applicants will be given information on how to pay this deposit when they receive their acceptance letter. The deposit will be fully reimbursed upon completion of the school. The deposit is in no way intended as a barrier, but to ensure that admitted students participate and use the accommodations and food we reserve for participants. We do not want to leave a spot open that could have been granted to a student we turn away due to capacity issues. If upon admission into the program a student is unable to provide the deposit, for what every reason, we will discuss how to best accommodate them.


What accommodations/meals/transportation are included in CAPSS?

Successful applicants will have accommodations provided for them from the evening of Sunday, May 5th 2024 until the morning of Saturday, May 11th 2024. While at Queen’s University, students will be staying in a residence with a private room but a shared bathroom. Accommodations for the SNOLAB portion of the summer school will be a hotel with a shared room and bathroom. If there are any concerns with these accommodations, please let us know when you are accepted to CAPSS.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided from Monday to Friday, inclusive. A banquet dinner will also be provided during one evening . Students will be responsible for paying for their other meals.

Transportation from Queen’s University to SNOLAB and back will also be provided. Students will be travelling in a mid-sized coach bus with heating, air conditioning, and a washroom. There will be opportunities to be dropped off at various locations during the drive back to Kingston, including in Toronto.

No bed lines or towels will be need for Queen’s or Sudbury accommodations.

You must provide for your own transportation to and from Queen’s University. If your travels necessitate arriving at Queen’s on Saturday, May 4th, please let us know as we may be able to provide an additional night of accommodations.


Is travel to Kingston, ON included?

Students will have to arrange for their own travel to and from Kingston, ON before and after the school. For those flying, we recommend either:

  • flying to Pearson International Airport in Toronto, then taking the express train to the downtown train station, and taking a Via Rail train to Kingston. The express train is free with a Via Rail connection.
  • flying to Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, then taking the shuttle to the train station, and taking a Via Rail train to Kingston. The shuttle is free with a Via Rail connection.

If your travels necessitate arriving at Queen’s on Saturday, May 4th, please let us know as we may be able to provide an additional night of accommodations.


Can I be dropped off somewhere before Kingston, ON on the return trip from SNOLAB?

On the return trip from SNOLAB at the end of the school, students will have the chance to be dropped off near Barrie, ON, and at Union Station in Toronto, ON if this facilitates their return trip home. This is the only (non-rest) stop the bus will be making during this trip.


Are there any travel grants available?

At this time, we will not be providing travel funding or grants for any of our successful applicants, but we encourage them to explore sources of funding for travel from their home institutions.


What do I do if I have food allergies?

If you have any food allergies or intolerances, please contact us at


What do I do if I have accessibility needs?

Please contact us at and we will endeavour to address your specific accessibility needs related to the program.

For any other questions, please email us at