May 20, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Graduate Bulletin

Physics, M.S.

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The Master of Science (M.S.) degree program degree in physics require a combination of appropriate coursework and original research mentored by a graduate faculty member leading to the completion of a research thesis that is presented and defended by the candidate in a public forum.

Learning Outcomes

The objective of the master’s degree program in physics is to produce graduates that have the ability to enter the workforce and perform as productive, professional, ethically-aware scientists. A student who successfully completes the M.S. degree in physics will possess the following:

  • Sufficient knowledge in the core fields of physics;
  • The ability to assimilate and synthesize existing knowledge in a specialized subfield of physics and to critically analyze and evaluate research, their own and that of others, in this field;
  • The ability to make a scholarly contribution within a specialized subfield of physics in a timely fashion;
  • The ability to communicate science both verbally and in writing; and
  • Knowledge concerning the ethical standards for scientific endeavors and the reporting of research results.


To be admitted to the graduate program, an applicant must satisfy the general admission requirements of the Graduate School and be approved by the physics graduate program advisor. Applications should be made through the Graduate School and must include the following:

  • A baccalaureate degree in physics or engineering physics or equivalent from an accredited institution;
  • An undergraduate G.P.A. of 3.0 or higher;
  • Results from the Graduate Record Examination (GRE); and
  • Three references or evaluations from qualified individuals familiar with the applicant’s academic and/or technical background.

Applicants from non-native English speaking countries must satisfy English proficiency requirements, including a minimum TOEFL score of 80 on the internet-based exam or 213 on the computer-based exam. Applicants from non-English speaking countries may submit a minimum score of 6.0 on the IELTS exam in place of a TOEFL score.

Students that have not completed the prerequisite undergraduate courses may be admitted on a conditional basis. In such cases, students will be required to take necessary undergraduate courses, without graduate credit, to remove deficiencies.

Curriculum Requirements

Upon admission, the student will confer with the department graduate advisor to plan course sequencing and discuss research options. Satisfactory progress in coursework is required and students are required to maintain a minimum 3.0 cumulative G.P.A. to remain in good academic standing.

Core physics credit hours (PHYS 7003 , PHYS 7043 , PHYS 7063 , PHYS 7083 ) 12
Minimum credit hours of thesis 3
Minimum semester hours of 6000-level or 7000-level mathematics 3
Maximum semester hours of approved physics 6000-level courses 6
Maximum semester hours of independent study 3
Minimum total credit hours 30

No more than 6 hours of transfer credit beyond the bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution may contribute toward fulfilling degree requirements. Transfer credit is subject to approval by the physics graduate program advisor and the Dean of the Graduate School.

By the end of the first semester in the program, the student must have selected a general research area and reached an agreement with a graduate faculty member to serve as their research advisor. The research advisor will then select an oral examination committee consisting of the advisor and two other qualified members. At least one member of this committee must be from outside the Department of Physics and Engineering Physics  and may be a qualified expert in the research area from outside the University. The makeup of the examination committee is subject to the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School.

Upon completion of the thesis, the student must pass a comprehensive oral examination. The student’s committee conducts this examination which covers the student’s entire graduate program with emphasis on the research work and content of the thesis. The thesis must be formatted according to Graduate School guidelines and the oral examination must be completed in time to meet Graduate School deadlines.

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