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Physics and Astronomy

Graduate Programs

Master of Science in Physics

Option in Applied Physics (code PHYSMS02)

The Option in Applied Physics provides a master's degree program that emphasizes concepts and techniques particularly appropriate for applied physics. It is intended for students having a background in physics, engineering, or a related field.


  • 1. A bachelor's degree with a major in physics, or
  • 2. A bachelor's degree with a major in engineering with upper division physics substantially equivalent to PHYS 310, 340A,B, and 450, as determined by graduate advisor, or
  • 3. A bachelor's degree with upper division physics and mathematics courses essentially equivalent to PHYS 310, 340B, 450; and MATH 370A,B; as determined by the graduate advisor.

Students deficient in undergraduate preparation must take courses to remove deficiencies as determined by the graduate advisor.


  • Take all of the following:
    • PHYS 510 Graduate Mechanics (3)
    • PHYS 522 Statistical Physics (3)
    • PHYS 540A Graduate Electrodynamics I (3)
    • PHYS 550A Quantum Mechanics I (3)
    • PHYS 560A Mathematical Methods of Physics (3)
    • PHYS 695 Colloquium (1)
  • Take two courses of the following (one must be 545 or 546):
    • PHYS 545 Experimental Methods in Physics I (3)
    • PHYS 546 Experimental Methods in Physics II (3)
    • PHYS 576 Modern Optics with Laboratory (3)
    • PHYS 580 Computer Interfacing in Experimental Physics (3)
  • Completion of the following:
    • Take 2 additional units of graduate-level PHYS course;
    • Take 6 units of the following:
      • PHYS 698 Thesis (6)
    • Completion of a written thesis, and an oral presentation of the thesis research. The members of the candidate's thesis committee must approve the thesis before the student may schedule the oral presentation.

Note: Students must be advanced to candidacy before enrolling in PHYS 698. As early as possible, a graduate student should choose a thesis chair who will help in selecting the student's thesis committee consisting of at least three members (including the thesis chair and at least one other faculty member of the Department).

Advancement to Candidacy

  • 1. The regulations governing the master's degree are those in effect at the time of advancement to candidacy. Students must fulfill the University requirements for advancement to candidacy.
  • 2. A student must have a "B" average or better in six units of physics applicable toward the master's degree, of which at least three units are at the graduate level.
  • 3. Recognizing that effective organization and verbal communication of physics are a necessary part of a successful graduate program, the Department of Physics and Astronomy normally requires that a graduate student serve at least one semester as a teaching associate or a graduate assistant as part of the M.S. program. Exceptions may be granted by the Graduate Advisor.
  • 4. Approval of the degree program by the graduate advisor, the Department Chair and Associate Dean in the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.