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CSULB No. 1 in Number of Physics Master’s Graduates

Published: July 1, 2014

The Physics and Astronomy Department at CSULB has the largest number of physics master’s graduates among U.S. master’s granting universities, according to a new report on U.S. collegiate physics program graduation rates by the American Institute of Physics (AIP).

During 2010, 2011 and 2012, the department averaged 12 master’s of science graduates, the highest among 62 physics master’s granting universities.

“This accolade is the result of the faculty’s dedication to student success during the last decade,” said Department Chair Chuhee Kwon. “The department faculty’s goal is to support students to achieve their dream, whether it is to go to a Ph.D. program or to have a career in industry or teaching.”

The graduate students take a combination of core theoretical and practical skills development courses as well as do a research-based thesis with department faculty members, often resulting in students and faculty co-authoring papers in scientific journals.

“It is a demanding program for the students as well as the faculty,” Kwon said, but one that opens doors. More than one-third of CSULB master’s graduates are accepted into Ph.D. programs while others teach at community colleges or high schools or take positions in industry or government.

“The department has been proactively addressing the national needs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workforces,” Kwon noted. “Since 2010, we have partnered with the American Physical Society (APS) for the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) Project to increase the number of qualified high school physics teachers.

Photo of Chuhee Kwon in her office

Chuhee Kwon

“In addition,” she added, “the department was recently selected as an APS Bridge Program site to increase the number of physics Ph.D.s awarded to underrepresented minority students—Hispanic, African and Native Americans.”

The AIP report is available at the AIP website.