Physics (M.S.)

For some students, the master’s degree will be used as part of a continuing Ph.D. program; for others, it will be a terminal degree leading to employment in government laboratories, industrial programs, hospitals, teaching positions, and other occupations. The Master of Science with a Major in Physics is offered under Plan A or Plan C.

Admission Requirements

Admission to this program is contingent upon admission to the Graduate School. In addition, applicants must satisfy the following criteria.

Prerequisite preparation should include:

A minimum of general college physics with laboratory equivalent to:
(PS) University Physics for Scientists I
University Physics for Scientists II
Introductory Modern Physics
Fifteen credits in intermediate physics courses, for example, those equivalent to the following:
Methods of Theoretical Physics I
Classical Mechanics I
Classical Mechanics II
Quantum Physics I
Quantum Physics II
Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
Electromagnetic Fields I
Electromagnetic Fields II
(WI) Modern Physics Laboratory
Mathematics eqivalent to mathematics prerequisites reguired in those physics courses
A minimum of general college chemistry with laboratory equivalent to:
(PS) General Chemistry I
and General Chemistry I Laboratory (or equivalent courses)

The Graduate Record Examination, both the General section and the Physics subject test, is strongly recommended as a counseling aid in preparing the student’s plan of study.

Academic Scholarship: All course work must be completed in accordance with the regulations of the Graduate School and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.


The Master of Science degree is offered by this Department only under the following two options:

Plan A

Twenty-four credits in course work plus an eight-credit thesis.

Specific requirements include the following:

  1. The following physics courses or their equivalents must be completed or must have been completed previously at the undergraduate level.
    PHY 5100Methods of Theoretical Physics I3
    PHY 5210Classical Mechanics II3
    PHY 6400Quantum Physics I3
    PHY 6410Quantum Physics II3
    PHY 6500Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics4
    PHY 6600Electromagnetic Fields I3
    PHY 6610Electromagnetic Fields II3
  2. Mathematics equivalent to mathematics prerequisites required for the course work listed above.
  3. At least nine credits of coursework in physics at the 7000 level or above (exclusive of PHY 7990, PHY 7996, PHY 7999, PHY 8995, PHY 8999).
  4. PHY 8999 Master's Thesis Research and Direction.
  5. A departmental final oral examination is required of all candidates.

Plan C 

Graduate students who have successfully presented their Ph.D. prospectus can obtain a Master of Science degree under Plan C by virtue of having earned the required 32 credits in course work. (The M.S. in physics may be earned as a Plan C option ONLY as conjoint to the Ph.D program.) Interested students should contact the Graduate advisor in the Department for more information.