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Requirements for the M.S. Degree in Physics

In this Section

These regulations supplement the general requirements of the University and School of Arts and Sciences. The University and School regulations should be consulted for the full description. Exceptions to some Physics requirements can be granted by the Physics Graduate Committee, with the approval of the department Chair. 

To maintain qualification for study towards Master’s degree, the student must, no later than the end of the second semester of study, select a general research-interest topic and find a research advisor. This requirement applies to both thesis-option and non-thesis-option students. 

To be awarded a Master’s Degree in Physics, students must meet the following requirements, which have been approved by the faculty of the Physics Department. Out of the total 30 credit hours required for the Master’s degree, at least 18 credits of coursework are required. This includes completion of appropriate courses from the PH661, PH663, PH669 sequence as described below.  In addition to coursework, at least 6 credits of thesis research in Physics, PH699; and at least 2 credits of seminar, including 1 credit of PH683 or PH684 (Graduate Seminar) are required.

A minimum of 19 credit hours out of the total of 30 must be taken in Physics (coursework, seminars, and thesis credits). Each Spring or Fall semester that they are registered for credit hours, those students who at the time receive any financial support via the University, such as full- or part-time teaching or research assistantship, tuition discount, etc., must take at least one credit of PH699.

Thesis option: Students are required to take, and obtain a grade of at least B in, at least one of the following courses PH661, PH663 or PH669.

Non-thesis options: Students are required to take all 3 of the following courses PH661, PH663, PH669, and obtain a grade of at least B in each of them. The student’s advisor may authorize, with the approval of the Department Chair, replacement of at most one of these courses with another advanced Physics or other course appropriate for the student’s program (the B minimal grade requirement still applies).

Non-thesis options students who do not take and pass the Comprehensive Examination (which is usually taken as part of the Ph.D. track) must have their research (PH699) and coursework include carrying out a professionally oriented Special Project. The completion of the Project is verified by a Faculty Committee (as per University regulations) and certified by the student’s academic advisor in a notice to the Department Chair that defines the Project’s topic.