Requirements for the Master's Degrees in Physics

This information is addressed primarily to students who expect to complete the Master of Science or Master of Arts degrees. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Professional Master Of Science Program In Physics Students may be admitted directly to the Master of Science program in Physics. The Master of Science program is a terminal professional program designed to strengthen the student's physics background, and enhance his or her opportunities for employment as a physicist or in physics education. The program should normally be completed in two years or less by full time Master's students. Students admitted to the Ph.D. program may also earn a Master of Science in Physics en-route to the Ph.D. Requirements To earn the Master of Science degree in Physics, a student must satisfy the graduate-level credits requirement set by the Graduate School, complete the Physics course requirements, pass the Qualifying Examination in Physics at the Master's level, and complete a Master's project. The Physics Department requires at least 18 credits of graduate work with a GPA of 3.0 or better. At least 12 of the 18 credits must be in physics courses other than Physics 990 (Research) which are numbered above 500. Other non-physics courses carrying graduate credit (courses numbered 300 or above) or Physics 990 may be used to meet the additional 6-credit requirement. The courses should be selected in consultation with the student's advisor to best meet the student's professional objectives. The student must also present satisfactory evidence of scientific writing and speaking skills. This will normally be done in connection with the Master's project through the submission of a Master's Thesis written at a satisfactorily professional level, together with an oral presentation of the project in a departmental seminar. The scientific communication requirement can also be satisfied by passing Physics 601, Scientific Presentation.   Master's Project The Master's project is a directed physics research project which can be completed in one to two semesters. It is intended to give the student direct experience with real physics problems, and a chance to demonstrate his or her ability to carry a project through to completion and prepare a description of the results written at a professional level. Every Master's student should acquire an advisor who agrees to supervise the Master's project no later than the end of the second semester in residence. The project must be written up in a Master's Thesis. The thesis must be approved by the student's advisor and a second faculty member appointed by the Graduate Program Coordinator. If the Master's project is to be used to satisfy the scientific communication requirement, the results must be reported orally in a departmental seminar, and the advisor and second faculty member must certify that the student's writing and speaking skills are at a satisfactory professional level. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Academic Master of Arts Program in Physics Students may be admitted directly to the Master of Arts program in Physics, or earn a Master of Arts in Physics en-route to the Ph.D. The Master of Arts program is an academic, course-based program designed to strengthen the student's physics background, and to enhance his or her opportunities for employment as a physicist or in physics education. The program should normally be completed in two years by full time Master's students. Requirements To earn the Master of Arts degree in Physics, a student must satisfy the graduate-level credits requirement set by the Graduate School, complete the Physics course requirements, and pass the Qualifying Examination in Physics at the Master's level. The Physics Department requires at least 24 credits of graduate course work with a GPA of 3.0 or better. At least 18 of the 24 credits must be in physics courses other than Physics 990 (Research) which are numbered above 500. Other non-physics courses carrying graduate credit (courses numbered 300 or above) or Physics 990 may be used to meet the additional 6-credit requirement. The courses should be selected in consultation with the student's advisor to best meet the student's objectives. Time Limits A Master's Program should normally be completed in two years or less. The program must be completed in three years. The time limit may be extended by the Chair for Master's candidates who were accepted into the program on a part-time basis, and present an acceptable plan for completing the degree. Ph.D. candidates who wish to obtain a Master's degree in Physics may do so at any time prior to earning the Ph.D. by completing the requirements for either the M.S. or the M.A. Warrants A warrant from the Graduate School is required to receive both the M.S. and the M.A. degrees. The warrant will not be issued if the student has a grade of "Incomplete" on record. It is the responsibility of the student to inform the Graduate Coordinator that the degree is expected and to determine that all required work has been completed. Transfer to the Ph.D. Program Students admitted initially only to a Master's program must reapply to the Physics Admissions Committee if they wish to enter the Ph.D. program. Acceptance into the Ph.D. program is not automatic, and will be decided on the basis of the student's record and prospects for completing the Ph.D.
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