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MSPQC Program

Active Learning

The MSPQC blends instruction, hands-on quantum computing lab skill development, and research involvement.

Flexible Academic Plans

The MSPQC is designed so students of many STEM backgrounds can be successful and graduate in just one calendar year.

STEM-Designated Program

Gain a solid foundation in quantum information and computing in this distinctive program.


Graduates will have the tools to succeed as researchers or program managers in a quantum computing or technologies enterprise. They may also use the program as a springboard to Ph.D. programs. The curriculum includes:

  • Quantum theory
  • Quantum gates, measurements, algorithms, quantum error correction, and decoherence
  • Quantum communication theory and secure transmission of information
  • Supporting areas of statistical mechanics, solid-state physics, and atomic physics

Admissions & Program Overview

Fall 2025 applications are due March 15, 2025.

Spring 2025 applications will be considered for current UW-Madison students majoring in STEM who graduate in Fall 2024. This spring application deadline is October 15, 2024.  Applicants can apply using the Fall 2025 graduate school application that opens in September 2024.

Prospective students must apply for admission to the UW Graduate School and satisfy requirements for undergraduate GPA, bachelor’s degree, English proficiency, and financial information.

Admissions Materials:

  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts
  • Resume/CV
  • Statement of Purpose: Address relevant experiences and future research/industry interests and goals. Communicate motivations for pursuing the MSPQC, and convey how interests/experiences align with the strengths of the UW– Madison program

NOTE: GRE scores are NOT required and will not be considered in admissions decisions.

Application Fee Waivers: The MSPQC program has a limited number of application fee waivers available for the Fall 2024 application period. Please first check to see if you qualify for a fee grant from the Graduate School.  If you do not qualify by those requirements, you may apply for a fee grant directly from the Department of Physics.


Apply Today!

Credits: 30 credits required. Minimum of 15 credits (50%) must be graduate-level. A minimum of 16 graduate credits must be earned in residence at UW–Madison.

Tuition: $1,600/credit, $48,000.00 total.  Segregated fees and living costs are in addition to the cost of tuition.

Duration: Can be completed in one calendar year. 3-6 semester plans are available.

Courses: Required courses are offered by the Physics Department. All students must complete Physics 701, 709, 779, and 707. Electives offered by other departments must be approved by the MSPQC program. | List of Physics Courses

Grades: Students must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher.

Advising: Students work with MSPQC faculty to develop a plan of study.

Funding: Some MSPQC scholarships are available for competitive applicants during the admissions process. All applicants admitted to the program are considered for this scholarship. Applicants do not need to submit a separate scholarship application.

Students may accept teaching, research, or project assistantships, but may not accept tuition remission that may be offered with those positions. Contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to discuss federal loan programs and other lending opportunities.

Why Study Quantum Computing at UW-Madison?

The MSPQC program is affiliated with the Wisconsin Quantum Institute (WQI), the home for quantum science and engineering at UW-Madison.

Students also have access to professional development opportunities through UW–Madison’s membership in the Chicago Quantum Exchange, the National Science Foundation’s Quantum Leap Challenge Institute, HQAN, and the Department of Energy’s Q-NEXT Center.

Leverage these professional networks to launch your quantum career!

This graph shows the number of listings on a given day in the month listed. Source: Quantum Computing Report, https://quantumcomputingreport.com 

Mark Eriksson gives a tour of his research lab

Is the MSPQC right for you?  To help prospective students answer this question, we asked three graduates, Why MSPQC? 


Students from the first-ever MSPQC class share their motivations for enrolling in the program and quantum computing career goals. MSPQC Director, Prof. Bob Joynt, discussed the need for this new program.


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What is distinctive about the Master's Program in Physics-Quantum Computing (MSPQC)?

The new program offers much more specialized training in quantum computing than other Physics M.S. programs.  It is the first program in the US to do this.  The first class has been admitted for the Fall 2019 semester.  It is an intensive program intended to be completed in one calendar year rather than the more usual schedule of two years.  It offers a unique mix of classroom and laboratory instruction.

What if once in the MSPQC program, I change my mind and want to work toward a Ph.D. degree in Physics?

You would need to apply to the Ph.D. program directly using the add/change major form for currently enrolled students.  Admission to the MSPQC is completely separate from the Ph.D. program.

What kind of M.S. degree would MSPQC participants receive?

The level of degree received by the MSPQC graduates is at the same level as that of the M.S. degree that students in the traditional M.S. program receive. The designation on the transcript will read “Master of Science in Physics- Quantum Computing.”

Can international students apply to the MSPQC?

Yes. International applications are welcomed. If you accept our offer of admission, the Graduate School will send an I-20 form that you can use to apply for a visa to come to the UW-Madison campus to study.

Is there a long-distance option for the MSPQC?

At the moment, the MSPQC does not support this option. You would need to be present on the UW-Madison campus.

May I apply for financial aid?

MSPQC Scholarships may be made available to highly competitive applicants during the admissions process.  Students can contact the Office of Student Financial Aid to discuss federal loan programs and other lending opportunities. Students interested in financial assistance should call Student Financial Aid at (608) 262-3060.

Am I eligible for a graduate assistantship?

Students enrolled in the MSPQC may accept research assistantships, teaching assistantships, project assistantships or other University appointments that grant waivers of tuition and/or academic fees anywhere on campus–they may accept the salary and any benefits offered through the appointment EXCEPT tuition waivers or tuition remission.

Students may accept corporate tuition support, waiver of tuition due to veteran status, or other private grants and scholarships that cover tuition or student fees.

Can I apply to both the traditional Physics Ph.D. program and the MSPQC?

Yes.  However, you must apply to each one individually.  Please note the Physics Ph.D. admissions deadline is December 15th so your application must be received by that time.  On the Graduate School application, you will be allowed to apply for up to three program with one application.  If you are admitted into multiple programs, you must decide which one to attend before enrollment begins.

What is the degree requirement for the MSPQC and what courses am I required to take?

The MSPQC requires the completion of 30 credits, of which at least 15 must be at the graduate level.  Three courses in quantum computing: Physics 707, 709, and 779 are required. An overall GPA of 3.0 must be maintained.

How long does it take to complete the MSPQC?

A student who starts in the fall semester, takes a full course load, and maintains a 3.0 average will finish the MSQPC in one calendar year. The program is designed to make this possible.  Permission from the department is required to finish the MSQPC on a longer schedule.

How much does the program cost?

The tuition cost is $1,600.00 per credit and the program requires 30 credits.  Therefore the cost is $48,000.00 for the whole program.  Segregated fees and living costs are in addition to this.

What are the application requirements?

The application requirements are the same as the requirements for applicants to the regular M.S./Ph.D. program, except the GRE Subject test is not required. Applicants must:

  • satisfy the Graduate School requirements with respect to undergraduate grade-point average, bachelor’s degree, English proficiency, and international financial information
  • submit three letters of recommendation, official transcripts, a resume/CV, and a personal statement.

Because the application deadline for the MSPQC is later than that for the traditional M.S./Ph.D. program (March 15 vs. December 15), you have more time to prepare and submit the required materials.

What should be in my personal statement?

We use the personal statement (also known as “reasons for graduate study” or “statement of purpose”) to better understand your academic and professional background.  Any information you provide to help with the above goals is appreciated. If there is anything else you would like us to know, this is also the place to include it.

What faculty are associated with the MSPQC?

Please visit the MSPQC Faculty page for a directory of current Committee members as well as quantum computing faculty in the department. In addition, the Wisconsin Quantum Institute (WQI) gathers faculty in Quantum Information Science and Engineering (QISE) from across campus.

Where can I find more information about the MSPQC?

You can find out more about the program’s degree requirements and curriculum as well as the application process by reviewing our program page, the GUIDE MSPQC page, or at the Department of Continuing Studies.

Whom should I contact if I still have questions?

We welcome further questions. Please send questions to physgrad@physics.wisc.edu.