M.S. Degree in Physics-Quantum Computing FAQ

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.  We believe 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?

Direct financial support for the MSPQC is not available. However, 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 are NOT allowed to accept research assistantships, teaching assistantships, project assistantships or other University appointments that grant waivers of tuition and/or academic fees anywhere on campus. Accepting an assistantship or tuition waiver while enrolled in the program may lead to removal of the student from the MSPQC. On the other hand, corporate tuition support is not included in these categories, nor is the waiver of tuition due to veteran status. 

Can I apply to both the traditional M.S./Ph.D. program and the MSPQC?

Yes.  However, you must apply to each one individually.  On the Graduate School application, you will be allowed to apply for up to three options 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 M.S. in Physics-Quantum Computing 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, GRE general test (GRE subject test not required), 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?

Professors Coopersmith, Eriksson, Loffe, Joynt, Kolkowitz, Levchenko, McDermott, Saffman, Vavilov, Walker, and Yavuz are core faculty in the area of quantum computing.  The MSPQC Program Director is Professor Robert Joynt.  The MSPQC Committee Members are Robert Joynt (Chair), Mark Saffman, Mark Eriksson, Robert McDermott, Deniz Yavuz (Chair of the Graduate Program Committee), Stas Boldyrev (Chair of the Admissions Committee), Michelle Holland (Graduate Program Coordinator).  

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 webpages.

Whom should I contact if I still have questions?

We welcome further questions. Please contact our Graduate Program Coordinator Michelle Holland (michelle.holland@wisc.edu) for general inquiries about the department’s graduate programs, and Prof. Robert Joynt (rjjoynt@wisc.edu)with inquiries specific to the MSPQC.


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