Professional Master of Science Degree


Professional Master of Science Program

The M.S. 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 is full time and should be completed within two years.

To earn the M.S. degree in the Department of Physics, a student must satisfy the Department’s minimum graduate-level credit requirement.  The Physics Department requires at least 30 credits at the 300 level or above.  Fifteen of the 30 credits must be earned from taking the physics core graduate courses, each passed with a grade of B or better.  These courses are Physics 711 (Dynamics), 715 (Statistical Mechanics), 721 (Electrodynamics), 731 (Quantum Mechanics I), and 732 (Quantum Mechanics II).   The remaining 15 credits may be earned through a combination of research (Physics 990) and coursework, to be determined by the advisor in consultation with the student.   An overall 3.0 GPA must be maintained. 

In addition to the credit requirements for the M.S. degree, the student must present satisfactory evidence of scientific writing and presentation skills.  This will be done 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 or through a Preliminary Examination.

A Master of Science Degree is awarded to a student who has:

1. satisfied the graduate-level credits requirements and Physics course requirements,

2. passed the Qualifying Examination in Physics at the Master’s level,

3. completed a Master’s project, and

4. made a presentation of a research project or passed prelim examination.

The Master’s project, which will result in the Master’s Thesis, 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.

No later than the end of the fourth week of the second semester in residence, every Master’s student should acquire an advisor who agrees to supervise the Master’s project. The project must be written up as a Master’s Thesis. The thesis must be approved by the student’s advisor, and a second faculty member appointed by the Graduate Program Director.   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 advisory and second faculty member must certify that the student’s writing and speaking skills are at a satisfactory professional level. 

©2013 Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System