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Master of Science in Physics

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M.S. Degree in Physics

Candidates must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of advanced lecture courses (numbered 500 or above) in physics and related subjects within a period of 7 years. These courses must include

A minimum of 2 hours in PHSX 899 Master’s Research/Thesis is required, with a maximum of 6 hours that count toward the master’s degree. A candidate who has not had an advanced undergraduate laboratory course (junior/senior level) must take one of the 3 advanced laboratory courses offered in the department.

Undergraduate Certification

Certification of knowledge of undergraduate physics normally must be completed within 12 months of entering the M.S. program, in addition to the required course work. Extension is possible with recommendation of the graduate admission committee. Certification can be achieved in several ways:

  1. A scaled Graduate Record Examination physics score greater than or equal to 600; or
  2. Determination by the graduate director and graduate adviser, based on the diagnostic examination given on entering the program combined with the student’s undergraduate record, that the student understands all major elements of undergraduate physics; or
  3. Successful completion with grade of B or higher of all undergraduate courses that the graduate director or adviser recommends based on the results of (2).

A student who has not succeeded in certifying undergraduate physics knowledge could, within 12 months of starting the program, petition the graduate committee for an oral examination on undergraduate physics. The oral examination is administered by a committee of 6 faculty members assigned by the department.

Communication Skills

All graduate students must deliver at least 1 oral presentation a semester, with at least 2 faculty members or their professional equivalents present.

General Examination

Candidates must pass a general oral examination in physics. The examination is given shortly before completion of other work for the degree. A master’s thesis is not required but may be submitted if the candidate and the director of the candidate’s research believe it to be appropriate.

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M.S. Subspecialty in Computational Physics and Astronomy

A total of 30 hours of graduate credit is required. The 33 hours listed below under parts A and B may include certain undergraduate-level electrical engineering and computer science courses. Students entering the program may have satisfied several of these requirements. A total of 30 hours of graduate credit is still required. No more than the required 6 hours of PHSX 899 Master’s Research/Thesis may be counted toward the degree.

A. Required Courses (21 credit hours)

PHSX 815 Computational Methods in Physical Sciences/ASTR 815 Computational Physics and Astronomy 3
PHSX 718 Mathematical Methods in Physical Sciences 3
MATH 781/EECS 781 Numerical Analysis I 3
EECS (1 course at the 300 level or above in addition to EECS 781) 3
Note: Courses below the 500 level do not count toward the required 30 hours of graduate credit.  
1 additional PHSX/ASTR/ATMO course at the 500 level or above 3
PHSX 899 Master’s Research/Thesis 6

B. 12 or more credit hours from the following list:

Note: A course used to fulfill a requirement under A (e.g., EECS 448) may not also be counted under B.

  • *EECS 360 Signal and System Analysis (4)
  • *EECS 368 Programming Language Paradigms (3)
  • *EECS 388 Computer Systems and Assembly Language (4)
  • *EECS 448 Software Engineering I (4)
    *Courses below the 500 level do not count toward the required 30 hours of graduate credit.
  • EECS 560 Data Structures (4)
  • EECS 672 Introduction to Computer Graphics (3)
  • EECS 848 Software Engineering II (3)
  • MATH 596, MATH 696, or MATH 796 Special Topics: _____ (3)
    (Examples of some recent topics: Mathematics of Wall Street, Computer-aided Study of Differential Geometry, Chaos and Fractals, Fractional Brownian Motion and Its Applications, Wavelet Analysis, Statistical Theory, Stochastic Differential Equations and Applications.)
  • MATH 611 Time Series Analysis (3)
  • MATH 627 Probability (3)
  • MATH 647 Applied Partial Differential Equations (3)
  • MATH 782/EECS 782 Numerical Analysis II (3)
  • MATH 783 Applied Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations (3)
  • PHSX/ASTR/ATMO courses numbered 500 or above (3)

C. Thesis

An important component of this degree is the completion and documentation of a successful computer project. A thesis must be presented that describes the basic physics involved in the project, the method of implementing the project, and a discussion of the results. An oral defense of the thesis is required before a committee of at least 3 members of the Graduate Faculty.

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