Master's Degree

Overview

After obtaining admission to the Graduate College, all students must successfully complete the following steps in order to receive a master's degree:

  1. Pass the Preliminary Exam on undergraduate-level physics.
  2. Complete all required course work with an adequate GPA.
  3. File a Memorandum of Courses before finishing one half of the course work for the M.S. degree. (Most students should do this during the second semester of their studies).
  4. Apply for the M.S. degree using the online graduation form in MyRed.
  5. Pass the M.S. Comprehensive Examination (comprising only course grades).
  6. Complete a thesis (if the thesis option described in the Graduate Studies Catalog is chosen).

Preliminary Examination

A preliminary exam on undergraduate-level physics must be passed. All students will take this exam as a placement exam prior to the first semester of study. Depending on the outcome, the graduate committee may recommend or require the student to take selected 800-level courses before the corresponding 91x courses. The exam is offered twice a year: once before the beginning of the fall semester (August) and once after the spring semester ends (May). Students may take the exam up to three times and must pass before beginning their second academic year.
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Master's Degree Course Work

In addition to the requirements given in the Graduate Studies Catalog, a candidate for an M.S. degree must satisfactorily complete the following courses:

  • Physics 811: Methods in Theoretical Physics I
  • Physics 911: Classical Mechanics
  • Physics 913: Electromagnetic Theory I
  • Physics 916: Quantum Mechanics I
  • Physics 998: Special Topics in Current Research
And one of the following courses:
  • Physics 912: Statistical Physics
  • Physics 914: Electromagnetic Theory II

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Memorandum of Courses

A memorandum of courses, approved by the Supervisory Committee, must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies. See the Graduate Program Associate in the Main Office (208 JH) for assistance. A student may NOT file a memorandum of courses and graduate in the same semester or summer session.
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M.S. Comprehensive Examination

To pass the M.S. Comprehensive Examination, students must have a GPA of at least 2.5 in Physics 911, 912 (or 914), 913, and 916. Students with an average GPA of 3.00 or above in these courses will be awarded an M.S. degree en route to a Ph.D. without having to write a master's thesis (Option III as specified in the Graduate Catalog). This GPA will be reported to Graduate Studies as the grade for the M.S. Comprehensive Exam.

Students with a cumulative GPA below 3.00 but at least 2.50 will be able to obtain the M.S. degree by defending a master's thesis and passing an oral exam (Option I as specified in the Graduate Catalog).

Students with a cumulative GPA below 2.5 for two consecutive semesters will be dismissed from the program.

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