Students are not normally admitted just for study leading to the M.S. degree in physics. Students in the Ph.D. program can obtain the M.S. degree in the course of their study, either as an additional degree, or leave with the M.S. prior to finishing the Ph.D.
There are two paths to completing the M.S. Degree in physics. The thesis option requires 30 hours of coursework, of which at most 6 hours can come from thesis research (PHYS 8000 or PHYS 9000 ), and the successful completion and defense of a master’s thesis. The nonthesis option requires a total of 36 hours of coursework, not including research classes (PHYS 8000 or PHYS 9000 ), and a comprehensive examination on that coursework.
Both options require that students pass eight required courses comprising 22 hours of credit: PHYS 7221 , PHYS 7225 , PHYS 7231 , PHYS 7232 , PHYS 7241 , PHYS 7242 , PHYS 7398 , and PHYS 7857 . They must also pass the departmental qualifying exam by the end of their second year. The qualifying exam for the M.S. or Ph.D. is offered twice each year. It is comprehensive and composed of questions at the advanced undergraduate level.
Master of Natural Science in Physics
A program leading to a Masters of Natural Science (MNS) program is also offered, providing breadth in science subjects as well as the depth in physics that is required for science teachers in junior and senior high school. For the MNS, 24 hours of graduate courses, and 6 hours of thesis research are required.