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Master's Program

Masters of Science Degree Program

The Department of Physics and Applied Physics offers the following M.S. degrees:

All M.S. degrees require, at the minimum, 30 credit hours, as well as completion of a research component 

1. Academic Advising Committee and Research Supervisor

All students in the Physics graduate program will be assigned an Academic Committee that consists of the student's Research Supervisor and at least two other faculty members selected by mutual agreement between the student and the Research Supervisor. One of these members should be outside the direct research area of the Research Supervisor. Until one is officially assigned, the relevant Graduate Coordinator will serve as the Academic Advisor. Students meet with the Academic Advising Committee at least once per semester prior to course registration decisions. The Committee reviews students' adequate progress towards their Graduate Degree and reports to the Graduate Coordinator. Committee members external to the department or institution could be chosen, especially in cases where the research extends beyond the department, but they would have to be in addition to the three members from the department.

The Research Supervisor is responsible for research guidance, and his/her approval is required to register for Dissertation, Thesis, or Project Research credits.

2. Research 

Although no schedule is imposed, if you enter the M.S. program without undergraduate deficiencies you should have found a Research Supervisor, formed an Academic Advising Committee, and have started investigation of a proposed research topic by the end of your first year. The choice of a research topic is often accomplished by matching your interests with topics suggested by a prospective supervisor or with research projects presently in progress. After forming an Academic Advising Committee, a student electing the Thesis track must defend a proposal, which shall be a brief description of the research problem you propose to investigate for your Thesis, or a description of the Project you wish to undertake. A student who elects the Project track must obtain the approval of the Research Supervisor for the Project Proposal. An M.S. project must be completed and defended in one semester.  

After completing the research, you must submit to the Physics Department a thesis or project report in the format specified by the “UML Thesis and Dissertation Guide.” Students are required to submit a printed copy of their thesis to the Department in addition to the electronic submission to the Library.  Thesis students must then pass an oral defense conducted by an Academic Advising Committee.  This examination will be primarily based on, but not necessarily restricted to, the subject of your thesis.  A student submitting a Physics M.S. Project Report must pass an oral defense of the Project, which will be primarily based on, but not necessarily restricted to, the subject of the Project.  

3. Grades Below B 

As per University Policy, no more than 6 credits of grades below B may be counted towards the fulfillment of the M.S. degree. No graduate degree will be awarded to any student whose overall cumulative grade point average falls below 3.000. 

4.  Time Limit 

All requirements for the M.S. degree must be completed within five years after entrance into the graduate program. After five years, subsequent registration in that program will not be permitted without special permission. M.S. candidates must maintain continuous matriculation.  Students who do not register for a semester must apply for readmission to the Graduate Admission Office. 

5. BS/MS program 

Under BS/MS track (see the University allows students who meet certain GPA requirements and are otherwise admissible to MS program to double-count up to 6 graduate credits, taken during their undergraduate course of study towards both MS and BS degrees 

M.S. Degree in Physics (GeneralGeneral, Thesis and Non-thesis pathways)

M.S. Degree in Physics requires a minimum of 30 credit hours with at most 3 credit hours from colloquium or seminar courses.

All students are expected to have completed as part of their undergraduate studies: a two-semester course in electromagnetic theory (PHYS.5530/40 or equivalent) and a two-semester course in introductory quantum mechanics (PHYS.5350/60 or equivalent).

M.S. Degree in Physics: OpticalOptical Sciences Option

This is a terminal Master’s Program for students who have completed a bachelor’s degree program in Physics, Engineering, or other sciences and wish to specialize in electro-optical phenomena, lasers, applications of optics to telecommunication and information processing, fiber optics, and other optical materials and devices. It is offered in cooperation with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, which offers an allied option in opto-electronics.  


All full-time candidates are required to register for Physics Colloquium, PHYS.7010/7020, at least one Physics Seminar every semester. After attending the general Graduate Seminar, PHYS.7110/7120, for one year, students may elect take one of the specialized seminar instead.

Up to a total of 3 credits for colloquia/seminars can be counted forward a graduate degree.