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Physics - M.A., M.S., and Ph.D. PDFDownload to print

College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Physics

105 Smith Hall
Tel: 330-672-2246
Fax: 330-672-2959


The Master of Arts (M.A.) in Physics is a highly flexible program that can be customized according to the constraints of the individual student. This flexibility is a good match for the needs of part-time students who continue to hold full-time employment in secondary education or in industry. Also, students in the Ph.D. program can apply for this M.A. degree after completing the requisite number of credit hours.

The Master of Science (M.S.) in Physics consists of graduate coursework and a research project taking one or two semesters. The research Thesis is to be defended orally. This degree provides entry-level qualifications for team research employment and a high school teaching career.

The Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Physics provides training of professionals to conduct independently conceived programs of research or teaching in universities or research laboratories. Original research is required in fundamental or applied areas of physics, and the Ph.D. dissertation must be orally defended. Two years of graduate coursework are typical.

Admission Requirements

Official transcript(s), 3.0 GPA (for unconditional admissions), goal statement, three letters of recommendation and resume or vita. A physics subject GRE test score is highly recommended to ensure an application for the Ph.D. program is competitive.Please refer to the University policy for graduate admissions.

Graduation Requirements

M.A.: A total of 32 semester hours of graduate credit is required, with no more than one half at the 50000 level. The distribution of these hours will be planned by the student together with the faculty advisor to best fulfill the preparation of the student.

M.S.: A total of 32 semester hours of credits is required, which includes 6 hours of thesis and the following physics courses or their equivalents: 55201, 55202, 6/75101 and 6/76161. The remaining hours may be divided among course, seminar and research credits according to the interests of the student with the consent of the advisor. A thesis presenting and interpreting results of original research is required.

Ph.D: Each student is required to take a set of basic courses as outlined in the Departmental Information and Policy Guide. Students may petition to have specific course requirements waived if a grade of B (3.000) or higher was obtained for an equivalent course at another school. The basic physics courses will prepare the student for the candidacy examination. Students present at least one seminar during their graduate career.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduates of these programs will be able to:

1. Demonstrate cognitive skills important to a physicist. They will learn to think critically and analytically. They will learn how to define and solve problems in physics. The MS students will be exposed to research in a contemporary area of physics. The doctoral student will learn how to perform research in contemporary areas of physics research at the highest level.

2. Demonstrate a core knowledge and understanding of the foundations of physics.

3. Communicate results of their work to peers, to various target groups within the physics community, and to people outside the discipline. Teaching skills also come under this heading. 

Thesis/ Dissertation

Ph.D.: The dissertation presents results of original research. Topics available for dissertation research are primarily in the areas of condensed matter physics and high-energy nuclear physics. Condensed matter research emphasizes liquid crystal/soft condensed matter physics and systems exhibiting highly correlated electrons/superconductors. It includes problems involving theory and computation, critical phenomena, X-ray scattering, nuclear magnetic resonance, light scattering, magnetic and electric phenomena, ultrasonics, and thermal and optical properties. Small angle neutron scattering and synchrotron X-ray experiments are carried out at national facilities such as the National Institute for Standard and Technology and Argonne National Laboratory. High-energy nuclear research probes the subatomic structure of matter via the subatomic particles and their strong interaction processes. Experiments are carried out at national accelerator facilities such as the Thomas Jefferson National Laboratory and the Brookhaven Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider. Research in subatomic theory concentrates on modeling hadrons in terms of quarks and gluons using relativistic quantum field theory and describing high energy collision processes of hot, dense nuclear matter in terms of basic quark-gluon interactions.