Applied Physics, M.S.

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Application Deadline

Rolling admissions.

Master of Science Degree in Applied Physics

The Master of Science program in Applied Physics is an interdisciplinary program that offers students the opportunity to complete graduate studies in physics with a particular emphasis on applied research and technology development for industry. The program is a formally recognized Professional Science Master's degree program, meaning that in addition to science courses, students are also required to take courses in management. The program in Applied Physics has two tracks — materials science/ nanotechnology and optics/optical instrumentation — intended to develop the state's workforce in the established optics and materials science industries, as well as in the emerging nanotechnology sector.

In addition to the Applied Physics program, students pursuing the Master of Science in Science Education (Secondary) may choose their concentration in physics. Admission to that program is through the Department of Science Education and Environmental Studies. For information concerning physics courses and research opportunities in physics that are applicable toward the Master's degree in Science Education, contact Professor Karen Cummings, Physics Department adviser for students in the M.S. in Science Education. Refer to the section entitled "Admission to Teacher Certification Programs" in the beginning of this catalog under "Application and Admission" for additional information.

Departmental Admission Requirements

In addition to the admission requirements of the Office of Graduate Admissions found in the Application and Admission section of this catalog, all applicants must submit the following documents to complete their application to the M.S. in Applied Physics program:

A one page statement indicating their academic background, area of interest, and their career plans, and
Two letters of recommendation.

Course work in the program, except in unusual circumstances, cannot begin until the student has completed an undergraduate degree in science, mathematics, engineering, or a related field with grade point average of 3.0 or higher, and until the student has completed the equivalent of 18 credits of Physics at the undergraduate level. The general GRE test is recommended for admission, but not required.

Program Sequence - 36 Credits

As sequencing changes, it is highly recommended that students meet with their program advisor to finalize a list of requirements for graduation.  

The Master of Science degree in Applied Physics requires completion of a total of 36 credits (or approximately 12 courses) with a "B" or better average. All students in the program must complete a core consisting of the following six courses with a "B" or better average. 

Core Courses
PHY 507 – Applied Physics graduate Seminar – 3 credits
PHY 512 – Methods of Theoretical Physics I – 3 credits
CHE 520 – Advanced Physical chemistry I – 3 credits
CSC 541 – Digital Image Processing – 3 credits
MBA 500 – Management Process – 3 credits
MBA 505 – Marketing Management – 3 credits

Choose One Track

Materials Science/Nano Track
PHY 519 – Nanotech I: Fundamentals of Nanoscience – 3 credits
PHY 521 – Nanotech II: Characterization of Nanomaterials – 3 credits 

Optics/Optical Instrumentation Track
PHY 530 – Optics and Detector Physics – 3 credits
PHY 531 – Interferometric Methods in Imaging and Precision Measurement – 3 credits

Elective Courses (Choose two)
PHY 513 – Methods of Theoretical Physics II – credits
PHY 522 – Nanoscale Fabrication and Synthesis – 3 credits
CSC 551 – Pattern Recognition – 3 credits
CSC 561 – Scientific Visualization – 3 credits
CHE 532 – Advanced Inorganic Chemistry
MBA 507 – Legal Issues in Business & Management
MBA 510 – Project Management – 3 credits
MBA 512 – Strategic Factors in Marketing – 3 credits
MBA 515 – International Entrepreneurship – 3 credits
MBA 537 – Product Management – 3 credits
MBA 538 – Marketing Analysis and Measurement – 3 credits
MBA 548 – Business Process Excellence – 3 credits

Thesis (completion of six core courses, two track requirements, and two elective courses)

Special Project (six core courses, two track requirements, and two or three elective courses)

After the core, the student will select one of two focus areas in the program: (1) Materials Science/Nanotechnology, or Optics/Optical Instrumentation. Each track has two further required courses (PHY 519, PHY 521 and PHY 530, PHY 531, respectively). The remaining courses are selected from the list of approved courses with the consent of the adviser. The program has a requirement for the successful completion of a research project, which can take one of two forms as detailed below, and an internship with a local company, which is not for course credit.

Master's Thesis

The thesis track requires the completion of the six core courses (18 credits), two track requirements (6 credits), two elective courses (6 credits), and a thesis (PHY 590, 591) based on research acceptable to the department. Students must complete these two courses in sequence; that is, the thesis proposal and initial research (PHY 590) must be completed prior to enrolling in PHY 591. A student must apply to the department for the thesis defense and provide a final draft of the completed thesis at least two weeks prior to the defense date.

Research Project

Students may also satisfy the degree requirements with the six core courses (18 credits), the two track requirements (6 credits), two or three elective courses (6 or 9 credits), and a special project (PHY 580) (3 or 6 credits). In this case, the research project work may in some cases be completed with a host company where the student will complete the work and be overseen by an on-campus adviser.