MA in Physics
A student may obtain a master’s degree en route to the PhD. A student who only achieves a pass in the written comprehensive exam and completes the general requirements for the MA degree may apply for the master’s degree diploma.
A total of eight courses (32 credits) are required (with grades of B– or higher). Of these, five must be lecture courses numbered between 500 and 850. These lecture courses must include CAS PY 581 Advanced Laboratory; CAS PY 511, 512 Quantum Mechanics; CAS PY 501 Mathematical Physics; CAS PY 521 Electrodynamics; and CAS PY 541 Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics I.
Up to three non-lecture courses (numbered above 850) may be counted toward the course requirements, but no more than one directed study course and one seminar course may be counted toward the course requirements.
In addition to the courses described above, first-year students are required to take GRS PY 961 and 962, Scholarly Methods in Physics.
Written Comprehensive Examination and Thesis Requirements
To qualify for a master’s degree, a student must either pass the written comprehensive examination, or write a thesis based on research and study in physics.
A full description of the written comprehensive examination appears in the outline of the PhD program. A student must initially take this examination no later than August of the second year. A passing grade qualifies a student for the degree of Master of Arts; however, a high pass is needed to qualify for the PhD.
The thesis option is available to those who do not achieve a passing grade on the written comprehensive examination. MA thesis work may not be accompanied by any departmental financial aid. To pursue the thesis option, a student should seek a faculty advisor to supervise the MA dissertation. The scope of the dissertation work is to be determined by the faculty advisor and should: (1) critically evaluate previous research in the candidate’s field; (2) present the results of a scientific investigation in an intelligible and logical manner; and (3) apply known or new methods to advance an experimental technique, extend the application of a physical theory, or produce new data or observations.
As the research nears completion, the candidate writes a dissertation describing the results. The faculty advisor consults with the Director of Graduate Studies to appoint an examination committee, which consists of four departmental faculty members, including a first and second reader. The committee will examine the candidate’s knowledge of the subject based on an oral defense of the dissertation. The defense consists of a general presentation of the candidate’s research, which should last no more than 30 minutes. The candidate may then be questioned on the background, scope, and limits of the research work.
The thesis option is rarely followed in the department.
- CAS PY 501 Mathematical Physics
- CAS PY 502 Computational Physics
- CAS PY 511 Quantum Mechanics I
- CAS PY 512 Quantum Mechanics II
- CAS PY 521 Electromagnetic Theory I
- CAS PY 522 Electromagnetic Theory II
- CAS PY 541 Statistical Mechanics I
- CAS PY 542 Statistical Mechanics II
- CAS PY 543 Introduction to Solid-State Physics
- CAS PY 551 Introduction to Particle Physics
- CAS PY 561 Introduction to Nuclear Physics
- CAS PY 571 Introduction to Biological Physics
- CAS PY 581 Advanced Laboratory
- GRS PY 621 Advanced Scientific Computing in Physics
- CAS PY 681 Electronics for Scientists
- GRS PY 699 Teaching College Physics I
- GRS PY 701, 702 Advanced Mathematical Physics
- GRS PY 711 Advanced Quantum Theory for Condensed Matter
- GRS PY 713 Quantum Field Theory I
- GRS PY 714 Quantum Field Theory II
- GRS PY 731 Theory of Relativity
- GRS PY 741 Solid-State Physics I
- GRS PY 742 Solid-State Physics II
- GRS PY 743 Low-Temperature Physics
- GRS PY 744 Polymer Physics
- GRS PY 747 Advanced Statistical Mechanics
- GRS PY 751, 752 High-Energy Physics
- GRS PY 761 Nuclear Physics
- GRS PY 762 Intermediate Energy Physics
- GRS PY 771 Biophysics
- GRS PY 811 Advanced Quantum Field Theory
- GRS PY 841 Symmetry in Solid-State Physics
- GRS PY 842 Many-Body Topics in Solid-State Physics
- GRS PY 891, 892 Seminar: Philosophical Foundations of Physics
- GRS PY 895, 896 Seminar: Special Topics in Theoretical Physics
- GRS PY 897, 898 Seminar: Special Topics in Experimental Physics
- GRS PY 961, 962 Scholarly Methods in Physics 1 & 2
May be taken as semester or half-semester courses. Hours arranged. Variable cr.
- GRS PY 901, 902 Research in Physics
- GRS PY 907, 908 Research in Physics and Philosophy
- GRS PY 909, 910 Directed Study in Physics