Masters Degree Requirements
The Master of Science degree is designed to provide graduate study opportunity to students who wish to obtain a terminal Master of Science Degree or who seek to pursue the Masterís in route to a doctoral degree. The Thesis Option is recommended for the former group of students and the Comprehensive Examination Option is recommended for the latter. Students should consult the document "Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees" concerning other general requirements for the Master of Science Degree. Such requirements involve, but are not limited to, Residency, Transfer of Credits, Course Viability, Length of Time for Completion of Degree, Enrollment in Thesis Courses, Grades for Thesis Courses, Academic Status, Foreign Language Requirements, and Admission to Candidacy for the Degree.
Master of Science Plan A
Plan A, the Thesis Option, requires a minimum of 30 credit hours, of which 24 must be spent in course work and 6 in Thesis work. Courses must include:
PHYS-210/211 (Classical Mechanics I&II),
PHYS-214/215 (Electromagnetic Theory I&II) and
PHYS-220 (Quantum Mechanics I).
Additional courses must be approved by the Department -- Mathematical Methods in Physics I&II, Advanced Laboratory I&II, Quantum Mechanics II and Statistical Mechanics I&II are recommended. The student must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 to satisfy graduation requirements. Students should consult the document "Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees" concerning grades below "B." Students following Plan A must write and defend a Masterís Thesis. See the section on M.S. Theses and Ph.D. Dissertations below.
Master of Science Plan B
Plan B, the Comprehensive Examination Option, requires a minimum of 30 hours of course work (excluding research and thesis courses) and the successful completion of a Comprehensive Examination. Courses must include:
PHYS-210/211 (Classical Mechanics I&II),
PHYS-214/215 (Electromagnetic Theory I&II),
PHYS-220/221 (Quantum Mechanics I&II) and
PHYS-222 (Statistical Mechanics I).
Students must make a grade of "B" or better in each of these courses to complete the degree under this option. Additional courses must be approved by the Department -- Mathematical Methods in Physics I & II and Advanced Laboratory I & II are recommended. The student must maintain an overall GPA of 3.0 to satisfy graduation requirements. Students should consult the document "Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees" concerning grades below "B."
Projected Plan of Study
All students must have on file an approved "Projected Plan of Study." This plan will outline the courses that the student intends to take, and the semester of projected enrollment in such courses. Additionally, the plan must indicate if the student if following Degree Plan A or Degree Plan B and correspondingly the projected date for the completion of the thesis or the completion of the M.S. Comprehensive Examination. This plan, which must be signed by both the student and the Department Chairman, must be completed within the first semester of registration in the program.
Admission to Candidacy for the M.S. Degree
Before being admitted to Candidacy for the M.S. Degree, the student must complete twelve credits in graduate courses, and if the student is following Plan A have a thesis topic approved by the department, or indicate that the he/she is following Plan B. Other requirements are described in "Rules and Regulations for the Pursuit of Academic Degrees."
Description of the Master of Science Theses
Students following Plan A in the Master of Science Program must write and defend a thesis based on original research. Theses may be written in absentia. Students are advised to select a research advisor as early as possible.
The student is responsible for having a faculty member agree to serve as his/her Research Advisor. The student and the Research Advisor will mutually agree on a thesis project and the scope of work required for the project. The student and Research Advisor are responsible for recommending a Thesis Title and a Thesis Committee to the Department Chairperson. The Chairperson must approve both the subject and the Committee and recommend these to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The Master of Science Thesis should be a result of original research in the studentís field. The student should consult the graduate School of Arts and Sciences and the Department concerning appropriate approval forms and the format for the Thesis manuscript. The Thesis must be defended orally in a formal presentation to the physics faculty. This oral defense, which constitutes the Final Oral Examination for the Masterís Degree (Plan A), will encompass the specific work covered by the Thesis and the studentís general knowledge in physics. Thesis Committee members will vote on whether or not the student passes this oral defense of the thesis. (A thesis is not required for the Master of Science Degree, Plan B.)
Six (6) hours of PHYS-300 Thesis is required. As long as the student is using University facilities while working on a Master's thesis, the student must continue to enroll in a thesis course. If the student has accumulated more than six (6) hours of PHYS-300 Thesis, then he/she must register as an auditor in this course.
Description of the Master of Science Comprehensive Examination
Students following Plan B in the Master of Science Program must pass a Written Comprehensive Examination. The Master of Science Comprehensive Examination is described below in the section entitled "M.S. Comprehensive Examination/ Ph.D. Qualifying Examination."