Graduate programs

The Department offers the degrees of Master of Arts and Master of Science in Physics and Ph.D. in Applied Physics. The M.A. and M.S. programs are designed to further the development of the student as a professional physicist. Specific programs designed to meet the needs of the individual student are planned in consultation with the graduate advisers.

The department offers graduate courses in classical mechanics, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, statistical mechanics, physics of condensed matter, atmospheric physics, and biophysics. Current research areas in theoretical and experimental physics include: statistical physics, surface physics (scanning tunneling microscopy, near-field optical microscopy, AFM, electron microscopy), and membrane biophysics (transport in biological and artificial membranes), materials physics, and global change science (climate change and atmospheric physics and chemistry).

The department also participates in the Earth, Environment, and Society PhD Degree Program in Areas of climate change and policy.

Degree requirements

Physics M.A./M.S.

Applied Physics Ph.D.

Applied Physics Ph.D.


All doctoral students must earn a minimum of 81 credits beyond the bachelor's degree. Candidates for the Ph.D. in Applied Physics must satisfy requirements related to coursework, seminar, and a dissertation, including a minimum of 69 credits as follows:


Ph 617Quantum Mechanics


Ph 618Quantum Mechanics


Ph 631Electromagnetic Fields and Interactions


Ph 632Electromagnetic Fields and Interactions


Ph 624Classical Mechanics


Ph 585Experimental Methods in Applied Physics


Ph 607Seminar


Ph 603Dissertation




Electives: (all from one specialty area)

Total Credit Hours: 69

Approved electives in the three specialty areas of Nanoscience and Materials Physics, Atmospheric Physics, and Biophysics are found in the Physics Graduate Student Handbook and on the web at Candidates for the Ph.D. in Applied Physics are required to pass the comprehensive examination, a prospectus examination, and write and orally defend a dissertation.