Requirements for the M.S.

1) Courses

The requirements for the Master's degree in Physics consist of 30 graduate credits with an average of B, at least 15 of which shall be in the 600-900 courses, and at least 21 of which shall be in physics. At least half of the total credits must be "graded". The 21 credits of physics courses shall include one course in the basic quantum mechanics sequence or its equivalent, and may include up to six credits of master's thesis, Physics 699 (if writing a thesis) and/or up to six credits of Independent Study, Physics 596/696/796/etc. At least five courses in physics must be passed with a grade of A or B, and the M.S. general exam must be passed before the degree is awarded.

A checklist for a Physics MS degree can be found here.

2) General Examination

The M.S. general exam is an oral examination in which the student has the option of:

  1. presenting a report on a topic of his or her choice (which has been approved by the Examination Committee) and answering questions on this topic, or
  2. submitting to questioning on undergraduate and first-year graduate physics, or
  3. defending a thesis. (A thesis committee of at least two members will be appointed by the Graduate Dean; committee members are nominated by the department's graduate Program Director.)

A student achieving a sufficiently high score on the Ph.D. qualifying exam will be exempted from the M.S. general exam.

Students who elect to carry out a Master's thesis do so under the guidance of a research adviser. The thesis may be used as six of the required 30 credits necessary for the degree. At least one Master's thesis credit (Physics 699) is required. The thesis defense oral examination satisfies the Master's degree examination requirement.

3) Admission

The Physics Department does not offer admission to a terminal MS program. Only current UMass graduate students can apply for a Masters.