About the M.S. Program

The M.S. program is course-based (no thesis required) and allows students the flexibility to design a sequence suitable for a number of career paths.

  • A "springboard" to a Ph.D. program:  Many students, upon graduation with a Bachelor's degree, are very interested in continuing their physics studies, but are faced with some uncertainties.  Some are unsure as to whether or not they wish to commit immediately to a Ph.D. program, which typically lasts 5-7 years.  Others are clear in their desire to eventually pursue a Ph.D., and possibly a career in academia, but feel the necessity to first strengthen their understanding of physics at an advanced level.  In both cases, the two-year M.S. program is perfectly suited to achieve these goals.
  • Training for industry:  A specialized Masters degree provides critical training for jobs in industry, with specializations in areas of physics that overlap with other fields, such as geosciences, engineering, polymer science, data science, etc.  The student and faculty advisor together design a “specialization” track that incorporates courses that help build the skills and experience needed for entry into the private sector.  

Please note that students in the terminal M.S. program are ineligible for teaching or research assistantships in the Physics Department, or any other department within the Five-College system.

A complete overview of our department, including graduate courses, seminars, research programs, faculty listings, general information about the campus, enrollment requirements, financial aid, and details about how to apply for graduate school can all be found on our web pages at prospective students. You will find under the research area there are links to the individual research groups' website. More details about the process of applying to our graduate school can be found at http://www.umass.edu/gradschool Our information is also included in our American Institute of Physics and Astronomy listing at http://www.gradschoolshopper.com.

Amherst is a typical New England college town, with bookstores, coffee shops and a wide range of cultural activities. The surrounding Pioneer Valley is quite rural, with wooded hills, rivers and lakes, and an abundance of hiking, biking and ski trails. As rural as we are, we are within a few hours of major metropolitan areas of Boston and New York and all that they have to offer. A free bus system connects the University with the town and with the four first-rate undergraduate liberal arts colleges in the local area. The programs of these colleges enrich the many cultural offerings available.

We welcome any inquiries about our program or about life at UMass. Should you require additional information, please feel free to contact the Graduate Program Director, Lori Goldner, at lgoldner@umass.edu.