Requirements for the M.S.

The M.S. program in Physics is course-based (no thesis or research requirements). The requirements that must be satisfied are described below and can be completed within two years, under normal circumstances.

The requirements for the M.S. degree in Physics consist of the following:

  • Minimum of 30 graduate credits taken (course number 500 or higher);
  • At least 12 credits shall be at 600-level or higher;
  • At least 21 of the credits must be in physics;
  • At least 21 of the total credits must be for a letter grade, and the GPA must be at least 3.0.  The Graduate Program Director must provide approval before a course may be taken as Pass/Fail;
  • Independent Study credits are allowed, up to a maximum of 15 credits.  All Independent Study credits must be approved by the Physics Graduate Program Director, who will ask that a comprehensive plan be drawn to ensure that the credits earned reflect a sufficiently high level of study or training and that the means of evaluating performance are appropriate;;
  • A maximum of 6 credits of graduate-level coursework taken at another institution can be transferred to the UMass M.S. program.  Courses taken as Pass/Fail cannot be transferred.


An Accelerated M.S. program is available to UMass and other Five-College undergraduates only. Its purpose to allow strong undergraduate students who are currently pursuing a B.A. or B.S. degree to begin taking graduate courses early, with the intent to complete the requirements for the M.S. degree in as little as one academic year after completion of the B.A./B.S. This program is hence sometimes referred to as a "4+1" M.S. program. The degree requirements are the same as described above, but with the following conditions imposed:

  • No course credits that are used to satisfy the B.A./B.S. requirements can be also used to satisfy the M.S. requirements (i.e. no "double dipping" allowed);
  • A maximum of 9 credits of graduate-level (500-level or above) coursework completed while pursuing the B.A./B.S. degree can be transferred to the M.S. program (but only if they were not used to satisfy B.A. or B.S. requirements, as described above).


See the list of Master's Degree Requirements at the Graduate School site, especially the Master's Degree checklist.