Degree Requirements | Applied Physics (M.S.)

Degree Requirements

The Department of Physics offers a Master of Science in Applied Physics degree. It is a degree program which has significant flexibility. It is open to students with undergraduate degrees in fields related to physics as well as those with physics degrees. It offers sufficient versatility in its requirements to allow students to prepare for a variety of career paths. Prospective students are urged to contact the Department to learn more.

Entering students can to choose to follow a targeted applied physics emphasis or a traditional applied physics emphasis for their degree. Students who choose a targeted emphasis are those preparing for a career which targets specific areas of applied physics such as materials science, optics, acoustics, or geophysics, and those planning to work in interdisciplinary areas such as computational physics (scientific computing), biophysics, chemical physics, physical oceanography, or engineering physics. This emphasis selection provides excellent preparation for interdisciplinary doctoral studies. Entering students choosing this emphasis are not necessarily expected to have completed all the courses that an undergraduate physics major takes, but they should have a good grounding in classical physics or be willing to make up deficiencies. Additional classical physics courses are expected to form part of the degree program. The student may choose to do 24 hours of coursework and a thesis, or 33 hours of coursework and no thesis. The graduate work must include at least 18 hours of physics (including thesis if a thesis is done) and 9 hours in a specialty area (which may be applied physics). At least 18 hours of work must be at a level of 6000 or above. The program of study must be approved by the student’s Master’s committee or the Department Graduate Advisory Committee.

The traditional emphasis is for those preparing for a career in which basic physics plays a central role, including those aspiring to employment heavily dependent on physics and those planning to continue into a Doctor of Philosophy program in applied physics or in physics. Except in limited unusual circumstances, the student is expected to do a thesis and 24 hours of course work. Of the 24 credit hours of coursework students selecting this emphasis are expected to take a minimum of 18 hours in physics of which at least 12 are taken in courses numbered above 6000. The program of study must be approved by the student’s Master’s committee or the Department Graduate Advisory Committee.

Each graduate student is expected to participate in the weekly seminar, Physics 6198. (A maximum of one hour credit in Physics 6198 may be used to satisfy program requirements.) After coursework is substantially complete, the candidate will be required to take a comprehensive examination. In the case of students who elect to do a thesis, the comprehensive examination will be an oral one in which the questions will be primarily on the thesis and related matters. Both emphasis choices offer excellent preparation for the interdisciplinary UNO Doctor of Philosophy program in Engineering and Applied Science, of which Physics is a strong participating department.