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A minimum of 30 units of course work is required to complete the program. Three plans of study are available:

Plan A course work and a comprehensive final exam

Plan B faculty mentored research and a written thesis

Plan C faculty mentored research and project

The thesis option (Plan B) requires students to complete a research project, supervised by a Physics faculty member, and culminates with the production of a written thesis, per university guidelines. No formal thesis is required for the Project option (Plan C), the student's project instead culminates in an oral presentation of their research to the Physics Department. Students taking the final exam (Plan A) are not required to undertake any research, but must pass a comprehensive exam at the culmination of their degree.

Required Courses (Plans A, B, & C; 12 units)

  • Physics 510  Mathematical Physics         
  • Physics 520  Analytical Mechanics                
  • Physics 530A Electromagnetic Theory I       
  • Physics 555A Quantum Physics I

All 500-level courses are three units each.                 

Additional Requirements (Plan A - 6 units; Plans B & C - 3 units)

  • Physics 516  Thermal and Statistical Physics   
  • Physics 554 Solid State          

Additional Requirements (Plans B & C)

  • Physics 599  Independent Graduate Research       
  • Physics 598  Thesis     1-6 units, two semesters minimum
  • Physics 597 Project     1-3 units, two semesters minimum

The remaining units can be chosen from any of our 400- or 500-level physics course offerings, excluding courses (or their equivalents) used to satisfy undergraduate degree requirements. In cases where the research objectives or career goals are interdisciplinary in another science, 400- and 500-level courses outside of physics may be chosen, e.g. in mathematics and engineering, or in teacher preparation.