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Our Master of Science (MS) program is designed to meet the needs both of professionals seeking career advancement and students looking to move on to a Ph.D. While our program emphasizes applied physics, research opportunities in basic science are available as well as in physics education research and K12 teaching. Program features include:

• Convenient class times for both full-time and part-time students. Classes are offered late in the afternoon and usually meet once a week in a three hours session per subject.DBH168_edited_5

• Flexible course options with up to 12 units of electives included in each study plan. The average graduation time for our program is four semesters, but part-time students may enroll in one course per semester if necessary and have up to five years to complete the program.

• Research opportunities in atomic and molecular collision science, astrophysics, gravitational waves and relativity, condensed matter theory, fiber optics, and surface physics. Our College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics shares with the College of Engineering a state-of-the-art machine shop where students and faculty design and build custom instrumentation. 

• TA and RA support for most incoming students. We try to offer interested masters students part-time instructor positions teaching one or more of our introductory physics laboratories. There are also opportunities for compensated research working with faculty.

DBH168_edited_4• Convenient location off the 57 Freeway provides easy access for residents of Orange County, eastern and southern Los Angeles County, western San Bernardino County, and western Riverside County. Both on-campus and off-campus dormitories and apartments are available for resident students.

For additional details please contact our Department Chair Ionel Tifrea by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by regular mail at

Professor Ionel Tifrea
Department of Physics
800 N State College Blvd
California State University Fullerton
Fullerton, CA 92834 USA

Applicants must meet the university requirements for graduate admission as detailed in the University Catalog under Graduate Admission.

In addition, the department requires applicants to have completed an undergraduate degree in physics from an accredited university. However, applicants with a degree other than in physics will also be considered if they have completed at least nine units of upper division physics courses. The GRE physics is not required of applicants with a degree in physics and an overall GPA of 3.6 or higher, but it is mandatory for international students or for applicants with a degree other than in physics. 

Applications for the program are completed onlineTo ensure timely processing and review of application materials, please contact the Graduate Advisor Ionel Tifrea by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. In addition, please arrange three letters of recommendation to be submitted by email or regular mail before the deadline. Out of state and international students interested in a tuition waiver should contact the Graduate Advisor Ionel Tifrea before the deadline.

Application deadline: Applications received before March 1st for the Fall semester and October 1st for the Spring semester will receive full consideration. After March 1st, and respectively October 1st, all applications will be reviewed on a case by case basis until the official CSU application deadline (July 1st for Fall semester, and December 1st for Spring semester).

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.