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. Although the average graduation time for our program is four semesters, 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 Graduate Advisor 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: March 1st for the Fall semester and October 1st for the Spring semester. Applications received after the deadlines will be considered on a case by case basis.


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 is the more traditional with focus on a research project culminating with the thesis written under fairly tight university guidelines. Projects have more flexibility for completion including journal publication and meeting presentation of the research, no formal thesis is required.

Courses required of all students (Plans A, B, & C)

  • 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 530B Electromagnetic Theory II         
  • Physics 555B Quantum Physics II                  
  • 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 12 units (Plan A) or 6-11 units (Plan B or C) can be chosen from any of our 400- or 500-level physics elective course offering, but excluding Physics 410, 455, 495, 496, 499, and 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.