Jul 24, 2024  
University Catalog 2017-2018 
University Catalog 2017-2018 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics, M.S.

The Master of Science degree in Physics is designed to prepare students for community college teaching, employment in industry, or further graduate study toward the doctorate in Physics.

Admission to the Program

In addition to submitting a University Admissions Application through Cal State Apply, applicants must also apply separately to the Department.  Application forms are available on the Physics and Astronomy Department’s website (http://web.calstatela.edu/dept/physics/).  Completed application, statement of purpose, two recommendation letters, and unofficial transcripts must be received by the Department by the deadline stipulated on the Graduate Studies Office website (http://www.calstatela.edu/graduateadmissions).   Official transcripts must also be sent to the Graduate Studies Office ADM 702 before the set deadline.    Applicants must meet University requirements for admission to graduate study. The minimum requirements for admission are a Bachelor’s Degree with a grade point average of at least 2.5.  Before undertaking required graduate courses, students must complete the equivalent of an undergraduate major in physics, and must have specific competence in the subjects covered in PHYS PHYS 4251 , PHYS 4261 , PHYS 4321 .

New graduate students must consult with the departmental graduate advisor before registration for assistance in planning their programs. Students should achieve classified graduate standing as early as practicable in their graduate study because it is prerequisite to the completion for credit of any courses in the degree program.

Requirements for the Degree (30 units)

A total of 30 units is required, with at least 22 in 5000-level courses. Advancement to candidacy is prerequisite to filing the thesis or taking the comprehensive examination. Students should apply for candidacy immediately upon completing 12 units of their official program with the required grade point average.


Students select Option A (Research Option  ) or Option B (Course Option  ) for completion of their program. Option A emphasizes research and requires a thesis. Option B emphasizes advanced study, which may be taken in a variety of physics areas. Option B programs may include research and directed study; such programs culminate in a comprehensive examination rather than a thesis. For special professional objectives, students may include graduate level work in engineering, another science or mathematics area in Option A or B, with approval of advisor.

The Interdisciplinary Studies Master’s permits the combination of physics courses with courses in biology and chemistry in a program suited to interdisciplinary professional careers.


Comprehensive Examination (0 units)

All candidates must pass an examination administered by the department. For students who elect Option A (Research), this is an oral examination based on the thesis. For students who elect Option B (Course), this is a Comprehensive Examination (PHYS 5960 ) about graduate level physics.

Normally, it will be a three-hour written examination, which may be supplemented by an oral examination at the discretion of the examining committee. The examination will be given at least twice a year as announced by the department.

Students should expect to take the Comprehensive Examination (PHYS 5960 ) the semester they complete all course work on their program and must comply with college and departmental requirements.