Apr 25, 2024  
University Catalog 2011-2014 (PRINTED) 
University Catalog 2011-2014 (PRINTED) [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics, M.S.

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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

Applicants must meet University requirements for admission to graduate study. Students must apply to both the department and the University. 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 306 , 425A , 426A  and 432A .

New graduate students must consult with the departmental graduate adviser 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.

Students must apply to both the department and California State University, Los Angeles. The departmental application form and the department application deadlines can be found on the department’s website, www.calstatela.edu/dept/physics

Requirements for the Degree (45 units)

A total of 45 units is required, with at least 25 in 500-level courses. Advancement to candidacy is prerequisite to filing the thesis or taking the comprehensive examination. Students should apply for candidacy immediately upon completing 16 units of their official program with the required grade point average.


Students select Option A or Option B 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 adviser.

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 596 ) 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 596) the quarter they complete all course work on their program and must comply with college and departmental requirements.

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