Masters in Physics

8101
Master of Science
Classroom
No
Graduate
Main Campus - Melbourne
Major Code: 8101 Degree Awarded: Master of Science
Age Restriction: N Admission status: graduate
Delivery Mode/s: classroom only Location/s: main campus
Admission Materials: 3 letters of recommendation, résumé, objectives  

Graduate study in physics at the master's level generally follows one of two tracks. Either it aims to provide a sound core-course education in several fundamental, broad areas of physics at an advanced level to prepare the student for continued and specialized study toward the doctoral degree, or it may be directed toward preparing the student to apply his/her knowledge of physics to industry or other nonacademic environments. Coursework for the latter track tends to be more specialized and narrowly focused. The master of science program in physics attempts to serve both objectives, offering a balanced combination of basic core courses and those designed for applied physicists.

Admission Requirements

An applicant for admission should have an undergraduate degree in physics, any subfield of space sciences (astronomy and astrophysics, geosciences, planetary sciences, astrobiology) or an engineering field. All entering physics graduate students are required to be prepared in mathematics at least through vector analysis.

General admission requirements and the process for applying are presented in the Academic Overview section. The GRE scores from both the general and subject tests in physics are recommended but not required.

Degree Requirements

The master's degree is conferred on students who have satisfactorily completed a minimum of 30 semester credit hours of graduate study. A master's thesis is optional.

Master's degree students must complete the following five core courses with a grade of C or better:

Core Courses (15 credit hours)
Complete:
  • MTH 5201 Mathematical Methods in Science and Engineering 1
    Credit Hours: 3
    Fourier series and their convergence properties; Sturm-Liouville eigenfunction expansion theory; Bessel and Legendre functions; solution of heat, wave and Laplace equations by separation of variables in Cartesian coordinates.
  • PHY 5015 Analytical Mechanics 1
    Credit Hours: 3
    A general treatment of dynamics of particles and rigid bodies, rotational dynamics, potential theory; Hamilton's principle and principle of least action, Lagrange's equations; and applications.
  • PHY 5017 Electromagnetic Theory 1
    Credit Hours: 3
    Introduces electrostatics, boundary-value problems in electrostatics, multipoles, electrostatics and macroscopic media, dielectrics, magnetostatics, Faraday's law, Maxwell equations, plane electromagnetic waves and wave propagation.
  • PHY 5030 Quantum Mechanics 1
    Credit Hours: 3
    Schroedinger equation, discrete and continuous eigenfunctions and eigenvalues, collision theory, matrix mechanics, angular momentum perturbation and other approximation methods, identical particles and spin, semiclassical theory of radiation, atomic structure.
  • PHY 5082 Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics
    Credit Hours: 3
    Covers the principles and applications of statistical thermodynamics, thermal and general interactions of macroscopic systems and parameter measurement. Also includes basic methods and applications of statistical mechanics, equilibrium conditions, quantum statistics of ideal gases, and the kinetic theory of transport and irreversible processes.
    Requirement(s):
    Prerequisite course or instructor approval

 

In addition, students must take three subject courses and six semester credit hours of Thesis (PHY 5999). Students choosing to complete a nonthesis program must take two additional subject courses in place of the six semester credit hours of thesis. The subject courses must be PHY or SPS 5000-level or higher, and must include at least two courses from the following:

Subject Courses (a minimum of 2 courses from the following)
  • MTH 5202 Mathematical Methods in Science and Engineering 2
    Credit Hours: 3
    Solution of heat, wave and Laplace equations by separation of variables in cylindrical and spherical coordinates. Associated Legendre functions, hypergeometric functions and spherical harmonics. Fourier transforms and separation of variables for heat and wave equations on infinite intervals. Vector integral calculus.
  • PHY 5018 Electromagnetic Theory 2
    Credit Hours: 3
    Continues . Includes radiating systems, multipole fields and radiation, scattering and diffraction, special theory of relativity, dynamics of relativistic particles and electromagnetic fields, scattering of charged particles, Cherenkov radiation, radiation by moving charges, Bremsstrahlung and radiation damping.
  • PHY 5031 Quantum Mechanics 2
    Credit Hours: 3
    Schroedinger equation, discrete and continuous eigenfunctions and eigenvalues, collision theory, matrix mechanics, angular momentum perturbation and other approximation methods, identical particles and spin, semiclassical theory of radiation, atomic structure.
  • PHY 5035 Solid State Physics 1
    Credit Hours: 3
    Includes crystal structure, crystal diffraction and the reciprocal lattice, crystal binding, lattice vibrations, phonons, Brillouin zones, thermal properties of insulators, free electron Fermi gas, energy bands in metals and Fermi surfaces.
  • PHY 5045 Introduction to Elementary Particle Physics
    Credit Hours: 3
    The fundamental laws and principles that govern the behavior and structure of matter on the subatomic scale. Definition and classification of elementary particles and fundamental forces; properties of elementary particles and their experimentally observable behavior; symmetries and invariance principles; Feynman diagrams; interaction of particles with bulk matter.

 

Students are allowed to take at most one subject course outside the department (PHY or SPS) in addition to Mathematical Methods in Science and Engineering 2 (MTH 5202). Course substitutions must be approved by the department head and the Graduate Research and Academic Steering Panel (GRASP).

 

A general written examination is required in the first semester of residence for diagnosing any deficiencies in undergraduate preparation. Any deficiencies must be removed before a degree will be granted, as evidenced by this examination.

 

Before the master's degree is granted, the student must pass a final oral examination administered by a committee of three or more members of the graduate faculty selected by the student and the departmental advisor and including at least one member from outside the physics department. The oral examination emphasizes, but is not necessarily restricted to, subject matter related to the field of the thesis. For students not electing to do a thesis, the oral examination covers the general areas of the student's graduate studies.