May 30, 2024  
2019-2020 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 UMass Dartmouth Graduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Physics MS

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Candidates for the MS degree in physics must complete a minimum of thirty semester hours of coursework. Graduate coursework comprises 500- and 600-level courses, although up to six credits of the total may be taken in advanced undergraduate (400 level) courses.

While the program is designed to meet a variety of professional needs, at least 15 credits of physics core courses are required. The remaining credits may be drawn from other engineering or science fields with prior approval of the Physics Graduate Program Director; or from PHY 616 Graduate Seminar, research-based courses (such as PHY 680, 685, and 690), or certain 400-level undergraduate Physics courses.

The Department offers three MS plans. It is recommended that the entering student consult with a faculty advisor as soon as possible to choose a plan and to project a course sequence.

Plan A:

Master of Science with Thesis

The thesis topic may range from research in one of the traditional fields of physics and applied physics to research in physics education such as innovative curricula and laboratories. The latter is of particular interest for physics teachers whose main goal is the improvement of physics instruction and pedagogical techniques in secondary schools. There is no limit on the number of thesis credit hours a student may take; however, no more than 6 thesis credit hours may be used toward the graduation requirement. A written thesis, successful completion of a formal departmental thesis defense, and approval by the student’s thesis committee are all required. The comprehensive examination is waived. The thesis may be written while the student is no longer present on campus, although the student must remain registered in Program Continuation status and will not receive the degree until the thesis is finished. The thesis plan is noted in the student’s record. This plan is strongly recommended to the student.

Plan B:

Master of Science with Research Project

The student may choose a research project in consultation with a faculty advisor in an area of common interest to determine a research topic. Assigned readings and periodic progress reports will be required. A written project report and a formal department presentation are required before graduation. There is no limit on the number of research credit hours a student may take; however, a maximum of only 6 research credit hours may be used toward the graduation requirement. The comprehensive examination is waived. Conversion to the thesis plan may be possible if sufficient grounds for conversion exist, at least one semester prior to graduation. This plan is recommended to students interested in research but not yet committed to the thesis.

Plan C:

Master of Science

In order to fulfill the requirements for the award of an MS degree in this plan, the student must pass a written comprehensive examination. The student choosing this plan should successfully complete the comprehensive examination after the first year of study. The comprehensive examination is offered once every year. The examination emphasizes the mastery of topics in undergraduate as well as graduate physics.

Language Requirement

There is no foreign language requirement for US students. International students have to demonstrate their knowledge of English and their ability to follow advanced courses by taking the TOEFL or IELTS examination prior to applying for admission. The minimum score for admission to the physics graduate program is specified as 533 on the paper-based TOEFL test (200 on the computer-based test or 72 on the internet-based test); for admission with a teaching assistantship, the minimum score is 550 on the paper-based TOEFL test (213 on the computer-based test or 79 on the internet-based test). The equivalent scores for the IELTS exam are a minimum BAND score of 6.0 for admission, and 6.5 for admission with support.


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