Degree Requirements

M.S. Degree in Physics

The departmental web page with some additional information, e.g., milestones, can be found at http://www.physics.ku.edu/~physics/graduate/about.shtml

Candidates must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours of advanced lecture courses (numbered 500 or above) in physics and related subjects within a period of 7 years. Program requirements include

    1. An undergraduate knowledge of physics. This must be certified by the department to be at an advanced undergraduate level (600-level KU courses). The certification must be achieved within 12 months (extension possible with recommendation of the graduate admission committee) of entering the program and may require additional coursework. Extension is possible with recommendation of the graduate admission committee. Certification can be achieved in several ways:

      a. A GRE physics score greater than or equal to 650; or

      b. The determination by the graduate director and graduate advisor, based on the diagnostic exam given on entering the program combined with the student's undergraduate record, that the student understands all major elements of undergraduate physics; or

      c. Successful completion with grade of B or better on all undergraduate courses that the graduate director and/or advisor recommends based on the results of part b. above. The student who has not succeeded in certifying his or her undergraduate physics knowledge in one of the above 3 ways could, within 12 months of starting the program, petition the Graduate Committee for an oral exam on undergraduate physics. The oral exam will be administered by a committee of six faculty members assigned by the department.

      d. A candidate for a Master's or Ph.D. degree who has not had the equivalent of 6 credit hours of advanced undergraduate laboratory course work (Junior/Senior level) is required to take one of the four advanced laboratory courses offered in the Department.

      • PHSX 516 Physical Measurements I
      • PHSX 536 Electronic Circuits and Measurements
      • PHSX 601 Design of Physical and Electronic Systems
      • PHSX 616 Physical Measurements II

      2. Three basic courses:

      3. 2 additional course chosen from

      4. A minimum of 2 hours in PHSX 899 Master’s Research/Thesis is required, with a maximum of 6 hours that count toward the master’s degree. Ordinarily no more than 2 hours will be allowed unless a thesis or written report is presented.

      5. The remaining 9 to 13 hours of advanced electives must be either advanced lecture courses or advanced undergraduate laboratory courses. (This proviso excludes seminars and special problems courses.)

    Communication Skills

    All graduate students, after their first semester, will deliver at least 1 oral presentation per semester. The talk should be at least 20 minutes long. For students not yet associated with a research group, the Graduate Seminar can serve as a venue. For more advanced students the seminar of their research group would be a natural venue. The student does not need to be enrolled in the seminar to present a talk for this purpose. Off-campus venues such as collaboration meetings and physics conferences can also serve this purpose. When giving presentations, students should fill out a form available on the department web site and have it signed by 2 witnesses, 1 of which must be a Physics or Astronomy faculty and other a Ph.D. doing research in the department. The completed form must be handed to the office staff. Faculty members who sign off on the talks are expected to provide constructive feedback to the student. The graduate advisor will monitor student compliance with the requirement.

    General Examination

    Candidates must pass a general oral examination in physics. The examination is given shortly before completion of other work for the degree. A master’s thesis is not required but may be submitted if the candidate and the director of the candidate’s research believe it to be appropriate.

M.S. Subspecialty in Computational Physics and Astronomy

This degree is a subspecialty program for students with a background in physics, astronomy, computer science, mathematics, or engineering who wish to become familiar with computer-based approaches to problems in these fields. Minimum preparation expected includes a year's course in general physics, mathematics through differential equations, and a knowledge of FORTRAN, C++, or another programming language.

A total of 30 hours of graduate credit is required. The 33 hours listed below under 2 and 3 may include certain undergraduate-level electrical engineering and computer science courses. (Only courses numbered 500 and above count as graduate credit.) Students entering the program may have satisfied several of these requirements, but a total of 30 hours of graduate credit is still required. No more than the required 6 hours of PHSX 899 Master’s Research/Thesis may be counted toward the degree. Degree requirements include

    1. An undergraduate knowledge of physics. This must be certified by the department to be at an advanced undergraduate level (600-level KU courses). The certification must be achieved within 12 months (extension possible with recommendation of the graduate admission committee) of entering the program and may require additional coursework. Extension is possible with recommendation of the graduate admission committee. Certification can be achieved in several ways:

      a. A GRE physics score greater than or equal to 650; or

      b. The determination by the graduate director and graduate advisor, based on the diagnostic exam given on entering the program combined with the student's undergraduate record, that the student understands all major elements of undergraduate physics; or

      c. Successful completion with grade of B or better on all undergraduate courses that the graduate director and/or advisor recommends based on the results of part b above. The student who has not succeeded in certifying their undergraduate physics knowledge in one of the above three ways could, within 12 months of starting the program, petition the Graduate Committee for an oral exam on undergraduate physics. The oral exam will be administered by a committee of six faculty members assigned by the department.

      d. A candidate for a Master's or Ph.D. degree who has not had the equivalent of 6 credit hours of advanced undergraduate laboratory course work (junior/senior level) is required to take 1 of the 4 advanced laboratory courses offered in the Department:

      • PHSX 516 Physical Measurements I
      • PHSX 536 Electronic Circuits and Measurements
      • PHSX 601 601 Design of Physical and Electronic Systems
      • PHSX 616 Physical Measurements II

    2. Required Courses (21 credit hours)

    • PHSX 815 Computational Methods in Physical Sciences/ASTR 815 Computational Physics and Astronomy
    • PHSX 718 Mathematical Methods in Physical Sciences
    • Math 781/EECS 781 Numerical Analysis I
    • EECS – 1 course at the 300 level or above (in addition to EECS 781) (Note: courses below the 500 level will not count towards the required 30 hours of graduate credit.)
    • One additional PHSX/ASTR/ATMO lecture course at the level or above
    • PHSX 899 Master’s Research/Thesis

    3. 12 or more credits from the following list of courses:

      (Note: Double counting of courses is not allowed, e.g. a course used to fulfill a requirement under part 2. (e.g. EECS 448) may not also be counted under part 3.)

    • EECS 360 Signal and System Analysis (3) *
    • EECS 368 Functional Programming (3) *
    • EECS 388 Computer Systems and Assembly Language (4) *
    • EECS 448 Software Engineering I (3) *
    • EECS 560 Data Structure (3)
    • EECS 672 Introduction to Computer Graphics (3)
    • MATH 596, MATH 696, or MATH 796 - Special Topics (Examples of recent topics: Mathematics of Wall Street Computer-aided, Study of Differential Geometry, Chaos and Fractals , Fractional Brownian Motion and Its Applications, Wavelet Analysis,Statistical Theory , Stochastic Differential Equations and Applications
    • MATH 611 Fourier Analysis of Time Series (3)
    • MATH 627 Probability (3)
    • MATH 647 Partial Differential Equations (3)
    • MATH/EECS 782 Numerical Analysis II (3)
    • MATH 783 Applied Num. Methods for PDEs (3)
    • PHSX/ASTR/ATMO Courses Numbered 500 and above
    • Courses below the 500 level do not count towards the required 30 hours of graduate credit.

    4. Communication Skills: All graduate students, after their first semester, will deliver at least one oral presentation per semester. The talk should be at least 20 minutes long. For students not yet associated with a research group, the Graduate Seminar can serve as a venue. For more advanced students the seminar of their research group would be a natural venue. The student does not need to be enrolled in the seminar to present a talk for this purpose. Off-campus venues such as collaboration meetings and physics conferences can also serve this purpose. When giving presentations, students should fill out a form available on the department web site and have it signed by two witnesses, one of which must be a Physics or Astronomy faculty and other a Ph.D. doing research in the department. The completed form must be handed to the office staff. Faculty members who sign off on the talks are expected to provide constructive feedback to the student. The graduate advisor will monitor student compliance with the requirement.

    5. Thesis: An important component of this degree is the completion and documentation of a successful computer project. A thesis must be presented that describes the basic physics involved in the project, the method of implementing the project, and a discussion of the results. An oral defense of the thesis is required before a committee of at least three members of the graduate faculty.

    Please go to this website to see the University's policy on time limits: https://documents.ku.edu/policies/Graduate_Studies/maprogramtimeconstraints.htm

Contact Info

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Malott Hall
1251 Wescoe Hall Drive, Room 1082
Lawrence, KS 66045-7572
785-864-4626
http://www.physics.ku.edu/
Stephen J. Sanders, Chair
785-864-4626
Philip S. Baringer, Associate Chair
785-864-4626

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Malott Hall
1251 Wescoe Hall Drive, Room 1082
Lawrence, KS 66045-7572
785-864-4626
http://www.physics.ku.edu/
Stephen J. Sanders, Chair
785-864-4626
Philip S. Baringer, Associate Chair
785-864-4626

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Malott Hall
1251 Wescoe Hall Drive, Room 6070A
Lawrence, KS 66045-7572
785-864-4626
http://www.physics.ku.edu/
Hume Feldman, Director of Graduate Studies
785-864-4740
Gregory Rudnick, Graduate Advisor
785-864-4626
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