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Graduate Program

Advanced Degrees

Master of Science (M.S.), Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
The Physics Department offers graduate programs leading to the Master of Science (M.S.) in Physics and the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Physics. In addition to the general requirements of the Graduate School, the requirements for admission to graduate standing in physics are:

  • A bachelor's degree from an institution offering an approved major in Physics (as defined by the American Institute of Physics).
  • Completion of regular junior-senior courses in mechanics, optics, electricity and magnetism, thermal physics and modern physics.
  • An average grade of 3.0 or better in all physics and mathematics courses, and an overall average of 3.0 or better in all undergraduate courses.

Applicants whose records indicate a deficiency in any of the requirements listed above may be admitted on a probationary basis and be required to take certain undergraduate courses (which do not carry graduate credit). All students working toward an advanced degree in physics must also satisfy the general requirements of the Graduate School.

 

Master of Science Degree

The Physics Department recommends that students follow the Plan A (with thesis) option. The Program of Study must include:

  PHYS 701 - Mathematical Physics:

3

  PHYS 702 - Classical Mechanics:

3

  PHYS 711 - Electromagnetic Theory I:

3

  PHYS 721 + 722 - Quantum Theory I and II:

6

  PHYS 790 - Seminar:

1

  Approved Electives:

8

  PHYS 797 - Thesis:

6

  Total Credits:

30


The program of study is planned in consultation with a graduate advisor and is subject to approval by the student's advisory/examining committee and the graduate dean. The thesis should demonstrate the student's ability to carry out independent research. All Master of Science candidates must pass a final oral examination administered by the student's advisory/examining committee. The emphasis in the examination will be on the thesis.

PROGRAM OF STUDY REQUIREMENTS: Master's Program

Plan A (thesis)

  • Minimum of 30 graduate credits
  • Minimum of 21 of these credits earned at UNR
  • Minimum of 18 credits (including thesis credits) taken at the 700 - level
  • Six thesis credits
  • Maximum of 9 credits can be completed prior to admission (including transfer credits)
  • All requirements (credits) for degree (including transfer credits) must be completed within the period of six years immediately preceding completion of the Master's Program

Plan B (non-thesis)

  • Minimum of 32 graduate credits
  • Minimum of 23 of these credits earned at UNR
  • Minimum of 15 credits taken at the 700 - level
  • Maximum of 3 credits may be taken with S/U grading (including transfer credits)
  • Maximum of 9 credits can be completed prior to admission (including transfer credits)
  • All requirements (credits) for degree (including transfer credits) must be completed within the period of six years immediately preceding completion of the Master's Program.

Note: All non-thesis Master of Science students must take the Comprehensive Examination, offered through Phys 795. Please find more information on the Comprehensive Examinations Page and the Student FAQs Page.

 

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

For students pursuing a doctorate, the purpose of the formal course work is twofold: to give the student a broad background in fundamental physics, and to prepare students for the research work that will form the subject of the dissertation.

Students are ordinarily expected to have earned the M.S. degree before entering the Ph.D. program. Before being accepted as a candidate, the student must have completed at least 75 percent of the required course work, and have passed the Physics Department comprehensive examination on graduate level material in Physics. The following courses, or their equivalents, must be satisfactorily completed for the doctoral degree in Physics.

  PHYS 701 - Mathematical Physics:

3

  PHYS 702 - Classical Mechanics:

3

  PHYS 711 + 712 - Electromag Theory I and II:

6

  PHYS 721 + 722 - Quantum Theory I and II:

6

  PHYS 732 - Statistical Mechanics:

3

  PHYS 790 - Seminar:

3

  PHYS 795 - Comprehensive Exam:

1

  Approved Electives:  Credits selected from other 700-level Physics
    and/or Mathematics courses (maximum of six credits in PHYS 792)

14

  PHYS 799 - Dissertation:

24

  Total Credits:

72 

For more information on the Comprehensive Examination (Phys 795), please see the Comprehensive Examinations Page and the Student FAQs Page.

PROGRAM OF STUDY REQUIREMENTS: Ph.D. Program
  • Minimum of 72 graduate credits
  • Minimum of 48 graduate credits of course work
  • Maximum of 24 graduate credits from a Master's degree program or previous post- baccalaureate work may be applied to program, excluding thesis credits.
  • Maximum of 9 credits of S/U grading (including transfer credits)
  • At least 30 credits of 700-level graduate credits exclusive of dissertation credits transferred: as many as 18 of these credits may be from a Master's degree program.
  • Fulfill residency requirement: two consecutive semesters (Fall or Spring) of at least nine graduate credits each (students on a 20 hour per week assistantship require 6 credits each semester).
  • All requirements for the doctoral program, excluding prerequisite graduate course work or Master's Degrees, must be completed within a period of eight years immediately preceding completion of the Ph.D. program.
  • Meet with your advisor on a regular basis

Physics Graduate Assistantships

For generalized assistantship information, go to the Graduate school's Graduate Assistantships page.  The information for physics assistantships is available at the Graduate Assistantship page.

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