Graduate Studies

Program Description

Many students enroll in the M.S. program in physics in order to test their ability to do doctoral work in the field. In this respect, the course work and research experiences that are offered at Bowling Green provide an excellent opportunity to do this. Any student wishing to pursue a doctoral degree upon receiving the Master of Science degree here is strongly advised to enroll in the Plan I (thesis) option. It has been the experience of many M.S. graduates of this program that the experience gained in completing the thesis research is invaluable in their future doctoral program.

Graduate Degrees Offered

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers programs leading to the Master of Science degree and a cooperative Ph.D. in collaboration with the University of Toledo. The curriculum of the programs emphasizes applications as well as a solid foundation for pre-doctoral training. Course work focuses on developing skills in several areas of emphasis: astrophysics, computational physics, theoretical physics, solid state physics and materials science. All graduate students are involved in research as part of the degree program.

The cooperative Ph.D. program enables qualifying students to take courses at BGSU and the University of Toledo and to earn their Ph.D. from UT under the direction of either BGSU or UT faculty in physics or astronomy.

Prerequisites to Graduate Work

Applicants should have the equivalent of a bachelor's degree with a major in physics, or a minor in physics and a major in a cognate field from an accredited institution. Applicants should also have taken a minimum of one year of undergraduate chemistry. Applicants with prerequisite deficiencies may be required to take undergraduate course work or satisfactorily complete an examination as a condition of admission.

Cooperative Ph.D. Program

For students wishing to obtain a Ph.D. in Physics, the cooperative program with the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Toledo is an option. Graduate students at BGSU complete requirements of the Master of Science at BGSU and then take the Ph.D. qualifying exam offered by the University of Toledo. After successfully passing that examination, the student is admitted to the University of Toledo's program and can take courses at the University of Toledo and at BGSU. After being admitted to candidacy, students may engage in dissertation research with BGSU, UT, or faculty from both BGSU and UT.

Admission Procedure

Applicants seeking admission to the graduate program in Physics and Astronomy are required to complete application materials by following the procedure outlined in the Graduate Catalog. A summary of the application instructions is available on line, along with an on-line application form. The home page for the Graduate College contains additional information.

Degree Requirements

Master of Science

Plan I:
 Candidates must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of 5000- and 6000-level courses approved for graduate credit including a minimum of 26 hours in physics. Students are required to take: PHYS 6010, PHYS 6020, PHYS 6030, PHYS 6040, PHYS 6050 and PHYS 6060, for a total of 18 semester hours. Students must also register for two hours of PHYS 6810 per semester in each of four semesters. In addition to the above 26 hours of core courses in the major field, candidates must present a formal thesis and pass an oral examination on the thesis.
A specialization in Materials Science is available. The student must take PHYS 6100 and PHYS 6540-6550 at the University of Toledo. A thesis on some materials topic must be completed.

Plan II: Candidates must complete a minimum of 32 semester hours of 5000- and 6000-level courses approved for graduate credit, including two hours in PHYS 6910 (Directed Research in Physics), for a minimum of 28 hours in physics. Students are required to take: PHYS 6010, PHYS 6020, PHYS 6030, PHYS 6040, PHYS 6050 and PHYS 6060 and PHYS 6910, for a total of 20 semester hours. Students must also register for two hours of PHYS 6810 per semester in each of four semesters. As an important part of the research seminar work, the student must submit a scholarly paper and pass a final written comprehensive examination covering selected fields.

For students pursuing a specialization, both Plan I and Plan II require additional course work.

Contact Us

Andrew C. Layden, Chair
104 Overman Hall

Lewis P. Fulcher, Graduate Coordinator
167 Overman Hall

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Bowling Green State University
Bowling Green, OH 43403
voice: 419-372-2421
FAX: 419-372-9938

Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the graduate degree, students in Physics and Astronomy are expected to be able to:

  • Demonstrate a rigorous understanding of how the Law of Gravitation and Newton’s dynamics account for the orbital properties of the planets and satellites in the solar system and the connection of the Newtonian approach with Lagrangian methods.
  • Demonstrate the ability to show how the Schrödinger equation provides a quantitative account of the properties of simple atomic systems, including wave functions and how potential barriers permit quantum mechanical tunneling.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the quantitative relationships between distributions of charge and the nature of the electric fields produced by them and of the connection between currents and the magnetic fields produced by them.
  • Demonstrate the ability to calculate thermodynamic quantities by employing the methods of statistical ensembles and phase space.
  • Demonstrate the ability to solve differential equations that arise in physics applications in analytical forms and using numerical methods.
  • Demonstrate the capability to make accurate measurements of important physical quantities and to explain their significance. 
  • Demonstrate the ability to present a professional talk on a research project in physics or astronomy and to write an appropriate abstract describing the contents of the talk.
  • Demonstrate the ability to synthesize scientific concepts, measurements, and equations (where appropriate) into a written paper. 

Accreditation and/or Program/Cluster Review
Bowling Green State University [BGSU] is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.  BGSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 01/01/1916. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation was received in 2012 - 2013. Questions should be directed to the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

The Physics and Astronomy program will undergo its next Program/Cluster Review during the Academic Year 2019-20.