Graduate Studies

Program Description

Our Master of Science (M.S.) program in Physics consists of six or more courses on commonly taught topics in the first three semesters, plus involvement in our seminar course every semester, and research at an increasing level of intensity throughout the two-year program.

Many students enroll in our M.S. program to improve on their undergraduate course work and to test their ability to do doctoral work in the field. It has been the experience of many graduates of our M.S. program that the experience gained in completing thesis research is invaluable in their future doctoral program. Other graduates from our program go on to exciting jobs in industry, including semi-conductor applications in green energy fields, and in various forms of computing.

Graduate Degrees Offered

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers programs leading to the Master of Science degree. 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: computational physics, theoretical physics, solid state physics and materials science, and astrophysics. All graduate students are involved in research as part of the degree program.

Students interested in materials science may consider applying to BGSU’s Ph.D. program in Photochemistry. After 2-3 semesters of coursework focused on Photochemistry, students may join one of several research groups in the Physics & Astronomy Department that are associated with the Center for Photochemical Sciences and which focus on the interaction between light and matter.

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 related field from an accredited institution. It is highly desirable for applicants to have taken at least one year of undergraduate Chemistry.

Admission Procedure

Applicants seeking admission to the M.S. 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 online, along with an online application form. The web page for the Graduate College contains additional information. We encourage applications to be complete by the end of February, at which time we will begin considering financial assistance through TA stipends and tuition scholarships for the following Fall term. We honor the April 15 deadline outlined in the Resolution Regarding Graduate Scholars, Fellows, Trainees and Assistants.

Our department collaborates with the APS Bridge Program to help students from underrepresented groups obtain a graduate degree on the way to a career in Physics or Astronomy.

Degree Requirements

Plan I – Thesis Option: Candidates for the Master of Science 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 written thesis and pass an oral defense of the thesis. Any student wishing to pursue a doctoral degree after receiving their M.S. degree at BGSU is strongly advised to enroll in the Plan I option.

An M.S. degree with specialization in Materials Science is available, in which students must take PHYS 6100 and PHYS 6540-6550 at the University of Toledo. A thesis on some materials topic must be completed.

Plan II – Non-Thesis Option: Candidates for the Master of Science 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 written paper and pass a final written comprehensive examination covering selected fields.

Descriptions of these courses can be found on the course catalog webpage. Click on "P", choose "PHYS - Physics", and select the courses by number.

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

APPLY TO THE GRADUATE PROGRAM


Contact Us

Marco Nardone, Graduate Coordinator
169 Overman Hall
marcon@bgsu.edu

Andrew C. Layden, Chair
104 Overman Hall
laydena@bgsu.edu

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.

Updated: 10/05/2022 09:00AM