Physics and Astronomy - Archived 2019-20 Graduate Catalog

Chair: Andrew Layden
Graduate Coordinator: Lewis Fulcher
Address: 104 Overman Hall
Phone: 419-372-2421
Physics and Astronomy Program Website

Degrees Offered
Master of Science (M.S.)

Programs Offered
M.S. in Physics

Program Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the Master's degree, students in the Physics & Astronomy program 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.

Prerequisites to Graduate Work
M.S. 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.

Admission Procedure
Applicants seeking admission to the graduate programs in Physics should follow the instructions outlined in the Graduate Admission section of this Graduate Catalog.  All application materials should be sent to the Graduate Admissions Office.

In addition, applicants should review the admissions requirements specific to the program to which they seek admission.  

Additional criteria for the Physics M.S. program include three letters of recommendation.

Degree Requirements

M.S. in Physics: The M.S. degree is offered under two plans.

Plan I: Candidates must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of courses approved for graduate credit including a minimum of 26 hours in physics. In addition to the 26 hours of courses in physics, candidates must present a formal thesis and pass an oral examination on the thesis.

Plan II: Candidates must complete a minimum of 32 semester hours of courses approved for graduate credit including a minimum of 28 hours in physics. In addition to the 28 hours of physics courses, candidates must submit a scholarly paper and pass a final written comprehensive examination covering selected fields.

For a list of specific required courses for each of the above programs, please see

Graduate Courses
Please access graduate courses online by clicking the “Browsing Course Catalog” button at Graduate courses offered by the Department of Physics and Astronomy use the prefix PHYS.

Updated: 08/14/2020 10:41AM