VCU Bulletins

Physics and Applied Physics, Master of Science (M.S.)

Graduate program director
Shiv N. Khanna, Ph.D.
Commonwealth Professor
snkhanna@vcu.edu
(804) 828-1818

Additional contact
Robert H. Gowdy, Ph.D.
Chair, Department of Physics
rgowdy@vcu.edu
(804) 828-1818

Program website: physics.vcu.edu

Refer to the program search function of the online VCU Bulletins for a complete listing of all programs, concentrations and related curricular options.

Physics and Applied Physics, Master of Science (M.S.), accelerated Bachelor of Science in Physics (B.S.) to master’s

Apply online at graduate.admissions.vcu.edu.

Admission requirements

Physics and Applied Physics, Master of Science (M.S.)
Degree:

M.S.
Semester(s)
of entry:

Fall
Spring
Deadline
dates:

May 1
Dec 1
Test
requirements:

GRE

In addition to the general admission requirements of the VCU Graduate School, the following requirements represent the minimum acceptable standards for admission:

  1. Students must have a minimum of 30 credit hours in undergraduate physics or engineering, of which at least 18 credit hours must be at the upper-level in physics.
  2. Students must present satisfactory GRE scores.

Provisional admission may be granted where deficiencies exist. These deficiencies must be removed by the end of the first year of residence or its part-time equivalent, when the student’s application will be re-examined. Courses that are designed to remove deficiencies will not be accepted for credit toward the graduate degree.

VCU Graduate Bulletin, VCU Graduate School and general academic policies and regulations for all graduate students in all graduate programs

The VCU Graduate Bulletin website documents the official admission and academic rules and regulations that govern graduate education for all graduate programs at the university.  These policies are established by the graduate faculty of the university through their elected representatives to the University Graduate Council.

It is the responsibility of all graduate students, both on- and off-campus, to be familiar with the VCU Graduate Bulletin as well as the Graduate School website and academic regulations in individual school and department publications and on program websites. However, in all cases, the official policies and procedures of the University Graduate Council, as published on the VCU Graduate Bulletin and Graduate School websites, take precedence over individual program policies and guidelines.

General academic regulations for
all graduate students in all graduate programs at VCU

Program goal

The Department of Physics teaches graduate students advanced concepts, applications and skills that reach to the frontiers of current research in physics. The master’s program offers traditional core physics courses and a variety of specialized electives emphasizing the department’s strengths in theoretical and experimental physics. Research interests include theoretical and experimental condensed matter physics, general relativity, and cosmology and physics education.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Students will achieve a broad knowledge of the principles of physics.
  2. Students will demonstrate analytical problem-solving skills.
  3. Students will demonstrate mastery of a topic at the frontier of physics research.

Degree requirements

In addition to general VCU Graduate School graduation requirements, students are required to complete course work in core and elective courses and to conduct significant research.

  1. Credit hour requirements: Students are required to earn a minimum of 30 graduate credit hours with at least 15 credit hours at the 600 level. PHYS 690 and PHYS 697 may not exceed 15 of the required 30 credit hours.
  2. M.S. plan of study: Students will choose a primary adviser during the first semester of study. At the end of the first semester, the student and adviser will propose an M.S. plan of study to the physics graduate curriculum committee. This plan will include the graduate courses and research subject matter to fulfill the student’s individual career goals. Normally, students will select courses for their individual M.S. plans of study from the list of graduate courses in physics. The courses selected will include no fewer than nine credits of traditional physics core courses, such as PHYS 576 and PHYS 580, to provide a solid foundation in fundamental physics. However, students also may select graduate courses in chemistry, mathematics, computer science and engineering, as well as courses from the School of Medicine and the School of Education, when such courses are consistent with the student’s career goals. The M.S. plan of study must be approved by the physics graduate curriculum committee. Courses taken outside this plan will not count toward the above general course requirements.
  3. Thesis or non-thesis option: Each student must select either the thesis option or non-thesis option. Students selecting the thesis option must take at least nine credit hours of PHYS 697 Directed Research. No more than nine credit hours of directed research may be counted toward the 15 credit-hour, 600-level requirement. Students selecting the non-thesis option may take no more than three credit hours of PHYS 697. A student who elects the non-thesis option must pass a written comprehensive exam administered by the physics graduate curriculum committee.

Curriculum requirements

Courses Credit hours
   
Core courses 9
Choose nine credits from:  
   
NANO 570 Nanoscale Physics 3
NANO 650 Experimental Techniques in Nanoscience I 1.5
NANO 651 Experimental Techniques in Nanoscience II 1.5
PHYS 571 Theoretical Mechanics 3
PHYS 576 Electromagnetic Theory 3
PHYS 580 Quantum Mechanics 3
PHYS 641 Solid State Physics 3
   
Thesis option 21
PHYS 690 Research Seminar 0-4
PHYS 697 Directed Research 9
Electives (Choose courses from list of recommended electives below.) 8-12
   
Non-thesis option 21
PHYS 690 Research Seminar 0-4
PHYS 697 Directed Research 0-3
Electives (Choose courses from list of recommended electives below.) 14-21
   
PHYS 697 can only satisfy up to nine credit hours of the 15 credit hours for 600-level and above.
PHYS 690 may be repeated for a maximum of four credit hours toward the required 30 credit hours.
PHYS 690 and PHYS 697 may not exceed 15 credit hours of the required 30 credit hours.
 
Recommended electives  
CHEM 510 Atomic and Molecular Structure 3
CHEM 511 Chemical Thermodynamics and Kinetics 3
CHEM 610 Applied Quantum Chemistry 3
CHEM 612 Modern Statistical Mechanics: Fundamentals and Applications 3
EGRE 520 Electron Theory of Solids I 3
EGRE 521 Advanced Semiconductor Devices 3
EGRE 623 Nanostructures and Nanodevices 3
EGRM 609 Advanced Characterization of Materials 3
NANO 570 Nanoscale Physics 3
NANO 571 Nanoscale Chemistry 3
NANO 650 Experimental Techniques in Nanoscience I 1.5
NANO 651 Experimental Techniques in Nanoscience II 1.5
NANO 660 Theoretical Studies of Nanostructures 3
PHYS 550 Techniques in Material Research 3
PHYS 571 Theoretical Mechanics 3
PHYS 573 Analytical Methods in Physics 3
PHYS 576 Electromagnetic Theory 3
PHYS 580 Quantum Mechanics 3
PHYS 591 Topics in Physics 1-3
PHYS 641 Solid State Physics 3
PHYS 661 Surface and Materials Physics 3
PHYS 691 Special Topics 3
   
Total graduate credit hours required (minimum) 30

Degree candidacy requirements

A graduate student admitted to a program or concentration requiring a final research project, work of art, thesis or dissertation, must qualify for continuing master’s or doctoral status according to the degree candidacy requirements of the student’s graduate program. Admission to degree candidacy, if applicable, is a formal statement by the graduate student’s faculty regarding the student’s academic achievements and the student’s readiness to proceed to the final research phase of the degree program.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following degree candidacy policy as published in the VCU Graduate Bulletin for complete information and instructions.

Degree candidacy requirements

Graduation requirements

As graduate students approach the end of their academic programs and the final semester of matriculation, they must make formal application to graduate. No degrees will be conferred until the application to graduate has been finalized.

Graduate students and program directors should refer to the following graduation requirements as published in the Graduate Bulletin for a complete list of instructions and a graduation checklist.

Graduation requirements

 

 

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