Apr 23, 2024  
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2015-2017 
Ohio University Graduate Catalog 2015-2017 [Archived Catalog]

Physics - MS

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Degree Title: Master of Science

Program Name and Number: Physics - MS3331

Department/Unit: Department of Physics and Astronomy

Delivery Mode: Athens Campus

Program Mission: The graduate program mission is to
 (a) Give our students a thorough grounding in the theoretical and experimental knowledge required to be a professional physicist. 
(b) Partner students with faculty to perform cutting-edge research on joint projects with direct supervision and intense feedback. (c) Initiate them into the worldwide scholarly community and improve their oral and written communication skills through writing of research papers, presentation of results at conferences and seminars, and production of theses and dissertations. 

Program Learning Objectives:

  • Develop analytical skills and the ability to solve problems.
  • Achieve a good understanding of physical laws and principles.
  • Gain experience with measurement techniques and equipment.
  • Develop the ability to assess uncertainties and assumptions.
  • Demonstrate the ability to present the results of investigations orally (with thesis) and in writing (without thesis).
  • Acquire facility in the use of mathematics to solve problems and test hypothesis.

Program Overview: The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers the Master of Science degree, which is achieved through a combination of research and course-work. The M.S. degree can be earned by submission of a research thesis with an oral examination and at least 14 credit hours of graduate level lecture or laboratory courses in Physics and Astronomy. It can also be obtained under a non-thesis option, which requires satisfactory completion of a faculty-approved project (one to four credits) and the Department’s set of six core courses. The research activities in the department are broad and currently include astrophysics and cosmology, biophysics, condensed matter and surface sciences and nuclear and particle physics. Experimental and theoretical studies take place in these areas. Furthermore, inter-disciplinary and inter-departmental programs are also possible.

Concentrations: Current concentrations include:

  • Astrophysics and Cosmology: Students will learn the physical principles behind the workings and evolution of the universe and structures located within, including stars, black holes, galaxies, and cosmological large-scale structure.  The program combines observational and theoretical studies with the option of a thesis project in observational or theoretical astrophysics.  Observational work can be completed with Ohio University’s share of the MDM observatory and/or other national and international observatories.
  • Biophysics: Students will learn the physics, mathematics and life science principles involved in this strong interdisciplinary field of research, where concepts of physics, mathematics, and biology are combined to study how living things work. Ohio University’s Quantitative Biology Institute, the interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program and the Bioengineering Program facilitate this advanced training. Students will often work in collaboration with biologists, bioengineers and mathematicians on campus or off-campus. Furthermore, they have access to and learn how to utilize emerging computing technologies.
  • Condensed Matter and Surface Science Physics: Students will learn the basic principles that govern the physics of condensed matter physics, including phenomena at atomic, nano-, meso- and macroscopic scales for crystalline solids and amorphous materials. The program combines experimental and theoretical studies in all these areas. Experimental work can be completed within Athens campus with state of the art facilities and/or in collaboration with national facilities. Research on theoretical physics range from analytic model development to computational physics.
  • Nuclear and Particle Physics: Students will learn the basic principles that govern sub-atomic particles, from the quark-and-gluon substructure of nucleons to how complex nuclei are composed. The program includes both theoretical and experimental components as well as the application of nuclear physics to astrophysics. Experimental work is performed in the on-campus Edwards Accelerator Laboratory, or at external facilities including the Thomas Jefferson and Brookhaven National Laboratories. Theoretical research includes computational investigations as well as analytic models.

Opportunities for Graduates: Students achieving the M.S. in Physics and Astronomy can go on and pursue further graduate studies in Physics and Astronomy, or in other fields. They can also obtain positions as professional scientists. The M.S. is the minimal professional qualification for most physicist/astrophysicist positions in the USA. 

Link to Program: http://www.ohio.edu/cas/physastro/grad/ms-program/index.cfm

Graduation Requirements:

M.S., non-thesis option

  1. Satisfactory completion of the six core classes that comprise the core graduate curriculum.
  2. Minimum of 30 semester hours.
  3. Faculty approved project (one to four credits).

Thesis requirement: No

Qualifying exam: No

Comprehensive exam: No

Expected time to degree if studying fulltime: 2 years.

M.S. by thesis

  1. Satisfactory completion of the six core classes that comprise the core graduate curriculum.
  2. Minimum of 30 semester hours.
  3. Minimum of 14 credits of graduate laboratory and/or lecture courses in Physics and Astronomy numbered 5xxx, 6xxx, 7xxx excluding research courses PHYS 6940 and PHYS 6950.
  4. Submission of research thesis and oral examination

Thesis requirement: Yes

Qualifying exam: No

Comprehensive exam: No

Expected time to degree if studying fulltime: 2 years.

Admission Requirements: Freshman/First Year admission: Students entering this program are normally expected to have successfully concluded undergraduate work in mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics. They should also possess a working knowledge of mathematics including calculus, ordinary differential equations, Fourier series, vector analysis, and basic elements of partial differential equations. It is recommended that applicants take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE), including the advanced test for physics. Deficiencies of undergraduate preparation should not deter a prospective student with an otherwise good record, as these may be made up during the first year of graduate study.

There are no specific deadlines, but most applications for financial aid are received by January 15 and most offers are made by April 15. Most students enter the physics program in the fall, although some add the preceding summer session. Entry during the academic year is possible although not generally encouraged. For all details concerning graduate programs, write to the Physics Graduate Committee.

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