Jun 20, 2024  
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2020-21 
OHIO University Graduate Catalog 2020-21 [Archived Catalog]

Physics - MS

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Master of Science in Physics

Physics – MS3331

Department of Physics and Astronomy
Clippinger Laboratories 251B
Ohio University
Athens, OH 45701

Delivery Mode: Athens Campus

Terms of Entry: Fall, Spring, Summer

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 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.

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 hypotheses.

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. 

Further Information

Link to Program: https://www.ohio.edu/cas/physics-astronomy/graduate/masters-ms

Admission Requirements

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. The minimum grade point average (GPA) requirement is 3.0 (on a 4.0 scale). The Verbal and Quantitative GRE General Tests are optional. The Physics GRE Subject Test is optional. All non-native English speakers must demonstrate English proficiency by submitting official test scores for either the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS academic). The minimum scores for TOEFL are 95 (iBT) or 590 (PBT paper-based); for the IELTS a minimum score of 7 across all bands is required. 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.

Application packages should be completed by January 15; offers are made by April 15. Usually students enter the physics program in the fall.  Entry during the spring or summer is possible although not generally encouraged. For all details concerning graduate programs, contact the Chair of the Graduate Admissions Committee (physicsgradapps@ohio.edu).

International Students

This program permits full-time enrollment in residence at Ohio University, and an I-20 may be issued based on admission to this program.

Graduation Requirements

The M.S. in Physics requires a minimum of 30 credit hours.


All Physics & Astronomy graduate students are expected to participate in the Departmental Colloquium each semester.

M.S., Non-Thesis Option

Candidates for the non-thesis option must complete the six courses in the Physics Core.

They must also complete 1-4 hours of PHYS 6940.

Culminating Experience, Non-Thesis

Satisfactory completion of a faculty-approved research project.

M.S. by Thesis

Complete the following:

  • 14 hours of Physics & Astronomy lecture and laboratury courses at the 5000-, 6000-, or 7000-level, excluding PHYS 6940 and PHYS 6950.

Culminating Experience, Thesis

Submission of a research thesis with an oral examination. The oral examination of the M.S. thesis will consist of a presentation by the student describing the research followed by questions from the thesis committee. The questions will be designed to test the student’s understanding of the research they have performed. They will begin with topics related to the student’s Master’s thesis, but can then proceed to more basic questions associated with the investigation. In this way the committee will also probe the student’s knowledge of the background of the work they carried out for their M.S.

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