University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
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M.S. Degree

We offer a Master of Science (M.S.) degree in physics. This degree can be a path to a Ph.D. in physics, other higher level graduate degrees, academic careers or industrial ones.

Some of our students obtain an M.S. degree before they move on to a Ph.D. degree. This is not required, but can provide you with an opportunity to explore a research area before committing to a doctoral program.

We offer three M.S. degree plans: one with an emphasis on thesis; and two with an emphasis on coursework. Students should expect that completion of an M.S. degree would take two academic years of full-time study including at least one semester of intensive research.

Plan A (Thesis)
Plan A requires a thesis based on original research. A total of 20 course credits is required including 14 credits of graduate-level courses. In addition, Plan A requires registration for 10 thesis credits, which suggests that you devote about 20 hours/week over a semester in research.

Plan B (Non-Thesis)
A total of 30 course credits is required. Plan B requires either a project (4 credits of Physics 8500) or three papers which do not require original research.

Plan C (Coursework and Graduate Written Exam)
A total of 30 credits is required. Plan C requires a minimum GPA of 3.3 and passing the Graduate Written Exam.

Note: We offer no financial support (tuition benefit, stipend, etc.) to students admitted to our MS program. Please be sure that you are financially capable of supporting yourself for 2 years if you choose to apply to this program.