May 29, 2023  
2022-2023 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate and Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics, MS

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CIP Code: 400801

The Department of Physics offers the degree of Master of Science in two general areas and fourteen specialties, listed below. The program is designed to prepare students for advanced graduate education or to assist them in gaining the skills needed for new careers.

  • Theoretical and Experimental Physics: Accelerator Physics, Cosmochemistry, Ion-Matter Interactions, Materials Science, Physical and Ocean Acoustics, Sensor Development, and Ultrasonics
  • Computational Physics: Acoustic Ecology and Underwater Acoustics, Atmospheric Acoustics, Geophysics, Machine Learning and Big-Data, Nanomagnetism, Planetary Science, and Signal Processing

Several Physics faculty members are affiliated with the Louisiana Accelerator Center (LAC), facilitating student research in interdisciplinary areas such as: space-radiation effect on biological cells; environment pollution; and materials properties modification and applications. In addition, students enrolled in the interdisciplinary Earth and Energy Sciences, PhD  degree program have the opportunity to fulfill the requirements of the M.S. degree in Physics.

Admission Requirements

Admission to the program requires an undergraduate degree in science or engineering with a strong preparation in physics and mathematics. In addition to meeting the general application and admission requirements  of the Graduate School, applicants to the M.S. degree in Physics must provide: (1) a statement of personal interest in the program; (2) a Curriculum Vitae; and (3) official results of the general Graduate Record Examination (GRE). If previous research experience exists, it should be emphasized in the personal statement. Official GRE scores must be sent directly from the test administrator to the Graduate School.

Degree Requirements

Thesis and non-thesis tracks are available. At the start of the program, students work with the graduate coordinator and faculty to create an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The progress in the course-planned pathway is updated in the IDP during advising meetings (once a semester) with the graduate coordinator.

Thesis Track:

Students pursuing the thesis track must complete 31 graduate credit hours as follows:

  • 15 credit hours of graduate-level PHYS and/or EESC courses, exclusive of courses in the sequences 591-592, 595-596, 597-598, and 599 or 699 courses. At least 80% of these credit hours must be PHYS courses.
  • 6 credit hours of elective coursework including (a) any 500-level PHYS courses; (b) any graduate-level courses in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Geology, Engineering, Environmental Science, or Mathematics; and/or (c) graduate-level courses in another discipline, as approved by the graduate coordinator.  
  • 4 credit hours in the four-semester seminar sequence PHYS 591  -592 , 595 -596 .
  • 6 credit hours of PHYS 599 - Thesis Research and Thesis  

Non-thesis Track:

Students pursuing the non-thesis track must complete 31 credit hours. All requirements from the thesis-track apply, except for the 6 credit hours of PHYS 599 . Non-thesis students have two options for completing the additional 6 credit hours required to meet the total credit requirement: (a) research, with enrollment in PHYS 594 , resulting in a research paper prepared under the requirements established by the research adviser for the project, or (b) graduate-level PHYS or EESC courses.


Students pursuing the thesis-track are expected to defend a thesis proposal at the beginning of the second year in the program and, the full thesis, in an oral defense prior to graduation. The oral defense of thesis constitutes the final examination for the degree and is where the student is expected to demonstrate a general, comprehensive knowledge of the field of study. A rigorous examination of the research results as well as discussions covering topics in related areas are to take place during the thesis defense. The written thesis must be reviewed by the student’s committee prior to the thesis defense. The thesis results are expected to represent original research contributions by the student and to be of a quality acceptable for publication in peer-reviewed journals in the specific field of study. The proposal and thesis defense events are open to the public.

Students pursuing the non-thesis track also must demonstrate a general, comprehensive knowledge of the field of study through the completion of a set of courses composed of Mechanics (PHYS 423G ), Electromagnetism (PHYS 424G ), Thermodynamics and Statistics (PHYS 405G ), and Quantum Mechanics (PHYS 437G  or PHYS 438G ), with an overall GPA of 3.0 or higher. A satisfactory performance (at least 70% average and no score lower than 50% on any individual subject) on a comprehensive examination on these four subjects may be substituted for this requirement.

Students enrolled in the Earth and Energy Sciences Ph.D.  degree program have the opportunity to obtain a M.S. degree in Physics as they work toward the completion of the doctoral degree. Either thesis or non-thesis track may be pursued. EESC 699  may be used to substitute PHYS 594  or PHYS 599 . EESC 691  and EESC 692  may be used to substitute PHYS 591 /592  and PHYS 595 /596 , respectively.

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