• NSMIT (MyNSM)

Requirements for the M.S. Degree in Physics

To receive the degree of Master of Science in Physics, a student must satisfy one of the two sets of requirements stated below:

Master's Degree, Thesis Option

A student must successfully complete a minimum of 30 semester hours for which graduate credit is accepted by the department. These 30 semester hours must include:

  • Physics 6303 (Methods of Mathematical Physics)
  • Physics 6327 (Statistical Physics)
  • Physics 6315 (Quantum Mechanics)
  • Physics 6309 (Advanced Mechanics)
  • Physics 6321 (Electrodynamics)
  • In addition to the 30 semester hours, a maximum of six semester hours may be awarded for Physics 6399 or Physics 7399 (Master's Thesis) each semester. The proper selection and sequencing of these courses must be authorized by the student's graduate advisor. If a thesis advisor has been selected, that advisor will serve as the student's advisor.
  • The student must select a thesis advisor before the second semester of graduate work has been completed. Shortly after a thesis advisor has been selected, a thesis committee must be selected jointly by the student and the thesis advisor. The committee must consist of the advisor, at least two members of the physics graduate faculty, and at least one University of Houston graduate faculty member from outside the department. A list of prospective committee members must be submitted to the graduate studies committee and to the dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for approval.
  • The student must present an acceptable thesis of original scientific research in physics and defend it orally before the thesis committee. Copies of the final draft of the thesis must be given to the members of the committee prior to the deadline published in the Graduate Studies Bulletin. The student must provide copies to the committee at least two weeks, and preferably one month, prior to the defense. Written announcement of the thesis defense must be sent to the physics graduate faculty at least one week prior to the thesis defense.
  • The student must maintain a B average in the core graduate courses and may not make more than two B- grades in the core courses listed above.

Master's Degree, Non-thesis Option

A student must successfully complete a minimum of 36 semester hours for which graduate credit is accepted by the Physics Department. Twenty of these 36 hours must include the following courses:

  • Physics 6303 (Methods of Mathematical Physics)
  • Physics 6309 (Advanced Mechanics) Physics 6315 (Quantum Mechanics)
  • Physics 6321 (Electrodynamics) Physics 6327 (Statistical Physics)
  • In addition, sixteen semester hours of work in either advanced physics and/or other fields will be required. No more than nine credit hours should be taken at the 3000 or 4000 (which are actually undergraduate courses) level. It is implicit in all this that a student who desires to fill in part or all of these 18 semester hours with advanced courses in a field outside of physics will already have taken prerequisite courses that are required to qualify him/her for the desired graduate level courses.
  • An advisor will be assigned to each non-thesis master's student from among the physics faculty belonging to the Graduate Studies Committee. The Graduate Studies Committee chairman, or the department chairman, will have the responsibility to make this assignment during the student's first semester of graduate work. Students must discuss all their course plans with their advisors, and to gain approval for a given course load before the beginning of each semester.
  • The student must maintain a B average in the core graduate courses and may not make more than two B- grades in the core courses listed above.

Additional Requirements for All Master's Students

  • In addition to the requirements listed above, there are several procedural matters which also msut be completed before a master's degree is awarded by the University of Houston. These are summarized below and listed in detail in the Graduate Studies Bulletin.
  • Upon completion of 12 hours of graduate credit with a grade point average of B or better, the student must file an application for admission to candidacy with the Graduate Office of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The student will then receive formal notice of admission to candidacy for the Master of Science degree.
  • During the semester in which the student plans to graduate, he/she must submit an application for graduation to the Registrar's Office. The student must be approved for candidacy before he/she can file an application for graduation. (see the current bulletin for deadline for submitting the application for graduation.)
  • A student working on a thesis is required to be continuously registered for Physics 6399 or Physics 7399 for a minimum of six semester hours. Registration in Physics 7399 is required in the semester in which the student plans to graduate.
  • The original and two copies of the thesis must be given to the Graduate Office of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

Exception to any of these regulations will be considered on an individual basis by special petition to the Graduate Studies Committees.