Master of Science in Physics

Major: PHYS
Degree Awarded: MS
Unit: GA
Program Webpage:

Program Information

Mission Statement

The Master of Science degree in Physics will prepare students for Ph.D. level graduate work in Physics or a related field, or for a science-related career.

General Information

The M.S. is a two-year degree program available to qualified individuals possessing a bachelor’s degree in Physics from an accredited college or university. Students with a bachelor’s degree in other related subjects, e.g. Mathematics, Chemistry or Engineering, will also be considered.

Qualified students will be considered for Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs). As part of the educational experience, GTAs perform certain undergraduate teaching responsibilities in exchange for a stipend and full tuition remission.

The M.S. can be earned via a thesis or non-thesis option. The thesis option requires at least six (6) credit hours of research leading to submission of the thesis. The non-thesis option requires a minimum of three (3) credit hours of research without a thesis. Details for each option are described below.

Program Admission

Departmental requirements for admission are as follows:

  • A baccalaureate degree with at least 24 credit hours in physics, or the equivalent.
  • A minimum quality-point standing of 3.0 (base 4.0) in physics courses.
  • Mathematics course work through differential equations. (MATH 405 or equivalent).
  • Submission of the (general) Graduate Record Examination scores.

For general information concerning admission to the graduate programs at the University of Louisville consult the application directions at

Program admission procedure:

Admission into the Physics M.S. program is competitive. The application procedure is as follows:

  • Submit a completed graduate application to the University of Louisville School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Graduate Admissions together with the required application fee. Applications may be submitted on-line at Admitted students are most commonly accepted to begin their program of studies in the Fall semester (which starts in late August). However, programs beginning in the Spring semester (which begins in early January) can be arranged. There is no formal application deadline, but to ensure full consideration for Fall entry applications should be received no later than February 1.
  • Official transcripts from each university or college attended must be submitted to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Graduate Admissions.
  • Take the general section of the Graduate Record Examination and arrange for the official score to be sent to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Graduate Admissions.
  • Arrange for at least two letters of recommendation to be sent to the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, Graduate Admissions. These letters should be written by persons familiar with the applicant’s academic work. Please use the recommendation form found at or complete the relevant section in the on-line application so that your letter writers will receive an email request to submit their recommendation electronically.
  • All applicants, whose native language is not English, are required to achieve a TOEFL score greater than 79 on the internet-based test. Students holding a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution in the United States are exempt from this requirement.

In individual cases, the department may recommend conditional admission of a student who does not satisfactorily meet the above requirements. If admission is granted, that student will be subject to those conditions specified by the Department of Physics and Astronomy, the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies as being necessary to remedy the conditional admission.

B.S./M.S. Five-Year Accelerated Program

The Department of Physics and Astronomy, in the College of Arts and Sciences, offers a five-year accelerated program leading to a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree in Physics.

Requirements for admission:

  • The applicant will apply for admission to the five-year accelerated program in the first semester of the senior year.
  • The applicant will have completed at least 21 credit hours in Physics before applying to the program.
  • The applicant will have maintained at least a 3.0 GPA in Physics courses and a 3.35 GPA overall.

Once accepted, the student must meet the following requirements:

  • Submit a GRE General test score consistent with School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies guidelines.
  • Take at least nine (9) credit hours in 500-level physics courses for graduate credit. Two of the courses must be PHYS 542 and PHYS 556. Preferably these courses will be taken during the same semester in the student’s senior year.
  • Maintain a 3.0 GPA.


General requirements for the M.S. degree are set forth in the General Information section of the Graduate Catalog. Specific requirements for the M.S. degree in physics are as follows:

Thesis option:

Non-thesis option:

B.S./M.S. accelerated program:

The non-physics undergraduate requirements of this degree are identical to the standard B.S. in physics.

Undergraduate physics requirements are as follows:



Credit hours

PHYS 298 or 298HIntroductory Mechanics, Heat and Sound - S4
PHYS 299 or 299HIntroductory Electricity, Magnetism and Light - S                                    4
PHYS 295 or 295HIntroductory Laboratory I - SL1
PHYS 296 or 296HIntroductory Laboratory II1
PHYS 300Introductory Modern Physics3
PHYS 301Introductory Modern Physics Laboratory3
PHYS 390Introductory Computational Physics3
PHYS 450Introductory Mathematical Physics3
PHYS 460Mechanics3
PHYS 541Electromagnetic Fields3
PHYS 555Elementary Quantum Mechanics3
PHYS 498
Total Credit Hours

Graduate requirements for the five-year B.S./M.S. program are identical to the standard M.S. program (thesis and non-thesis option) except that the physics electives must include PHYS 542 and PHYS 556.


Swagato Banerjee

Assistant Professor

David N. Brown

Undergraduate Program Director

Joseph S. Chalmers

Professor Emeritus

Chris L. Davis

Graduate Program Director

Timothy E. Dowling


Jian Du-Caines

Assistant Professor

Byron Freelon

Assistant Professor

Victor K. Henner
Adjunct Professor

Professor, Perm State University (Russia)

Benne Holwerda

Assistant Professor

Wei-Feng Huang

Professor Emeritus

Chakram S. Jayanthi


John F. Kielkopf


James T. Lauroesch

Associate Professor

Shudun Liu

Associate Professor

Sergio Mendes


Roger E. Mills

Professor Emeritus

John C. Morrison


P. J. Ouseph

Professor Emeritus

John J. Sinai

Professor Emeritus

Serban Smadici

Assistant Professor

Gamini Sumanasekera


Gerard M. Williger

Associate Professor

Shi-Yu Wu

Professor Emeritus

Ming Yu

Associate Professor