Master's Degree

Students who want to receive a Master’s Degree on route to the Ph.D. must:

  • Complete the Core Courses and 2 electives with a GPA of 3.0, overall AND
  • Pass an Oral Exam (Plan II, requires 39 units of courses) OR
  • Complete a Master’s Thesis, and pass a thesis defense (Plan I, requires at least 45 units, 39 units of courses and 6 units of research (PHYS 298/299 per Senate requirements)

Oral Exam (Plan II)

The Oral Exam Committee shall be appointed by the Vice Chair for Graduate Education, in consultation with the Qualifying Committee. The Committee will consist of 3 faculty members and shall not include the student’s advisor. The exam will test fundamental undergraduate and graduate level physics.

M.S. Thesis and Defense (Plan I)

  1. The student shall write a thesis, which presents a finite but clear original contribution.
  2. The thesis shall consist of:
    1. Introduction and motivation
    2. Background
    3. Summary of research and results
    4. Discussion of results and conclusion
    The introduction and conclusion should be accessible to physicists outside the area of specialization.
  3. The student should arrange a thesis committee of three Faculty members, one of which should be outside the area of specialization. The committee should receive the thesis 1 week prior to the defense.
  4. A thesis defense should be held. The defense should consist of a 20-30-minute presentation followed by 10-15 minutes of questions and discussion.The outcome of the defense shall be either Pass or Fail.
    The committee can grant a Conditional Pass, contingent on the student making required changes to the thesis. The means by which the Conditions will be enforced should be specified in the report on the defense.