Physics & Astronomy Department
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Our Graduate Program
We offer a two-year M.S. in Physics. About half our students continue to a Ph.D. program in physics, the other half take their physics experience to industry or an advanced degree in another science or engineering field.
Our program is limited to between 16 and 20 students total. That means exceptional opportunities for starting research projects right away. We support projects in the physics of large lake environments, biophysics, condensed matter, experimental particle physics and neutrino astrophysics, observational extragalactic astronomy, plus particle, cosmology, and gravitation theory. If it matches your career goals, some projects can be made very interdisciplinary.
We offer foundation courses and elective specialty courses. Most importantly, we also offer three methods courses emphasizing application of computation to numerical, analytical, and experimental techniques. In addition, students are required to take two courses outside the department. Electrical engineering, computer science, chemistry, and math are popular choices, but there is flexibility to design a degree plan around your career goals.
Research Is Key
Getting involved in research right away is a huge advantage. It gives you a step up against otherwise similarly prepared third year Ph.D. students in physics and gives you a chance to steer a project, building skills and experiences that are valued in industry. Both go beyond what may have been available to you as an undergraduate.
For more information regarding our graduate program, please contact Prof. Rik Gran, our Director of Graduate Studies.
You can also view faculty research interests.
While all students participate in faculty-guided research, there are two routes to completing the degree with different levels of research expectations. Students elect to satisfy degree requirements with either a thesis-based research component (Plan A) or additional course work and a smaller research project (Plan B). Students typically complete the program in two years. Several of our faculty may advise Ph.D. students in related programs within the University of Minnesota, particularly the Water Resources Science program and the Physics and Astrophysics programs on the U of M Twin Cities campus.