Graduate Program

Our Graduate Program

We offer a two-year M.S. in Physics degree, which prepares students for a Ph.D. in physics, careers in industry, or further studies in other sciences or engineering.

Research: Our faculty do research in the science of lakes and oceans, biophysics, astronomy, condensed matter, experimental particle physics and neutrino astrophysics, microfluidics, and gravitational physics. Some of the topics are highly interdisciplinary. Several of our faculty are associated with the UMD Large Lakes Observatory and the University of Minnesota’s Water Resources Science program. They may accept and advise students in water-related fields of research at PhD level.

See more information on the faculty research interests page.

Courses: We offer foundation courses in fundamental Physics, methods courses in computational, analytical, and experimental techniques, and elective specialty courses. Students are also required to take two courses outside the department, such as in electrical engineering, computer science, chemistry, math, or another field that fits their career goals.

There are two routes to completing the degree:

  • Plan A is a research-based path that culminates in writing and defending a MS thesis.
  • Plan B is course-based and involves taking additional courses and completing a smaller research project.

Funding: Most of the students we admit into the program are funded with teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or other fellowships that cover the costs of the education and the living expenses.

For more information regarding our graduate program, please contact Prof. Sergei Katsev, our Director of Graduate Studies.

How to Apply

Admission Requirements 

  • A four-year (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in physics or a related field that provides you with significant physics and mathematics background and a keen interest in further physics training.
  • An undergraduate grade point average of 3.0 on a 4 point scale,
  • Undergraduate course transcripts
  • Graduate Record Exams (GRE) (optional). While the general and subject GRE results are not required, their submission is encouraged.

For international students:

  • TOEFL : minimum 79 (Writing subscore 21; Reading subscore 19).
  • IELTS : minimum 6.5 (Writing subscore 6.5; Reading subscore 6.5).

View more details on the Graduate School's English Proficiency Requirements page.

Applying through the online system

Please apply via the link on the Graduate School instructions to apply page.

The application includes:

  • Your CV or resume.

  • Personal Statement. Use it to tell us about your past achievements, current academic interests, your aspirations and future plans. Tell us what drives your interest in Physics. This is a good place to reflect on your learning style, your strengths and weaknesses, or the kind of things that motivate you. For example, do you find excitement in tinkering with equipment in a lab, or putting equations on a page with a pen, or programming? Do you like working things out by yourself or bouncing ideas in a team? What was the biggest project you accomplished, what makes you proud (both academically and more generally in life)? Who (or what) had the biggest influence on you and why? Be sure to mention if you already spoke with any of our faculty members and who you may wish to have as your prospective advisor.

  • Diversity Statement (optional). We encourage you to submit a statement on how you may contribute to the diversity of people, cultures, experiences, and ideas at our department, and on your past experiences or potential contributions in promoting diversity and equity.

  • Writing Sample (optional). You may use this section of the application to upload a sample of your writing, such as if you wrote a paper or an article.

  • Program Additional Material (optional). You may use this section for any additional material that you think may help the committee evaluate your application.

  • GRE scores (optional). While the general and subject GRE results are not required, their submission is encouraged.

  • Letters of reference.  You will be asked for contact information for three people who can evaluate your abilities and promise for graduate study. They will each receive an email from the system with instructions for how to upload their letters.

It is a good idea to communicate with one or several faculty members in the department before applying, to assess the potential match and selecting a prospective research advisor. 

Applications that are completed by April 1 will receive full consideration. To be considered for university-wide fellowships, however, candidates are encouraged to apply as early as possible, preferably by the end of January.

Notes

  • The University of Minnesota has several campuses. In the second online form, "Application Information", be sure to select the "University of Minnesota Duluth" option to the question "What Campus will you be attending?"

  • Students who wish to seek a PhD (rather than Masters) while working with our faculty in a field of aquatic sciences, should apply through the Water Resources Science program. Students who wish to pursue a Ph.D. degree in other areas of Physics are advised to consider the University of Minnesota's Twin Cities campus.

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