Applied Physics, Master of Science
Are you interested in non-academic, technical employment in the aerospace, defense and high technology industries, government laboratories, and private research institutes? Are you looking for a basic graduate-level scientific foundation, so that you can further your studies even more? Our program is designed to train you in laboratory skills and with computational and computer modeling expertise, develop your competence in the use and design of modern instrumentation, and provide you with a basic foundation in physics. You will have a broad selection of cross-disciplinary course options, such as geology, chemistry, engineering, and mathematics. As a capstone to this coursework, you'll participate in an internship or write a master's thesis through partnerships with government laboratories, private research institutes, and industrial corporations.
This plan provides a strong core of applied physics as well as essential research skills, and prepares you for technical employment in high-technology industries, research institutes, or college teaching, as well as for further professional study in various fields of applied physics. This plan can be interdisciplinary, integrating a broad range of subject areas to enhance your opportunities for research, teaching, or careers in the private sector. There is a thesis option in General Physics and a specialization option in Teaching College Physics.
Career Tab Open
Requirements Tab Closed
Overview Tab Closed
Details Tab Closed
Availability Tab Closed
Career Accordion Open
Career opportunities that might be pursued:
- Industrial researcher
- Community college instructor
- Telescope operator
- Planetary scientist
- University laboratory manager
Requirements Accordion Closed
To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)
You must additionally complete:
- All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
- All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
- All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
Overview Accordion Closed
In addition to University Requirements:
- Complete individual plan requirements.
|Minimum Units for Completion||30|
|Additional Admission Requirements||Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.|
|Thesis||Thesis may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.|
|Comprehensive Exam||Comprehensive Exam may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.|
|Research||Individualized research may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.|
|Progression Plan Link||View Program of Study|
The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers a two-year master's degree that provides a strong core of applied physics as well as essential research skills, and prepares students for employment in high-technology industries, research institutes, or further academic study in physics. The program is designed to train students in laboratory skills, providing them with computational and computer modeling expertise, developing their competencies in the use and design of modern instrumentation, and providing them with a basic foundation in physics. There are both thesis and coursework options available. These plans can be interdisciplinary, integrating a broad range of subject areas to enhance opportunities in research or the private sector.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students will achieve the following learning outcomes:
- Enhanced Understanding and Application of the Laws of Physics with a special emphasis on experimentation and computational methods. Areas of enhancement:
- computational methods
- microscopic structure of matter
- statistical physics
- Written and Oral Communication Skills: clearly communicate and defend original ideas and research in verbal, written, and visual formats to scientific and non-scientific audiences.
- Problem Solving Skills:
- interpret experimental data and derive useful information from that data
- solve physical problems via numerical computation
- utilize specialized instrumentation to perform experimentation on physical systems
- apply knowledge of physical theory to design appropriate experiments
- General Physics Thesis Track: Design, pursue, and complete an original research project that contributes to the field of physics. Through the thesis experience students will:
- design with the guidance of a thesis adviser an original and significant research project
- conduct a literature review of the topic
- apply appropriate theories of physics and laboratory tools to the research project
- analyze, interpret, and explain findings of the research project
- synthesize and present the relevance of the project in both technical and non-technical terms
- write a thesis
- clearly present and defend the research project in front of a community of physics faculty and peers
- General Physics Coursework Track: Through this coursework students will demonstrate a deeper mastery in their chosen areas of study, including:
- computational, optical, and materials physics.
- a range of experimental laboratory techniques
- computational methods in physics
Details Accordion Closed
Additional Admission Requirements
- Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
- NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
- Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
- Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent.
- Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
- For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
- International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy
Individual program admission requirements include:
- GRE® revised General Test
- 3 letters of recommendation
- Personal statement or essay
This Master’s degree requires 30 units distributed as follows:
- Applied Physics Coursework: 18 units
- Select a Thesis or Coursework Option: 12 units
Take the following 30 units:
Applied Physics Coursework (18 units)
- PHY 530, PHY 540, PHY 545, PHY 550, PHY 560, PHY 581
- Additional PHY, APMS coursework selected in consultation with your advisor.
Select Thesis or Coursework option:
Thesis Option (12 units)
- PHY 685 You may take more than 3 units of PHY 685 but only 6 units will count toward your degree. (3-6 units)
- PHY 699 You must enroll in PHY 699 each semester while performing thesis work but only 6 units will count toward your degree (3-6 units)
- Electives in any science, mathematics, engineering, or other field that's appropriate to your career goals, with your advisor's approval. These must be formal, letter-graded coursework. Up to 6 units may be at the 400-level. (6 units)
- Students selecting the thesis option are required to complete 18 units of formal letter-graded coursework. No 400-level coursework may apply toward this requirement.
Coursework Option (12 units)
- Electives in any science, mathematics, engineering, or other field that's appropriate to your career goals, with your advisor's approval.
- At least 6 units must be formal, letter-graded coursework. Up to 6 units may be at the 400-level. (12 units)
- Comprehensive oral exam.
- Students selecting the coursework option must complete 24 units of formal letter-graded coursework.
Note that if you pursue the Master of Science in Applied Physics degree at NAU, you will not be able to pursue the Master of Science in Materials Science/Master of Science in Applied Physics and Materials Science degree. Only one of the two degrees will be awarded.
- Students selecting the thesis option are required to complete 18 units of formal letter-graded course work. No 400-level coursework may apply toward this requirement.
- Students selecting the coursework option must complete 24 units of formal letter-graded course work.
Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.