Mar 05, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
2023-2024 University Catalog

Applied Physics, M.S.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by Degree

The Physics Department offers the MS degree in Applied Physics. The program is flexible enough to accommodate students planning on continuing graduate studies in applied physics, physics, or an interdisciplinary field, as well as students intending to enter the work force.

The department currently has strong research programs in theoretical and computational aspects of acoustics, geophysics, electromagnetics, continuum mechanics, and astrophysics. Excellent experimental research activities are being conducted in condensed matter and materials physics, magnetism, spintronics, surface physics, and observational astronomy.

The department also participates in the Doctor of Philosophy in Engineering and Applied Science program. Interested students should refer to the beginning of this Graduate Programs in Sciences section for a description of the program, admission criteria, and curricular requirements.

Student Learning Outcomes

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs) for MS Applied Physics


Students will be able to apply advanced concepts in electrodynamics, classical mechanics, thermodynamics, and mathematical methods to real-world problems.


Students will be able to communicate scientific research results and related physics concepts in oral and written form.


Students will be able to independently design and conduct experimental and/or computational physics research projects including data acquisition, computer simulations and analysis.


In addition to meeting the minimum standards for admission to the Graduate School, applicants should have undergraduate coursework in general chemistry, mathematics through differential equations, and classical physics. Strong applications have an education record with a high level of performance and promise, particularly in the field of physics. Applicants must submit valid GRE scores.

Degree Requirements

Entering students can to choose to follow a targeted applied physics emphasis or a traditional applied physics emphasis for their degree. Students who choose a targeted emphasis are those preparing for a career which targets specific areas of applied physics such as materials science, optics, acoustics, or geophysics, and those planning to work in interdisciplinary areas such as computational physics (scientific computing), biophysics, chemical physics, physical oceanography, or engineering physics. This emphasis selection provides excellent preparation for interdisciplinary doctoral studies. Entering students choosing this emphasis are not necessarily expected to have completed all the courses that an undergraduate physics major takes, but they should have a good grounding in classical physics or be willing to make up deficiencies. Additional classical physics courses are expected to form part of the degree program. The student may choose to do 24 hours of coursework and a thesis, or 33 hours of coursework and no thesis. The graduate work must include at least 18 hours of physics (including thesis if a thesis is done) and 9 hours in a specialty area (which may be applied physics). At least 18 hours of work must be at a level of 6000 or above. The program of study must be approved by the student’s Master’s committee or the Department Graduate Advisory Committee.

The traditional emphasis is for those preparing for a career in which basic physics plays a central role, including those aspiring to employment heavily dependent on physics and those planning to continue into a Doctor of Philosophy program in applied physics or in physics. Except in limited unusual circumstances, the student is expected to do a thesis and 24 hours of course work. Of the 24 credit hours of coursework students selecting this emphasis are expected to take a minimum of 18 hours in physics of which at least 12 are taken in courses numbered above 6000. The program of study must be approved by the student’s Master’s committee or the Department Graduate Advisory Committee.

Each graduate student is expected to participate in the weekly seminar, PHYS 6198 . (A maximum of one hour credit in PHYS 6198  may be used to satisfy program requirements.) After coursework is substantially complete, the candidate will be required to take a comprehensive examination. In the case of students who elect to do a thesis, the comprehensive examination will be an oral one in which the questions will be primarily on the thesis and related matters. Both emphasis choices offer excellent preparation for the interdisciplinary UNO Doctor of Philosophy program in Engineering and Applied Science, of which Physics is a strong participating department.

Financial Aid

Teaching assistantships are available to a limited number of qualified applicants. Research assistantships and fellowships supported by grant funds of individual faculty members are also available.

Return to {$returnto_text} Return to: Programs by Degree