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Master of Science in Physics

The Ph.D. is the typical terminal degree in the United States. However, there are a variety of reasons to pursue an M.S. in physics. For students from some countries, the M.S. is the terminal degree.

Illinois Tech is an excellent choice for graduate study in physics. The department is small, collegial, and collaborative. Everyone knows one another. Faculty provide personal attention and support. At the same time, Illinois Tech is a major Ph.D.-granting research institution with connections to Argonne National Laboratory, Fermilab, and global physics experiments like Daya Bay. Major areas of research include particle and accelerator physics, condensed matter physics, superconductivity, biophysics, and computational biophysics. Faculty have special expertise in areas like XAFS and synchrotron.

Research is organized into small groups of faculty members, post-doctoral associates, graduate students, and undergraduate students working closely on related projects. Classes are generally small and informal, and thesis research is carried out in close collaboration with the faculty adviser.

Full-time students participate in instruction, because we believe that teaching experience strengthens understanding of physics and aids in making career decisions. Each graduate student is assigned a graduate student adviser to help with course selection and progress to degree.

Program Requirements 

The requirements for the Master of Science in physics are the completion of 32 credit hours in coursework approved by the faculty advisor and the passing of a written M.S. comprehensive examination. For those interested in research, up to 6 credit hours of PHYS 591 (Thesis Research) may be applied to the 32-credit hour requirement. The basic program of coursework must include 2 semesters of PHYS 585 or 685 (Colloquium) and the M.S. core:

PHYS 501 Methods of Theoretical Physics I 3 Credits
PHYS 505 Electromagnetic Theory 3 Credits
PHYS 508 Analytical Dynamics 3 Credits
PHYS 509 Quantum Theory I 3 Credits
PHYS 510 Quantum Theory II 3 Credits
PHYS 515 Statistical Mechanics 3 Credits


The remaining course requirements may be satisfied by additional graduate or advanced undergraduate electives.