Duluth campus

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Duluth Campus

Physics M.S.

UMD-Physics & Astronomy
Swenson College of Science and Engineering
Link to a list of faculty for this program.
Contact Information
Department of Physics, University of Minnesota Duluth, 371 Marshall W. Alworth Hall, 1023 University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812 (218-726-7124; fax: 218-726-6942)
  • Program Type: Master's
  • Requirements for this program are current for Fall 2022
  • Length of program in credits: 30
  • This program requires summer semesters for timely completion.
  • Degree: Master of Science
Along with the program-specific requirements listed below, please read the General Information section of this website for requirements that apply to all major fields.
The Physics MS program provides a grounding in the fundamentals of physics, combined with significant research involvement. The primary areas of research are computational physics, high-energy neutrino physics, experimental work in condensed-matter physics, and observational and theoretical work in physical limnology and oceanography.
Program Delivery
  • via classroom (the majority of instruction is face-to-face)
Prerequisites for Admission
The preferred undergraduate GPA for admittance to the program is 3.00.
An undergraduate degree in physics or related field is required.
Other requirements to be completed before admission:
Three letters of recommendation are required. The application deadline is July 15; however, applications received by April 1 receive full consideration.
Special Application Requirements:
International and domestic applicants whose first language is not English must submit current score(s) from the following tests:
International applicants must submit score(s) from one of the following tests:
    • Internet Based - Total Score: 79
    • Internet Based - Writing Score: 21
    • Internet Based - Reading Score: 19
    • Total Score: 6.5
    • Reading Score: 6.5
    • Writing Score: 6.5
    • Final score: 80
Key to test abbreviations (TOEFL, IELTS, MELAB).
For an online application or for more information about graduate education admissions, see the General Information section of this website.
Program Requirements
Plan A: Plan A requires 20 major credits, 0 credits outside the major, and 10 thesis credits. The final exam is oral.
Plan B: Plan B requires 30 major credits and 0 credits outside the major. The final exam is oral. A capstone project is required.
Capstone Project:The Plan B project requires a written report representing a minimum of 120 hours of total effort.
This program may be completed with a minor.
Use of 4xxx courses toward program requirements is permitted under certain conditions with adviser approval.
A minimum GPA of 3.00 is required for students to remain in good standing.
At least 1 semesters must be completed before filing a Degree Program Form.
Core Courses (11 credits)
Take the following courses. Take PHYS 5090 twice for a total of 2 credits.
PHYS 5090 - Physics Seminar (1.0 cr)
PHYS 5501 - Advanced Classical Mechanics (3.0 cr)
PHYS 5511 - Electrodynamics (3.0 cr)
PHYS 5521 - Quantum Mechanics I (3.0 cr)
Methods Course (3 credits)
Select one of the following courses in consultation with the advisor:
PHYS 5052 - Computational Methods in Physics (3.0 cr)
PHYS 5053 - Data Analysis Methods in Physics (3.0 cr)
PHYS 5061 - Experimental Methods (3.0 cr)
Select credits as needed to complete the 20 course credits required for the Plan A or the 30-credit minimum for the Plan B.
Plan Options
Plan A
Thesis Credits
Take 10 master's thesis credits.
PHYS 8777 - Thesis Credits: Master's (1.0-18.0 cr)
Plan B
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· Swenson College of Science and Engineering

View future requirement(s):
· Spring 2023

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PHYS 5090 - Physics Seminar
Credits: 1.0 [max 2.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Every Spring
Preparation and presentation of oral reports on approved physics topics, research projects, and journal articles. prereq: Sr or grad student
PHYS 5501 - Advanced Classical Mechanics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Hamiltonian and Lagrangian formulations for discrete systems, canonical transformations, nonlinear dynamics, and chaos theory. prereq: 4001
PHYS 5511 - Electrodynamics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Maxwell's equations, relativity and electrodynamics, radiation and scattering of electromagnetic waves, relativistic particles in electromagnetic fields, and radiation reaction. prereq: 4011
PHYS 5521 - Quantum Mechanics I
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Prerequisites: 4021
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Schrodinger equation, operator formulation, angular momentum, symmetries. prereq: 4021
PHYS 5052 - Computational Methods in Physics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Odd Year
Applications of numerical methods to problems in classical and quantum physics, emphasizing ordinary and partial differential equations. Computer modeling of physical systems and experimentation with simulations of physical systems. prereq: 2021, 1 sem programming, Math 3280
PHYS 5053 - Data Analysis Methods in Physics
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Fall Even Year
Problems of data analysis in the context of dynamical models. Emphasis will be placed on large datasets that arise in astrophysics, particle dynamics, physical oceanography and meteorology. (2 hr lect & 2 hr lab) prereq: 2012 or 2015 or 2018 and 2016, 1 sem programming, lab or field experience beyond 2012/2015 and 2016
PHYS 5061 - Experimental Methods
Credits: 3.0 [max 3.0]
Grading Basis: A-F or Aud
Typically offered: Spring Odd Year
Instruction and practice in methods of experimental physics; microcomputer-based data acquisition; vacuum techniques. prereq: 2033 and 3061
PHYS 8777 - Thesis Credits: Master's
Credits: 1.0 -18.0 [max 50.0]
Grading Basis: No Grade
Typically offered: Every Fall & Spring
(No description) prereq: Max 18 cr per semester or summer; 10 cr total required (Plan A only)