Master of Science

We offer 4 paths to an M.S. degree, including one for Alabama Class A Teacher Certification and one optimized for current professionals in the optics field.

Core Courses

The required core courses for M.S. options 1-3 below are:

PH 601 CLASSICAL DYNAMICS I 3
PH 607 MATHEMATICAL METHODS I 3
PH 609 MATHEMATICAL METHODS II 3
PH 621 STAT MECH KINETIC THRY I 3
PH 631 ELECTROMAGNETIC THEORY I 3
PH 651 QUANTUM MECHANICS I 3
PH 652 QUANTUM MECHANICS II 3
Total Credit Hours 21

Option 1
M.S. with Thesis

The requirements for this option are:

  1. 24 credit hours of graduate coursework (the Core Courses plus a 3 credit hour elective).
  2. 6 credit hours of Thesis Research PH 699.
  3. 2 credit hours of Physics Seminar PH 792. 
  4. The completion and successful defense of an M.S. thesis in accordance with Graduate School.

Option 2
M.S. without Thesis

Requirements:

  1. 33 credit hours of graduate coursework (the Core Courses plus 12 credit hours of electives).
  2. 2 credit hours of Physics Seminar PH 792.
  3. A passing grade at the M.S. level on the Department Comprehensive Examination. This exam is offered every August, and also serves as the preliminary examination for the Ph.D. degree program. The Comprehensive Examination is on material covered in the Core Courses, and has sections dealing with quantum mechanics, electromagnetic theory and relativity, and classical and statistical mechanics.

A full-time course schedule leading to the Comprehensive Exam at the start of the fall semester of the second year is:

Year 1
FallCredit Hours
PH 607 MATHEMATICAL METHODS I  3
PH 651 QUANTUM MECHANICS I  3
PH 601 CLASSICAL DYNAMICS I  3
PH 792 PHYSICS SEMINAR  1
  Term Credit Hours:  10
Spring 
PH 609 MATHEMATICAL METHODS II  3
PH 652 QUANTUM MECHANICS II  3
PH 631 ELECTROMAGNETIC THEORY I  3
PH 792 PHYSICS SEMINAR  1
  Term Credit Hours:  10
Summer 
PH 621 STAT MECH KINETIC THRY I  3
Elective    3
  Term Credit Hours:  6
  Total Credit Hours:  26

Electives

Electives for Options 1 and 2 can be taken in the Physics Department (for advanced study in optics, space physics, astrophysics, or planetary science) or from another department such as Atmospheric Science. Students need to consult with their advisor regarding the selection of topical elective courses.

Option 3
M.S. with Class A Teaching Certification

Referred to by the State of Alabama as an Alternative Class A Program, we strongly encourage students to investigate this highly rewarding career option.

This program is intended for individuals who do not already have a Class B Teaching Certification. The requirements are

  1. 21 credit hours of graduate coursework (the Core Courses).
  2. 3 credit hours of the Physics Capstone Course PH 679. 
  3. 25 credit hours in graduate education courses.
  4. 6 credit hours of Middle and High School Internship ED 698.

Neither the Comprehensive Exam nor a thesis is required for this option. However, a thesis can replace the Capstone Course, if desired.

Option 4
M.S. in Optics and Photonics Technology

The OPT (PH) degree program is thesis based and comprises a minimum of 27 hours of coursework plus a minimum of 6 hours of thesis research PH 699. The OPT (PH) program meets the Department of Physics and Astronomy requirements and is suggested for students coming from a physics background or students wishing to earn additional physics hours while completing the optics courses.

The curriculum has been designed such that little or no prior graduate work in physics is required. The OPT degree program does not prepare the student for taking the Physics Comprehensive Exam or the OSE Preliminary Exam for entrance into either Ph.D. program.

Requirements for students seeking the OPT degree through the Electrical Engineering department, the OPT (EE), may be significantly different from those given here.

OPT (PH) Curriculum