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graduate_handbook:m.s._degree_requirements

M.S. Degree Requirement

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree in physics may be completed under one of three options called Plans A, B and C. Plan A involves the writing of a Master's thesis. Plan B allows two choices. One choice is a so-called Plan B project. The second choice is to write three Plan B papers on three different topics. Both Plan A and Plan B require a faculty research adviser who agrees to supervise the work. A three member faculty committee will be appointed by the Director of Graduate Studies to certify that the thesis or project/papers is satisfactory and to administer the final oral examination. Plan C involves course-work, requires a higher GPA, and requires that the Graduate Written Examination be passed.

For any of the Plans, the student may choose to satisfy the minor requirements either by a designated minor or with six credits in “related fields.” A designated minor must be in a graduate program outside of physics, and both the degree program and the committee must be approved by the DGS of that program. “Related fields” courses may be in physics or outside of physics in fields with some relevance to physics. Courses in physics for the related field may not be in the same sub-field (see Table 5.1) as the thesis, Plan B project or the majority of the Plan B papers. If both Physics 5001/2 and 5011/2 have been taken, the student may use either one of these sequences to fulfill the minor requirements; the other one is specifically required.

Plan A: M.S. With Thesis

Residence Requirement: At least 60% of the course program must be completed at the University of Minnesota.

Filing of Program: After completing 10 credits; not later than 2nd semester of registration.

Minimum Grade Point Average: 2.8

Minimum Course Credits: 20 credits total, including 14 in physics including either Physics 5001/2 or Physics 5011/2; 6 in or outside of physics (but not in major sub-field) for a “related fields” minor; 6 in one field outside physics for designated minor. If both Physics 5001/2 and Physics 5011/12 are taken, one of these sequences may be counted as supporting field credits. All courses must be at the 4xxx, 5xxx or 8xxx level. (Some 4xxx courses, such as Physics 4001, 4002, 4101, 4202 and 4303, do not earn graduate credits.)

Foreign Language Requirement: No requirement. However, the adviser may require reading knowledge of a particular language if justified by the nature of the thesis.

Final Oral Examination: Yes.

Thesis Credits: 10 (Physics 8777) Plan A only.

Thesis: The thesis should represent approximately 10 to 15 weeks of full-time effort. This time includes doing the necessary background reading, performing the research and writing the thesis. Common lengths for M.S. theses are 25 to 50 pages, although effective effort and not length alone is the appropriate standard. Theses must be written according to the Graduate School regulations. In addition to the Graduate School's requirements, the student should provide one bound copy of the thesis for the adviser.

Plan B: M.S. Without Thesis

Residence Requirement: At least 60% of the course program must be completed at the University of Minnesota.

Filing of Program: After completing 10 credits; not later than 2nd semester of registration.

Minimum Grade Point Average: 2.8

Minimum Course Credits: Total of 30 credits, including at least 14 in physics including either Physics 5001/2 or Physics 5011/2; 6 in or outside physics (but not in major sub-field) for “related fields” minor or 6 credits in one field for designated minor. If both Physics 5001/2 and Physics 5011/12 are taken, one of these sequences may be counted as related field credits. The remainder of these credits may be selected from physics or other fields with the consent of the adviser. All courses must be at the 4xxx, 5xxx or 8xxx level. (Some 4xxx courses, such as Physics 4001, 4002, 4101, 4202 and 4303, do not earn graduate credits.)

Foreign Language Requirement: None.

Final Oral Examination: Yes.

Plan B Project: The Plan B project requires a nominal three weeks of full-time (40 hours per week) effort. The student and faculty research adviser should first agree on a plan for the project. Then the student should register for Physics 8500: Plan B Project. (The four credits for Physics 8500 do count toward the program requirement of 30 credits.) The Plan B project normally involves a small, self-contained research problem, which may or may not be publishable. The project should be described in a written paper, but the format of the paper may be determined unilaterally by the adviser.

Examples of Plan B projects include carrying out a specific calculation, writing and documenting a computer program, analyzing a set of experimental data, designing and/or constructing experimental instrumentation, and designing and/or constructing an undergraduate laboratory experiment.

Plan B Papers: The alternative to the Plan B project is the writing of one to three Plan B papers. The total effort should normally require three week's full-time work. The Plan B paper option does not require original research. The paper(s) must be related to three courses that the student has taken. The papers may be supervised either by the research adviser or by the adviser in conjunction with instructors from the three courses referenced. The format of each paper may be determined unilaterally by the supervising faculty member.

Plan C: M.S. Course Work plus Graduate Written Examination

Residence Requirement: At least 60% of the course program must be completed at the University of Minnesota.

Filing of Program: After completing 10 credits; not later than 2nd semester of registration.

Minimum Grade Point Average: 3.3

Minimum Course Credits: Total of 30 credits, including Physics 5001/2, Physics 5011/2, and 5201. All courses must be at the 4xxx, 5xxx or 8xxx level. (Some 4xxx courses, such as Physics 4001, 4002, 4101, 4202 and 4303, do not earn graduate credits.) A designated minor requires 6 credits in one field outside of physics.

Foreign Language Requirement: None.

Graduate Written Examination: Must pass.

Final Oral Examination: None.

Combining the M.S. and the Ph.D.

Students who are working towards a Ph.D. degree have the option of obtaining an M.S. during the course of their studies. About one-quarter of Ph.D. students complete the M.S. With the exception of the thesis or Plan B project/papers and the associated thesis credits, all of the work used to satisfy the M.S. requirements may also be applied towards the Ph.D. degree requirements. The credit hours used for the M.S. may also be applied towards the Ph.D. credit requirements. In addition, the research done for the M.S. thesis or Plan B project may form the basis for the Ph.D. research.

The student should consult with the research adviser before deciding whether to complete the M.S. as part of the Ph.D. work. There are two clear advantages in doing so. One is that if, for some reason, the student is unable to complete the Ph.D., the student will have the M.S. degree. A second advantage is that preparing the M.S. thesis or project will provide an opportunity to practice integrating and reporting on research work. Such an experience may prove quite valuable in preparing the Ph.D. dissertation.

graduate_handbook/m.s._degree_requirements.txt · Last modified: 2012/07/12 11:52 by kapusta