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M. S. Degree in Physics
Department Office: PS 315
(323) 343-2100 Office
(323) 343-2497 FAX
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The Master of Science Degree in Physics at Cal State L.A.

FOR FALL 2011 IS APRIL 4, 2011

A limited number of waivers for the admission application fee are available from the Department of Physics and Astronomy. You may apply now using the Graduate Online Application.

We encourage anyone interested in this degree program to send us a copy of your application, as soon as possible, with an informal transcript of your grades. We will evaluate your unofficial application quickly and contact you with our assessment of your prospects for admission to our program. Send your unofficial application and all requests for information to the Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at:

The Master of Science degree program at the Department of Physics and Astronomy at California State University, Los Angeles provides students an opportunity to study and work with world class teachers and researchers in a congenial environment. Students can take specialized classes and do research in a variety of different areas in physics and astronomy including: Condensed Matter Physics (theoretical and experimental), Observational and Theoretical Astronomy and Astrophysics, Cosmology, Experimental Nuclear Physics, and Physics Education Research. All required classes are offered in the evenings and most electives and upper division classes are offered either during early morning or late afternoon, making this program an ideal choice for those holding full time jobs. The University is conveniently located near downtown Los Angeles right next to the intersection of the 10 and 710 freeways, with a Metrolink stop right on campus. A limited number of graduate teaching or research assistantships are still available to help defray tuition and living expenses as well as provide the opportunity to gain valuable experience in teaching and research, including the NIH RISE MS-to-PhD Fellowship. The minimum requirements for admission are a Bachelors Degree in any subject area with a grade point average of at least 2.5. Before undertaking required graduate courses, students must complete the equivalent of an undergraduate major in physics, and must have specific competence in the subjects covered in PHYS 306 , 425A , 426A and 432A .

A Master's Degree in Physics can lead to many different career paths, such as: working in industrial or governmental research and development, teaching at a high school or community college, management positions in business or government, software development, graduate school for a Ph.D. in physics or a related field, medical physics and radiological health physics. The majority of our graduates work in industry or government while some have gone on to earn Ph.D. degrees from some of the best Universities in the country. For example, one of our alumni is currently a Senior Health Physicist for the Radiological Health Branch of the California Department of Public Health, another one is pursuing a Ph.D. degree at the University of California, Riverside and is doing his research at the Large Hadron Collider facility at CERN, several of our former students are working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and one was an astronaut who flew on two space shuttle missions.

It typically takes 1 2 years for students to complete the M.S. degree in physics at Cal State L.A. A total of 45 units is required, with at least 25 in 500-level courses. Advancement to candidacy is prerequisite to filing the thesis or taking the comprehensive examination.  

Required Courses   (25 units) are:



Mathematical Methods of Physics  (4, 4)



Classical Physics  (4, 4) 



Quantum Mechanics  (4, 4)



Physics Research Conference  (1) - Minimum one quarter required




Options for completing the degree:

Option A is the research option and requires a thesis.  Option B, the comprehensive exam option, requires more course work which may be taken in a variety of physics areas. Option B programs, which may also include research and directed study, culminate in a comprehensive examination rather than a thesis.  For special professional objectives, students may include graduate level work in engineering, another science, or mathematics in Option A or B, with approval of adviser.


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