Master's Program

Master's Program

Admission Forms

Admission documents into the MSc program are consistent with those specified by the UCCS Graduate School. These admission documents required of applicants are as follows:

  • Official transcripts of all previous graduate and undergraduate work
  • 3 letters of recommendation
  • 1 goal statement
  • Apply through UCCS Admissions online form
  • Deadlines: Rolling admission, one week before the term start

For more information on our Graduate programs, prospective students should contact the Graduate Co-Adviser Prof. Tom Christensen and Kristen Petersen.

Students already in the program should contact the Graduate Co-Adviser, Prof. Tom Christensen for information on procedures.

For more information on the application process, please contact Admissions or the UCCS Graduate School.

Admission Requirements

  • Applicants with a BA or BS in physics or in a related area, such as chemistry, computer science, electrical engineering or mathematics, are natural candidates for graduate study in physics.
  • A BS or BA degree from a college or university of recognized standing, or work equivalent to that required for such a degree and equivalent to the degree given at this university is required.
  • Considerable course work in physics is needed.
  • Sufficient mathematical background is required, i.e. at least two semesters of mathematics beyond the normal calculus sequence, such as differential equations and mathematical methods of physics.
  • Promise of ability to pursue advanced study and research is required.
  • Minimum undergraduate grade point average is at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale.

Students with an undergraduate grade point average of less than 3.0 but at or above 2.5, or students with an inadequate background, may be allowed into the program provisionally. This decision would be made by the UCCS Physics Graduate Student Committee. Provisional status would subsequently be removed and a student given regular standing after completion of nine hours of graduate courses with a 3.0 average (or better).
Students meeting these minimum requirements are not automatically guaranteed admission to our program.

Additional requirements for some students

  • Students with international transcripts must take the Physics GRE exam. A minimum score for regular admission is in the range of 520-550. International transcripts must include all courses and grades, must be issued in the original language, and be accompanied by certified English translations when applicable. This service is provided at no cost for UCCS applicants. More details will be communicated to you via email after we received your completed application.
  • Applicants for whom English is a second language must follow the instructions of the Graduate School
  • UCCS has been working with a 3rd party exclusively to prepare a course by course foreign transcript evaluation for all applicants with foreign transcripts at no cost to the applicant. Please use this link for more information.
  • An oral interview may also be required, as the department sees fit.
  • Promising students who do not meet all of the requirements may be considered as provisional applicants

Transfer Student Requirements

Students who are transferring from other physics graduate programs must meet the minimum standards outlined above and, in addition, have a 3.0 average (or better) in all graduate work done previously. Full credit, up to nine hours (normally one semester of full-time course work), will be given for course work done previously, assuming the prior work is done at accredited institutions with approved programs. Course equivalency will be decided by the UCCS Physics Graduate Student Committee after interviewing the student and comparing textbooks, class notes, or any other helpful documentation.

Degree Requirements for Graduation

  • 30 hours of course work, either 24 credit hours of course work plus six hours of thesis work (the thesis option) or 30 credit hours of course work without a thesis (the non thesis option).
  • Regular degree students must maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average each semester or summer term on all work taken, whether or not it is to be applied toward the advanced degree intended. Students who fail to maintain this standard of performance will be subject to suspension from the Graduate School
  • The Master's Comprehensive Exam is an exit oral exam that must be passed by all students. Students electing the thesis option may substitute an oral defense of their thesis. Students in the non-thesis option are required to write a short (15 page, double-spaced) typed paper summarizing either some original research or summarizing a research topic in current physics. The paper should be at a graduate physics level. The exam consists of a 30-40 minute presentation of the paper with questions on the topic from the faculty. More details can be found in theĀ UCCS Physics Master handbook.
  • The committees for exit exams will consist of three members of the graduate faculty, one of whom is the student's advisor. The other two members will typically be from the physics department, but one may be selected from a related discipline such as electrical engineering, mathematics, computer science or chemistry. The student's physics faculty adviser is in charge of selecting the committee.

Degree Options

Thesis and Non-Thesis: For the thesis option, the student must take 24 credit hours. Thesis work is an additional six hours (three credits per semester) for a total of 30 credit hours. The non-thesis option requires 30 credit hours from the approved courses. For the thesis option, students are strongly encouraged to identify a Physics faculty adviser for their research when they start in the program, whose research interests match those of the student. They are also encouraged to start work on the thesis immediately.

Concentration areas: In order to design a more specialized degree, students may concentrate a couple of their courses in areas outside of physics. Concentration areas could include space studies, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, geography, computer science, applied mathematics or other graduate disciplines. These concentration areas might be appropriate for students who have very well-defined career objectives which require a combination of physics with another discipline. Students should consult with the Physics graduate program advisor to establish a course sequence for the MSc degree. Most courses should be taken from Physics

UCCS Physics Masters Handbook

More information, including guidelines for thesis, thesis defense, 15 page paper, and comprehensive exam can be found in the handbook here. Please read the handbook for all the policies relating to the Masters degree.

Master of Sciences Physics Curriculum

Course Credits
PHYS 5030 Mathematical Methods in Physics 3
PHYS 5150 Solid State Laboratory 2
PHYS 5200 Computational Physics 3
PHYS 5220 Nonlinear Physics 3
PHYS 5240 Modern Magnetism 3
PHYS 5410 Statistical Mechanics 3
PHYS 5460 Introduction to Solid State Physics 3
PHYS 5510 Modern Optics 3
PHYS 5950 Special Topics: Biophysics 3
PHYS 6210 Theoretical Mechanics 3
PHYS 6250 Introduction to Quantum Mechanics 3
PHYS 6260 Quantum Mechanics II 3
PHYS 6310 Electromagnetic Theory I 3
PHYS 6320 Electromagnetic Theory II 3
PHYS 6900 Theory of the Solid State I 3
PHYS 6910 Theory of the Solid State II 3
PHYS 6950 Special Topics: Nanotechonology, etc 3
CS 5600 Numerical Computing 3
ECE 5020 Semiconductor Devices II 3
ECE 5030 Advanced Semiconductor Device Modeling 3
ECE 5050 Microelectronics IC Fabrication Laboratory 3
ECE 5070 Electronic Property of Materials 3
MAE 5410 Astrodynamics 3
MAE 5091 Space Environment 3
MATH 5450 OR
MATH 5620
Complex Variables OR
Complex Variables II

Graduate Physics Courses Schedule

Most Physics classes are on a two-year schedule, as below (last updated December 20, 2019).


(Academic Year 2020-2021, 2022-2023, 2024-2025, etc.)

  Fall (even year) Spring (odd year)
Core (PhD) 5030 Mathematical Physics  
Core (PhD) 6250 Intro to Quantum Mechanics 6260 Quantum Mechanics II
Elective 5460 Intro to Solid State Physics 1 5150 Solid State Lab
Elective 5220 Nonlinear Physics 5950 Special topics: Biophysics
Elective   5510 Modern Optics


Academic Year 2019-2020, 2021-2022, etc.

  Fall (odd year) Spring (even year)
Core (PhD) 5030 Mathematical Physics  
Core (PhD) 6210 Theoretical Mechanics 5410 Statistical Mechanics
Core (PhD) 6310 Electromagnetic Theory I 6320 Electromagnetic Theory II
Elective 5200 Computational Physics 5950 Special topics: Biophysics
Elective 6950 Special topics: Nanotechnology 5240 Modern Magnetism


Other courses that are not on 2 year schedule but will be included as appropriate:

6900 Theory of the solid state 1  
6910 Theory of the solid state 2  
5950 & 6950 Special topics (Nonlinear Physics, Group Theory, etc - as available)