College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences2016-2017

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Applied Physics, Master of Science

  • Available Emphasis Areas:
  • General Physics Thesis - Emphasis (ending Summer 2017)
  • Teaching College Physics - Emphasis (ending Summer 2017)

This plan provides a strong core of applied physics as well as essential research skills, and prepares you for technical employment in high-technology industries, research institutes, or college teaching, as well as for further professional study in various fields of applied physics. This plan can be interdisciplinary, integrating a broad range of subject areas to enhance your opportunities for research, teaching, or careers in the private sector. There is a thesis option in General Physics and a specialization option in Teaching College Physics.

Careers

What Can I Do with a Master of Science in Applied Physics?

Are you interested in non-academic, technical employment in the aerospace, defense and high technology industries, government laboratories, and private research institutes? Are you looking for a basic graduate-level scientific foundation, so that you can further your studies even more? Our program is designed to train you in laboratory skills and with computational and computer modeling expertise, develop your competence in the use and design of modern instrumentation, and provide you with a basic foundation in physics. You will have a broad selection of cross-disciplinary course options, such as geology, chemistry, engineering, and mathematics. As a capstone to this coursework, you'll participate in an internship or write a master's thesis through partnerships with government laboratories, private research institutes, and industrial corporations.

Career opportunities that might be pursued:
  • Industrial researcher
  • Community college instructor
  • Telescope operator
  • Planetary scientist
  • University laboratory manager


University Requirements

  • To receive a master’s degree at Northern Arizona University, you must complete a planned group of courses from one or more subject areas, consisting of at least 30 units of graduate-level courses. (Many master’s degree programs require more than 30 units.)

    You must additionally complete:

    • All requirements for your specific academic plan(s). This may include a thesis.
    • All graduate work with a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.0.
    • All work toward the master’s degree must be completed within six consecutive years. The six years begins with the semester and year of admission to the program.
    The full policy can be viewed here.

     

Overview

In addition to University Requirements:

  • Complete individual plan requirements.

Minimum Units for Completion 30
Additional Admission Requirements Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
Fieldwork Experience/Internship Optional
Emphasis, Minor, Certificate Emphasis, minor, and/or certificate are optional.
Thesis Thesis may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Comprehensive Exam Comprehensive Exam may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Research Individualized research may be required by chosen emphasis or offered as an option.
Progression Plan Link View Program of Study
Student Learning Outcomes

The Department of Physics and Astronomy offers a two-year master's degree that provides a strong core of applied physics as well as essential research skills, and prepares students for employment in high-technology industries, research institutes, or college teaching as well as for further professional study in physics. The program is designed to train students in laboratory skills, providing them with computational and computer modeling expertise, developing their competencies in the use and design of modern instrumentation, and providing them with a basic foundation in physics. There are both thesis and coursework options in general physics and specialized training in teaching college physics.  These plans can be interdisciplinary, integrating a broad range of subject areas to enhance opportunities in research, teaching, or the private sector.
 
All students within the Applied Physics M.S. will achieve the following learning outcomes
 
Enhanced Understanding and Application of the Laws of Physics:

  • apply the laws of physics in classical mechanics, electrodynamics, quantum mechanics, thermal physics and statistical physics at a level commensurate with current standards in M.S. level programs.
Written and Oral Communication Skills:
  • clearly communicate and defend work in verbal, written, and visual formats to scientific and non-scientific audiences
Problem Solving Skills:
  • ascertain the known and unknown aspects of a problem
  • describe the fundamental physical principles in the problem
  • articulate a pathway toward solving the problem
  • successfully follow the path and solve the problem
Based on students’ personal and professional goals, students will select an emphasis area, the learning outcomes of which are below.
 
General Physics Thesis Emphasis
Design, pursue, and complete an original research project that contributes to, expands, or evaluates the field of physics.  Through the thesis experience students will:
  • design with the guidance of a thesis adviser an original and significant research project on a topic in physics,
  • conduct a literature review of the topic
  • apply appropriate theories of physics and laboratory tools to the research project;
  • analyze, interpret, and explain findings of the research project
  • synthesize and present the relevance of the project in both technical and non-technical terms
  • write a thesis
  • clearly present  and defend the research project in front of a community of physics faculty and peers
General Physics Coursework Track
Through this coursework students will:
  • study classical mechanics, electricity, magnetism, thermodynamics, and modern physics at the M.S level.
  • learn about a range of laboratory techniques in physics
  • gain experience with computational methods in physics
  • successfully pass an oral examination on topics in undergraduate and M.S. level physics classes
Teaching College Physics Emphasis
Through this internship students will:
  • select coursework expanding conceptual and analytical experience
  • develop techniques in teaching concepts of physics
  • apply teaching techniques through an internship experience, and identify approaches to adapt curriculum plans based on students’ abilities

Details

Additional Admission Requirements
  • Admission requirements over and above admission to NAU are required.
    • NAU Graduate Online application is required for all programs. Details on admission requirements are included in the online application.
    • Undergraduate degree from a regionally accredited institution
    • Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00 (scale is 4.00 = "A"), or the equivalent. 
    • Admission to many graduate programs is on a competitive basis, and programs may have higher standards than those established by the Graduate College.
    • Transcripts
    • For details on graduate admission policies, please visit the Graduate Admissions Policy
    • International applicants have additional admission requirements. Please see the International Graduate Admissions Policy 


    Individual program admission requirements include:

    • GRE® revised General Test
    • 3 letters of recommendation
    • Personal statement or essay
Master's Requirements
  • Emphasis Requirements (Select One):
    • General Physics - Thesis Emphasis (9 units)
      • PHY 685 (6 units)
      • PHY 699, for the research, writing, and oral defense of an approved thesis Please be aware that you may only count 9 units of thesis credit toward your degree. However, you may end up taking more units because you must enroll for it each term while you are working on your thesis. (3 units)
      Please be aware that university Graduate Assistants must be enrolled for a minimum of nine hours each semester.

    • Teaching College Physics Emphasis (9 units)
      • PHY 500 (3 units)
      • PHY 608, during which you will teach lecture courses in introductory college physics, or similar activities, under supervision. (6 units)
      • A comprehensive oral exam
      Please be aware that university Graduate Assistants must be enrolled for a minimum of nine hours each semester.

    • General Physics Coursework Track (9 units)

      Students not enrolled in either of the above emphases will pursue the General Physics Coursework Track.

      • Electives in any science, mathematics, engineering, or other field that's appropriate to your career goals, chosen with your advisor's approval. These must be formal, graded coursework. Up to 6 units may be at the 400-level, and the remainder must be at the 500- or 600-level. (9 units)
      • A comprehensive oral exam
      Please be aware that university Graduate Assistants must be enrolled for a minimum of nine hours each semester.

  • Be aware that some courses may have prerequisites that you must also take. For prerequisite information click on the course or see your advisor.

Campus Availability



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