College of Engineering, Forestry, and Natural Sciences2017-2018

Department of Physics and Astronomy

Applied Physics, Master of Science

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
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

All students within the Applied Physics M.S. will achieve the following learning outcomes: 

  • Enhanced Understanding and Application of the Laws of Physics with a special emphasis on experimentation and computational methods.  Areas of enhancement:
    • spectroscopy
    • optics
    • computational methods
    • microscopic structure of matter
    • statistical physics
    • instrumentation 
  • Written and Oral Communication Skills: clearly communicate and defend original ideas and research in verbal, written, and visual formats to scientific and non-scientific audiences.
  • Problem Solving Skills:
    • interpret experimental data and derive useful information from that data
    • solve physical problems via numerical computation
    • utilize specialized instrumentation to perform experimentation on physical systems
    • apply knowledge of physical theory to design appropriate experiments 
  • General Physics Thesis Track: Design, pursue, and complete an original research project that contributes to the field of physics.  Through the thesis experience students will:
    • design with the guidance of a thesis adviser an original and significant research project
    • 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 demonstrate a deeper mastery in their chosen areas of study, including:
    • computational, optical, and materials physics.
    • a range of experimental laboratory techniques
    • computational methods in physics

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
    • Thesis Option (12 units):

      • PHY 685  You may take more than 3 units of PHY 685 but only 6 units will count toward your degree. (3-6 units)
      • PHY 699  You must enroll in PHY 699 each semester while performing thesis work but only 6 units will count toward your degree  (3-6 units)
      • Electives in any science, mathematics, engineering, or other field that's appropriate to your career goals, 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. (0-6 units)
      Please be aware that university Graduate Assistants must be enrolled for a minimum of nine hours each semester.
       
      Coursework Option (12 units):
      • Electives in any science, mathematics, engineering, or other field that's appropriate to your career goals, 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. (12 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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