Master of Science in Physics Program

The Master of Science in Physics Program

The Master of Science (M.S.) degree program in the Department of Physics is intended to be a two-semester, non-thesis degree designed for students and professionals interested in expanding their undergraduate academic training in physics (or a related field), enhancing their professional development, and acquiring additional experience to become a professional scientist or pursue further education in a science or engineering field. The Department of Physics does not provide funding for this program and it is expected that students in the non-thesis M.S. in Physics degree program will pay tuition and fees. To learn more about the tuition rates, please visit (click on Graduate and Professional and then look for Grainger Engineering & Engineering Related rates).

Applicants to the Illinois Physics Ph.D. program who do not receive offers of admission to the Physics Ph.D. program may request to be considered for admission to the M.S. in Physics program without filing a separate application. Please contact the Physics grad advisor or grad coordinator for additional information about transferring a Ph.D. application for consideration in the M.S. degree program.

Illinois Physics students in the Ph.D. program are also eligible to apply for their M.S. in Physics degree on the way to completing their Ph.D. requirements once they satisfy the MS degree requirements described below. 

Requirements for the M.S. in Physics Degree: The M.S. in Physics degree curriculum is designed to be highly flexible with the following course requirements:

  • The M.S. in Physics degree program requires a minimum of 32 hours of satisfactory course work (minimum GPA 2.75/4.00).
  • All 32 hours must involve 400- or 500-level courses, and 12 of the 32 hours must involve 500-level courses.
  • A minimum of 16 of the 32 hours must be Physics courses, and 8 of these 16 courses must involve 500-level Physics courses. 
  • No more than 8 hours of "Individual Study" (Physics 597) research credits may be counted toward the M.S. in Physics degree.

Other Conditions on the M.S. in Physics Degree: 

  • A thesis is NOT required for the M.S. degree in Physics, and there is no special oral or written examination required for the M.S. in Physics degree.
  • M.S. degree students are expected to select courses in consultation with a graduate program advisor.

Time to Degree: The M.S. in Physics degree program is intended to be a two-semester program, and students in this program are normally expected to take a minimum of 16 credit hours per semester. However, the M.S. degree program is intended to be sufficiently flexible to allow completion of the degree in up to 4 semesters of full- or part-time enrollment.

For more information about the MS in Physics program: Contact the the Illinois Physics Grad Office Coordinator, Nicolette Elam (, 227 Loomis, 217-333-3645) or the Associate Head for Graduate Programs, Lance Cooper (, 227 Loomis, 217-333-3645).

Graduate Admissions Contact

S Lance Cooper

Lance Cooper
Associate Head for Graduate Programs
227 Loomis Laboratory
(217) 333-3645

Have questions about the admission process?
Read through the Admissions pages or contact us.


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