This is an archive of the 2015-2016 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit

This is an archive of the 2015-2016 University Catalog.
To access the most recent version, please visit


Program: M.S., Physics


The M.S. program in Physics provides the student with an opportunity for advanced study in physics and to develop skills to do independent research. It prepares the student for the doctoral program in physics and related fields or for more technical jobs in research and development.

Program Requirements

A. For Admission

Applicants must meet general University admission requirements. In addition, if the applicant has a bachelor’s degree in Physics, then a GPA of at least 2.5 in all Upper Division physics lecture classes is required. If the bachelor’s degree is in a related field, a GPA of at least 2.5 in all Upper Division lecture classes in the major is required. The applicant must have completed all necessary undergraduate courses for the program prior to being granted admission to the Master of Science in Physics program.

B. For Classified Status

  1.  A bachelor’s degree in Physics. If the major is in a related field, completion of prescribed prerequisites with grades of “B” or better is required.
  2. General University requirements for classified status.

C. For the Degree

Completion, with a “B” average (3.0) or higher of 30 units of approved graduate study, including a minimum of 21 units of 500- and 600-level courses.

1. Required Core Courses (14 units)

PHYS 600 Classical Mechanics (4)
PHYS 610 Electromagnetic Theory (4)
PHYS 630 Statistical Physics (3)
PHYS 650 Quantum Mechanics I (3)

The four core courses must be completed with a “B” average (3.0) or higher, and at least three of these courses must be taken in residence at CSUN. Students are strongly advised to complete the graduate core courses early in their studies.

2. Electives (10-16 units)

To be selected, with approval of the department graduate advisor, from 400-, 500- and 600-level courses. At least 10 of these units must be in physics. Up to 6 units of approved courses may be in related fields: astronomy, chemistry, engineering and mathematics. Up to 9 units may be at the 400-level.

3. Culminating Experience (3-6 units)

a. Thesis

PHYS 698 Thesis (6)

Students electing the thesis option must pass an oral examination in the field of the thesis.

b. Comprehensive Examination

PHYS 697 Directed Comprehensive Studies (3)

Students not electing the thesis option must pass a written comprehensive examination in PHYS 600, 610, 630 and 650. The exams will be offered during two days before the start of the Fall and Spring semesters. The dates will be announced in the preceding semester. For regulations governing registration for the thesis or comprehensive examination, see the department graduate advisor.

Total Units Required for the M.S. Degree: 30-33


Chair: Say-Peng Lim
Live Oak Hall (LO) 1128
(818) 677-2775

Graduate Coordinator: Miroslav Peric
(818) 677-2944

Student Learning Outcomes

Students will have:

  1. Knowledge of physical principles used to understand and model natural phenomena.
  2. Ability to convey physical concepts with mathematical expressions and effectively derive quantitative predictions from a model through mathematical and numerical analysis.
  3. Understanding of scientific methodology, which may include, for example, (a) data collection from observations, (b) setting up laboratory experiments and data collection from experiments, (c) analysis of data, and (d) testing a model or hypothesis.
  4. Competency using computational tools, which may include, for example, (a) use of scientific software for data analysis and presentation, (b) numerical analysis, and (c) computer simulations.
  5. Ability to communicate clearly and accurately physical concepts, findings and interpretations in oral presentations.
  6. Ability to write clear, organized and illustrated technical reports with proper references to previous work in the area.
  7. (a) For students selecting the comprehensive examination: comprehensive knowledge of the graduate core curriculum in classical mechanics, classical electrodynamics, statistical physics and quantum mechanics; or (b) for students completing the thesis: ability to successfully carry out a program of graduate research and thesis.