Physics graduate student in lab with laser equipment

​Build your future with the academic experiences offered through the CMU Department of Physics graduate programs.

Minimum Total for Graduation: 30 hours

Admission: Minimum TOEFL iBT of 79 or equivalent for international applicants. No GRE (general or subject) required, but applicants compete for assistantships, so typically admission and an offer of research or teaching assistantship will depend on GPA, TOELF, GRE, and other factors. There is no deadline for applying, but the bulk of the offers are made by late April.​

​The requirements for the M.S. in physics are based on a core of 12 semester hours in advanced mechanics, electricity and magnetism, and quantum mechanics. 3 hours of seminar are required, and 6 hours of credit are given for the thesis. In consultation with an advisor, you will select at least 9 additional hours in areas of specific value to you. The program is normally completed in 2 years. There is no qualifying examination, and no foreign language is required.

Degree Map
Course offerings are organized on a 2-year cycle.

  • Suggested degree map for students starting in an ODD year
​Year 1
​Year 2
​Fall​PHY 624 (3)
​PHY 643 (3)
PHY 517 (3)*PHY 554 (3)*
PHY 685 (1)PHY 685 (1)
​SpringPHY 634 (3)PHY 644 (3)
PHY 556 (3)*PHY 552 (3)*
PHY 685 (1)PHY 798 (3)
​SummerPHY 798PHY 798
Elective courses are marked with an asterisk (*)

  • Suggested degree map for students starting in an EVEN year
​Year 1
​Year 2
​Fall PHY 643 (3)
PHY 624 (3)
PHY 554 (3)*PHY 517 (3)*
PHY 685 (1)PHY 685 (1)
​SpringPHY 644 (3)PHY 634 (3)
PHY 552 (3)*PHY 556 (3)*
PHY 685 (1)PHY 798 (3)
​SummerPHY 798PHY 798
Elective courses are marked with an asterisk (*)

If you have a special interest in astronomy, you would usually choose Observational Astronomy (AST 562 offered during the fall semester of odd-numbered years) and Astrophysics (AST 563 offered during the spring semester of even-numbered years).

You can also opt for Independent Study (PHY 790) or cognate courses in disciplines closely related to your area of specialization, such as courses from the Science of Advanced Materials Ph.D. program (SAM 620, SAM 630, SAM 700, SAM 710, and/or SAM 720).

Recent Theses
A list of recent thesis titles from CMU Department of Physics graduate students includes:

  • Electronic Structure of Oxide/Semiconductor Interfaces
  • Dendrimer-assisted Energy Conversion Processes
  • Problem-based Learning in an Introductory Physics Course
  • Relative Line Strengths for the Hyperfine Doublets in Cesium
  • Rheology of Saline and Polysaccharide Systems
  • Structural Study of Nanocrystalline K-Li-Mn-O-I
Employment of Graduates
Recent physics graduate students from CMU have found employment in industry, in four-year colleges, and in museums and public planetariums. Many also continued graduate studies in a variety of fields including optics, nuclear physics, materials science, medical physics and engineering.​
Learn more about the Science of Advanced Materials Ph.D. Program here.