Applied Physics Graduate Programs

The program in applied physics is designed to give students a chance to practically apply scientific processes in a laboratory setting, and involves learning about areas such as quantum mechanics and the fundamentals of lasers.

Attending a graduate program in applied physics gives students the chance to learn scientific theory and apply it in a practical setting. Courses in this area are designed to shift you from the lecture classroom to the laboratory over the course of program completion.

Program Course Requirements

Graduate programs in applied physics will typically require that you complete, at a minimum, an average of 40 credit hours. A sample of the kind of coursework you will find is presented below.

Quantum Mechanics

Among the most commonly found coursework that you'll find as a part of the applied physics program is coursework in quantum mechanics. These courses are offered to incoming students and teach the fundamental concepts underlying the science of this field. Students are also required to solve problems related to measurement theory.


Whether as part of a dedicated course or part of a large study into quantum fields, students will be expected to complete coursework in electrodynamic processes. When integrated with the quantum field course, students will need to learn about quantum electrodynamics and various quantum fields. Part of this work involves learning how to quantify scalar and Dirac fields.


Research into lasers is a part of the study in applied physics. These courses help students learn more about spontaneous emission in laser systems, laser amplification, and atomic systems. Students become acquainted with the fundamental principles that underlie the creation of laser systems.


Optics can be considered closely related to lasers. Students in these courses use lasers as well as optical bench equipment. Over the course, students are instructed in optical principles such as dispersion, diffraction, and oscillation. Students also get a chance to work with experimental setups and get practical experience employing optics in a variety of fields, from physics to chemistry.


Physics coursework can cover a variety of topics. Some coursework may involve studying numerical computation and applied engineering problems. Coursework may also involve the use of computer programing, such as FORTRAN and Pascal. Other physics coursework may focus more tightly on physics principles such as dynamical systems theory and judging performance trade-off.

Admission Requirements

Different universities may have differing requirements for admission. However, these programs often share some similar requirements that you will have to meet. Schools will always ask for your official transcripts and you will also often be required to write out a statement of purpose that describes why you believe you should be allowed into the program. University graduate programs will also commonly ask for you to submit letters of recommendation, though how many you are required to submit will depend on where you are applying. Finally, you will also need to submit your GRE scores and although schools don't typically list a minimum GRE score that you need to meet, you may be able to find the average GRE scores of other students applying to the program.

A graduate degree in applied physics will require you to complete work in a range of areas that include learning core principles of quantum mechanics to the application of lasers and optics in a laboratory setting. These courses will prepare you to perform similar work in a professional setting following graduation.

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