Physics Masters Degree Programs with Career Options

Master's degree students in physics explore relationships between time, space, matter and energy. Physicists with master's degrees often find work in schools and labs or in applied research and development for manufacturing companies.

Essential Information

Degrees in physics are available in the bachelor's, master's and doctoral program levels. Master of Science (M.S.) in Physics programs introduce graduate students to advanced topics in the field, including quantum and statistical mechanics. A bachelor's degree in physics or sufficient physics coursework is required prior to admission to a master's program. Some schools allow master's degree candidates to choose an area of concentration, such as astrophysics, biophysics, material physics or nonlinear dynamics.

Completion of a master's degree program in physics typically takes two years of study at an accredited college, university or professional school. Students are usually required to complete comprehensive examinations and a thesis or research project before graduating.

Master's Degree Programs in Physics

Curriculum generally includes a combination of seminar-style courses and hands-on laboratory work. Specific courses might include the following:

  • Quantum and statistical mechanics
  • Solid state physics
  • Electromagnetic theory
  • Mathematical methods in physics
  • Atmospheric physics
  • Classical electrodynamics

Popular Career Options

Graduates of master's degree programs in physics may be qualified for a range of positions in research labs or educational institutions, including the following:

  • Materials scientist
  • Accelerator physicist
  • High school or community college physics teacher

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

From 2014-2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projected jobs for physicists would increase by 8%. Competition will be keen for research positions; however, physicists working in applied research and development will have good prospects. In May 2015, the BLS stated that the mean annual wage for physicists was $118,500.

Continuing Education Information

M.S. in Physics graduates may choose to pursue more advanced education in the form of a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Physics. Students may also take additional courses to specialize in a particular area of the field, such as molecular physics or instrumentation and engineering physics.

A master's degree in physics combines advance coursework with laboratory research in fields such as astrophysics, biophysics, material physics or nonlinear dynamics. It prepares graduates to work as teachers in educational institutions or as scientists in research and development labs.

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