Physics, AM

Master's Candidacy

To earn a master’s degree at Washington University, a student must complete all courses required by their department; maintain satisfactory academic progress; fulfill all academic and residence requirements; and file an Intent to Graduate. For a general layout of master’s degree general requirements in Arts & Sciences, including an explanation of Satisfactory Academic Progress, students should review the Master’s Degree Academic Information page of the Arts & Sciences Bulletin.

Program Requirements

  • Total Units Required: 36
  • Degree Length: Two years
    • Students are required to obtain 36 credits including 4 core courses (12 credits) and 8 elective courses (24 credits). 
    • Note: Students must be enrolled in 9 graduate credits each semester to retain full-time status. As students complete their course work, if enrolled in fewer than 9 graduate credits, they must enroll in a specific Arts & Sciences graduate course that will show 0 units but does count as full-time status. Students should connect with their department to ensure proper enrollment prior to Add/Drop.

Master of Arts in Physics

36-Unit Academic Credit Course Requirement

Courses that count toward academic credit are as follows:

  • Any regular 500-level lecture courses in the physics department, including Physics 582 Research Seminar
  • Courses outside of the physics department, if approved by the master’s program director
  • Selected Topics courses, for which students should register: Physics 589 Selected Topics in Physics I/Physics 590 Selected Topics in Physics II
  • Supervised research, for which students should register: Physics 593 Introduction to Methods in Physics/Physics 594 Introduction to Methods in Physics (Supervised research may be used for a maximum of 6 units of academic credit.)

Core Course Requirements

For qualification, students must pass four core 500-level physics courses. The core courses must be passed with a minimum average grade of B-, and not more than two grades below C+. Core courses may be taken only once. If more than four core courses are taken, the GPA will be determined from the best four course grades.

Students must take the following three courses:

Physics 505Classical Electrodynamics I3
Physics 523Quantum Mechanics I3
Physics 529Statistical Mechanics3

They must also take at least one of the following:

Physics 501Theoretical Physics3
Physics 502Methods of Theoretical Physics II3
Physics 506Classical Electrodynamics II3
Physics 507Classical Mechanics3
Physics 509Nonlinear Dynamics3
Physics 524Quantum Mechanics II3

Master's Degree Along the Way to a PhD

  • Complete 36 units of academic credit (detailed below), maintaining an average grade of at least a B (3.0 GPA).
  • Pass the PhD qualification procedure.

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