Applied Physics, MS

The nationally ranked Applied Physics Program is intended primarily to prepare students for rewarding technological careers in industrial and government research laboratories, although it also provides strong preparation for subsequent training at the doctoral level.

Who hires MS graduates in physics? Many companies, including:

Following the initial year of course work, qualified students may opt for an internship placement in an industrial research laboratory in the area. These positions provide further training and useful job experience in preparation for a technological career. Alternatively, students may undertake a thesis involving a project in one of the research groups in the department.


Requirements for the MS Degree

To complete the MS in applied physics requires that you take three theory classes, three laboratory classes, and one elective class that may be either. Each class takes one semester, and each is worth 4 credits, for a total of 28 credits. In addition, you complete an on-campus thesis or an off-campus internship or research laboratory, which counts for 6 credits. The MS degree thus has a total of 34 credits, and usually takes 4 semesters to complete. During the course of the degree students also obtain experience and training in scientific communication.

The MS classes are grouped into four clusters: core theory classes, laboratory classes, general methods and interdisciplinary classes, and classes in specific applied topics.

Core Theory Classes

Laboratory Classes

General Methods and Interdisciplinary Classes

Classes in Applied Topics

You may mix classes from different clusters to tailor a program to your interests and future goals.

Sources of Support

Qualified students are eligible to apply for departmental teaching assistantships or research assistantships with individual faculty. Opportunities also exist for other on-campus support from programs like WISP as well as off-campus internships.


The Physics Department provides two classes specifically for science teachers. These may be taken by themselves, or as part of the MEd degree at UMass Boston. These are:


PhD in Physics @ Amherst

If you are interested in doing a PhD with one of the faculty at UMass Boston, then you can apply to enter the PhD program at UMass Amherst. This allows you to choose your research adviser from among the faculty at UMass Amherst, as well as the faculty at UMass Boston. For details about the requirements for the PhD at UMass Amherst, and PhD advisors at Amherst, see the UMass Amherst Physics Department website.