UMass Boston

Applied Physics MS

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Build out your toolkit to pursue quantitative problems and prepare for advanced study in physics.

UMass Boston's Applied Physics Master’s Program is built around the idea that physics is an approach to thinking about and solving problems rather than a specific set of skills. Our goal is to train students in this approach and give them a general toolbox of techniques that will allow them to pursue quantitative problems, regardless of the specific fields in which they find themselves. To that end, the curriculum for the program is a balance of theoretical and experimental courses, simultaneously sharpening students' understanding of phenomena, the theoretical models that explain them, the measurements that illuminate them, and, most importantly, the connections between the phenomena, the measurements, and the models.

This generalist approach serves a broad spectrum of student needs. As a result, we seek students from a range of backgrounds. Some of our students come to us straight out of undergraduate physics programs, unsatisfied with their bachelor's level understanding but not necessarily ready to commit to the five to ten years of a PhD program. Others come from the Massachusetts technical community where they have found that their further professional advancement is hindered by their lack of a post graduate degree, experiencing the so-called parchment ceiling. Many foreign students use our program to normalize their training to American academic standards on their way to PhDs, bridging between the academic systems of their home countries and that of the United States. We also serve students who are moving between fields: students who having trained in one discipline and wish to transition to physics.

Our goal as a program is to provide an opportunity to the full range of students for whom a master’s degree in applied physics is an essential step along their path to a fulfilling career.

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How to Apply

Applicants must meet general graduate admission requirements in addition to the following program-specific requirements:

  • A minimum, cumulative GPA of 2.75 on a 4.0 scale (or international equivalent) in all undergraduate work
  • A bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution of recognized standing or an international equivalent at the time of enrollment
  • We accept students from a range of backgrounds, there is no specific set of courses that is absolutely required as a prerequisite for admission. However, familiarity with Physics at the level of upper level undergraduate work is expected.
  • Official GRE score (optional, but recommended)
  • Official transcripts for all institutions where you have earned more than 6 credits. If your transcript is in a language other than English, please include an English translation, validated by an official public translator.
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Applicants who completed the majority of their undergraduate coursework outside of the United States are typically required to submit official TOEFL, IELTS, PTE or Duolingo English proficiency test scores.

Deadlines & Cost

Deadlines: February 15 for fall, October 1 for spring

Application Fee: The nonrefundable application fee is $75. UMass Boston alumni and current students that plan to complete degree requirements prior to graduate enrollment can submit the application without paying the application fee.

Program Cost Information: Bursar's website


Course Requirements

Laboratory/Applied Courses (12 Credits)

Complete three from below.

  • PHYSIC 600 - Electronic Instrumentation I: Analog 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 601 - Electronic Instrumentation II: Digital 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 602 - Laser Optics Laboratory 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 632 - Advanced Laser Optics (with Lab) 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 607 - Experiments in Squishy Physics 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 610 - Topics in Medical Imaging 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 697 - Special Topics in Applied Physics 1-8 Credit(s) (with approval of the graduate program director)

Theory Courses (12 Credits)

Complete three from below.

  • PHYSIC 611 - Theory of Classical Mechanics and Fluid Mechanics 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 612 - Electromagnetic Theory 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 613 - Quantum Mechanics, Atomic, and Molecular Physics 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 614 - Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 616 - Mathematical Methods for Physicists 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 623 - Quantum Mechanics: Scattering and Many-Body Physics 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 635 - Physics on the Back of an Envelope (Estimation in Physics) 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 638 - Quantum Measurement Theory 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 645 - Cancer Biophysics 4 Credit(s)
  • PHYSIC 697 - Special Topics in Applied Physics 1-8 Credit(s) (with approval of the graduate program director)

Elective (4 Credits)

Complete one additional laboratory/applied or theory course from above.

Thesis or Internship Course (6 Credits)

In exceptional cases, with prior approval of the program, a student may graduate with nine courses (substituting two additional courses for the internship or thesis requirement). These courses must be chosen as a coherent subject of specialization in an applied area of special interest to the student.

  • PHYSIC 694 - Master’s Internship 3-6 Credit(s)
  • or

  • PHYSIC 699 - Master’s Thesis Research 1-6 Credit(s)

Graduation Criteria

Complete 34 credits from eight courses, including three laboratory/applied courses, three theoretical courses, one elective, and one thesis or internship course.

Capstone: Completion of a master’s thesis or internship.

Statute of limitations: Six years.


Graduate Program Director Jonathan Celli
jonathan.celli [at]
(617) 287-5715

Administrative Manager Moriah Roache
moriah.roache [at]
(617) 287-6092

2 students work with a long tube in lab.

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