MS in Physics Requirements (as of Fall 2015)

To remain in good academic standing, a graduate student must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.0 in all courses taken for graduate credit after admission to a graduate degree program at the University of New Mexico.

1) Thesis and Non-Thesis Options

Plan I - Thesis Option:

  • The Preliminary Examination is not required for the thesis option.
  • At least 24 semester hours of graduate coursework in physics and mathematics are required, together with at least 6 hours of Master's Thesis (Physics 599).
  • Defense of a written thesis serves as a final examination.

Plan II - Non-Thesis Option:

  • Applicants who achieve a score of 800 or higher on the Physics GRE Subject Test are excused from Preliminary Exams. Students already enrolled in the PhD program will not be granted a waiver from one or more sections of the Preliminary Examination based on retaking the GRE subject test and achieving a score above 800.    
  • Students who are not required to take the Preliminary Exams due to passing the Physics subject GRE with a score of 800 or higher, must use a graded Problems course (PHYC 552) or graded Research (PHYC 650) as the "project" on the Announcement of Exam/Report of Exam for a Master's degree.
  • A non-thesis Master's student must pass 1 section of the Preliminary Examination by the second sitting after entry into the program, must pass 2 sections by the third sitting, and must pass 3 sections by the fourth sitting. The Master's level of passing on each section is a grade of 50%.
  • 32 semester hours of graduate coursework in physics and mathematics must be taken. At least 4 of the 32 hours must be in graded problems or research courses (Physics 552 or 650). These requirements also apply to those graduate students in the PhD program who are seeking a "MS 'on the way' to PhD".

2) Core Course Requirements

  • 466 Methods of Theoretical Physics I
  • 505 Statistical Mechanics and Thermodynamics
  • 511 Electrodynamics I
  • 521 Quantum Mechanics I

A grade of B- or above is required in each core course. A Program of Studies can be submitted to OGS after the student has completed a minimum of 12 hours of graduate courses in graduate status. It must, however, be submitted to OGS by the following deadlines: March 1 for Summer graduation, July 1 for Fall graduation, October 1 for Spring graduation.

An MS student must maintain progress through the four core courses (466, 505, 511, and 521) at the following minimal rate:

End of Semester 1 No requirement
End of Semester 2 No requirement
End of Semester 3 1 core course completed
End of Semester 4 2 core courses completed
End of Semester 5 3 core courses completed
End of Semester 6 all 4 core courses completed

P&A Policy on Graduate Student Leaves of Absence

Graduate students wishing to take a leave of absence of a duration longer than 1 month during the academic term are required to notify the department's Academic Programs Coordinator in advance to request approval from the Graduate Committee. Failure to obtain advance written approval from the department may result in dismissal from the degree program. Approval of a leave of absence does not necessarily grant a postponement in the mandatory schedule for completion of preliminary examinations, candidacy examination, and core courses. Students holding assistantships prior to beginning leaves of absence are not guaranteed assistantships upon their return to the academic program without prior approval from the Graduate Committee.