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M.S. Degree

An M.S. degree is usually an intermediate step in the graduate program, for students on the way to obtaining their Ph.D. degree. The program is designed to give a broad-base fundamental theoretical background beyond undergraduate level and some research experience, if desired. The M.S. degree can be obtained with or without a thesis. Because the path to a M.S. degree with a thesis involves research with a faculty advisor, it is important that students wishing to complete a M.S. degree in two years understand the accelerated pace at which they will have to work.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are expected to have a bachelor’s degree in physics, with upper-division courses in electricity and magnetism, mechanics, quantum mechanics, thermodynamics, and mathematical methods. Students lacking some of these courses may be admitted provisionally and will be allowed to remedy the deficiencies by taking the appropriate courses at WVU. Applicants should take the GREgeneral tests. We recommend, but do not require, that applicants take the physics subject test. TOEFLscores are also required of students for whom English is not their native language.

Degree Requirements

To obtain a M.S. degree the student must complete the course and research requirements. Students admitted as M.S. degree are not expected to take the Ph.D. qualifying exams but must complete their studies within 3 years. The student must maintain a GPA minimum of 3.0 for all courses.


For a the M.S. degree with a thesis the studies must be completed in 3 years, by which time the student should have performed sufficient knowledge to write a short thesis on the research they have performed. The thesis will be assessed by three faculty, including the research advisor.

To complete an MS thesis in two years the student should identify a thesis advisor by the end of the Fall Semester of year #1 and begin research in the following Spring Semester of year #1.