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UMD Graduate School

Program Overview

The UMD Physics Department places an emphasis on research in physical limnology (and oceanography) and experimental neutrino physics in its graduate program. Additional active research topics by UMD faculty include computational particle physics, experimental condensed matter physics, environmental optics/remote sensing, and fundamental aspects of quantum mechanics. Our M.S. graduates have found success both in continuing onwards with a Ph.D. program elsewhere and entering the workforce in private industry or education.

Admission and Application Requirements

For admission to the graduate programs, students must meet the following requirements:

  • Hold a Bachelor’s degree in Physics or equivalent with minimum GPA of 3.0.

Recommended undergraduate preparation includes coursework detailing Taylor, Classical Mechanics; Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics; Reif, Thermal Physics; Griffiths, Quantum Mechanics

  • Taking the GRE Advanced is recommended
  • Students from non-English speaking countries are required to demonstrate proficiency in English by completing the TOEFL exam.

Degree Requirements

The Physics Department offers two programs of study. The programs are planned with faculty advisors to suit the needs and interests of students. A grade point average of 2.8 must be maintained (on a scale of 4.0). All students complete a common 14 semester credit core in classical and quantum physics, 6 credits in related fields and a final examination. The Plan A program requires a Master’s thesis. The Plan B program requires 10 additional credits in approved electives and preparation of one or more papers. The thesis may be written in absentia.

Deadlines and Dates

The deadline for fall admission is July 15. The deadline to be considered for financial aid is March 15.

Financial Aid

The Physics Department strives to ensure that all graduate students receive financial support with teaching assistantships. Financial aid inquiries should be addressed to: Director of Graduate Studies, Physics Department.

Areas of Specialization


  • Elementary particles
  • Quark model calculations
  • Nonperturbative quantum field theory
  • Hiller
  • General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics
  • Cosmology


  • Dynamics of large and mesoscale circulation
  • Numerical modeling of coastal shelves, estuaries, and large lakes
  • Coupling between sediment and water column
  • Sediment early diagenesis


  • Atomic, molecular, and optical physics
  • Optical characterization of suspended particles

Condensed Matter Physics

  • Scanning probe microscopy
  • Surface states and excitons in alkali halides
  • Resonance Raman spectroscopy
  • Opto-electronic materials
  • Device physics
  • Maps

High-energy Neutrinos


  • Observations of the circulation dynamics of large lakes, estuaries, and coastal shelves

Special Equipment, Facilities, or Programs

  • Lasers and vacuum UV facilities
  • Scanning probe microscopes
  • Low-temperature facility
  • Computing facilities
  • Facilities for vacuum deposition of materials
  • Opportunities in physical limnology and oceanography through Large Lakes Observatory
  • Well-funded multidisciplinary Natural Resources Research Institute
  • Participation in MINOS Nova, and Minerva neutrino experiments

Contact Information

Department of Physics, University of Minnesota Duluth, 371 Marshall W. Alworth Hall, 1023 University Drive, Duluth, MN 55812 (218-726-7124; fax 218-726-6942;;

Director of Graduate Studies:  Jay Austin,, 218.726.8773

Assistant to the Director of Graduate Studies: Jeanne Peterson-Moren,, 218.726.7124

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