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Graduate Program: Overview

Scattering light from particulates in a water sampleThe graduate program in physics at UMD leads to an M.S. degree. While all students participate in faculty-guided research, there are two routes to completing the degree, with different levels of research expectations. Both routes involve a common core of foundation courses and at least one course emphasizing application of computing to numerical, analytical, or experimental techniques in physics. In developing a program, students elect to satisfy degree requirements with either a thesis-based research component (Plan A) or additional course work and a smaller research project (Plan B). Students typically complete the program in two years. While our program does not offer a Ph.D. many of our students continue on to Ph.D. programs, within the University of Minnesota or at other universities. Several of our faculty may advise Ph.D. students in related programs within the University of Minnesota, particularly the Water Resources Science program and the Physics program on the Twin Cities campus.

MINOS Far Detector under construction Research interests of graduate program faculty emphasize experimental neutrino physics and astro-particle physics, computational nuclear/particle physics, and physical oceanography and limnology, with additional work in the areas of optics, experimental condensed matter physics, and fundamental questions in quantum mechanics.

Our faculty in neutrino physics are members of the MINOS collaboration, studying neutrino oscillations using a beam generated at Fermilab, outside Chicago, IL, and aimed at an underground detector detector in Soudan, MN, 90 miles north of Duluth. These faculty play key roles in the operation of the detector and are also engaged in developing the next generation of experiments including MINERvA and NOvA. Computational particle physics work makes use of the resources of the Minnesota Supercomputing Institute. With our faculty associated with the Large Lakes Observatory, opportunities in physical limnology (the study of lakes) and oceanography, including both observational and computational modeling work, are available. The LLO faculty are also associated with the university-wide Water Resources Science program, which offers Ph.D. opportunities for students wishing to continue work in this direction.

Links to individual research interests are available here.

Our graduate students come from a variety of backgrounds and have varied goals. Some students are U.S. citizens with bachelor's degrees in physics or related areas, sometimes from smaller undergraduate programs. Others are international students with B.S. degrees in physics or applied physics making the transition to advanced study in the U.S. Their goals include preparation for admission to Ph.D. programs in physics or other areas such as engineering fields and medical physics, teaching positions in high schools or community colleges, and technical positions in industry with an emphasis on computing or instrumentation. Our program size helps to create an environment that eases the transition to graduate study.

Questions regarding details of UMD's Physics M.S. program can be sent to the Director of Graduate Studies:

Prof. Jay Austin, DGS
Physics Dept., 371 MWAH
University of Minnesota - Duluth
1023 University Dr.
Duluth, MN 55812 USA

Please do NOT send your application materials through the mail! All applications to the University of Minnesota Duluth's Graduate School are now done online. Application information is available here.

Graduate School deadlines for admission applications are:

  • July 15 for Fall Semester. We have a rolling admissions policy, and will start to consider applications in March.
  • November 1 for Spring Semester. Most assistanship awards are made for the usual academic year, September - May. Only occasionally are assistantship openings available beginning in spring semester.
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Last modified on 07/01/13 03:48 PM
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