Artist's rendition of atoms

Applied Physics—MS, PhD

Bridge the gap between physics and engineering with an MS in Applied Physics from Michigan Technological University. Students can expect a customized, flexible program—allowing them to tailor their studies and course work to meet their needs in a variety of interdisciplinary research areas. Our students are at frontier areas of applied physics, studying atmospheric science, nanoscale physics, materials science, condensed matter, biomedical science, photonics, and optoelectronics.

Applied Physics master’s students come from diverse undergraduate backgrounds, including atmospheric science, materials science, electrical engineering, and physics. Through their groundbreaking—and personalized—research, our students graduate with a solid foundation for doctoral studies or for work at the intersection of science and engineering.

Cutting-Edge Research Opportunities . . .

Most physics department faculty members have established research programs in varied areas of applied physics including:

  • Nanoscale condensed matter
  • Materials physics
  • Atmospheric physics
  • Optics/photonics
  • Optoelectronics
  • Plasmonics
  • Biophysics

. . . In State-Of-The-Art Laboratory Facilities

The physics department boasts exceptional research labs and facilities. A recent $2.5 million renovation provided major upgrades in physics classroom technology, and a new $700,000 gift is enabling a major upgrade to physics research facilities. Physics hosts seven labs, ranging from computer labs with state-of-the-art software packages to atomic and molecular laser spectroscopy labs. Researchers also have access to other departments’ research labs, including scanning electron microscopy labs and other advanced characterization and fabrication facilities.

Applied Physics Versus Physics

The MS in Applied Physics degree distinguishes itself from the MS in Physics by offering significant additional flexibility to faculty and students in tailoring the required course work to prepare students for the interdisciplinary research. (See details in the course work requirements.)

PhD Versus MS

The PhD program (regarded as the terminal degree within the field) consists of substantial graduate-level course work combined with cutting-edge research, which leads to a significant contribution to the physics field through publications in peer-reviewed journals. Students require, on average, five years to complete the PhD requirements. Additionally, an MS in Physics may be obtained while in pursuit of the PhD.

Both the MS and PhD programs build on a foundational set of six core courses plus additional electives. In the MS program, students may choose from three degree plans: a research thesis, a report on an independent study project, or course work only. Well-prepared students will need a minimum of 12 months to complete their MS degree requirements.