Master's Degree

PLEASE NOTE: Graduate students in Physics are admitted directly into the Ph.D. program.  Master's Degrees are often awarded to students who have completed Comps I and II.

Graduation requirements are governed by policies of both the Department of Physics and the University of Colorado Graduate School. The basic requirements for attaining a graduate degree are:

  • Complete within 4 years.
  • Complete 30 hours of course work with at least a B– in each class.  Normally, at least 27 of the 30 credit hours should be in physics.  To have fewer than 27 of the 30 credit hours in physics, you must petition the Associate Chair of Graduate Studies.
  • Retain a minimum GPA of 3.0.
  • Complete both Comps I and Comps II.
  • File an the Candidacy Application form and apply to graduate online through Buff Portal by the posted deadlines.
  • Submit Master’s Examination Report to the physics graduate assistant. It should have all three signatures from your Comps II committee. If you gave the committee the blank form at the time of the Comps II exam, make sure the signed form was submitted to the graduate assistant.

A student seeking a Master's Degree may choose either Plan I (master's with thesis), or Plan II (master's without thesis).  These have the following additional requirements.

Plan I—Masters with Thesis

The minimum requirement for a Master's Degree is 30 credit hours. At least 24 hours must be completed at the 5000 level or above; this may include a minimum of 4, but not more than 6 thesis hours (PHYS 6950). A maximum of 6 credit hours may be completed at the 3000 or 4000 level as approved by the physics graduate committee.  Write a thesis on an original research project, either theoretical or experimental, for 4–6 credit hours. Length of thesis should be determined in consultation with the thesis advisor, and would normally be 30 pages or longer. Present a talk to a 3-member faculty committee.

Plan II - Masters Without Thesis

The minimum requirement for a Master's Degree is 30 credit hours.  The courses must all be at the 5000 level or above.

Paperwork and Deadlines for Graduation

The Department of Physics works with the University of Colorado Graduate School to ensure our candidates meet all requirements before graduation. As such, the Graduate School has provided a complete list of required documentation and corresponding deadlines for students who are seeking degrees under both Plan I (With Thesis) and Plan II (Without Thesis).

Students must apply to graduate online, at the Buff Portal. Please note, the deadlines are strictly adhered to and no exceptions will be made. Deadlines can be found on the Graduate School Web site.

Please contact Jeanne Nijhowne with any questions or problems regarding these and other graduation requirements.