Physics (MS)
Physics (MS)
Two options are available for the degree plan leading to the Master of Science (MS) in Physics: thesis or nonthesis; and the candidate must declare one of the options at the time of admission. Both options require 30 semester credit hours for successful completion.
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 Accredited, cutting edge degree program
 Experienced, dedicated faculty
 Affordable tuition (ranked #1 in net price among national universities by Washington Monthly in 2018 and #3 most affordable university in America 2018 by BestValueSchools.com)
 Demonstrated student success in research, professional certification and career advancement
Step #1: Submit a UTRGV Graduate Application at www.utrgv.edu/gradapply. There is no application fee.
Step #2: Request your official transcripts to be sent electronically to gradapps@utrgv.edu or mailed to:
Review and submit all Program Requirements:
 Bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution in the United States or a recognized international equivalent in a similar or related field.
 Undergraduate GPA of at least 3.0.
 Official transcripts from each institution attended (must be submitted directly to UTRGV).
 Submission of a statement of research interest and career goals which should clearly articulate why the student wants to enter the Physics Graduate program and what are his/her longterm career goals.
 Submission of two letters of recommendation that should mention concrete examples of applicant's prior research experience and highlight strength and weaknesses of the applicant in his/her proposed area of specialization.
 GRE General Test with a minimum Quantitative score of 161 for clear admission. No waiver of the GRE test if the applicant has completed a previous master's degree. If the applicant’s GPA is below 3.0 or the applicant does not have a Bachelor’s degree in Physics, the applicant is required to submit the GRE Subject Test in Physics.
Additional requirements for domestic applicants who attended foreign universities:
 TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paperbased, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internetbased for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for 2 years. For additional information, visit the Additional Documents for Domestic Applicants who Attend Foreign Universities section of our website.
 Certified English translation of educational records.
Additional requirements for international applicants:
 TOEFL or IELTS Language Proficiency Test with minimum scores: 550 on paperbased, 213 on computer based, or 79 on Internetbased for the TOEFL; 6.5 for the IELTS. For additional information, visit the English Proficiency Exam section of our website.
 Certified English translation of educational records.
 Financial Documentation showing sufficient funds to cover all expenses (living and academic) for the first year of study. For additional information, visit the Financial Documentation section of our website.
 Immigration documents, including a current copy of your valid passport. For additional information, visit the Immigration Documents section of our website.
UPDATE ON INTERNATIONAL ADMISSIONS FROM U.S. IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT:

SEVP regulations prohibit the issuance of a Form I20 based on conditional admission, effective July 13, 2016. University officials can only issue a Form I20 when students have met all standards for admission for the program of study listed on the Form I20. These standards for admission include any English proficiency requirements.
Program Coordinator: Dr. Efrain Ferrer
Phone:9566655837
Office: Edinburg Campus, ESCNE 3.618
EMail: gradphys@utrgv.edu
Deadlines:
Applications will be accepted year round and prospective students are encouraged to apply at least 2 months before classes start to ensure a timely application review. Applying early will also give prospective students the best opportunity to be considered for scholarships and other possible funding opportunities.
*Note: This program only admits applicants during Fall, Spring and Summer I semesters.
Residency  Per 3Credit Hour Course  Semester (9Credit Hours)  Total Estimated Cost 
Texas Resident  $1,481.39  $3,894.17  $14,813.90 
NonResident/International  $2,708.39  $7,575.17  $27,083.90 
*We estimate that tuition and fees will closely approximate the rates shown above; however, rates are subject to change. Please note that the rates above are estimated for oncampus students and those enrolled in 16week online programs. The rate is different for Accelerated Online Programs (AOP). Visit the tuition and fees page for detailed information.
Required Courses  12 
PHYS 5310: Classical Mechanics I  3 
PHYS 5320: Electrodynamics  3 
PHYS 5330: Statistical Mechanics  3 
PHYS 5340: Quantum Mechanics I  3 
Choose one of the following options:  
Thesis Option  
Designated Electives  6 
PHYS 5195: Graduate Seminar (taken 3 times)  3 
PHYS 5360: Optics  3 
PHYS 5361: Applied Electromagnetics  3 
PHYS 5375: Structure and Function of Biological Molecules  3 
PHYS 5387: Special Topics in Physics (repeatable for a total of 6 hours)  3 
PHYS 5392: Gravitational Wave Astronomy  3 
PHYS 5393: Introduction to General Relativity and Gravitation  3 
PHYS 5394: Advanced Statistical Methods for Modern Astronomy  3 
PHYS 6330: Quantum Mechanics II  3 
PHYS 6331: Solid State Physics  3 
PHYS 6350: Mathematical Physics I  3 
PHYS 6351: Mathematical Physics II  3 
PHYS 6352: Computational Physics  3 
PHYS 6362: Quantum Optics  3 
PHYS 6364: Nanophotonics: Materials and Devices  3 
PHYS 6371: Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Biological Systems  3 
PHYS 6373: Statistical Physics of Molecular Cell Biology  3 
PHYS 6381: Introduction to Astrophysics  3 
PSCI 5310: Physical Science for Teachers I  3 
PSCI 5320: Physical Science for Teachers II  3 
PSCI 5330: Physical Science for High School Teachers I  3 
PSCI 5340: Physical Science for High School Teachers II  3 
Free Electives  36 
PHYS 6396: Graduate Research I  3 
PHYS 6397: Graduate Research II  3 
Capstone Requirement  6 
Thesis  
PHYS 7300: Thesis I  3 
PHYS 7301: Thesis II  3 
Total graduate hours for degree:  30 
Non‐Thesis Option:  
Designated Electives  12 
PHYS 5195: Graduate Seminar (taken 3 times)  3 
PHYS 5360: Optics  3 
PHYS 5361: Applied Electromagnetics  3 
PHYS 5375: Structure and Function of Biological Molecules  3 
PHYS 5387: Special Topics in Physics (repeatable for a total of 6 hours)  3 
PHYS 5392: Gravitational Wave Astronomy  3 
PHYS 5393: Introduction to General Relativity and Gravitation  3 
PHYS 5394: Advanced Statistical Methods for Modern Astronomy  3 
PHYS 6330: Quantum Mechanics II  3 
PHYS 6331: Solid State Physics  3 
PHYS 6350: Mathematical Physics I  3 
PHYS 6351: Mathematical Physics II  3 
PHYS 6352: Computational Physics  3 
PHYS 6362: Quantum Optics  3 
PHYS 6364: Nanophotonics: Materials and Devices  3 
PHYS 6371: Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Biological Systems  3 
PHYS 6373: Statistical Physics of Molecular Cell Biology  3 
PHYS 6381: Introduction to Astrophysics  3 
PSCI 5310: Physical Science for Teachers I  3 
PSCI 5320: Physical Science for Teachers II  3 
PSCI 5330: Physical Science for High School Teachers I  3 
PSCI 5340: Physical Science for High School Teachers II  3 
Free Electives  3‐6 
PHYS 6396: Graduate Research I  3 
PHYS 6397: Graduate Research II  3 
Capstone Requirement  
Oral Comprehensive Exam  
Total graduate hours for degree:  30 
Course Descriptions:
PHYS 5195: Graduate Seminar [1‐0]
This is a seminar course in which the student presents research based on current literature. It may be repeated three times for credit.
PHYS 5310: Classical Mechanics I [3‐0]
This graduate course will introduce students to Newtonian mechanics, Lagrangian and Hamiltonian dynamics, dynamics of rigid bodies, central force problem and orbital dynamics, symmetries and conservation laws, relativistic dynamics.
Prerequisite: PHYS 3305 and PHYS 3311 or consent of instructor.
PHYS 5320: Electrodynamics [3‐0]
This graduate course will cover electrostatics and magnetostatics, boundary value problems, Maxwell’s equations, plane waves, wave guides diffraction and multipole radiation.
Prerequisites: PHYS 3301 and PHYS 3302 or consent of instructor.
PHYS 5330: Statistical Mechanics [3‐0]
This graduate course will introduce students to thermodynamics, equilibrium statistical mechanics, Boltzmann equation and the collision operator, moments of the Boltzmann equations, the Navier‐Stokes equations, introduction to non‐equilibrium concepts,ensembles, classical and quantum gases, statistical physics of solids.
Prerequisite: PHYS 3303 or consent of instructor.
PHYS 5340: Quantum Mechanics I [3‐0]
This graduate course will cover linear vector spaces and linear operators, postulates, Hilbert space formulation, the Schrödinger equation and one‐dimensional problems, the hydrogen atom, symmetries, rotational invariance and angular momentum, spin, system with N‐ degrees of freedom.
Prerequisites: PHYS 4303 and PHYS 4304 or consent of instructor.
PHYS 5360: Optics [3‐0]
This course is an introduction to the field of optics and its modern applications. The course will start with Huygens principle, the wave equation, and the superposition principle. Fraunhofer and Fresnel diffraction, coherence theory, interferometry, and Gaussian optics are among the topics that will also be covered.
Co‐ requisite: PHYS 5320 or consent of instructor.
PHYS 5361: Applied Electromagnetics [3‐0]
This is an advanced graduate course in electromagnetic field theory and electrodynamics, with particular emphasis on EM wave interaction with materials, scattering and guided waves. The course will cover in great details the physics underlying electromagnetic wave propagation and the engineering of devices such as antennas, arrays, and periodic passive structures that take advantage of these concepts.
Prerequisites: PHYS 5320 and PHYS 5360 or consent of instructor.
PHYS 5375: Structure and Function of Biological Molecules [3‐0]
This course will provide in‐depth assessment of structure of biological molecules, with emphasis on structure‐function relationship. Physical principles underlying formation of secondary and tertiary structure of proteins, structural dynamics of DNA and DNA‐protein interactions will be reviewed.
Prerequisite: MATH 3349 and MATH 3311 or consent of instructor.
PHYS 5387: Special Topics in Physics [3‐0]
This graduate course will introduce students to different topics. The topics will be announced. May be repeated twice for credit.
Prerequisite: Instructor approval.
PHYS 5392: Gravitational Wave Astronomy [3‐0]
This course provides a basic and broad description of astrophysics related to sources of gravitational radiation, gravitational wave detectors, numerical relativity, and data analysis.
PHYS 5393: Introduction to General Relativity and Gravitation [3‐0]
This graduate course introduces Einstein’s theory of relativity and other topics in the field of gravitation. Topics covered are the Principle of Equivalence, Introduction to Differential geometry and tensor analysis. Also studied are physics on curved manifolds, Einstein’s equations of General Relativity, exact solutions of Einstein’s equations, the Schwarzschild and Kerr solutions, Black Hole Physics and Cosmology, Gravitational radiation and its detection.
Prerequisites: PHYS 3305, PHYS 3311, PHYS 3301, PHYS 3302, and PHYS 3402 or consent of instructor.
PHYS 5394: Advanced Statistical Methods for Modern Astronomy [3‐0]
This course will introduce the student to: gravitational wave astronomy and the detectors, advanced statistical methods, computational methods, introduction to grid computing and the LSC grid. The course has a mandatory laboratory component which will train the students in advanced statistical data analysis and grid computing.
Prerequisites: MATH 3349, PHYS 3311 or consent of instructor.
PHYS 6330: Quantum Mechanics II [3‐0]
This course will introduce the student to variational and WKB methods, time‐ independent and time‐dependent perturbation theory, scattering theory, path integration formulation, introduction to relativistic quantum mechanics and the Dirac equation.
Prerequisite: PHYS 5340.
PHYS 6331: Solid State Physics [3‐0]
This graduate course will introduce the student to lattice vibrations and thermal properties of solids, band theory of solids, transport properties of metals and semiconductors, optical properties, magnetic properties, magnetic properties, magnetic relaxation, superconductivity, elementary excitations, interactions phonon‐phonon, electronelectron, electron‐phonon, theory of metals and semiconductors, transport theory, and optical properties.
Prerequisite: PHYS 5340.
PHYS 6350: Mathematical Physics I [3‐0]
This graduate course will include linear algebra, ordinary and partial differential equations, special functions, eigenvalue problems, complex analysis, group theory.
Prerequisite: PHYS 3311 or consent of instructor.
PHYS 6351: Mathematical Physics II [3‐0]
This course will introduce the student to advanced topics in mathematical physics, topology, functional analysis, differentiable manifolds, Lie groups and algebras, and cohomology theory.
Prerequisite: PHYS 6350.
PHYS 6352: Computational Physics [3‐0]
The course will cover introduction to numerical techniques for solving physics problems, theory of computation and applications to various branches of physics, sample problems might include chaotic motion and nonlinear dynamics, particle trajectories, Monte Carlo simulations, dynamical and statistical descriptions of many body problems, hyperbolic, parabolic, and elliptic differential equations.
Prerequisite:PHYS 4390 or consent of instructor.
PHYS 6362: Quantum Optics [3‐0]
This course introduces the student to non‐linear optics and the new field of observing quantum effects in small groups of atoms, starting from a few and down to one. Topics include field quantization, emission and absorption of 151 radiation by atoms, nonlinear optics and parametric conversion, non‐classical light, optical tests of quantum mechanics, and experiments with trapped atoms.
Prerequisites: PHYS 5360 and PHYS 5340 or consent of instructor.
PHYS 6364: Nanophotonics: Materials and Devices [3‐0]
This course will cover general concepts of nanophotonics which is a new field of physics focused on studies of interaction of light with matter on the nanometer scale. Topics covered will include near‐field optics, photonic crystals, negative index materials, nanocavities, integrated photonic circuits, and their fabrication techniques.
Prerequisites: PHYS 5320 and PHYS 5360 or consent of instructor.
PHYS 6371: Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Biological Systems [3‐0]
This course provides students with fundamentals of statistical thermodynamics, electrostatics and electrochemistry, enzyme kinetics and molecular driving forces.
Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.
PHYS 6373: Statistical Physics of Molecular Cell Biology [3‐0]
This course introduces students to the basic physical laws governing the life of cells and its material and explains the latest research regarding physical aspects of molecular cell biology, and discusses physical methods used in today’s laboratories. Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor.
PHYS 6381: Introduction to Astrophysics [3‐0]
This graduate course will introduce students to a range of basic topics in astrophysics: stars, stellar evolution, neutron stars, black holes, galactic dynamics, galaxies, large scale structure in the Universe and cosmology.
Prerequisites: PHYS 5320 and PHYS 5310 or consent of instructor.
PHYS 6396: Graduate Research I [3‐0]
This is a physics research course. May be taken either as a stand alone course or as preparation towards thesis.
Prerequisite: Graduate advisor approval.
PHYS 6397: Graduate Research II [3‐0]
This is a physics research course. May be taken after Graduate Research I as a project continuation or as continued preparation towards thesis.
Prerequisite: PHYS 6396 and graduate advisor approval.
PHYS 7300: Thesis I [3‐0]
This graduate course initiates students in their thesis work.
Prerequisites: Graduate advisor approval.
PHYS 7301: Thesis II [3‐0]
This graduate course is a continuation towards students' thesis work.
Prerequisites: PHYS 7300 and graduate advisor approval.
PSCI 5310: Physical Science for Teachers I [3‐0]
This graduate level course is designed for in‐ service elementary and middle school teachers who will be in Geology not available in other courses. May be repeated implementing hands‐ on science learning in their classrooms. Students in the Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with emphasis in Science Education can use the credit for this course to fulfill the requirements for science content. The course will provide the teachers with necessary theoretical background in classical physics, will develop skills in physical experimentation using FOSS modules and other available lab equipment and will enable the students to apply the basic laws of physics.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing or departmental approval.
PSCI 5320: Physical Science for Teachers II [3‐0]
This is the second semester course of Physical Science for Teachers. This course will provide teachers with necessary theoretical background in classical physics, will develop skills in physical experimentation, and will enable students to apply the basic laws and principles of physics to experimental observations.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing or departmental approval.
PSCI 5330: Physical Science for High School Teachers I [3‐0]
This course provides high school teachers a deeper understanding of classical physics. Laws of motion, applications of Newton’s Laws of motion and energy relations are the major parts of this graduate level physical science course. This course will provide teachers with an abundant theoretical background in physics and current research practice with practical experience in related physics labs.
Prerequisite: Graduate standing with a BS or BA degree in a science discipline or department approval.
PSCI 5340: Physical Science for High School Teachers II [3‐0]
This course is the continuation of Physical Science for High School Teachers I. Thermodynamics, electrostatistics, electricity and magnetism, waves, light and optics, and quantum physics are the major parts of this graduate level physical science course. This course will provide teachers with an abundant theoretical background in physics and current research practice with practical experience in related labs.
Prerequisite: PSCI 5330 with a grade of B or better.