M.S. Degree

The Physics and Astronomy department admits graduate students into the doctoral program. It is not the intent to admit students who only wish to pursue a masters degree. Completion of a masters degree is not a requirement for the PhD. However, it is recognized that this credential is important to some students. Students can request the awarding of a (non-thesis) MS degree on the way to completion of the doctorate upon satisfaction of the requirements listed below.

The MS degree is conferred upon successful completion of specified coursework and engagement in original research. The type of degree and the degree name, either Physics or Astrophysics, will be specified by the student in consultation with the adviser and chair of the graduate program committee. The formal requirements for the M.S. degree are:

  • The student must complete, with acceptable grades, 30 semester hours of approved advanced courses, including research.
  • The student must complete with acceptable grades, or otherwise satisfy the requirements of, at least four of the basic courses for the doctoral degree, as specified in the Graduate Student Handbook, plus two other approved courses. An average grade of B or better will normally be expected in the student's graduate level physics and astronomy courses, excluding research.
  • The student must be engaged in a research project involving the student’s own independent and original work. The satisfaction of this requirement is to be certified by means of a written statement from the student’s research adviser stating the area of the research.
  • The student must complete at least one full fall or spring semester in full-time study in a graduate program at Rice University.