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Degree Programs

For Questions about the graduate programs in the Department of Physics please contact us at:

Degrees Offered

Physics, M.S.

Materials Physics, M.S.

Major Programs

Physics, M.S., Thesis Option - The standard program that leads to a 30-hour Master of Science degree requires six hours of thesis, PHYS 5312 and PHYS 5331, nine to 12 hours in physics, six to nine hours in another science (mathematics, computer science, chemistry, or biology) or, if a no minor option is selected, six to nine hours in physics and/or other sciences with prior approval. The Physics Department offers an especially strong opportunity for thesis research in experimental solid state and materials physics.

Physics, M.S., Non-thesis Option - The 36-hour Master of Science degree program without a thesis is also available. This optional program requires six hours of course work in lieu of the thesis and six hours of additional course work in physics.

Materials Physics, M.S. - The Materials Physics M.S. is a thesis only degree which stresses experimental materials physics primarily related to the semiconductor and other high tech materials industries. The program leads to a 35-hour Master of Science degree in Materials Physics. The Materials Physics M.S. degree requires six hours of thesis, PHYS 5110 (taken twice), PHYS 5320, PHYS 5324, and PHYS 5398. In addition 18 elective hours must be chosen from PHYS 5312, 5314, 5322, 5326, 5327, 5328, 5329, 5331, 5370, with up to nine hours of free electives permitted (with prior departmental approval).

Research - Research is an important component of our graduate program. The Department has several research concentrations.

The materials physics and thin film solid state groups are focused toward preparing Master's graduates for professional employment, including the semiconductor industry and materials high tech industry, or further graduate study in a doctoral program. Thesis research may utilize thin film sputtering (magnetron and dual ion beam), molecular beam epitaxy, scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy, infrared spectroscopy, high resolution x-ray diffraction/reflectivity, scanning probe microscopy (AFM and STM), magnetometry, resistivity, high temperature furnaces/ovens, ellipsometry, electric transport measurements, deep level transient spectroscopy, impedance spectroscopy, and photoluminescence. Competitive opportunities for industry internships are available.

The physics education research (PER) group focuses on embodied and participationist models of learning, including gesture, conceptual metaphor, conceptual blending, communities of practice, relational discourse, and identity development. These research areas are pursued through qualitative analysis of video records of interactions between students, environment, and teachers; quantitative analysis of standard conceptual and attitudinal surveys; and hybrid analysis of student written and graphical artifacts. Graduate study in PER prepares students for careers in K-14 physics education, and further graduate study in a doctoral program in either physics or education.

Other research groups focus on instrumentation development and theory. Theoretical focus is on the study of the physical properties of materials through computational simulations, either using first principles methods from density functional theory (DFT) or approximation methods within the effective mass theory, with an emphasis on semiconductors and oxides. Texas State also offers a Ph.D. in Materials Science, Engineering and Commercialization which has many collaborations with these areas.

A final research area consists of computational modeling of historical events in astronomy. The department maintains a small astronomical observatory (16" reflector) for student use.

Application and Application Fee

Please apply online through the ApplyTexas Application and allow 2 working days for the application to be received by Texas State.

The required non-refundable $40.00 application fee can be submitted with credit/debit card information during the application process. If preferred, applicants may submit a non-refundable $40.00 application fee (check or money order in U.S. currency) made payable to Texas State. The mailing address is listed below.

Please Note: Students who change their admission status must pay the fee associated with the new application. Degree-seeking students changing majors and/or seeking multiple degrees are required to complete a new application and pay the $40 fee.

An additional international evaluation fee of $50.00 (U.S. currency) is required if the application is considered for admission based on foreign credentials.

Admission Policy

Regular Admission -  Unconditional admission is usually given to students who meet the University’s requirements for regular admission and who have in addition a 3.00 GPA or better on a 4.0 scale for undergraduate upper-division (junior and senior level) physics and whose programs include credit for upper division courses in modern physics, mathematical physics or equivalent, classical mechanics, electromagnetic field theory, and quantum mechanics.  Students who meet these expectations, but have a GPA between 2.50 and 3.00 and a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) general score of 302 or higher on file in the graduate office when the application is considered, may also be granted conditional admission. If the GRE was taken within the last five years and prior to the new examination, the following preferred scores will be considered - 1100 (verbal and quantitative combined).  Students with course work as described above with a GPA below 2.50 may be granted conditional admission with the requirement that their GPA in their first semester of graduate work be above 3.0.

Conditional Admission -  Students who meet the above expectations except for credit in coursework for one of the areas specified may be granted conditional admission with the requirement of background course work to make up the deficiency.  Please note, students accepted on conditional basis will not be eligible for Graduate Assistantship (GA) positions.

Exceptions -  Students not meeting the expectations for regular admission or conditional admission stated above but who do meet the University’s requirements for regular admission may petition the department for admission.

Financial Aid, Scholarships, and Fellowships

Assistantships are available on a limited basis.  Applications should be submitted by June 1. Inquiries and/or applications for assistantships should be mailed to:

Dr. Dave Donnelly, Department of Physics
Texas State University
San Marcos, Texas  78666-4616

Scholarships and Fellowships are available via the Graduate College. In order to be considered for graduate Scholarships and Fellowships, apply for admission by the priority deadline February 15, however, applications will be accepted through June 1st. For more details visit Scholarship page.

Advisor Support

Dr. Alexander Zakhidov
Roy F Mitte Technology and Physics 3240

Graduate Advisor

Dr. Edwin Piner
Roy F Mitte Technology and Physics 3235

Director of the Physics Graduate Program

Dr. Nikoleta Theodoropoulou
Roy F. Mitte Technology and Physics 3215


For the latest information on our program check the College of Science 2016-17 graduate catalog at: Graduate Catalog.