Programs by Campus



College of Arts and Sciences

Departmental E-mail: gradphys [at] indiana [dot] edu

Departmental URL:

(Please note that when conferring University Graduate School degrees, minors, certificates, and sub-plans, The University Graduate School’s staff use those requirements contained only in The University Graduate School Bulletin.)




Degrees Offered

Master of Science, Master of Arts for Teachers, and Doctor of Philosophy. The department also participates in the Ph.D. programs in astrophysics, chemical physics, and mathematical physics (described elsewhere in this bulletin).

Special Departmental Requirements

(See also general University Graduate School requirements.)


B average (3.0) required. See special requirement under “Mas­ter of Science Degree” for courses numbered below 501 that are to be counted toward that degree.

Master of Science Degree in Physics

Admission Requirements

Physics P201, P202, P301, P309, P331, P332, and P340 (or equivalents); Mathematics M211-M212, M311 (or equivalents). Deficiencies must be removed without graduate credit.

Course Requirements

A total of 30 credit hours, 20 in physics, of which at least 14 credit hours must be in physics courses numbered 501 or above. Seminars, research, and reading courses may not be counted toward this 14 credit hour requirement. Physics courses numbered below 501 that are listed in this bulletin may count toward the 30 credit hour requirement only if passed with a grade of B (3.0) or above.

Option 1. Students may meet the department requirements for a research-based M.S. degree.


Not required.

Final Examination

Option 2. Written. May substitute research requirements (see above) May be taken only twice.

Master of Science Degree in Beam Physics and Technology

Admission Requirements

Same as for Master of Science degree.

Course Requirements

A total of 30 credit hours with a grade point average of B or above, including the following: 3 to 6 credit hours of graduate-level “Classical Mechanics” and “Electromagnetism” courses with a grade of B or above or P570 “Classical Mechanics and Electromagnetism in Accelerators” offered by the U.S. Particle Accelerator School (USPAS); 3 credit hours of P570 “Accelerator Physics” or P570 “Linear Accelerator” and 3 credit hours of P571 “Laboratory hands-on” or P571 “Computational Methods” offered by the USPAS; 12 credit hours of courses at the 500 level or above; 3 to 9 credit hours of P802 Master’s thesis. A grade point average of 3.0 or better must be maintained in the courses satisfying the 30 credit hour requirement. In particular, both senior-level classical mechanics and electromagnetism (or equivalents) must be passed with a grade of B (3.0) or above.



Final Examination

Either a defense of the thesis or a written final examination is required, and should take place at Indiana University. The writ­ten examination may be substituted for the defense only with the permission of the thesis committee. The defense of the thesis will follow the same guidelines as the Master of Science thesis of the Indiana University Graduate School.

Master of Arts Degree for Teachers

Admission Requirements

8 credit hours of undergraduate physics courses.

Course Requirements

20 credit hours in physics courses numbered P300 or higher, selected from the course listings that follow (recommended: P301, P309, P331, P332, P360, P451, P453, P454), the remain­ing 16 credit hours in graduate education and in mathematics, astronomy, chemistry, or computer science. Candidates for the M.A.T. must obtain a teacher’s certificate (or license) by the time they complete the M.A.T.

Dual Master of Science Degree in Physics and Master of Science Degree in Environmental Science

This program is a two-year, 51 credit hours sequence of courses and research that provides depth and breadth in both environmental science and physics. The student must complete a minimum of 21 credit hours in each of the degree programs. Both degrees are awarded when the student meets the degree requirements of the Department of Physics and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA).


Students interested in this dual program must apply and be accepted by both the Department of Physics and the School of Public and Environmental Affairs. The degree is designed to be completed in two years, but must be completed within six years.


The dual M.S. in Physics and M.S.E.S. in SPEA program requires a minimum of 51 credit hours distributed among six components: physics core; environmental science core; economics, policy, and law competencies; tool skills; environmental chemistry concentration; and professional experience. Each candidate should take a 3 credit hour course during which they participate in a team to carry out an integrative project that addresses a multidisciplinary problem. Capstone course credit may be double-counted to either concentration or tool skill requirement.

The capstone requirement may be met in one of the following ways: (1) SPEA-V 600, Capstone in Public and Environmental Affairs, sections with an environmental focus. (2) An alternative course with a similar structure, such as SPEA-E560, Environmental Risk Analysis or other approved course.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree

The program of study leading to the PhD in Physics is primarily one of research leading to the attainment of a high level of competency within a specialized subfield of physics, together with a sufficient general knowledge of the discipline to understand the broader context and implications of their research. All students are expected to develop the ability to contribute creatively to our understanding of the physical world, through independent research facilitated by course work, individual study, and practical experience under the guidance of a research supervisor/mentor and a research committee. Toward this end, students are encouraged to identify a potential supervisor by the summer of their first year, and must deliver a seminar on their research progress and plans by the end of their fifth semester in the program. Students are also expected to regularly participate in the weekly colloquium and specialized seminars while in residence to maintain and broaden their knowledge of important trends in the discipline. The student’s progress in research is monitored regularly by the research committee. The degree is capped by the completion of a substantial original project, described in a dissertation and defended in an oral exam.  Students who fail to make adequate research progress at any point may be subject to academic probation and dismissal.

Admission Requirements

Same as those for Master of Science degree.

Course Requirements

A total of 90 credit hours, including two courses in one of the following six areas: accelerator physics (P671 plus one of P633, P634, P640, P641, P672), biological physics (P575 plus one of P581, P582, P583), chemical physics (P615 or P557 plus one of P614, P616, P625, or P627), condensed-matter physics (P557, P615, P616, P627, P657), high-energy physics (P622, P635, P636, P640, P641, P665, P707, P708), mathematical physics (P555, P609, P610, P622, P625, P637, P638, P647, P743), nuclear physics (P626, P630, P633, P634, P640, P641,). Courses offered for the (optional) inside minor cannot be used to satisfy this requirement. A minimum of 9 credit hours per semester at the P501 level or above with a minimum 3.0 (B) grade point av­erage is required. All graduate students are expected to attend the weekly departmental colloquium. Mathematics courses suited to the student’s fields will be specified by advisors in the Department of Physics.


The minor may be taken either inside or outside of the department. The inside minor for all majors except biological physics consists of either P621 or P625, and at least two courses, falling within at least two nonmajor areas of concentration, among nine areas: accelerator physics (P570, P671, or P672), chemical or condensed-matter physics (P557, P615, P616, P657, P627), high-energy physics: P535, P635, P636, P640, P641, P665, P707, P708), mathematical physics (P522, P555, P609, P610, P622, P625, P637, P638, P647, P743), nuclear physics (P535, P626, P630, P633, P634, P640, P641,), biological physics (P575, P581, P582, P583, P676), experimental physics (P540, P541, P551, P560), or astrophysics (P630, P637, P638). Two courses counting towards a single area do not fully meet this requirement. For biological physics the minor requirements will consist of two courses to be determined by the student's advisory committee. Programs of study for outside minors are determined by the individual departments and typically require 6 to 12 credit hours of course work. Recommended outside fields: astronomy, chemistry, mathematics, biology, biochemistry, neuroscience, medical science, and scientific computing. All outside minors must be approved by the graduate advisor of the Department of Physics. Note that P535 Introduction to Nuclear and Particle Physics cannot be counted toward the inside minor for students specializing in either nuclear physics or high-energy physics. For students specializing in other fields, P535 can be counted once toward the inside minor and can be considered as a course in either nuclear physics or high-energy physics for that purpose.

Outside Minor in Physics

For students in other departments who wish an outside minor in physics, the requirement is a minimum of 6 credit hours at the 501 level or above. The grade point average for the 6 credit hours must be at least 3.0. Students who wish to complete the physics minor should bring the Nomination to Candidacy form to the Physics Academic Services Office for a signature upon completion of this requirement.

Qualifying Examination

Written. May be taken only twice. Must be taken at the end of the first year and must be passed by the end of the second year. The written examination covers the subjects of mechan­ics, electricity and magnetism, quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics/statistical physics at the level of first-year graduate work. Relevant courses are P506, P507, P511, P512, P521, and P556. Not attempting the qualifying examination at the required time constitutes an automatic failure.

Candidacy Seminar

Must be presented after the first attempt at the qualifying examination but before the end of the fifth semester. Usually pertains to a proposed dissertation topic.

Teaching Requirement

Students must meet the departmental teaching requirement.


Result of a significant piece of original research.

Final Examination

Oral defense of dissertation.

(Note: The Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Mathematical Physics is described elsewhere in the Bulletin.)

Academic Bulletins

PDF Version

Click here for the PDF version.