Departments & Programs

Department of Physics
Graduate Programs

Graduate Program

The Department of Physics offers graduate programs leading to Purdue University Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. For master’s degree students, both thesis and nonthesis options are available.

Admission Requirements

Students who seek enrollment in the physics graduate program should have a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution and have a background in the usual undergraduate courses in physics, mathematics, and other sciences. An average grade point average of 3.0 (B) or higher in physics courses is expected. Graduates from related fields of study in pure and applied science or engineering may be accepted on a probationary basis until they have completed any necessary undergraduate courses in physics. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is normally expected of all applicants. The GRE physics test is recommended, but not required.

Transfer Credit

The Department of Physics will normally accept, from approved institutions, a maximum of 6 transfer hours of graduate credit that are in excess of undergraduate degree requirements.

Application for Admission

Application materials and information can be obtained online at or by writing to the chairperson of the graduate committee, IUPUI Department of Physics, Science Building, LD 154, 402 N. Blackford Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202-3273; phone (317) 274-6900. While the application is being processed, it is possible to enter IUPUI as a temporary graduate student. Generally, only 12 hours of credit earned under this classification may be counted toward an advanced degree.

Financial Assistance

Most physics graduate students receive financial support. Types of support available include teaching and research assistantships, fellowships, and tuition remission.

Master of Science

The general requirements include admission to regular graduate status, completion of the English requirement, a passing score on the Physics Qualifying Examination, satisfactory completion of an approved plan of study, and 30 hours of graduate credit as outlined below.

The English requirement for candidates whose native language is English is satisfied by having no undergraduate grades below B in English composition or by scoring 600 or higher on the Verbal Aptitude Section of the Graduate Record Examination. Students who do not satisfy the English requirement by either of the above methods may take a written examination administered by the Department of English to demonstrate their proficiency. Students whose native language is not English must pass the TOEFL examination with a grade of 550 or higher and take a diagnostic test when they arrive at IUPUI. The score on this test will determine what English courses are required.

The Physics Qualifying Examination is administered throughout the Purdue graduate system and must be taken, at the latest, after completing the introductory graduate courses. Two attempts are permitted to obtain a passing grade.

The student’s plan of study is worked out in cooperation with the student’s graduate advisor and committee. It must be submitted and accepted by the graduate school no later than the semester before the one in which the student plans to graduate. The English requirement must be satisfied before the plan of study may be filed.

The master’s degree requires the satisfactory completion of 30 credit hours of course work at the 500 and 600 level. Twenty-four (24) credit hours must be in physics and biophysics, including one laboratory course. In the thesis option, 6 of the physics credit hours will be earned by enrolling in PHYS 69800 Research M.S. Thesis. This option requires a written thesis. In the nonthesis option, 6 of the physics credit hours will typically be earned through enrollment in PHYS 59000 Reading and Research. This option requires a written report. Six (6) credit hours must be in mathematics, which may be replaced in part by PHYS 60000 Methods of Theoretical Physics. The grade requirements are A or B in 500-level courses; A, B, or C in 600-level courses; A, B, or C in mathematics courses; and a minimum grade point average of 2.8.

Doctor of Philosophy

Qualified students may be authorized to pursue the Ph.D. degree at IUPUI in areas where a program has been arranged with Purdue, West Lafayette. Students are usually expected to complete an M.S. degree before pursuing the Ph.D. degree. Interested students should contact the Department of Physics for further details.

Research Interests and Facilities

The department’s major research strengths and facilities are in the area of biological physics and magnetic resonance, in experimental and theoretical laser physics and quantum optics, and in experimental materials physics. The physics faculty directs use of four magnetic resonance spectrometers in two locations. In addition, the school has a high-performance absorption spectrometer equipped to examine cryogenic samples, as well as other instrumentation for biophysical research. Current experimental research includes EPR and NMR investigations of cells, enzymes, proteins, and model membranes. Theoretical work involves calculations and computer simulations of magnetic resonance lineshapes, studies of the biophysics of photosynthesis, and theoretical condensed matter physics. The optics labs are equipped with argon ion, titanium sapphire, diode, and helium-neon lasers, in addition to state-of-the-art equipment, including digital oscilloscopes and spectrum analyzers, which allow students and faculty to probe fundamental issues in laser noise and the quantum nature of light. The materials lab includes an advanced magnetron sputter deposition system, and systems for the measurement of magnetic and electronic properties of thin film materials. All students have access to the IUPUI computing facilities, which include dedicated Unix machines, as well as the minicomputers in the department. Several ongoing projects involve collaborations with the IU School of Medicine, Methodist Hospital of Indiana, and other departments in the School of Science.