Physics (M.S.)

Physics (M.S.)

Grad student teaching a class in front of a blackboard

Why get a master’s degree in physics?

The M.S. degree gives you an understanding of physics’ basic theoretical structures as preparation for conducting cutting-edge research. You will learn to apply advanced research methodologies and facilitate deeper student thinking in the areas of electromagnetic theory, quantum mechanics, classical mechanics, and advanced mathematical methods. The graduate program in physics includes a capstone experience, which can be a master's thesis or project. Graduates of this master’s program are equipped for successful careers in research and development in business, industry, government and education/academia, and are prepared for doctoral programs.

Why choose UNH for your physics degree?

The Department of Physics offers excellent research opportunities for graduate students. UNH physicists are engaged in world-class research in applied optics, condensed matter, nuclear and particle physics, education, and high energy theory and cosmology. The Space Science Center fosters research and education in all the space sciences, ranging from the ionosphere to the Earth's magnetosphere, the local solar system, and out to the farthest reaches of the universe. In addition, UNH has just reached the top tier of research universities, Carnegie Classification R1, and our research portfolio brings in more than $110 million in competitive external funding each year.

Potential career areas

  • Academia
  • Education
  • Government research
  • Patent law
  • Private industry research/development
  • Renewable energy
  • Science communication


Department of Physics
DeMeritt Hall 237A
9 Library Way
Durham, NH 03824

Phone: (603) 862-2669
Email: Physics 

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Curriculum & Requirements

The Physics M.S. program prepares students for a career in industry, education, or government. The curriculum encompassing core areas of physics as well as elective classes that can be chosen to match their area of interest. The M.S. degree includes a capstone experience, which can be a Master's Thesis or a Master's project (for students in the PhD program, the oral thesis proposal satisfies the capstone requirement).

For more details, please consult the physics graduate student handbook.


Please visit the Graduate School website for detailed instructions about applying to the program.

To obtain the degree, students must complete a minimum of 30 credits as outlined below.

M.S. Degree Requirements

Required Courses
PHYS 805Experimental Physics (or equivalent demonstrated experimental proficiency)4
PHYS 931Mathematical Physics3
PHYS 939Classical Mechanics3
PHYS 941Electromagnetic Theory I3
PHYS 943Quantum Mechanics I3
PHYS 806Introduction to Physics Research and Teaching (two semesters)1
Select one of the following options:15
Option A: 15 additional credits including a 6 credit Master's Thesis (PHYS 899)
Option B: 15 additional credits including a Master's Project (may account for up to 3 credits)
Option C: 15 additional credits of coursework and passing the written comprehensive and oral qualifying exams (for students in the PhD program only)


Applications must be completed by the following deadlines in order to be reviewed for admission:

  • Fall: Jan. 15 (for funding); after that on rolling basis until April 15
  • Spring: N/A
  • Summer: N/A
  • Special: Spring admission by approval only

Application fee: $65

Campus: Durham

New England Regional: No

Accelerated Masters: Yes (for more details see the accelerated masters information page)

New Hampshire Residents

Students claiming in-state residency must also submit a Proof of Residence form. This form is not required to complete your application, but you will need to submit it after you are offered admission or you will not be able to register for classes.


If you attended UNH after September 1, 1991, and have indicated so on your online application, we will retrieve your transcript internally; this includes UNH-Durham, UNH-Manchester and UNH Non-Degree work. 

If you did not attend UNH, or attended prior to September 1, 1991, then you must request one official transcript be sent directly to our office from the Registrar's Office of each college/university attended. International transcripts must be translated into English. We accept transcripts both electronically and in hard copy:

  • Electronic Transcripts: Please have your institution send the transcript directly to Please note that we can only accept copies sent directly from the institution.
  • Paper Transcripts: Please send hard copies of transcripts to: UNH Graduate School, Thompson Hall- 105 Main Street, Durham, NH 03824. You may request transcripts be sent to us directly from the institution or you may send them yourself as long as they remain sealed in the original university envelope.

Transcripts are required for any school you earned a degree from, attended for at least one year, or attended for 2 or more semesters. Exceptions to this rule may be approved at the discretion of the program you are applying to and the UNH Graduate School Admission’s office.

Letters of recommendation: 3 required

Recommendation letters submitted by relatives or friends, as well as letters older than one year, will not be accepted.

GRE Optional

The GRE scores are optional, if you wish to provide scores please email the scores directly to the department once you have submitted your application online.

Personal Statement/Essay Questions

Prepare a brief but careful statement regarding:

  1. Reasons you wish to do graduate work in this field, including your immediate and long-range objectives.
  2. Your specific research or professional interest and experiences in this field.

Important Notes

All applicants are encouraged to contact programs directly to discuss program specific application questions.

International Applicants

The University of New Hampshire recommends that international applicants who are living outside of the United States, and are planning on pursuing a research based degree, submit a preapplication form before submitting a full application. Your preapplication request will be carefully reviewed and a decision usually provided within 3 weeks. If your preapplication is approved then it is recommended you then submit a full application. If you are currently living in the United States (on a H1B visa, etc.), or you plan on pursuing a professional master’s degree, then you do not need to submit a preapplication.

Prospective international students are required to submit TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent examination scores. English Language Exams may be waived if English is your first language. If you wish to request a waiver, then please visit our Test Scores webpage for more information.

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