MS in Physical and Applied Science

Physical and Applied Sciences, M.S. (GS60)
Areas of Emphasis
Physics for Teachers
Geobiophysical Modeling

The Master of Sciences in Physical and Applied Science is intended to provide the opportunity for students with diverse qualifications to improve the depth and breadth of their knowledge in the Physical Sciences. The degree allows the applicant to choose an Area of Emphasis (AOE) in one of the following: Chemistry, Geology*, Mathematics, Geobiophysical Modeling and Physics for Teachers.

The Department of Physics offers the Physics for Teachers (GS 67) Area of Emphasis within the Master of Science in Physical and Applied Science Major (GS60). The other areas of emphasis are offered in cooperation with the Departments of Chemistry, Geology, Computer and Information Technology, and Mathematics​ – please refer to the correct degree when you apply.

The area of emphasis in Geobiophysical Modeling is interdisciplinary, with core courses in Remote Sensing and GIS Modeling. Thereafter, students may choose from areas of concentration in Aquatic, Terrestrial or Biophysical Systems and Models. The Physics for Teachers AOE is an online program, targeted towards practicing secondary school teachers who wish to become qualified to instruct advanced placement, dual enrollment, or early college courses, as well as towards students interested in Physics Education.

Admission and Requirements:
Applicants should follow the admissions process described in the current catalogue or at the Graduate Admissions website at An undergraduate Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher on a 4.0 scale is required. Applicants with a GPA between 2.5 and 3.0 may be provisionally admitted.

A Plan of Study approved by the student’s advisor must be submitted for approval to the Graduate College Dean before the student registers for his or her 12th semester hour. The Plan of Study is a student’s “blueprint” for completing graduation requirements. Programs will be designed to meet individual needs. Students must consult with their advisors for specific requirements. The writing of a thesis is optional in all areas of emphasis, except Geology. If the thesis option is chosen, a minimum of 32 hours is required, including not more than 6 hours for the thesis. Without the thesis, 36 hours are required. Click on the following link to see all physics courses available, specifically all 500-600 level physics courses for the graduate program.

These are general guidelines. Please consult the Graduate Catalog or the Graduate College for the Master of Science in Physical and Applied Science (GS60). For inquiries about Physics for Teachers (GS 67) or other Area of Emphasis except Geology, please contact the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Jon Saken (, or the Physics Administrative Secretary Traci Curry ( Individual departments may have their own requirements, please contact respective departments or the Director of Graduate Studies.
*For inquiries about the Geology Area of Emphasis, please contact directly the Geology Department.

Physics for Teachers Area of Emphasis

 This master’s degree is targeted towards practicing secondary school teachers. Certified teachers who earn this degree will qualify to teach secondary physics, either in middle or high schools, as well as Advanced Placement, dual enrollment, and early college physics classes, or community colleges, depending on the requirements in the state. The degree is covered by the Higher Learning Commission accreditation. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, educators with a master’s degree earn a higher salary than their fellow teachers with a bachelor’s degree, even if they have the same amount of experience. 


The curriculum consists entirely of asynchronous online courses, offering educators both the opportunity and the flexibility to take them anywhere, thus adding to their teaching career a new educational skill. It aims to deepen the teachers’ understanding of physics, with the goal of making this challenging subject more interesting and less intimidating to their students. The degree does not have to be completed within a two-year period. However, students must maintain six graduate credit hours per semester.

Plan of Study

Physics/Physical Sciences Courses:

      • PS 500 Astronomy – 3 Credit Hours
      • PS 500L Astronomy Laboratory  – 1 Credit Hour
      • PHY 545 Math Methods of Physics – 3 Credit Hours
      • PHY 508 Thermal and Stat Physics – 3 Credit Hours
      • PHY 535 Computational Physics – 3 Credit Hours
      • PHY 547 Mechanics for Teachers – 4 Credit Hours
      • PS 648 Modern Physics for Teachers – 3-5 Credit Hours

    Any Science 500/600 Electives- 5 Credit Hours

    Education Courses:

    • EDF 612 Educational Evaluation – 3 Credit Hours
    • EDF 621 Educ Research & Writing – 3 Credit Hours
    • EDF 625 Qualitative Research Educ – 3 Credit Hours
    • CIRG 615 Writing in Literacy Curriculum – 3 Credit Hours
      CIRG 622 Literacy Technology – 3 Credit Hours

    Final thesis or,  for the non-thesis option, a teacher work sample