The Department of Physics offers programs leading to the degree of Master of Science designed to prepare the candidate for a professional research career. Research areas include materials science, astrophysics, nuclear, condensed matter, statistical, and vitreous state physics.

In addition, arrangements can be made for cooperative research projects in nearby governmental laboratories such as NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center,the Naval Research Laboratory , and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. All incoming students must take a preliminary examination at the undergraduate level at the beginning of their first semester of residence. The exam serves as a diagnostic tool for course placement.

Candidates for the M.S. degree must complete a minimum of 30 semester hours of graduate work in residence. In the non-thesis program at least 24 semester hours must be in physics, and no more than nine of these may be in courses numbered below 600. In the thesis option, at least 18 semester hours must be in physics, six of which may be in research guidance and not more than nine in courses numbered below 600. In addition the student must satisfactorily pass a comprehensive examination.