Top Master’s in Physics in the US

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Master’s in Physics in the US

A Master’s in Physics in the US is a graduate program of study that focuses on advanced topics in theoretical and experimental physics. Students explore physics, along with relevant mathematical theory, in relation to such various subjects as quantum mechanics, nuclear physics, astrophysics and classical theoretical physics. Many top universities in the US offer academically rigorous, internationally recognised graduate programs in physics.

What Is a Master’s in Physics?

US Master’s in Physics programs are academically demanding and offer the opportunity to explore highly advanced aspects of the study of physics. Most require incoming students to possess a substantial background in physics or related sciences such as mathematics. Some will allow students with knowledge gaps to catch up by taking some foundational courses at the beginning of their study. Master’s programs in the US generally take about two years to complete, although many schools offer the option of extended or part-time study.

The typical Master’s in Physics curriculum consists of a combination of core courses and electives. A thesis submission is required by some programs and strongly recommended by others. Core courses may include most of the following:

  • Classical Theoretical Physics
  • Error Analysis in Physics
  • Experimental Physics
  • Classical Mechanics
  • Mathematical Methods
  • Quantum Mechanics
  • Statistical Mechanics

For their electives, students can expect to choose from courses such as:

  • Mathematical Methods for Physics
  • Quantum Field Theory
  • General Relativity
  • High Energy Physics
  • The Standard Model
  • String Theory and Supersymmetry
  • Modern Cosmology
  • Astrophysics
  • Group Theory
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Quantum Many Body Theory
  • Statistical Field Theory
  • Collider Physics
  • Hydrodynamics
  • Molecular Biophysics

Many programs also offer courses in physics research methods and thesis preparation. Us physics departments also provide opportunities for extracurricular research and enrichment in the form of colloquia, special seminars, physics journal clubs and competitions.

What Are the Benefits of Getting a Master’s in Physics in the US?

Many universities throughout the US offer excellent Master’s in Physics programs. Students who enroll in top physics programs in the US have the opportunity of learning from acclaimed scholars in the field. US physics departments often provide access to high-level resources including observatories, cutting-edge laboratory equipment and research materials.

Whether students intend to specialise in applied or theoretical physics, many US programs offer a wide choice of courses. Other benefits include the availability of faculty advisors who can help students develop the high level of research skills and focus that is appropriate at this stage of education. US programs may also offer the opportunity to participate in research projects with faculty.

What Kind of Career Can You Expect With a Master’s in Physics?

Depending on your area of specialisation, a Master’s in Physics can open the door to many different types of careers. Many employers prize the intellectual rigor and scientific and mathematical knowledge possessed by Master’s in Physics graduates. Potential employers span a wide range of industries and can include the following:

  • Healthcare
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Manufacturing
  • Defense
  • Air and space
  • Automotive
  • Computer
  • Energy
  • Information technology

The Master’s degree qualifies graduates for more advanced positions in many industries. A common position for those who have pursued the advanced study of physics is that of research scientist. Research scientists may work in various areas. If you enjoy the process of scientific research, you may find a position as a research scientist focusing on fields such as biotechnology, planetary physics, climate science, nanotechnology, particle physics, condensed matter theory, plasma physics, atomic physics, aerospace dynamics and more. Research scientists may work for government agencies, private corporation, non-profit organisations, independent policy institutes and academic institutions.

Physics graduates who specialised in astronomy may have the opportunity to use their knowledge in a variety of settings. You may work for government air and space agencies, private and public planetariums, universities or research labs.

Healthcare is another field where a strong knowledge of advanced physics is in demand. Physicists work in biomedical engineering, radiology, nuclear medicine and medical technology. They research, develop and test medical equipment and technology.


Engineering, energy and technology are additional fields where many physicists find employment. Potential employers may include oil and gas companies, companies looking for alternative energy sources, robotics developers and nanoscience research centers.

University Of California, Irvine

Irvine, United States

  • 80SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 28,000Average Tuition
  • 30%Acceptance Rate

The University of California - Irvine is a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities with a campus in Irvine; a suburban area in California, U.S.A. Through its faculties, the university offers over master’s degree programs....

Arizona State University

Tempe, United States

  • 137SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 40,463Average Tuition
  • 84%Acceptance Rate

The Arizona State University is the largest public university by enrollment in the U.S. ASU comprises 16 colleges and schools that offer more personalized experiences for students, while offering opportunities to collaborate across disciplines and campuses....

The University of Utah

Salt Lake City, United States

  • 186SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 21,296Average Tuition
  • 81.7%Acceptance Rate

University of Utah (the U) is a research-focused university located in Utah, United States, with it’s Asia campus located in South Korea. The U offers a wide range of master’s degree programs across nearly a 100 academic departments. These departments include Architecture, Biochemistry, Computing, Environmental Engineering, and Philosophy....

Northeastern University

Boston, United States

  • 216SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 62,800Average Tuition
  • 32%Acceptance Rate

Northeastern University located in Boston, Massachusetts, offers 150 undergraduate majors of study and 125 graduate areas of study through its nine colleges and schools of Arts, Media & Design; Business, Computer & Information Science; Engineering; Health Sciences; Law; Professional Studies; Science; and Social Sciences & Humanities; as well as select advanced degrees at graduate campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina, Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Toronto....

DePaul University

Chicago, United States

  • 221SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 52,402Average Tuition
  • 70%Acceptance Rate

DePaul University is a private Catholic University located in Chicago, Illinois, US. DePaul University offers master's degre programmes in fields including Business, Engineering, Computer Science, Social Sciences and more. DePaul University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to grant master's degree programmes. ...

The University of Alabama at Birmingham

Birmingham, United States

  • 239SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 34,549Average Tuition
  • 86%Acceptance Rate

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) is a public research university in Birmingham, Alabama, United States. Through its twelve faculties, the university delivers master’s degree programs in the fields of accounting, anatomical science, anthropology of peace and human rights, art history, biology, biomedical and health sciences, biostatistics, business administration, civil engineering, clinical laboratory sciences, clinical pathologist assistant, clinical/medical social work, engineering, mechanical engineering, nuclear medicine technology, nurse anesthesia and many more. ...

University of Kansas

Lawrence, United States

  • 244SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 23,700Average Tuition
  • 93%Acceptance Rate

The University of Kansas (KU) is a state-sponsored, public research institution located in Kansas, United States. KU is spread across five campuses and through its 14 colleges, the university offers a wide range of master's degree courses....

University of Texas, Dallas

Richardson, United States

  • 253SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 11,806Average Tuition
  • 61.9%Acceptance Rate

The Carnegie Foundation classifies UT Dallas as a "comprehensive doctoral research university" and a "high research activity institution." Research projects include the areas of Space Science, Bioengineering, Cybersecurity, Nanotechnology, Behavioral and Brain Sciences....

University of South Florida

Tampa, United States

  • 265SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 15,900Average Tuition
  • 0Acceptance Rate

The University of South Florida (USF) is a public research institution located in the city of Tampa, Florida, United States. The university has three campuses through which it delivers master’s degree courses in the fields of health professions and related programs, business, management, marketing, and related support services, biological and biomedical sciences, social sciences, psychology, architecture, liberal arts, education and visual and performing arts....

Eastern Michigan University

Ypsilanti, United States

  • 309SchoolApply Rank
  • USD 24,000Average Tuition
  • 73%Acceptance Rate

Eastern Michigan University (EMU) is a learning and research institute in Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA. Students can choose from over 150 master’s degree programs at EMU. ...

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