Students interested in research with faculty at Stanford should apply directly to the PhD program. The purpose of the master’s program is to further develop knowledge and skills in applied physics and to prepare students for a professional career or doctoral studies. This is achieved through completion of courses, in the primary field as well as related areas. 45 units of completed course work in science and/or engineering at Stanford are required for the M.S. degree. There is no thesis component to the M.S. program, and research within faculty groups is neither expected nor guaranteed. There is no financial assistance from the Department or the University for students enrolled only in the terminal M.S. program. We note that eligible students often obtain teaching assistant appointments through other departments. Students enrolled in the PhD program may file for an M.S. degree en route to the Ph.D.
The number of graduate students admitted to Applied Physics is limited. Applications to the Master of Science and Ph.D. programs should be received by December 15, 2023. M.S. and PhD. students normally enter the department the following Autumn Quarter. Joint applicants for the Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program must submit their Knight-Hennessy Scholars application by October 11, 2023 by 1:00pm Pacific Time and Applied Physics application by December 1, 2023.
The Physics subject GRE exam is recommended for the Ph.D. and Master's programs. Applicants are encouraged to submit scores, but they are not required. The subject GRE score can assist the admissions committee develop a more complete evaluation of the applicant. This is especially helpful for students who apply to our program from less traditional backgrounds or for students whose academic records do not fully show off their academic strengths. The committee is quite cognizant of the limitations of the exam and does not give it weight beyond the complementary information it adds to the existing strengths in the application material. The general GRE exam is optional and has less weight in admissions evaluations compared to the subject exam. The decision on whether to submit GRE scores is completely up to the applicant.
The specific 45 units of course requirements for the Master of Science degree are the following, which are also discussed in the Stanford Bulletin:
- Courses in physics and mathematics to overcome deficiencies in the undergraduate preparation.
- Basic graduate courses (12 units total):
- Advanced Mechanics or Statistical Physics – 1 quarter (3 units)
- Electrodynamics – 1 quarter (3 units)
- Quantum Mechanics – 2 quarters (6 units)
- 33 units of additional advanced courses in science and/or engineering. 18 of the 33 units may be any combination of advanced courses, directed study units, and 1-unit seminar courses to complete the requirement of 45 units.
- View core coursework list of the MS degree.
- View information about applying to grad school.