Skip to main content
Master of Science in Physics

Courses & Degree Requirements

Degree Requirements

To earn their degree, students in the UW Master of Science in Physics program must complete core courses, elective courses at the 400-level or above, and a capstone/independent study project, for a total of 36 credits.

Of the 36 required credits, at least 18 credits must be at the 500-level or above and at least 18 credits must be numerically graded (not credit/no-credit).

Core Courses

The program includes a sequence of four core courses, which provide essential background for more advanced study. Students must take at least three of the core courses — but are encouraged to enroll in all four.

Below are the core courses, as well as the quarters they are offered.


The program offers one elective each quarter. Here are examples of electives offered recently:

  • Atomic Physics
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Contemporary Optics
  • Nuclear Physics: Sources, Detectors & Safety
  • Numerical Methods for Physics Data Analysis
  • Physics of Lasers
  • Physics of Renewable Energy Sources
  • Quantum Computing
  • Radiation & Radiation Detectors

Students may also take daytime courses in physics or courses in other departments as electives, with permission of the faculty coordinator and the course instructor.

Capstone Project and Independent Study

At the end of their studies, students undertake a capstone/independent study project (PHYS 600) under the supervision of a faculty member. Learn more about the capstone project.

Besides the capstone project, you may take additional independent study credits, mentored by a faculty member, to explore research topics or pursue greater depth in areas of personal interest.

Independent study can be taken any quarter, including summer.

2022–2023 Course Offerings

Autumn 2022

PHYS 543: Electromagnetic Theory

PHYS 575: Quantum Computing

PHYS 600: Independent Study

Winter 2023

PHYS 540: Quantum Physics

PHYS 536: Introduction to Acoustics & Digital Signal Processing

PHYS 600: Independent Study

Spring 2023

PHYS 544: Applications of Electromagnetic Theory

PHYS 530: Physics of Lasers

PHYS 600: Independent Study

Summer 2023

PHYS 600: Independent Study