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2005 - 2006 Site Archive



Graduate Bulletin

Physics, M.A.


Admission Requirements and Deadlines

Application Deadline:

Fall: July 15                                  [December 15 for international applicants]

Spring: November 15                          [August 1 for international applicants]

Applications are processed as they are received throughout the year.

Letters of Reference:

Number Required: 2

From Whom: Letters of recommendation should be obtained from college/university faculty members familiar with the applicant's academic capabilities.

Coursework Required for Admission Consideration:

No specific coursework is required.

Bachelor's Degree in Discipline/Related Discipline:

A baccalaureate degree in Physics is required.

Statement of Goals:

The Statement of Goals should be one to two pages in length and should include the following elements: your specific interest in Temple's program; your research goals; your future career goals; and your academic and research achievements.

Standardized Test Scores:

The GRE is required. Emphasis is placed on the quantitative and analytical sections.

The GRE Subject Exam in Physics is recommended.

Minimum TOEFL score or range of scores needed to be accepted: 575 paper-based, 230 computer-based, or 88 internet-based.  Any student admitted with a TOEFL score below 600 on the paper-based, 250 on the computer-based, or 100 on the internet-based examination must pass an English skills course during the first semester of enrollment at Temple University.  Those having taken the paper-based or computer-based test have the additional option of testing out of the English course by taking and passing the SPEAK test at Temple.

Transfer Credit:

Graduate credits from an accredited institution may be transferred into the program. The credits must be equivalent to coursework offered at Temple, and the grade must be a "B" or better in order to transfer. The Graduate Program Committee must approve all requests for transfer credit. The maximum number of credits a student may transfer is 6.

Program Requirements
General Program Requirements:

Number of Didactic Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 24

Required Courses:

Physics 401, 402, 411, 421, 422, 431

Balance of courses are identified in consultation with the graduate advisor and subject to the approval of the Graduate Program Committee.

Internship: No internship is required.

Language Examination: No language examination is required.

Culminating Events:

Comprehensive Examination:

The M.A. comprehensive examination tests the student's mastery of undergraduate physics and the subject matter corresponding to three semesters of full-time graduate study. Primarily, the exam provides an assessment of the student's ability to apply physical principles to the analysis of concrete problems. It consists of a three-part written examination and a one-hour oral examination.  General subject areas covered by the examination include classical mechanics, classical electromagnetic theory, quantum mechanics, optics, thermodynamics, statistical physics, and mathematical physics.

Students are required to take the M.A. comprehensive examination no later than after completion of two years of full-time graduate study.  It is offered twice a year:  in January and August. In the event of failure, the exam may be retaken once. In the event of a second failure, the student will be dropped from the graduate program.

An Examination Committee, appointed by the Department Chair and made up of about eight members of the Graduate Faculty, writes the examination.  The committee members who write the questions also evaluate the answers, scoring each on a 10-point basis and awarding partial credit where appropriate.

After the student takes the M.A. comprehensive exam, the department makes a decision based on the student's performance on the examination as well as the student's overall graduate record as to whether the student is qualified to receive the M.A. degree.

To schedule the exam, students must notify the Graduate Secretary who will advise with the registration deadline. The examination has three written parts, given on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of the specified week. Each part runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is proctored by a faculty member. After the results of the written examination have been evaluated, each student is given a one-hour oral examination by a committee made up of several members of the Graduate Faculty.


Program Contact Information:


Department Information:

Dept. of Physics
A116 Barton Hall (009-00)
1900 North 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6082


Department Contacts:


Peter S. Riseborough


Program Coordinator:

Theodore W. Burkhardt


Graduate Chairperson:

Peter S. Riseborough



C. Jeff Martoff


About the Program

The objective of the program leading to the M.A. degree in Physics is to provide the student with advanced training in Physics sufficiently broad to permit her/him to pursue a range of technical careers not directly involving research. The program is primarily theoretical and is designed to enable the student to learn the principles and general methods used in problem solving.

Time Limit for Degree Completion: 3 years

Campus Location:

Main Campus

Full-Time/Part-Time Status:

Students are required to complete the degree program through classes offered before and after 4:30 p.m. Students are able to complete the degree program on a part-time basis (8 credit hours or less per semester).

Department Information:

Dept. of Physics
A116 Barton Hall (009-00)
1900 North 13th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122-6082


Interdisciplinary Study:

The program encourages interdisciplinary coursework and interactions among faculty and students in cognitive fields, including Applied Mathematics, Chemistry, and Computer Science.


Not applicable.

Study Abroad:



Not applicable.


Not applicable.

Areas of Specialization:

Faculty members specialize and offer substantial coursework in the following areas:  atomic, molecular, and optical physics; condensed matter physics; particle physics; and statistical mechanics.

Job Placement:

The program is dedicated to producing well-trained scientists who will pursue careers as high school science teachers, technical writers, or members of a technical support staff.


Not applicable.

Non-Degree Student Policy:

Non-matriculated students are restricted to taking the following courses: Physics 401, 411, and 421. If the student is accepted into the program, those courses may be applied toward the degree requirements.

Financing Opportunities

The principal duties of a Teaching Assistant include laboratory instruction, grading of lab reports, and tutoring of students enrolled in introductory physics courses.  Research Assistants are expected to devote 20 hours per week to research obligations. They are assigned to a faculty member who is conducting a specific externally funded research project and who will determine the RA's duties. Both Teaching and Research Assistantships carry a stipend and full-tuition remission for the academic year.  (Summer support is also available.)  Applications should include: (a) scores from the GRE aptitude tests and from the GRE subject test in Physics; (b) two letters of recommendation; (c) transcripts from every university attended; and (d) a statement of research goals. Students for whom English is a second language must also submit their score from the TOEFL exam. The department makes offers of assistantships on a rolling basis beginning March 15 with a 30-day deadline for acceptance or declination of a department offer. Applications should be directed to: Graduate Chair, Department of Physics, A116 Barton Hall, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122-6082.

Updated 3.14.06