Courses and Master's Project


MS-PSD students are required to complete eight courses plus a master's thesis project. Students choose from quarterly course offerings in physical sciences departments. At least five of their eight courses must be graduate-level courses, with four or more of these in a single department or associated with a specific interdepartmental track, such as environmental science, biochemistry/physics, computational methods in physical science, and optics/imaging.  To accommodate students who seek to broaden their knowledge of the physical sciences as well as those seeking to transition to a new field, students may be allowed to take as many as three advanced undergraduate courses in fields outside of their undergraduate majors.  In all cases the Director must approve the chosen curricula.

Students may take no more than two courses in Statistics, Financial Mathematics, or the Master's Program in Computer Science. Students who are interested in focusing in these areas should apply directly to those programs.

Thesis project

For experimentalists a typical master's project might consist of performing or assisting with a laboratory research experiment.  For theorists a typical master's project might consist of performing some numerical simulation experiments.  Students normally choose their projects in the winter quarter, carry them out during the spring quarter, and summarize their projects' results in a required master's paper.