Degrees Offered

The MS in physics is considered a professional master's degree, preparing students for responsible positions in industrial and academic/government research support. It is highly flexible in terms of course requirements, requires a thesis, and usually requires two years or two years plus a summer of full-time study to complete.

The requirements for the degree of Master of Science and Education (M.S.E) are similar. The M.S. in Physics with Materials Science Option has a few more specific course requirements.

PhD requirements; more information about the Qualifying Examination is available here. Available are degree options in medical physics and materials science and informal specializations in astrophysics, biological physics, and optics.

Recently, The University of Toledo has established a joint Ph.D. degree in physics with a Master of Engineering in Computer Science and Engineering or with a Master of Engineering in Electrical Engineering. The program is designed for physics students who wish to obtain background in either of the engineering fields and for engineering and computer science students who wish further study in physics. It is designed so that the B.S. in CSE or EE is not required. In order to complete this program, students must satisfy all the requirements for both the Ph.D. in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and the M.E. degree in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS). Some courses will satisfy both requirements. Students will normally enter the program after passing the Ph.D. qualifying examination in physics and satisfying the entrance requirements to the EECS graduate program. The student's Ph.D. dissertation adviser will be in physics, and an adviser in EECS will serve as the outside member on the student's advisory committee. Students will normally take one course per semester in EECS along with courses in physics. More information about graduate study in EECS can be found here.

Admission requirements

The requirements for admission to the graduate program consist of a bachelor's degree in physics or a related field with a grade point average of 2.8 or better on a 4-point scale. Applicants with a lower grade point average must present the Aptitude portion of the Graduate Record Examination, as must all international students. The advanced GRE in physics is recommended. International students must present a score of 550 or better on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) in order to qualify for regular admission to the program and for an assistantship.

Although some students provide their own support through employment, most students are supported by means of a teaching or a research assistantship. The number of assistantships is always limited, and the selection process is competitive.

Applicants for teaching assistantships are expected to function well in English and to be well prepared to teach introductory physics or astronomy laboratories. Good preparation in undergraduate physics course work and good scores on standardized tests are appreciated. What the admissions committee looks for most particularly, however, is evidence of motivation toward advanced study, willingness to work hard, ability to develop toward independent work, and motivation to remedy deficiencies in preparation, if any.

For assistantships beginning in the fall of 2005, we evaluated about 60 completed applications and made 16 offers, of which 7 were accepted. All available assistantships were thereby filled by 1 June 2005.

Financial Aid and Costs of Study

Assistantship stipends for the 11-month period beginning August 2005 will total $19,000. Scholarships/stipend enhancements and fellowships are available for exceptionally highly qualified students. Students who advance in the program are eligible for research assistantships, some of which pay higher stipends. Assistants spend about 20 hours per week on their duties.

Teaching assistants and research assistants pay a general fee of about $450 each semester; this entitles them to use all campus facilities, including the Recreation Center. However, they are not required to pay instructional fees (tuition) or out-of-state fees. Assistantship stipends are subject to US Federal (about 15%) and Ohio state (much lower) income tax, although citizens of other countries may be exempt from taxation on part of the stipend. In comparing stipend levels, you should consider that some universities offering larger stipends require students to pay tuition.

Graduate assistantships at The University of Toledo include a university contribution to medical insurance with the student contributing about $550 per year.

Assistantships are usually continued for the duration of the student's stay in the program, conditioned on satisfactory performance by the student.

Living and housing costs: Housing for graduate students is available on campus as of fall 2005. Major apartment complexes, smaller apartment buildings, houses, rooms, and duplexes are all listed on the university housing web site. For example, complexes within 1 mile of campus or served by campus shuttle buses offer 1-bedroom apartments for $350-$400 per month. Food and entertainment costs are low compared with those in larger cities.

International students are encouraged to seek more information about housing, living conditions, local culture, and of course visa and immigration issues at the university's Office of International Student Services

Research Opportunities and Facilities

Experimental/observational facilities:

Research opportunities in theoretical and computational physics and astrophysics are available with several faculty members. The department's main computer is a Sun workstation/server, and there are numerous networked personal computers and workstations. A cluster of personal computers is available to students, and many students' desks have personal computers. Distributed computing for large projects is available through condor software running on Unix workstations and Windows PCs. For supercomputing applications, Beowulf clusters are available in the department.

The faculty provides research guidance according to the needs of each student.

Collaborations with local industry

Internship opportunities and permanent employment opportunites are available at First Solar, Inc., a solar cell manufacturing and development company located near Toledo.

Latest update: Tuesday, September 27, 2005