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Department of Physics and Astronomy

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    Big and Small

    Take your studies to the next level — whether that’s subatomic or intergalactic — to prepare for a career in research or academia.


Whether you’re studying subatomic particles or unraveling the mysteries of the galaxy, you'll engage in every aspect of cutting-edge research in local groups and in leading international collaborations at exceptional facilities on and off campus. You'll regularly meet with an advisement or doctoral committee who’ll support your progress toward your degree, which, combined with immersive in-classroom instruction, will set you up for a successful career.

M.S. in Physics

Through coursework and research, master’s degree students gain proficiency in the fundamental branches of physics and their applications. The program culminates in a defense of a master’s thesis.

Students who finish the master’s program at the university and want to continue with the doctoral program should apply to the Admissions Committee.  

General requirements for the master’s degree program are found in the Graduate Handbook [PDF].

Ph.D. in Physics

After demonstrating mastery of fundamental physics through graduate-level coursework and a comprehensive candidacy examination, doctoral students conduct independent research in dynamic areas of modern physics in close collaboration with a faculty research director. The program culminates in a dissertation based on original research, the results of which must be submitted to a refereed research journal.

Every incoming doctoral student is offered a graduate assistantship, and several fellowships are available.

General requirements for the doctoral program are found in the Graduate Handbook [PDF].

Application Checklist

Our handy application checklist [PDF] compiles the documents and deadlines required for graduate programs. 
All application material must be sent directly to the Graduate School at the University of South Carolina.

Graduate Bulletin

Detailed master’s and doctoral program information, including curricula and requirements, can be found in the academic bulletin, the university's official document of academic programs and regulations. 

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