Graduate Program in Applied Physics Master’s Degrees Learning Goals and Assessment

The masters program in Applied Physics trains Master of Science students at an advanced level in aspects of experimental and theoretical applied physics.

Learning Goal 1 for Students: Master the fundamental knowledge of the field.

Assessment of student achievement of Goal 1:

  • Performance on homework, examinations and class participation in courses
  • Comprehensive qualifying examination to assess basic knowledge in physics
  • Essay on a current topic in the field or a research thesis evaluated by faculty
  • Placement in a career or a continuation of graduate study that requires ability in applied physics.

Role of the program in helping students to achieve Goal 1:

  • Assure that students are being prepared in a coherent and academically rigorous fashion
  • Effective monitoring of student progress
  • Evaluations of teaching effectiveness of instructors in graduate courses
    • If effectiveness is below expectations, work with instructors to improve
  • Periodic review of curriculum offerings and assessment tools

Learning Goal 2 for Students: Engage in and conduct original research (for Master’s degrees with thesis)

Assessment of graduate student achievement of Goal 2:

  • Assessment of quality of Master’s thesis
    • Public defense of thesis
    • Critical reading of thesis by a committee of graduate faculty members
    • Submission and acceptance of conference papers and of peer reviewed articles based on the thesis
  • Achievement of students as evidenced by professional placement, selection for conference presentations, peer-reviewed publications, and the awarding of individual grants

Role of graduate program in helping students achieve Goal 2:

  • Provide an early introduction to research methods and opportunities for research
  • Provide opportunities and support to present research and receive feedback

Learning Goal 3 for Students: Prepare professionals working in applied physics

Assessment of graduate student achievement of Goal 3:

  • Evaluations of teaching effectiveness of graduate student instructors
  • Collection of placement and awards data

Role of the program in helping students achieve Goal 3:

  • Host professional development and career exploration activities
  • Acquaint students with non-academic career opportunities

The leadership of the Graduate Program of the Department of Applied Physics will regularly review the structure and content of the program and feedback received from assessments, surveys and students. These reviews are used to improve the program to achieve the goal of providing the best possible education for students.