Best Online Master’s Degrees in: Engineering Physics
Explore a Master’s Degree in Engineering Physics
Engineering physics combines the study of mathematics, physics, and engineering. While enrolled in these types of programs, students learn about physics at an advanced level while sharpening their engineering skills and problem-solving abilities. Many programs also give students the opportunity to specialize in a particular area, such as applied optics, nanotechnology, solid state physics, instrumentation and automation, or nanoscience for advanced technology. A master’s program in engineering physics typically requires students to complete from 30 to 46 credit hours, allowing them to graduate in two to three years. However, a degree might take shorter or longer to complete depending on the school, previously earned college credit, enrollment status, and other factors.
A master’s in engineering physics program generally consists of interdisciplinary curriculum that exposes students to the advanced study of both physics and engineering. Students take courses in the areas of applied mathematics, statistical mechanics, electromagnetism, and particle and quantum mechanics. Along with core courses, students have to option to take elective courses based on their own interests. Courses typically found in graduate engineering physics include:
- Quantum Mechanics. This course covers the theory of quantum mechanics and is purposed to help students develop an intuitive understanding of this particular branch of physics. Topics covered include Schrodinger’s equation, waves, simple potentials, and the harmonic oscillator.
- Computational Physics. In this course, students learn about the development of computational techniques and numerical algorithms. Additionally, they may have the chance to participate in computer simulations of physical systems to learn about the individual processes that take place within them.
- Instrumentation. This course addresses the instrumentation systems used for the various areas of applied physics. While enrolled, students will learn about computer data collection, electronic instruments, and sensors for radiation, electronics and magnetic fields, particles, motion, and pressure.
In addition to the graduate training students will receive in engineering physics courses, students will likely gain research and design experience through projects concerning the application of physics to solve scientific and technological problems. They may also have the opportunity to conduct independent research and the option to complete a thesis for credit.
Building a Career
Students graduate with the knowledge and skills necessary to apply the principles and practices of physics to solve engineering problems. They are typically prepared to obtain industrial and research positions, including those in industry, government, military, and private research and development. They can work in various areas of physics engineering like nano- and micro-device engineering, nuclear engineering and energy systems, metrology, photonics, and mechatronics. A master’s degree in engineering physics program is also excellent preparation for doctoral study in various technical fields.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the employment of physicists is expected to increase by 14% from 2010 to 2020. Growth is particularly expected in applied research in private industry, especially in the areas of information, communications, and semiconductor technology.
Physicists earned a median annual salary of $106,370 in May 2010, according to the BLS. That same year, the BLS reported the median annual salary of engineers in physics-related occupations as follows: aerospace engineers, $97,480; chemical engineers, $90,300; electrical and electronic engineers, $87,180; industrial engineers, $76,100; and nuclear engineers, $99,920. While these types of figures can give you an idea of the career outlook for those with a degree in engineering physics, they are not guarantees of employment or income. Job availability and salary often depends on a variety of factors, including location, education level, professional experience, and economic conditions.