Master of Science in Applied Physics


Program Description

Master of Science in Applied Physics

The program of study leading to the degree of Master of Science, while emphasizing continued work in basic physics, permits many options in several applied physics specialties. Students may focus on several applied physics fields such as plasma physics, laser physics, or solid-state physics.

Admission Requirements

Degree required for admission: Students admitted to the program must possess an undergraduate degree in physics or a related field, such as one of the engineering sciences, from an accredited academic institution. Applicants should have a strong undergraduate record to be competitive for admission.

  • GPA required: Minimum of 3.0
  • GRE requirements: General test required

Other application requirements: Two recommendation letters, transcripts, resume, and a personal-professional statement are required. TOEFL test scores are required of all students who received their bachelor's degree in a country where English is not the official and spoken language. All application requirements in the Graduate Application must be completed as specified in the application.


Students must complete all core courses (described below) and selected electives (described below) for a total of 30 graduate points of academic work via CVN with an academic average of 2.5 or better. All degree requirements must be completed within 5 years of the beginning of the first course credited toward the degree. This includes courses taken in the non-degree program. Core Courses (12 Credits): The core courses provide a student with a solid foundation in the fundamentals of Applied Physics. The core courses contribute 12 points of graduate credit toward the degree. Students must complete four of the following six classes:

  • APPH E4100: Quantum Physics of Matter
  • APPH E4110: Modern Optics
  • APPH E4112: Laser Physics
  • APPH E4200: Physics of Fluids
  • APPH E4300: Applied Electrodynamics
  • APPH E4301: Introduction to Plasma Physics

Elective Courses (18 Credits): In addition to the required core courses, students must select six elective courses from those listed above or below for a total of 18 points of graduate credit. These courses can be chosen from other Applied Physics classes or from related academic fields such as Applied Mathematics, Material Science and Engineering, and Electrical Engineering, subject to the approval of the faculty advisor. Some suggested elective courses include: Applied Mathematics Elective Courses:

  • APMA E4001: Principles of Applied Mathematics
  • APMA E4101: Introduction to Nonlinear Dynamical Systems
  • APMA E4200: Partial Differential Equations I
  • APMA E4204: Functions of a Complex Variable
  • APMA E4300: Numerical Methods
  • APMA E6302: Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations

Applied Physics Elective Courses:

  • APPH E4090: Nanotechnology
  • APPH E4130: Physics of Solar Energy

Electrical Engineering Elective Courses:

  • ELEN E4301: Introduction to Semiconductor Devices
  • ELEN E4312: Analog Electronic Circuits
  • ELEN E4321: VLSI Circuits
  • ELEN E4401: Wave Transmission and Fiber Optics
  • ELEN E4815: Random Signals and Noise
  • ELEN E6318: Microwave Circuit Design
  • ELEN E6412: Lightwave Devices
  • ELEN E6488: Optical Interconnects and Interconnection Networks
  • ELEN E4944: Principles of Device Microfabrication

Other Elective Courses (Earth and Environmental Science, Mechanical Engineering, & Materials Science):

  • EEME E4601: Digital Control Systems
  • MECE E6100: Advanced Mechanics of Fluids
  • MECE E6700: Carbon Nanotubes
  • MSAE E4202: Thermodynamics and Reactions in Solids
  • MSAE E4206: Electronic and Magnetic Properties of Solids
  • MSAE E4215: Mechanical Behavior of Structural Materials
  • MSAE E4250: Ceramics and Composites

Application Fee

A processing fee of $200 is required for first-time applicants to a graduate degree program. The Graduate Student Services Office will only process applications which are submitted with an application fee. The processing fee is non-refundable. Please make the check payable to Columbia Video Network. Applications for more than one-degree program cannot be processed simultaneously.

Application Deadline

Please note: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Once a completed application has been received it will be processed and given to the Admissions Committee for review. Applications will be considered for the next upcoming semester's admissions cycle. For example, an application received in February will be evaluated for the upcoming Summer semester. Only completed applications will be submitted to the Admissions Committee for review.


  1. Official transcripts from each college/university you have attended or are currently attending must be submitted with the application. Transcripts must be in the original, sealed envelope.
  2. Credits which appear as transfer credits on any other transcript are not valid; an official transcript from the school where the credits were earned must be submitted.
  3. Students who have previously or are currently enrolled at Columbia University must request that copies of their transcripts be sent to CVN at Columbia Video Network, 500 W 120th St, 540 MUDD, MC 4719, New York, NY 10027
  4. The Graduate Student Services Office requests that transcripts be submitted with the application. If you foresee a delay in submitting official transcripts, please attach an unofficial set to the application. Your file may be reviewed by the department with a complete set of unofficial documents; however, you will be required to submit official transcripts before you will be formally admitted to a graduate degree program.
  5. All materials submitted in support of an application, whether official or unofficial, become the property of Columbia University and will not be returned to the applicant or forwarded to other schools or agencies. Since your documents will not be returned, we suggest that you keep copies of any documents you may need for your personal records.

Required Exam Scores

  1. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) general test results are required of all MS applicants. GRE scores are valid for 5 years.
  2. TOEFL or IELTS is required of all candidates who have not received their bachelor's degree in a country where English is the official spoken language. TOEFL and IELTS scores are valid for two years.
  3. All score reports must be official and sent to Graduate Admissions directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS).
  4. The Columbia Engineering CEEB code is 2111 (not 2162 which belongs to the Graduate School of Arts and Science).

Required Documents

These application materials are designed to help individuals provide personal and academic information about themselves, which will be used to evaluate their candidacy for admission to graduate study in the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science at Columbia University. Applicants can assist the Graduate Admissions office in providing prompt feedback about their application status by not submitting extraneous information which has not been requested such as excessive numbers of recommendation letters, copies of abstracts and theses, videotapes and/or photographs of research work, and secondary school transcripts. The information below indicates what items are required for a complete application.

  1. Degree application form (online)
  2. Two recommendation letters in sealed envelopes via mail, or directly from the recommender via e-mail to
  3. Official GRE general exam results
  • All score reports must be official and sent directly from the Educational Testing Service (ETS)
  • The Columbia Engineering CEEB code is 2111
TOEFL or IELTS test results (if applicable)

One copy of official transcripts from all previously attended post-secondary colleges/universities Personal/Professional Statement - a concise (not more than two pages) typewritten statement outlining your academic and professional goals Resume/Curriculum Vitae $200 Application Fee Transfer Credits Form (if applicable)

Please note: Students that begin their studies at Columbia University under non-matriculated status through CVN must continue to take all of their coursework through CVN. When applying for admission to a degree program, students must submit all of their application materials directly to Columbia Video Network for processing. Applications that are sent directly to the Office of Graduate Student Services or submitted online via the ApplyYourself Application form instead of CVN's forms will result in total forfeiture of all credits taken under non-matriculated status through CVN. All Columbia courses to be used towards a student's program must be completed via CVN. Also, note that any student taking courses under the auspices of CVN can take on-campus courses solely under the administrative guidance of CVN with advisor approval.

Tuition and Fees

Please note that all tuition and fees are in U.S. dollars and are estimated. Tuition and most fees are prescribed by statute and are subject to change at the discretion of the Trustees.

  • CVN Credit Tuition:$1782 per point (Credit Hour)
  • CVN Audit Tuition:$834 per point (Credit Hour)
  • CVN Fee:$395 per course
  • Transcript Fee:$105 non-refundable one-time fee
  • Graduate Admission Application Fee:$200 non-refundable one-time fee
  • Certification Program Application Fee:$150 non-refundable one-time fee
  • Late Registration Fee:$100 non-refundable fee
  • CVN Withdrawal Fee:$75, plus prorated tuition and all non-refundable fees

For example: A three-credit course would be $5346 + transcript fee $105(one-time) + CVN fee $395 = $5846

Last updated Nov 2017

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Columbia Video Network has been leading the field of online learning since its inception in 1986, enabling thousands of working professionals and remotely located students to benefit from distance learning and pursue their degrees without any residency requirements on the campus in New York. The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) offers broad-based instruction within a major... Read less