Course Requirements 

Core Requirements

Thesis Requirement

Six Electives

  • Any physics courses with a number equal to or higher than PHY 410 CHAOS IN PHYSICAL SYSTEMS.  A second PHY 480 THESIS RESEARCH is allowed as one of these six electives.
  • Courses at the 300 or 400 level in biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, computer science or other related fields can be substituted for up to two of these six elective courses with the written approval of the departmental graduate committee.  Please contact the Program Director for details.

Thesis Requirement 

A thesis based on independent research in theoretical or experimental physics is generally required. However, a review thesis reflecting study of a broad subject or development of an interdisciplinary, historical or educational theme is also acceptable with permission from the Graduate Committee.

As a rule, one course credit of 4 quarter-hours in PHY 480 THESIS RESEARCH is applicable to the thesis research. An additional PHY 480 THESIS RESEARCH course (4 credit hours) may be allowed with the written approval of the student's faculty advisor. While students are permitted to register for more than two 4-credit sections of PHY 480 THESIS RESEARCH, in no case will more than two PHY 480 THESIS RESEARCH courses (4 credit hours each) be applied toward the Master of Science degree.

Students are advanced to candidacy upon the written approval of their thesis proposal by the graduate committee, subject to the rules and conditions given below. An oral examination on the thesis is required, eligibility and rules are given below.

Thesis Procedures and Timelines 

  1. A committee with the advisor as Chair and two other members of the DePaul Physics department must be constituted three months prior to the M.S. Thesis Defense. Committee members (from outside the Physics Department, or outside DePaul) are allowed by permission of the Graduate Director, but cannot function as Committee Chairs.
  2. A written report on the thesis project must be furnished to the Committee three months prior to the planned M.S. Thesis Defense. The written report should include: Title of the thesis project, abstract of the research, a 1-page update on what work has been accomplished so far, and what work remains to be done. The committee members reserve the right to meet with the student and seek clarification and information orally at this time.
  3. Following submission of the written report described in (2) above, the committee members will sign the College of Science and Health's (CSH) Approval of Proposal for Final Project form found on the website for the CSH's Office of Advising and Student Services. A signature on this form does not constitute permission to defend in another three months, nor does it make any judgment in this regard. Instead, the signatures attest to the fact that the committee has been constituted, and that the committee members have received a written report on the thesis project described in (2) above from the student.
  4. The signed CSH Approval of Proposal for Final Project form found on the website for the CSH's Office of Advising and Student Services will then be submitted to the Program Director who will, upon receipt of this form, make known to the thesis advisor and student the earliest date on which they are eligible to schedule a thesis defense if (5) and (6) below are satisfactorily fulfilled.
  5. A written version of the thesis that is in reasonably final form must be furnished to all the three members of the committee by the student two weeks prior to the planned M.S. Thesis Defense. No exceptions will be granted on this rule.
  6. Within a week of having received the thesis mentioned in (5) above, that is, one week prior to the planned thesis defense, all committee members must sign the Physics Department Approval of Scheduling of Thesis Defense form giving the student permission to proceed with the thesis defense. A signature on this form does not reflect a judgment on, or acceptance of, the thesis; it constitutes only an approval for the date of the defense. If the committee members feel that the student is not ready to defend, based on their reading of the thesis (which case may be either because the thesis is not written in a satisfactory manner, or because they feel more work needs to be done on the project), they can choose to withhold their signature; the committee member(s) withholding his/her signature(s) must provide a written explanation of why they did not sign, and what changes and corrections, if any, would be required to obtain their signature. This will automatically mean that the student cannot defend during the next week. In such a case, the cycle will start from (5) again, whenever the advisor and student feel they have addressed satisfactorily the concerns of their committee member(s).
  7. The signed Physic Department Approval of Scheduling of Thesis Defense form will then be submitted to the Program Director who will, upon receipt of this form, make known to the thesis advisor and student the earliest date on which they are eligible to schedule a thesis defense.
  8. Following the thesis defense, the committee members will render a decision as to the outcome of the defense in one of the two following ways:
    1. If they believe the student has satisfactorily defended his/her thesis and the thesis requires no modifications or only minor modifications, meaning that they wish to pass the student immediately, they will sign the CSH's Final Requirements Report form found on the website for the CSH's Office of Advising and Student Services.
    2. In all other cases, they will sign the Physics Department Interim Thesis Defense Report form. Further action will be determined by the actions recommended in this form.
  9. The signed form (CSH Final Requirements Report or Physics Department Interim Thesis Defense Report) should be forwarded to the Program Director, the former for forwarding to the CSH's Office of Advising and Student Services, the latter for student file purposes.
  10. If, at any time during this period, the student and/or advisor reconstitute a committee by changing the committee members, the process will restart from (1) above. The only exception to this rule will be if a committee member (but not the Committee Chair) takes an emergency leave of absence or is otherwise unable to discharge their duties, in which case the process may be allowed to restart from (5) above with permission from the Graduate Committee.