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University of Massachusetts Boston

Boston , Massachusetts ,United States

Applied Physics, PhD

Since the early 1980s, long before it became fashionable, the University of Massachusetts Boston Physics Department has offered a terminal master's degree in applied physics. Because of the match between the skills taught in that program and the needs of employers in the technology sector of the economy, the MS program has grown to become one of the largest and most successful terminal master's programs in the country.

Over the last couple of decades, the research profile of the UMass Boston Physics Department has developed to the point where it has become desirable to include the option of continuing on to a Ph.D. for some of our master's students.



  • Jan
  • May
  • Sep

Application Processing Time in Days: 10

Application Process

More information Required
10 Days
Possible Interview Call from Institution
10 Days
Provisional/Unconditional Offer
20 Days
Visa Process
30 Days

Minimum English Language Requirements

English Level Description IELTS (1.0 -9.0) TOEFL IBT (0-120) TOEFL CBT (0-300) PTE (10-90)
Expert 9 120 297-300 86-90
Very Good 8.5 115-119 280-293 83-86
Very Good 8 110-114 270-280 79-83
Good 7.5 102-109 253-267 73-79
Good 7 94-101 240-253 65-73
Competent 6.5 79-93 213-233 58-65
Competent 6 60-78 170-210 50-58
Modest 5.5 46-59 133-210 43-50
Modest 5 35-45 107-133 36-43
Limited 4 32-34 97-103 30-36
Extremely Limited < 4 < 31 < 93 < 30

PSW Opportunity

  • 12 to 36 months( OPT duration depends on the major studied)

Admission Requirement / Eligibility Criteria


The Qualifying Exam for the Ph.D. is broken into several distinct parts. First, there are a series of written tests on foundational subjects; Quantum Mechanics, Classical Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, and Electricity and Magnetism. Each of these tests may be taken independently. The questions on the tests will be graded by the faculty who have written them or by the qualifying committee.

The criterion for passing the written tests is determined by a consensus of the qualifying committee. Students, upon entry into the Masters's program, get one free shot to take the tests. Successfully passing a Qualifying test upon entry will be used to waive the equivalent course from the student’s class requirements. After the student has begun taking classes they are allowed to attempt each test twice. Once all of the written tests have been completed, each student is then required to pass an oral test.

The oral test will begin with a presentation of less than an hour on the subject of the student’s choosing. After the presentation, a committee of at least three faculty members will ask the student questions about the presentation and any relevant Physics. The passing of the oral test will be by consensus of the faculty present.

Essay Requirments

All UMass Boston applicants are asked to submit a personal essay. It gives you the opportunity to present yourself in a way that grades and test scores cannot. Our admissions counselors use your essay to determine your ability to organize your thoughts and express yourself clearly. Your essay may also be used to consider you for the Honors College and/or any scholarship opportunities for which you may qualify.


  • Students who are attending or have graduated from a U.S. high school must submit SAT or ACT scores. Submission of TOEFL or IELTS scores is recommended.
  • Students seeking full admission to electrical or computer engineering, management, or nursing programs are required to submit their SAT or ACT test scores.
  • For students who have a recalculated grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or higher and seek full admissions to the College of Liberal Arts or to the College of Science and Mathematics, SAT or ACT scores are optional but must meet the minimum TOEFL (79-80) or IELTS (6.0) scores required.

Bachelor's Degree Equivalency

International applicants must submit evidence that they have completed the equivalent of a regionally accredited, U.S. university-level Bachelor's degree program. Acceptable documents can include official copies of diplomas, certified final degree certificates, and notation on the final transcript of degree and date awarded. Most international 4-year degrees are recognized as being equivalent. Most international 3-year degrees, including the Indian Bachelor of Arts, Sciences, and Commerce degrees, are not considered to be equivalent.