Program in Physics College of Sciences University of Massachusetts Lowell

Program in Physics College of Sciences University of Massachusetts Lowell

Lowell, MA
Not Reported
student ratio
Not Reported
total students
Not Reported
average amount to complete degree
April 1
fall application deadline
Not Reported
acceptance rate
2 Degrees Offered
degrees offered


Advanced Degrees Available in a Range of Physics and Applied Physics Disciplines

At UMass Lowell, the M.S. degree may be taken in physics or radiological sciences and protection (health physics). Course requirements for the M.S. programs consist of a total of 30 credits, including work on a thesis or project. The M.S. may serve as a basis for further study toward a Ph.D. degree. A 34-credit Professional Science Master's option is offered in the radiological science and protection degree program. This option requires an internship in an industrial or other off-campus setting where radiation is used, in lieu of a research project or thesis. Students are expected to complete the M.S. program in 2 years.

The Ph.D. program requires 60 credits beyond the bachelor's degree, including dissertation research. A prior master's degree is not required to be admitted into the Ph.D. program. Candidates for the degree must pass a written and oral comprehensive examination and a doctoral research admission examination (accomplished by defending either a master's thesis en route to the Ph.D. or an advanced research project, or by a presentation to a committee of 3 faculty members, of master's thesis research performed at another institution).

Areas of research include: photonics, quantum nanodots, biophotonics, materials science, experimental and theoretical solid-state physics, optics, laser physics and far infrared spectroscopy, femtosecond laser nano/micro materials modification, submillimeter wave technology and terahertz imaging, computational investigation of nanomaterials, plasmonic structures and metamaterials, experimental nuclear physics and applications, nuclear fission studies, neutron and gamma-ray irradiation of materials and devices, heavy ion spectroscopy, energy applications, atmospheric and space physics, radiological health physics, aerosol physics, and medical physics.

Establishing the Foundation of Physical Insight for Emerging Technologies in Every Student

At the University of Massachusetts Lowell the physics faculty, along with a variety of full-time staff researchers, support and maintain an expanding base of graduate and undergraduate research funded at a level exceeding $11 million annually by external grants and contracts. The funding for these endeavors comes predominantly through the following research facilities.

The Center for Advanced Materials (CAM) is involved in the design, synthesis, characterization, and processing of materials by bringing together state-of-the-art instrumentation, facilities, and expert personnel. The knowledge base developed in these areas leads to discoveries and innovation driven by the application requirements of new technologies.

The Photonics Optical Device Center (POD) forms a core of design and fabrication technology to support various university initiatives requiring innovative semiconductor-based photonic and electronic device research. The technologies primarily apply semiconductor, dielectric and metallic nanomaterials to the development of new, robust photonic devices for defense (DoD), medical, and commercial applications. While aggressively participating on externally funded research, POD continues to provide graduate and undergraduate students with opportunities to work on uniquely innovative nationally recognized research.

The Submillimeter-Wave Technology Laboratory (STL) is a leader in terahertz transmitter and receiver technologies, pioneering the design and fabrication of broadband solid-state multiplier sources, ultra-stable optically pumped lasers and laser/microwave hybrid systems. At the heart of the STL facility, a 20-member research team, with the aid of several dozen graduate and undergraduate students, builds and maintains a variety of high-performance solid-state and laser-based measurement systems to generate terahertz frequency radiation. With these systems they have developed a wide range of material characterization techniques and high resolution imaging systems for industry and the DoD, as well as medical applications which are now under investigation.

The Radiation Laboratory researchers maintain a 1 MW pool-type nuclear reactor, a 0.3 Mega-Curie Cobalt-60 gamma radiation source, and a 5.5 MV Van de Graaff accelerator. The facility has a long history of conducting both pure and applied nuclear physics research and has been used for simulating radiation conditions of hostile space environments along with investigating radiation resistant materials and electronics. Additional team members of the Hi-Spin Research Group conduct applied research on developing detector arrays in collaboration with high-tech industries and national laboratories. Experiments are carried out by the group at heavy-ion accelerator facilities with ultra-high resolution, detector systems and data are analyzed at UML on a LINUX computer cluster. These efforts are aimed at developing instrumentation and techniques for use in nuclear research and homeland security applications, and in bio-medical imaging.

The Computational Nano-Materials Group unites the fields of theoretical and experimental physics, providing expertise for leveraging the physics department's existing broad-range frequency materials characterization capabilities to drive development of new innovative materials and to optimize device design performance. Supporting investigative efforts in solid nanomaterials, device design optimization, and interpretive material and device characterization studies, this research center bridges the device fabrication and performance characterization programs.

The Advanced Biophotonics Laboratory provides the foundational expertise on the structural and functional characterization of pathology for exploratory efforts in medical and bio-engineering applications. Integrating multiple optical imaging and spectroscopic approaches, researchers monitor biochemical and physiological processes in real time on a variety of spatially different scales. Research in this area involves the development of innovative techniques for early cancer detection using non-invasive or minimally invasive processes.

The Laboratory for Nanoscience and Laser Applications encompasses the Femtosecond Laser Spectroscopy Group which has recently developed a regenerative amplified femtosecond Ti:Sapphire laser facility. The acquisition of femtosecond laser light-matter interaction data enables researchers to investigate material structures and chemical reactions at the molecular level as well as use this laser technology to facilitate the manufacture of micro- and nano-structured materials. Through the development of ultra-fast femtosecond optical spectroscopy measurement systems, nanometer scale spatial and temporal resolution material characterization studies can be performed, and nanostructures on solid surfaces may be fabricated using intense femtosecond laser pulse irradiation techniques.

The Center for Atmospheric Research is an interdisciplinary facility which was founded with the goal of conducting experimental and analytical research in the atmospheric and space sciences, to provide research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, and to demonstrate how research and development relate to solving real world problems. Carrying out these objectives requires tapping the science and engineering expertise residing in the university.

Financial Aid

Graduate student teaching assistantships (TA's) are available from the department for Ph.D. candidates. These require 18 hours per week during the academic year in teaching elementary physics labs, grading for large enrollment courses, and assisting professors in upper division labs. For 2011-2012 the academic year stipend is $15,224 with a waiver of tuition costs and fees. Additional compensation of up to $5,200 in the summer is available for working with a research group.

Research assistantships (RA's) are available for Ph.D. and M.S. students working in the university's research labs funded by the research groups through external grants and contracts. The stipends are comparable to the teaching assistantship stipends amounting to approximately $20,500 per calendar year With a waiver of tuition and fees.

Master's degree students are eligible for Dean's Fellowships (for Massachusetts residents) or a Provost Fellowship (for out-of-state residents). These fellowships give a reduction in tuition and fees of up to 25 percent.

Students on teaching assistantships, research assistantships, and fellowships must be full-time carrying at least 9 credit hours per semester.

Grants, waivers, loans, work-study, teaching and research assistantships, and other funding sources can be combined to find a way to pay for most students' graduate education.

Grants and waivers constitute financial aid that does not have to be repaid, except in the case of an overpayment that resulted due to the student withdrawing from school before the end of the enrollment period for which the grant was awarded. Student loans, unlike grants, waivers, and work-study, are borrowed money that must be repaid, with interest.

Work-study programs are need-based arrangements that provide students with part-time employment in various on-campus departments and off-campus agencies. Work Study earnings are paid directly to the students and are to be used for educational costs and related expenses.

Graduate Degree Holders from UMass Physics Are Employed in Leading Research Positions

The Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the Department of Physics and Applied Physics at University of Massachusetts, Lowell lead to placement of graduates into positions in academia, government laboratories, major medical facilities, and industry.

Graduates have been successful in gaining employment in areas dealing with properties of materials, fiber optics, electro-optics, photonics, computer modeling, data analysis, software development, radiation safety and protection, radiation detector development for research and homeland security applications, and medical physics. Others have obtained postdoctoral appointments at major research universities such as Princeton, Chicago, Duke, Kentucky, and Rutgers, as well as postdoctoral, faculty, or research scientist positions at UC Santa Barbara, and national laboratories, such as Los Alamos and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and positions at top medical institutions such as Massachusetts General Hospital and Mayo Clinic.

Location & Contact

Program in Physics

College of Sciences
University of Massachusetts Lowell

1 University Avenue
Lowell, MA 01854
United States

Dr. Gus Couchell

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Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Physics Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
      Master of Science (MS)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees Not reported
    • Doctoral Degrees Not reported
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? No
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? No
    • Terminal master's degree available? Not reported
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees
    • Doctoral Degrees
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied Not Reported
    • Accepted Not Reported
    • Acceptance Rate Not Reported
    • Enrolled Not Reported
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $20
    • Application Fee - International $35
    • Electronic applications accepted? Not Reported
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Yes
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline April 1st Not Reported Not Reported
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline October 1st Not Reported Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesGRE General Test, 3 letters of reference
    • Doctoral's DegreesGRE General Test, transcripts, 3 letters of reference
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & FeesNot Reported
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitNot Reported
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsApril 1
    • Types of financial support availableCareer or Field-Related Internships, Federal Work-Study, Financial Support for Part-time Students, Institutionally-sponsored Loans, Scholarship and/or loans, Traineeships





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