California State University, Long Beach

1250 Bellflower Boulevard, Long Beach, California 90840, United States of America


The Department of Physics and Astronomy aims to promote the physical understanding of nature through dedicated research-based teaching, active learning, service, and innovative research at the highest level.

We are an urban University located in the diverse city of Long Beach. The Physics department is one of the largest terminal Master's granting institution in the United States since several years. In 2019 we had 20 students graduating with an MS degree and over 50 students obtaining their BS or BA in Physics. The department is a vibrant and fun place that makes an effort to diversify its student, faculty and staff body to represent the diversity in the community and the nation. We are one of only six Bridge Sites of the American Physical Society that provide a bridge to PhD for groups of the population underrepresented in Physics. We have a healthy and steadily improving number of women and underrepresented minorities who join the program.

The department is also a PhysTEC site that promotes teaching careers in high school and community colleges. We promote students who go to doctoral programs, chose industry or teaching careers. Our alumni are successful in entering PhD program across the USA and abroad. Alumni also successfully enter the workforce in industry (e.g. aerospace industry, Facebook, Google, etc.) and become faculty members at Community Colleges and teachers at high schools. We have several opportunities for alumni to come visit us and talk to students during the year. The department's size allows for personal contacts between students and the faculty, yet is large enough to allow for a real physics community and graduate experience. You will be able to meet and get to know more personally our faculty members and each other. We provide a family for being successful in physics, but also give you space to develop your own path to success. The Society of Physics Students is very dynamic and active.

We really emphasize learning by doing, developing solid physics knowledge and soft skills, becoming part of a network of physicists and foster communication and personal interactions of students, staff and faculty members. We encourage you to come with your dreams and the MS degree will allow you to refine these dreams, discover new paths, develop a clear vision of your future and leave with a degree that provides the tools you need to succeed!


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Program Requirements

31 units (18 core, 6 research, 7 elective).

Description of your department culture

The Department values the diversity of its student body and their career plans. We focus on three main paths for our graduate and undergraduate students: Academia, Industry, and Teaching. After graduation students have successful careers in all three paths.

We have an active SPS group, a weekly colloquium with a social time before that. Students from the department have also taken the initiative to found an Astronomy club with field trips, and a Women in STEM group that provides interdepartmental opportunities.

We provide spaces for students to be at the department as much as possible and study and do research with peers and the faculty. We encourage students to present at the Far West Section of the American Physical Society and for more advanced students to present at the APS March or April Meeting.

The culture of the department is to provide an environment where students acquire a solid knowledge in graduate physics together with practical skills and experience in experimental and computational fields. These skills are obtained through specific physics classes and through the thesis work each student performs in a research group. It is not uncommon that the thesis work is part of a peer-reviewed publication with the student as co-author.

We value also career paths in industry and teaching (community college, high school, etc). For industry, students can either do a research based thesis or do an MS in Professional Physics with electives in business and management and an internship in a company. For teaching, students can take courses at the Science Education department and do a thesis on topics of physics education research supervised by both physics and science education faculty members.