A Hybrid Graduate Program in Beam Physics
It is possible to earn Masterís and Ph.D. degrees in physics with a concentration in beam physics through the online VUBeam program. For both degrees the regular requirements for the respective degrees in the Department of Physics and Astronomy apply, with provisions put in place that allow participation partially or entirely online. Please refer to the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy handbook at: https://pa.msu.edu/academics/graduate-program/graduate-handbook/ for details of the requirements of the MS and Ph.D. programs. Students in VUBeam programs must also meet other requirements for graduate students at MSU, including maintaining up-to-date training, for example related responsible conduct of research. The instructions for applying to the Physics Graduate program can be found at: https://pa.msu.edu/academics/graduate-program/prospective-grad-students/ and must be followed by all students who wish to apply for the VUBeams program, including those who have already taken relevant MSU life-long learning courses. Note that there are some special application instructions for students who wish to enter the VUBeam program, so please make sure to read the instructions carefully.
Like all M. Sc. degrees in Physics/Astronomy, the Masters degree based on VUBeam requires the completion of 30 credits in appropriate coursework approved on a case-by-case basis, of which at least 16 must be at the graduate level, and the remainder may be upper division undergraduate. It also requires passing of the regular departmental qualifying exam at the Masterís level during the work for the degree. This exam can be administered by a mutually approved local proctor, where such practice is permissible. In other situations, videoconferencing or a visit to MSU will be utilized. The program, with the above caveat, is offered in all states except in Delaware, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, U.S. Territories, and Canadian Provinces.
Credits can be earned through Courses and research, including:
∑ Introduction to Beam Physics (online): PHY 861, 3 credits
∑ Nonlinear Beam Dynamics (online): PHY 961, 3 credits
∑ Particle Accelerators (online): PHY 962, 3 credits (may be taken twice)
∑ US Particle Accelerator School (USPAS, available twice per year as two-week block courses): PHY 963, 3 credits (may be taken repeatedly)
∑ Seminar in Beam Physics Research: PHY 964, 3 credits (may be taken repeatedly)
∑ Up to a maximum of 9 credits from transfer or lifelong learning combined in courses relevant to the VUBeam curriculum. These must be approved on a case-by-case basis following the relevant departmental and university processes. Note that there are strict rules about the time period over which transfer and lifelong learning credits can be used and that transferring credits or using lifelong learning credits affects the time period by which MSU degree should be finalized. You are strongly encouraged to contact the Department of Physics and Astronomy for details prior to applying for and/or entering the program (contact info at: https://pa.msu.edu/academics/graduate-program/ ) to make sure your previously obtained credits can be used for the program.
Two options are available for a MS degree: Plan A includes research (5-10 credits) and requires a masterís thesis and Plan B does not require a Masterís thesis, but at least 5 credits of research. Details can be found in the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy handbook at: https://pa.msu.edu/academics/graduate-program/graduate-handbook/
Like all Ph.D. degrees in Physics and Astronomy, passing the comprehensive examination of the Ph.D. degree based on VUBeam program requires passing of four subject exams in core areas of Physics with a grade average as spelled out by departmental rules, and the passing of an oral subject exam. The details of these exams are described in the departmental handbook: https://pa.msu.edu/academics/graduate-program/graduate-handbook/. Students take the same exams as local MSU students and can acquire the respective knowledge through self-study or through participation in equivalent courses at nearby universities. Some of the material can also be covered through special courses in PHY964, the seminar in beam physics research. The four exams are the same as those given at MSU, but can be administered by a mutually approved local proctor, where such practice is permissible. In other situations, videoconferencing or a visit to MSU will be utilized.
Like for any Physics Ph.D., a central element is the completion of a Ph.D. dissertation under the supervision of MSU faculty via teleconferencing along with occasional visits to MSU, or, where such practice is permissible, via existing MSU adjunct faculty or a mutually agreed upon mentor at a university or national laboratory near to the studentís location. The program, with the above caveat, is offered in all states except in Delaware, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York, U.S. Territories, and Canadian Provinces. The supervision by MSU faculty is performed through the formation of a guidance committee, which must be formed prior to the oral subject exam, which is graded by the guidance committee. Note that for persons who are not MSU regular faculty serving on a studentís guidance committee requires prior approval. Details can be found at: https://grad.msu.edu/graduate-school-approved-faculty-committees. In addition, the membership of guidance committees for students in the VUBeam program must meet the requirements listed in the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy handbook at: https://pa.msu.edu/academics/graduate-program/graduate-handbook/. Note that there are strict rules about the format and frequency of guidance committee meeting, which are also described in the handbook.
After sufficient expertise in the underlying methods are acquired by the student through completion of the VUBeam Masterís program and the above courses, a dissertation proposal is developed jointly between MSU faculty, possible external mentors where permissible, and the student, and a guidance committee which monitors the studentís progress is installed following common departmental practice. Meetings with the guidance committee can be performed by videoconference without the need of the studentís physical presence on the MSU campus. All doctoral students must register for and successfully complete a minimum of 24 credits and no more than a total of 36 credits of doctoral dissertation research (course number 999). Combining this with the number of credits needed for the Masterís degree through the VUBeam program, a minimum number of 54 credits is required for completion of the program.
For information on the details of the MSU Physics/Astronomy graduate program, please visit https://pa.msu.edu/academics/graduate-program/, and for any question related to the graduate program, please contact the Graduate Program Director and/or the Graduate Program Secretary.