MS Physical Sciences

MS Physical Sciences

Graduate study with concentrations in chemistry, earth science (including a fully online option), physics, and physical sciences (including teaching and non-teaching options) is offered within the Master of Science degree. The requirements for each of these concentrations are described separately. Each is designed to promote a high level of competence and understanding of the subject matter. These programs prepare a student to continue graduate studies at the doctoral level or obtain employment in the chosen field with government agencies, education, industry or other private sector employers.

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What can you do with a degree in Physical Sciences?

  • Public/private sector energy
  • Environmental and scientific agencies
  • Engineering and technology industries
  • Chemical, bioscience or pharmaceutical industries.
  • Continued study in concentration toward Ph.D.
  • Employment at educational institutions.


  • Chemistry
  • Earth Science
  • Physics
  • Physical Science


  • Chemistry Club (American Chemical Society, ESU Student Affiliate Chapter)
  • Earth Science Club
  • Physics Club (Society of Physics Students Chapter)
  • Physical Science Education (ESU National Science Teachers Association Student Chapter) 

Requirements and Courses

  • Chemistry Concentration: degree from accredited college/university, including specified courses in chemistry, physics, mathematics (to complete Master's in 2 years, BS in Chemistry desirable). May require additional undergraduate coursework.
  • Earth Science Concentration: minimum preparation is course work equal to the BSE degree with certification in earth/space science, or a BA or BS with an earth science, physical geography, geology, or physical science major.
  • Physics Concentration: For admission to the physics emphasis program, the applicant must have completed at least two physics courses for which introductory physics is a prerequisite and must have a demonstrated proficiency in calculus. Students may be admitted on a provisional status,
  • Physical Sciences Concentration: Preparation for in-service teachers is completion of course work equivalent to the Department of Physical Sciences requirements for secondary teaching licensure in chemistry, earth/space science, or physics. Non-teaching; bachelor of science degree with similar preparation.
  • See Additional Requirements below
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Additional Program Requirements 

  • Qualifying exam
  • Thesis option (30 credit hours)
  • Research report option (32 credit hours)
  • Minimum cumulative 3.0 grade point average.
  • Minimum of 60 percent of credit hours numbered 700 or higher.
  • Presentation of thesis or research report at a scientific meeting
  • Pass final oral exam over thesis or research report
  • Courses vary with concentration  and focus area of student research within the disciplines


  • Graduate assistantships (teaching and research) are available in the physical sciences at Emporia State University for residential students (or occasional research assistantships for distance-learning students based on a grant through a faculty mentor).
  • A graduate teaching assistantship recipient is responsible for helping with the instruction in undergraduate laboratory courses by aiding a professor with materials preparation, grading and in-laboratory assistance to students.
  • Graduate research assistantships, which involve the pursuit of research with a faculty mentor, are also available through current, externally funded (e.g., NASA, American Petroleum Institute, Kansas Geological Survey) research projects.
  • Applicants must be enrolled in one of the graduate programs of the Department of Physical Sciences, have an undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university in one of the academic disciplines in the physical sciences (or other appropriate background), and have a grade point average of 2.75 or higher. Previous undergraduate experience as a laboratory assistant will strengthen the application for graduate teaching assistantships.
  • Typically assistantships extend throughout an academic year and for two years. Graduate assistantship stipends are currently in the $7500-8000 range for an academic year. Tuition for those holding a graduate assistantship is waived (nearly $4200); thus the monetary award is equivalent to about $12,000. Some graduate research assistantships start at $8000 and also have the tuition waiver.
  • Must work 20 hrs. per week.
  • Subsidized graduate assistant health insurance available.
  • Must apply at