Applied Physics

2014-15 Tuition

Research degree: $29,500; professional degree: $47,050

Application deadlines

Fall: Ph.D. - Dec 15; MS and M.Eng - May 15

Requirements summary

all Graduate School Requirements, including the TOEFL Exam for Non-Native English Applicants

Ph.D.

  • three recommendations
  • GRE general test
  • both GRE writing assessment and GRE subject test in physics advised
  • TOEFL minimum score of IBT Exam: Listening - 15; Writing - 20; Reading - 20; Speaking 22

MS and M.Eng

  • two recommendations
  • GRE general test 
  • TOEFL minimum score of IBT Exam: Listening - 15; Writing - 20; Reading - 20; Speaking 22

Degrees

  • M.Eng.
  • M.S.
  • Ph.D.

Subjects

  • Applied Physics (M.S., Ph.D.)
  • Engineering Physics (M.Eng.)

Major concentrations

  • applied physics
  • engineering physics

Graduate study in the field offers the opportunity to achieve proficiency in physics, mathematics, and applied science.  Applied physics is particularly suitable for students preparing for a scientific career in an area of applied science based on principles and techniques of physics.

A student may choose for specialization and thesis or dissertation research any subject compatible with an approach based on the application of principles of physics and mathematics. Current areas of advanced study and research include applied theoretical physics, biophysics, chemical physics, physics of fluids, nuclear and reactor physics, optics, laser physics, plasma physics, solid-state physics, nano-science, and space physics.

 

The Ph.D. program in the graduate field of Applied Physics (AP) is a research-oriented doctoral program tailored to individual interests. It combines a core physics curriculum with research and study in one of several areas that deal either with the application of physics to a technical discipline or with the interface between physics and another area of science.  After two semesters of graduate study, students in the Ph.D. program take a written qualifying examination covering the core subjects. This exam is in addition to those required by the Graduate School.

The two-year Master of Science program offers advanced study and training in three disciplines: Optics, Nanotechnology, and Biotechnology. These programs provide valuable training and research and design project experience. 

 

A professional program leading to the degree of Master of Engineering (Engineering Physics) offers students the opportunity to master advanced topics in physics and extend their skills in their chosen engineering specialties.  Both the MS and M.Eng. program prepare students for PhD programs in Physics, Applied Physics, or Engineering. 

Application:

Applicants should have undergraduate preparation in physics or another physical science or in an engineering field with a strong emphasis on mathematics and modern physics.  Applicants must submit GRE general test scores, and are advised to submit scores on the GRE physics subject test and the GRE writing assessment.

 

Additional details about the Applied physics graduate programs are on the website, www.aep.cornell.edu.

 

Donald Bilderback -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: x-ray optics and x-ray detectors for a wide variety of x-ray experiments in the physical sciences; x-ray microbeams with glass capillary optics; Energy Recovery Linac source of x-rays that surpass current generations of storage rings in producing high spectral brightness and the smallest x-ray nanobeams for research
Joel Brock -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: x-ray diffraction; synchrotron radiation; charged density waves; thin film growth and surface processing
Robert Buhrman -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: physics of nanoscale structures and devices; superconducting, magnetic, and semiconductor thin film materials; scanned probe studies of electronic systems; lithography
Itai Cohen -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: complex matter physics with focus on colloidal suspensions; biological tissues; fluid-membrane interfaces
Harold Craighead -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: nanofabrication; physics of ultrasmall devices and structures; biological nanostructures
Francis DiSalvo -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: prepares and studies new materials that potentially can address critical needs in energy generation, conversion or storage
David Erickson -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: microfluidics and nanofluidics as applied to optofluidics; biomolecular detection; biologicallly enabled robotics; nanomedicine; programmable matter; fluid and thermal dynamics; nanophotonics; nanofabrication; chemistry and biology
Craig Fennie -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: applied physics
Gregory Fuchs -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: understanding controlling spin in solid state physics
Alexander Gaeta -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: quantum and nonlinear optics; nanophotonics; all-optical processing
Emmanuel Giannelis -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: hybrid nanomaterials for energy, biomedical, transportation and packaging
Sol Gruner -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: biological physics; polymer and other soft condensed matter physics; x-ray and synchrotron radiation science; scientific instrumentation and technique development; development of novel x-ray detectors
David Hammer -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: plasma physics; fusion; gas discharges; high-energy-density plasmas
Melissa Hines -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: surface physics and chemistry
James Houck -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: astrophysics
Michael Kelley -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: geomagnetic physics
Lena Fitting Kourkoutis -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: Nanostructured material, Biophysics, Condensed matter and Materials Physics, Electron Microscopy and Spectroscopy, Renewable energy materials
Bruce Kusse -- Concentrations: applied physics; Research interests: high-energy density plasma physics
Amit Lal -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: micro/nano-electromechanical systems; physical acoustics; ultrasonic engineering; biomedical MEMS; microfluidics; analog and digital circuit design; solid-state electronics; radioactive thin films for autonomous microsystems and nanofabrication
Manfred Lindau -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: cellular and molecular biophysics; mechanisms of exocytosis and endocytosis in cell biology
Michal Lipson -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: nanophotonics; optical nanostructures for short and long interconnect distances
Richard Lovelace -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: plasma physics theory; astrophysics
Paul McEuen -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: the science and technology of nanostructures; novel fabrication techniques at the nanometer scale; scanned probe microscopy of nanostructures; assembly and measurement of chemical and biological nanostructures
David Muller -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: structure and properties of nanoscale materials; atomically-engineered materials for energy applications; atomic resolution electron spectroscopy and microscopy
Jiwoong Park -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: physical properties of nanoscale materials and devices; novel carbon nanostructures
Lois Pollack -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: biophysics; RNA folding; electrolstatics and DNA; protein conformational dynamics
Clifford Pollock -- Concentrations: applied physics; Research interests: lasers; fiberoptics; quantum electronics
Daniel Ralph -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: nanoelectronics and magnetics
Richard Robinson -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: physics and chemistry of low-dimensional materials and to produce a variety of nano-materials targeted for energy applications
Chris Schaffer -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: focuses on the use of nonlinear interactions between femto-second-duration laster pulses and biological materials
Darrell Schlom -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: heteroepitaxial growth and characterization of oxide thin films; preparation of oxide superlattices and metastable phases by reactive molecular-beam epitaxy
Charles Seyler -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: computational studies of the dynamics of high energy density plasmas such as those produced in pulsed power experiments at Cornell (COBRA), which are capable of producing intense bursts of x-rays; theory and simulation of upper atmospheric, ionospheric, and magnetospheric process of Earth solar-terrestrial environment
David Shalloway -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: computational biology; multidimensional data clustering and dynamic modeling of cell differentiation and proliferation
Michael Thompson -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: ultralow temperature processing of silicon; point defect and impurity diffusion in Si; rapid phase transformations
Sandip Tiwari -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: electronic and optoelectronic devices at small dimensions; nano- and quantum structures; three-dimensional integration
R. Bruce van Dover -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: growth and properties of magnetic, dielectric, superconducting and optical think films; fabrication and characterization of thin film devices; properties of magnetic and superconducting ceramics; development and use of high throughput synthesis/evaluation experimental strategies
Jane Wang -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: insect flight as a model system to study the role of aerodynamics on the evolution of flapping flight in nature
Frank Wise -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: semiconductor nanocrystals, with applications to solar energy; spatio-temporal aspects of nonlinear optical waves; development of fiber lasers that generate ultrashort optical pulses, with applications to bioimaging
Chris Xu -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: biomedical imaging; optical instrumentation; optical communications
Warren Zipfel -- Concentrations: applied physics; engineering physics; Research interests: biomedical imaging and instrumentation

Graduate School Professors (emeritus)

Bryan Isacks -- Concentrations: Research interests: seismology; global tectonics
Arthur Ruoff -- Concentrations: Research interests: high-pressure phenomena; imperfections in crystals; creep
John Silcox -- Concentrations: applied physics; Research interests: electron microscopy and spectroscopy

Learning Outcomes and Assessment

Ph.D. program in Applied Physics

Learning Goals

In the Applied Physics Ph.D. program, we want to ensure that first and foremost, the candidates know how to “think like an applied physicist”. This implies that they have mastery of the fundamental physics knowledge, can synthesize knowledge from different areas, and take the course-based knowledge to the next level, where, with guidance from their mentors and peers, they apply the knowledge to solve problems of practical interest. We therefore aim at an interdisciplinary education and broad course base. In addition to becoming a world expert in the area of their dissertation topics, the candidates will be prepared for a career as a professional scientist/engineer, with all the flexibility that that implies.


Applied physicists must learn how to communicate using written, spoken and presentation skills. The candidates will acquire and improve these skills as part of our course work and exams. For example, Physics 6510, our Advanced Laboratory course has a requirement to write lab reports in standard journal (Physical Review Letters) format as well as make an oral presentation to faculty and peers in a timed format. Our A- and B-exams also require comprehensive skills in written and oral presentation. These formative skills are essential for the practicing Applied physicist.


It is essential that applied physicists are aware of ethical issues pertaining to the conduct and dissemination of research, in collaborative research endeavors as well as instances that may arise concerned with the teaching arena. Opportunities to participate in training concerned with ethical issues will be provided and must be completed by all students before their A-exams. The successful completion of the Responsible Conduct of Research unit online is required of all students.

Download assessment plan for PhD program.

Master of Engineering in Engineering Physics

Learn more about learning assessment for the M.Eng. degree.

Master of Science in Engineering Physics

List of Core Learning Outcomes

  • Broad knowledge in the fundamental areas of Applied Physics and advanced
  • theoretical knowledge and experimental training in a subdiscipline
  • Demonstrate the ability to acquire skills to plan and organize a research or
    design project
  • Demonstrate the ability to successfully complete a research or design project that advances an area of Applied Physics
  • Demonstrate oral and written communication skillsDevelop a commitment to lifelong learning and professional development

Download complete assessment plan for MS in Engineering Physics