Engineering Physics Master's Program


The M.S. in Engineering Physics program at Appalachian State University offers hands-on, laboratory-based courses that prepare students for entry into industry or a Ph.D. program. We work closely with our industry partners to ensure that our curriculum is modern and relevant. Graduates of this program tend to have tremendous flexibility in their careers because they can bridge the gap between scientists, engineers, and technicians, which make them highly valuableto companies and research labs. Most of our courses incorporate a three-hour, hands-on lab.  These courses provide a vast amount of experience for the students so that they are well prepared for future endeavors.

A hiring manager, responsible for employing many of the MS Engineering students, once said, "Overall, I’ve been impressed by the graduates that have come to interview. It is rare we see someone from a different program that competes with the experience and professionalism that you and your team are able to develop with your students."

We pride oursleves that job placement from the program is very high. Our students are encouraged to begin their job search prior to graduation, and the last two years, of those who began their search early:

  • 86.4% received an offer before graduation and 
  • 100% received an offer within two months of graduation. 

The total employment rate within six months of graduation was 96.0% in the last several years and the average starting salary is $74,000.

The M.S. Engineering Physics program has been hailed by the American Institute of Physics (AIP) as among the unranked list of the top 13 programs of Masters-granting institutions nationwide [PDF]. Our graduate faculty - those that teach and/or do research with graduate students - includes Dr. François Amet, Dr. Michael Briley, Dr. Jennifer Burris, Dr. Anthony Calamai, Dr. Daniel Caton, Dr. Sid Clements, Dr. Tonya Coffey, Dr. Richard Gray, Dr. Brooke Hester, Brad Johnson, Ben Madison, Dr. Courtney McGahee, Dr. James Sherman, and Dr. Chris Thaxton. The faculty have extensive experience in industry, government agencies, and academics in fields ranging from electrostatics for NASA missions, to nano-scale materials characterization, stellar and Earth atmospheric studies, granular flows and fluid dynamics, atmospheric physics, biophysics, and optics. Primarily, the graduate curriculum and graduate student projects are focused on the Physics of Engineering - specifically of the study and development of instrumentation and automation for applications such as remote sensing, signal processing, astronomical control systems, manufacturing and testing controls, and robotics.

Application for admission to the program is open to any graduate of an accredited college or university who holds a bachelor's degree in physics, engineering, computer science, electronics, mathematics, or a related area.  The GRE can be waived for students that have a B average in their core Physics and Mathematics courses.

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For more information, contact the program director - Dr. Michael Briley (; 828-262-2432).

Physics graduate students group photo