2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
    Jun 14, 2021  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Physics MS, Planetary Sciences Track

College: Sciences Degree: MS
Department: Physics Option: Thesis
Program Websites: http://www.physics.ucf.edu/graduate.php
Graduate Program Handbook

Track Description

The goal of the Planetary Sciences Track in the Physics MS program is to foster a vibrant planetary science research environment that can attract top students, researchers, and faculty and contribute significantly to the exploration of space. The Planetary Sciences track is designed to prepare students to be competitive in the global planetary sciences research community.


The Planetary Sciences track in the Physics MS program requires a minimum of 33 hours of graduate course work as directed by the student’s Supervisory Committee. This must include at least 15 credit hours of required courses, 6 hours of thesis preparation, with the remainder being elective courses and directed research chosen in consultation with the Supervisory Committee. At least half of the total credits must be at the 6000 level. No more than 6 hours of independent study may be credited toward the master’s degree. The master’s degree in Planetary Sciences includes a thesis and its defense. There is no nonthesis master’s degree in the Planetary Sciences track.  

Total Credit Hours Required: 33 Credit Hours Minimum beyond the Bachelor’s Degree

Required Courses: 15 Credit Hours

The core is designed to give students a broad foundation in the planetary sciences and rapid training in the data analysis techniques that will be necessary for successful research and publications. Students choose 5 out of the 6 core courses listed below:

Elective Courses: 12 Credit Hours

Students may enroll in elective formal courses relevant to their program, as approved by their Supervisory Committees. Suggestions include:

Thesis: 6 Credit Hours

  • AST or PHY 6971 - Thesis 6 Credit Hours

Supervisory Committee

Within the first half-semester of admission to the Planetary Sciences Track, each student must select, by mutual agreement, a faculty adviser and at least two other faculty members to serve on his or her Supervisory Committee.  UCF graduate faculty and self-funded research scientists who are Graduate Faculty Scholars are eligible to serve on Supervisory Committees.  Changes in the membership of a Supervisory Committee must be approved by the Planetary Sciences Graduate Committee. The adviser is expected to meet regularly with the student. The full committee shall meet with the student at least once per year to review and make recommendations regarding the student’s academic progress.

Master’s Defense

The written thesis and oral defense is the final requirement for the master’s degree. The thesis is a journal-level research paper. The oral defense is in two parts: (1) A public presentation of the research contained in the paper; and (2) private questioning on the detail of the presented research as well as the topics covered in the student’s preparation and coursework. The written and oral components will be administrated by the student’s Supervisory Committee.

Independent Learning

A thesis is required in this program.

Application Requirements

For information on general UCF graduate admissions requirements that apply to all prospective students, please visit the Admissions  section of the Graduate Catalog. Applicants must apply online. All requested materials must be submitted by the established deadline.

In addition to the general UCF graduate application requirements  , applicants to this program must provide:

  • One official transcript (in a sealed envelope) from each college/university attended.
  • A bachelor’s degree in a closely related science field such as physics, chemistry, geology, geophysics, geochemistry, atmospheric sciences biology, mathematics or planetary sciences.
  • Three letters of recommendation.
  • Statement of goals.
  • CV or Résumé.
  • Applicants applying to this program who have attended a college/university outside the United States must provide a course-by-course credential evaluation with GPA calculation. Credential evaluations are accepted from World Education Services (WES) or Josef Silny and Associates, Inc. only.

Applicants interested in being considered for assistantship and fellowship opportunities should apply directly to the Physics PhD program.

Additional courses may also be required to correct any course deficiencies for those applicants without full preparation in physics and astronomy. Students should contact the graduate program director for further information.

Current students in the existing Physics graduate program wishing to switch to the Planetary Sciences track must submit a letter to the Planetary Science Graduate Committee addressed to Dr. Dan Britt. The letter should include the request to join the planetary sciences track, the student’s degree goal (Masters), the name of the student’s planetary sciences adviser, and a brief description of their expected area of research. Upon departmental approval, a Graduate Status Change Form will be submitted to the College of Graduate Studies.

Meeting minimum UCF admission criteria does not guarantee program admission. Final admission is based on the evaluation of the applicant’s abilities, past performance, recommendations, match of this program and faculty expertise to the applicant’s career/academic goals, and the applicant’s potential for completing the degree. For information on the Planetary Sciences track contact the Planetary Sciences Graduate Advisor Dr. Dan Britt at 407-823-2600 or dbritt@ucf.edu.

Application Deadlines

Planetary Sciences *Fall Priority Fall Spring Summer
Domestic Applicants Jan 15 Jun 1 Nov 1  
International Applicants Jan 15 Jan 15 Jul 1  
*Applicants who plan to enroll full time in a degree program and who wish to be considered for university fellowships or assistantships should apply by the Fall Priority date.


Graduate students may receive financial assistance through fellowships, assistantships, tuition support, or loans. For more information, see the College of Graduate Studies Funding website, which describes the types of financial assistance available at UCF and provides general guidance in planning your graduate finances. The Financial Information  section of the Graduate Catalog is another key resource.


Fellowships are awarded based on academic merit to highly qualified students. They are paid to students through the Office of Student Financial Assistance, based on instructions provided by the College of Graduate Studies. Fellowships are given to support a student’s graduate study and do not have a work obligation. For more information, see UCF Graduate Fellowships, which includes descriptions of university fellowships and what you should do to be considered for a fellowship.

Contact Info

Graduate Program

Daniel Britt
Pegasus Professor
Telephone: 407-823-2600
PSB 442  

Esperanza Soto Arcino
Graduate Admissions Coordinator
Telephone: 407-823-5146
PSB 432  

Graduate Admissions

Anthony Tufano
Telephone: 407-823-2766
Millican Hall 230  
Online Application
Graduate Admissions

Mailing Address

UCF College of Graduate Studies
Millican Hall 230
PO Box 160112
Orlando, FL  32816-0112

Institution Codes

GRE: 5233
TOEFL: 5233
ETS PPI: 5233

Graduate Fellowships

Grad Fellowships
Telephone: 407-823-0127

Graduate Financial Aid

UCF Student Financial Assistance
Millican Hall 120
Telephone: 407-823-2827
Appointment Line: 407-823-5285
Fax: 407-823-5241