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University of Wisconsin Physics Department

Research funding includes support from:

Department of Energy

National Science Foundation


At any given time there are about a dozen graduate students doing experimental Ph.D. thesis research on the MST reversed-field pinch plasma-confinement device at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and related theoretical studies. Most of these students are enrolled full-time in the Department of Physics and are supported with research assistantships or fellowships.

If you are a bright undergraduate student majoring in physics or some closely related field and you have an interest in pursuing a graduate-level degree in experimental plasma physics, the University of Wisconsin has much to offer. In addition to the plasma research in the Department of Physics, there are major programs in the Department of Nuclear Engineering and Engineering Physics and in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. Physics students can do their research in connection with any of the programs on campus, and engineering graduate students often work on the MST device.

We recommend that students who want to do thesis research on the MST device apply for admission to the Graduate School in the Department of Physics and request a teaching assistantship or fellowship for the first year. You may also wish to apply for any other fellowships for which you are qualified. Beginning graduate students are usually considered for research assistantships only if you have had significant prior experience in fusion-related plasma physics. During the first year, you would be expected to pass the qualifying examination, after which you would probably be offered a summer laboratory job to allow you to observe the research and to assess mutual compatibility. Most students start their research at the beginning of their second year in residence. Master's degrees are available, but nearly all graduate students working on MST are in the Ph.D. program.