PhD

All students are admitted first into the M.S. program. Admission into the Ph.D. program occurs after passing the Comprehensive Exam (see below). This approach makes it easier to obtain an M.S. degree en route to a Ph.D.

To obtain the Ph.D. degree in physics, a student must satisfy all requirements of the College of Graduate Studies as well as those in the Department of Physics. A summary of these requirements is as follows. 

1. Take the Core Courses

PH 601 CLASSICAL DYNAMICS I 3
PH 607 MATHEMATICAL METHODS I 3
PH 609 MATHEMATICAL METHODS II 3
PH 621 STAT MECH KINETIC THRY I 3
PH 622 STAT MECH KINETC THRY II 3
PH 631 ELECTROMAGNETIC THEORY I 3
PH 651 QUANTUM MECHANICS I 3
PH 652 QUANTUM MECHANICS II 3
PH 732 ELECTROMAGNETIC TH II 3
Total Semester Hours 27

2. Pass the Comprehensive Exam at the Ph.D. Level

The Comprehensive Exam is offered every August, and covers the material in the Core Courses except for PH 622 and  PH 732, which are usually taken after the Exam. There are sections dealing with quantum mechanics, electromagnetic theory and relativity, and classical and statistical mechanics. 

Admission to the Ph.D. program in physics is granted upon passing the Comprehensive Examination at the Ph.D. level. 

A full-time course schedule leading to the Comprehensive Exam at the start of the Fall semester of the second year is:

Year 1
FallSemester Hours
PH 607 MATHEMATICAL METHODS I  3
PH 651 QUANTUM MECHANICS I  3
PH 601 CLASSICAL DYNAMICS I  3
PH 792 PHYSICS SEMINAR  1
  Term Semester Hours:  10
Spring 
PH 609 MATHEMATICAL METHODS II  3
PH 652 QUANTUM MECHANICS II  3
PH 631 ELECTROMAGNETIC THEORY I  3
PH 792 PHYSICS SEMINAR  1
  Term Semester Hours:  10
Summer 
PH 621 STAT MECH KINETIC THRY I  3
Elective    3
  Term Semester Hours:  6
  Total Semester Hours: 

26

 

 

3. Form a Ph.D. Committee and construct a Program of Study

Once the Comprehensive Examination is passed, a student should proceed to form a supervisory committee and prepare a Program of Study. A Program of Study will consist of

  • 27 credit hours of Core Courses
  • 21 credit hours of elective graduate coursework. A maximum of 9 semester hours of PH 699 from a completed M.S. degree with Thesis may be allowed to count toward this 21 credit hour requirement.
  • 3 credit hours of Physics Seminar PH 792 with a grade of “S”.
  • 18 credit hours of PH 799. No more than 9 of these semester hours may be taken prior to passing the Qualifying Examination (see below).

Courses in addition to those enumerated above can be selected in consultation with the student’s advisory committee. Transfer of credit from other institutions requires approval of the Department Chair and the Graduate Dean.

4. Complete and Defend a Dissertation

Each student must complete and successfully defend a research dissertation, which must be approved by the student’s supervisory committee, the Chair of the Physics Department, the Dean of the College of Science, and the Dean of the Graduate School. A significant portion of the dissertation should be submitted for publication in an approved journal with international circulation.