Course Requirements

To allow students the flexibility to choose courses that are related to their field of research, there is no set course track for physics graduate students. However, there are a few requirements:

  • All students must take two courses outside his/her area of specialization. One of these must be a 700 or 800 level physics course.
  • Theory students must take either PHYS624 or PHYS625.
  • All students must take two semesters of a physics seminar course.
  • All students must take the non-credit Foundations and Frontiers of Physics seminar. Typically, this is done during the second semester of graduate study. This non-credit seminar requirement is in addition to the two semesters of physics seminars.

Advancing to Candidacy

To advance to candidacy, all students must:

  • Pass the Qualifying Examination. Students are given three tries to pass the exam. A “free try” is allowed within the first year of study. You can use past qualifying exams to study.
  • Give a Preliminary Research Presentation. This presentation is expected to be given within a year after passing the Qualifying Exam.
  • Submit a Scholarly Paper. This paper should be written within four years of entering the graduate program.
Scholarly Paper Requirement:
The purpose of the scholarly paper is for the student to demonstrate an understanding of their subfield sufficient for Ph.D. level research and also to demonstrate a level of competence in scientific writing.   Accordingly it should be written by the student without coauthors.  The scholarly paper can, but need not, contain a description of a completed original research project by the student. Alternatively it may summarize the state of the art of a subfield, describe a proposed future research project by the student or give a progress report on a partially completed research project.  The scholarly paper can describe the results of  research completed by the student with collaborators including their research advisor; in such cases, the scholarly paper will differ from the version submitted for publication since the published will have coauthors.  However, the initial draft of a paper or a portion of such a paper  can serve as part or all of the scholarly paper provided it is written solely by the student.  

Additional Requirements for the Ph.D. Degree

To graduate with the Doctor of Philosophy degree, all students must:

  • Complete all of the requirements for advancing to candidacy.
  • Take at least 12 credits (2 semesters) of Doctoral Dissertation Research (PHYS899). Students who have reached candidacy will be registered for 6 credits of PHYS899 each semester until he/she graduates.
  • Register for classes each Fall and Spring semester until graduation.
  • Maintain a GPA of 3.0 or above.
  • Write and successfully defend an original dissertation.
  • Meet all degree deadlines, outlined here

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