New System of Requirements
The Physics Department has updated the requirements for the Ph.D. degree. It is intended that the new requirements should be in place, at least on a provisional basis, starting in the Fall Semester of 2021. Students enrolled prior to Fall Semester of 2021 will be allowed to satisfy either requirement, or a hybrid as discussed in the Transition Period section below.
To allow students the flexibility to choose courses that are related to their field of research, there is no set required course track for physics graduate students.
Students who do not have preparation in graduate-level physics courses are strongly recommended to take our core graduate-level courses. Students who successfully complete these classes will be deemed to have satisfied the Qualifying Exam requirement.
In addition, there are the following requirements:
- All students must take three graduate-level (600-level or above) courses of three credits or more excluding the core graduate-level classes, seminars and independent studies. These classes need not be in the Physics Department.
- All students must take two semesters of physics seminar courses. These seminars should be distinct and one of these should be the Physics Colloquium--PHYS 798B. (Those who satisfied this requirement prior to the Spring semester of 2024 need not use the Colloquium as one of the seminars.)
- All students must take the non-credit Foundations and Frontiers of Physics seminar. The seminars will be offered in the fall and spring semesters. This non-credit seminar requirement is in addition to the two semesters of physics seminars. Fall 2023 and Spring 2024 Schedule
Advancing to Candidacy
To advance to candidacy, all students must:
- Satisfy the Qualifying Examination requirement This can be done by either taking and passing the two qualifying exams or via successful completion of core graduate-level classes or by a combination. Details can be found here.
- Give a Preliminary Research Presentationwithin a year after passing the Qualifying Exam.
- Submit a Scholarly Paper 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 andto demonstrate competence in scientific writing. Accordingly, it should be written by the student without coauthors. The scholarly paper may include one or more of the following:
- a description of a completed original research project by the student
- summarize the state of the art of a subfield
- describe a proposed future research project by the student
- give a progress report on a partially completed research project
- 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
- Please note: 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.
(For students enrolled prior to Fall 2021)
The old requirements differ from the new ones in two ways: The qualifier examination requirement and the course requirements. Students who enrolled in the program prior to the Fall 2021 semester have options of satisfying the new requirements or the old requirements or a hybrid. Moreover, since the old and new qualifier requirements do not match neatly, special accommodations may be made for students who enrolled prior to the Fall 2021 semester and have not yet satisfied the qualifier requirement .
The old requirements are listed below:
- 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.