## Degree Requirements

**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* *s**ection **below**.*

**Course Requirements **

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 Presentation within a year after passing the Qualifying Exam.
- Two faculty members must attend the presentation, give feedback, and sign the form. One of the signatures must be from a regular physics faculty member.

- Submit a Scholarly Paper within four years of entering the graduate program.
- Two faculty members must evaluate the paper and sign the form. One of the signatures must be from a regular physics faculty member.

**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.

**Transition Period **

**(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.

## Core Classes

**New System of Core Courses**

Starting in Fall 2021, the Department of Physics is replacing our set core graduate-level physics courses.

Our new set of core courses is designed to reduce the time commitment by replacing the six courses of the old system with four courses. The intention is for more students to take the full set of classes than previously and thus to help ensure that students have a well-rounded basic graduate-level physics education. To further encourage students to take these classes—and take them seriously—an additional change is being instituted: Students who complete these courses successfully will be deemed to have satisfied the Ph.D. Qualifier Examination requirement.

The courses are designed to be at a level appropriate for incoming graduate students who have successfully completed a full undergraduate physics sequence including advanced undergraduate courses in classical mechanics, thermal and statistical physics and electricity & magnetism along with two semesters of quantum. Students are also expected to have mastered the mathematical methods relevant for those courses.

Students who have taken a number of graduate-level physics courses prior to joining our program may consider taking the Ph.D. Qualifier upon entering the program. If the Qualifier is passed, the student may skip this sequence of classes. However, we ** strongly** discourage students who have not taken such graduate classes from pursuing this route.

Students whose undergraduate preparation has gaps may elect to postpone taking one or more of the core sequences until their second year in the program.

**The Course Sequences**

The new core courses are arranged in two two-semester sequences. One sequence—PHYS 610 (Fall) & PHYS 611 (Spring)—focuses on “Mathematical Methods and Their Applications in Classical Mechanics and Electrodynamics”. The other sequence—PHYS 612 (Fall) & PHYS 613 (Spring)—focuses on “Quantum Mechanics and Statistical Physics”.

**Tentative Syllabus**

Since these sequences are new, we anticipate that the courses as currently designed may change somewhat as we gain experience with them. However, the initial incarnation of these sequences as expected cover the following topics: