Graduate Degree Requirements

Requirements for the Master's Degree

A minimum of 30 graduate credits is required, including a minimum of 15 credits (excluding thesis) in 700-level courses and six hours of research for thesis credit. A final oral exam is required on course work and thesis. A grade-point average of 3.00 or better is required in all course work which is part of the degree prograrn.

Requirements for the PhD Degree

A total of 60 graduate credits past the bachelor's level is required, including the following:
  1. A minimum of 36 graduate-level semester credits in physics or related fields (excluding doctoral dissertation and graduate seminar), which must include the following core courses:
    • PHY 711-712 (Electricity and Magnetism)
    • PHY 721-722 (Quantum Mechanics)
    • PHY 700 (Mathematical Physics)
    • PHY 731 (Statistical Physics I)
    Six of the 36 credits must be taken in the fourth or fifth year. Course work used to satisfy the requirements for a master's degree may be included. A minimum grade of B- is required in each course. An overall grade point average of 3.00 or better is required in all course work which is part of the degree program. Course work taken outside the Physics Department must have departmental approval. Doctoral and Master's degree candidates take many of the same courses.
  2. Six credits of PHY 796, Graduate Seminar, including three acceptable presentations by the student.
  3. A minimum of 18 semester credits of Physics 799, doctoral dissertation.
  4. Satisfactory performance on a written qualifying examination on advanced undergraduate physics and a satisfactory score on the GRE Advanced Physics examination. Successfull applicants to the doctoral program must generally have scores in the upper 50th percentile of the examinees taking the GRE Advanced Physics test. Both of these requirements must be fulfilled during the first two years in the graduate program.
  5. A dissertation of high quality.
  6. Satisfactory performance on a final examination which will consist of an oral defense of the dissertation.

A student who enters the doctoral program with a master's degree must satisfy all of the above requirements numbered 1-6. The exact number of graduate semester credit hours past the master's degree will depend upon the quality of the student's preparation and the rate of progress during research. All courses used to satisfy the course work requirement (listed as l. above) must have the approval of the Physics Department. The number of graduate credits beyond the master's level must be at least 30; typically it will be more.

Each student will have a four-member advisory committee, which will carry out an annual review of the student's progress.

Doctoral Program Examinations

There are three examinations:
  1. A written qualifying examination must be passed. All students entering the Ph.D. program are required to pass a written qualifying examination administered by the department before the completion of the second full year of study.
  2. A satisfactory score (generally 50% or better) must be achieved on the GRE Advanced Physics test before completion of the second full year of study.
  3. A final oral defense of the doctoral thesis must be passed. The student must pass the qualifying examination and the final oral defense.

Doctoral Dissertation

The doctoral thesis reports the results of significant original research, performed independently by the student, and must be written in lucid scientific prose.