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Ph.D. Degree

Most entering graduate students intend to earn a Ph.D. in physics. The program is designed to give students a fundamental theoretical background beyond that of undergraduate level and a research experience that produces high-quality and novel work that is normally recognized by publication in peer-reviewed journals (or sometimes in patents). To obtain a Ph.D. degree the student must complete the coursework, oral examination, and research requirements.

Ph.D. Candidacy Requirements

To be accepted as a candidate for the Ph.D., a student must complete the core coursework and pass an oral examination.

The coursework requirements are to get an A or B in the following core classes: PHYS 611, PHYS 631, PHYS 633, PHYS 651, and PHYS 761.  To be a graduate student in good standing, a student must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0

The oral examination is a presentation to the four faculty on the student’s doctoral committee in which the student reviews some published research that has been chosen by his or her faculty advisor.  The oral exam must be completed by the end of the student's sixth academic-year semester.

A student who is not in good standing because of a GPA < 3.00, or failure to pass the core courses, or failure to pass the oral exam according to the above schedule will have his/her academic record reviewed by a faculty committee and continuation in the physics graduate program will require the committee’s approval. 

Ph.D. Research Requirements

Research is the central focus of the degree and is directed by the faculty advisor. The candidate must submit a written dissertation that presents the results of the candidate’s individual investigation.  The candidate must meet with their doctoral committee annually submit a progress report to the graduate studies and advising committee. 

After the faculty advisor has tentatively approved the dissertation, the student makes an oral presentation and defense of the dissertation before the faculty on the doctoral committee.  This must be completed no more than five years after admission to candidacy.