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Graduate Program

The program of graduate studies in physics emphasizes research work, but also includes teaching experience as an essential element. Research and thesis opportunities are at present available in the fields of astrophysics and cosmology, atmospheric and ocean optics, complexity, condensed matter physics, elementary particle theory, plasma physics. In addition to the general requirements for graduate degrees, the Physics Department makes the following specific requirements.

A. Submission of scores on the Graduate Record Examination (Aptitude Test and Advanced Test in Physics) with the application for admission.

B. A minimum of 24 physics course credits at the 500 - 600 level are required for the PhD.

C. The following specific courses, or their equivalent, are required for the PhD degree: PHY 540, 560, 561, 623, 650, 651, 670, 671. Also required: three additional physics lecture courses at the 500 or 600 level.

D. For the M.S. degree no more than three credits for reading courses may be counted, and no more than two credits of seminars. Up to six credits may be earned in thesis work for this degree.

E. The physics department offers a comprehensive graduate examination each year. A passing grade at an appropriate level is required for either the M.S. or the Ph.D. A student is required to take the exam each year and is allowed two attempts toward a passing grade.

F. Courses taken outside the department should be relevant to the students’ program and approved by the graduate advisor.

G. Students are required to participate in research at the earliest opportunity. Specifically, upon passing the written graduate examination and before the end of the following semester, the student is required to select a faculty member who consents to serve as the student’s Ph.D. thesis advisor. Student and thesis advisor are to form, in a timely fashion, a dissertation committee to review an oral presentation of the student’s initial research activities and future plans. Should a student need to select a new thesis advisor, this selection must be made without delay, and the review process must be repeated.

H. Renewal of financial support from the department is contingent, each semester, upon satisfactory performance of teaching duties and research activities, and upon timely progress towards completion of all requirements for the Ph.D. degree.