Program Requirements

General Program Requirements:
Number of Credits Required Beyond the Baccalaureate: 38

Required Courses:

Core Courses
PHYS 5002Physics Research and Ethics1
PHYS 5101Analytical Mechanics3
PHYS 5301Electromagnetic Theory3
PHYS 5501Mathematical Physics3
PHYS 5701Quantum Mechanics I3
PHYS 5702Quantum Mechanics II3
PHYS 8102Statistical Mechanics3
PHYS 8702Solid State Physics3
PHYS 8703Nuclear and Elementary Particle Physics3
Select two from the following:
PHYS 5302
Advanced Electromagnetic Theory
PHYS 5502
Computational and Mathematical Physics
PHYS 8020
Topical Seminar I
PHYS 8701
Quantum Field Theory
PHYS 8704
Many Electron Theory
PHYS 8705
Advanced Topics in Nuclear and Particle Physics
or any new course designated as PHYS 870X
Research Courses 17
PHYS 9994
Preliminary Examination Preparation 2
PHYS 9998
Pre-Dissertation Research / Elevation to Candidacy
PHYS 9999
Dissertation Research
Total Credit Hours38

The combined number of credits of PHYS 9994, PHYS 9998, and PHYS 9999 must be at least 7, with a minimum of 1 credit of PHYS 9994 and a minimum of 2 credits of PHYS 9999 required.


Students typically take PHYS 9994 in the fourth academic term of full-time graduate study.

Culminating Events:
Preliminary Examination:
For elevation to candidacy for the PhD degree, the student must pass a written and oral preliminary examination covering undergraduate- and master’s-level physics. The written part of the exam is typically taken at the end of the summer of the first year of study on information from six core courses: PHYS 5101, PHYS 5301, PHYS 5501, PHYS 5701, PHYS 5702, and PHYS 8102. The oral part, also known as the Early Research Progress Exam, is given by the student's research committee at the end of the fifth term of study. In the event of failure, the exam may be retaken once six months later. The Department or Graduate Chair is present for the second attempt. Any student who fails a second time is dropped from the graduate program.

A topic for the PhD dissertation is selected in consultation with a faculty member who agrees to serve as the dissertation supervisor. For elevation to candidacy, the student must submit a dissertation proposal that meets the approval of the Graduate Program Committee and the Graduate School. The completed dissertation is submitted to the department before the final examination, in which the dissertation is presented and defended by the candidate in an oral examination.