- Course Requirements: Students must complete a minimum of 38 credit hours in physics or astronomy at the 600 or 700 level (or approved courses from other departments relevant to the program of study).
- Calculation of the GPA: Students must earn a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 and a minimum GPA of 3.0 in courses applied to the degree.
- Research Requirement: Research is the central focus of the degree and is directed by a faculty adviser over a period of several years. When the research is completed, the student must write a dissertation and defend it before the doctoral committee of four faculty. The average completion time for the Ph.D. is five years beyond the B.S. Research specialties within the department include astrophysics/astronomy, biophysics, condensed matter physics, physics education research, and plasma physics.
- Candidacy Examinations: To be admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D., a student must pass both a written and an oral candidacy examination. The written examination consists of three parts: quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, and classical mechanics.
- Oral Exam:The student needs to pass an oral exam by the end of their sixth academic semester in the program.This Oral presentation is typically 45 minutes in length and it is a presentation of a research paper selected by the advisor and the student. The exam is open to the public. Following the presentation and questions from the general public, the advisor and the Ph.D. committee ask questions to the student related to his/her paper understanding and the background required. Next, the student is excused and the Committee makes an overall decision on the Exam.
- Progress Toward Completion: Students must pass all three graduate qualifying exams by the end of their fourth academic semester in the program. All students are evaluated annually before the end of March by their Ph.D. committee or the Graduate Studies committee.
- Benchmarks: For details, go to the Physics Degree Progress tab.
|Introduction to Mathematical Physics|
|Advanced Classical Mechanics 1|
|Quantum Mechanics 1|
Select one of the following:
|Quantum Mechanics 2|
Select five courses in PHYS or ASTR at the 600 level or above or courses from the Additional Coursework list: *
Any ASTR or PHYS courses at the 600 or 700 level **
|Statistical Methods 1|
|Statistical Methods 2|
|Survey Research Methods|
|Multivariate Methods 1|
|Digital Signal Processing for Radio Astronomy|
Up to three graduate courses from other departments may be substituted with approval from the Graduate Studies committee.
Students are expected to be involved in research throughout their graduate career, and enrollment in ASTR 797 or PHYS 797, should reflect this activity. Students must complete at least three hours, however most students complete more than 80 hours. These requirements can be fulfilled through alternate means through discussion with an advisor.
Major Learning Outcomes
The central missions of the Graduate Program in Physics are to train the next generation of Physicists and Astronomers for productive careers in the global economy, to provide the ability to students that will allow them to master the fundamental knowledge of physics, to provide the experience to conduct independent research, and to expand the scientific boundaries of physics and astronomy.
Students earning a Ph.D. in Physics will be able to:
- Explain physics and astronomy principles as they pertain to their specific field of research.
- Demonstrate the ability to understand and critically evaluate the existing literature published within their field.
- Understand the ethical impact of personal and professional behavior.
- Independently design and execute new experimental, theoretical, or computational studies that can address important scientific questions in physics and astronomy.
- Effectively communicate their research in oral and written formats, including the ability to author manuscripts suitable for publication in peer reviewed scientific journals.